"This "Inbox Review" is of Monochrome Super Fine Ship Models, 1/350 Scale IJN Suzutsuki model kit."
Intro, and a bit of history...
The IJN Suzutsuki was a Akizuki class destroyer. The Akizuki class destroyers are accounted for being one of the finest ships the Imperial Jpanasese fielded during WW II.
They mounted a superb 3.9" dual-purpose gun in four twin mounts and they were among the first japanese vessels to be equipped with radar. The main purpose was AA escort duties hence the single mount of four tubes, plus reloads in the torpedo section.
The Suzutsuki was completed 20th December 1942 in Nagasaki. She fulfilled various escort missions. From 7th to 12th December the Suzutsuki escorted ZUIKAKU and CHIKUMA from Truk to Kure. The IJN Suzutsuki is hardly to be called a lucky ship.
On 15th/16th January 1944 she got badly damaged by a torpedo attack of USS Sturgeon (SS-187). Her bow and stern got blown away with 135 dead including Commander Seo and additional 89 soldiers. The ship was towed to Kure by IJN Hatsuzuki on 18th Januar and the rapairs lasted until 12th Oktober 1944. After leaving the Kure dockyard for her next escort mission (convoy from Oita to Formosa) the IJN Suzutsuki was torpedoed by USS Besugo (SS-321) and lost a portion of her bow again.
The repair of the medium damage lasted until 11th November 1944. After a few training and escort missions the IJN Suzutsuki was assigned to IJN Yamato on 6th/7th April 1945. This was the "Ten-Ichi-Go" mission, the last cruise to defend Okinawa. The IJN Suzutsuki did not share the fate of the Battleship Yamato but was heavily damged by TF 58. Direct bomb hit forward and near-miss aft. The forward gun turrets was knocked out, the bow flooded, 57 dead and 34 injured. The ship returned stern first to Sasebo and was utilized as a floating AA battery.The ship was broken up sometime after the 20th November 1945.
...and now, the kit
The IJN Suzutsuki comes in a sturdy box showing her in the Pacific Ocean alongside what appears to be another destroyer. The parts do have some little room to swim inside the packaging but there are not more than two sprues packed within one plastic bag. The PE parts are taken care of by including a sturdy cardboard as "backbone" preventing any damage.
... and what is inside ...
This kit depicts the Suzutsuki in her 1944 configuration - so reading up her history already indicates this kit does really go well along with the 1/350 scale Tamiya Battelship Yamato kit or even the upcoming Fujimi Zuikaku kit.
The hull comes in one piece and the over all shape looks to be right spot on. The
demagnetization cable is molded on very well as is true for the tiny eyebrows over the portholes. However, there is no plating of the hull visible. For this, the armor belt is missing as well.
The kit comes with a reddish drydock scene in full length of the hull which gives the hull some support.
The deck comes in two seperate parts which have few items molded on. Mainly these are are the bollards and secondly the brass lines of the linoleum.
Having noticed the sad facts about the hull I was very surprised to notice the fine details provided with the sprues. Regarding them I strongly recommend looking up the parts list provided.
Even though there are only nine sprues it would take me a lot of pictures from each and every part to show how detailed and crisp the superstructure, funnel doors and hatches, turrets etc. have been performed. Disregarding the hull problem the kit shows that someone spent a lot of effort and skill into representing as much detail as possible. Note the doors even have hinges.
All the parts show sharp edges and details. Just check any of the close ups to visualize. As a prominent example I added an example of the torpedo housing. The rivets, door etc. - it is all there.
The PE parts:
This kit comes with a small PE fret giving the modeler the option to build the radar antennas, to add some ladders as well as closing the portholes on the ships hull. What is missing are the railings. However, it is not hard to find after market japnese 1/350 PE railings these days.
The decals are basic by giving the ships name, the white band for the funnel and some flags.
A full color plan view is included which shows the colors of the ship with the matching Gunze Sangyo numbers.
The instructions guide the model builder within 16 steps to the finished model. The illustrations are easy to understand and involve the PE parts when needed. Upon closer inspection there is some confusion regarding the PE parts.
However - I never have seen that happen anywhere before - the manufacturer published a revised version of the instructions correcting the errors.
You may find the revised instructions here:
There are no rigging diagrams to be found anywhere in the instructions so you'll have to use your references and the box top. Also, the placement of the decals is not indicated.
I love this kit for several reasons but formost because it has to stand up against Hasegawa´s, Fujimi´s and Aoshima´s latest 1/350 developments by convincing the modeler not by the ships name but the quality of the product. And quality there is. The superstructure parts are really convincing. The included PE parts help out perfectly where the plastic parts can only lose.
Yes, there are details within this kit that are not truely up to scale. However, the details are at least there and it will be up to the modeler to emphesize them as he feels appropriate. The second reason I love this kit is the fact it gives everyone -from beginner to pro model builder - a nice opprtunity to build a respectable 1/350 scale model. Out of the box one can achieve a really stunning result without fighting through 800 parts.
The third reason I love this kit lies in its history. Having been escort for Zuikaku and Yamato this kit is a nice addition to emphesize the sheer size of those other vessels.
One can achieve relatively easy a more than just representative model by adding some 1/350 sailors and some railings along with a fix for the missing hull plating.
On the downside the hull is missing the plating which costs vital points regarding the over all rating.
The hull - and I am sure serious manufacturer and model builder would sign that - is the most prominent piece of a ship model. In fact, it is THE determining factorfor the first impression.
If I was to recommend a kit for someone with interest in a 1/350 scale model my first choice would be right this one, because it gives a nice start also in handling PE parts and at the same time enough details to evaluate different painting techniques.
I used GAKKEN 1/100 AKIZUKI pictures as reference for this kit review.
The information about the detailed history of the Akizuki can be found at combinedfleet.com