Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am happy to provide my in box review regarding the Veteran Models Ultimate Detail set No. VT70002 for the according and latest offer of the Fujimi 1/700 scale IJN Kongo kit. This review alongside the provided pictures shall take you with me to a journey beyond average standards.
We read here and there about “Ultimate Sets“from various manufacturers for various kits in many scales. Most of them take the kit beyond its styrene design. This set by Veteran Model from Taiwan is no exception. The question is how far can someone go in 1/700 scale?
So please, feel free to catch a cup of coffee or whatever makes you comfortable and follow me into a complete new world of model building from kits in 1/700 scale …
I received my set in a sturdy double folded cardboard box mainly in blue color. The front side shows pictures of the set parts attached to the Fujimi kit.
Upon opening the box the modeler is confronted with paper enrolled instructions, a green box containing the resin parts and beneath all that, 11 frets of photo etched brass. The green box got wrapped up in clear plastic air bubble foil. The photo etched parts are thoroughly stuck to a black cardboard inside a clear plastic bag.
In fact, opening the box feels like opening an old pirate treasure chest after a long search.
Well, this is one of the real hard ones because describing each and any part would make me write for quite some time. Please take my apology for not being able to do that with the needed depth actually needed due to time constrains.
My first impression about the photo etched brass frets was simply: Wow! It is not the fact that there are so many delicate parts, I have seen, part number wise, other sets which do reach the quantity provided here. No, but it was the fact that Veteran Model did 3D etching all over. Please look at the included photos of the photo etched brass frets to get a first hand impression. I included some close up pictures to better make the audience understand how magnificent these parts are done.
The photo etched brass frets…
The Ultimate Set by Veteran Model comes with 11 photo etched brass frets each of them filled with parts. The numbering start with A and ends with K. Each fret is kind of laminated between two sheets of clear plastic.
Fret A – D
These frets deal with the Kongo’s superstructure. What you get are platforms and support struts where needed. Also, the flight deck configuration with the airplane trolley is included with the according rails!
I compared the given parts to the resources I have available. These resources include the Lacroix & Wells book “Japanese Cruisers of WW II” as well as the according warship pictorial. From all I see, I can say that Veteran Model did a superb job in researching what is needed to receive a very close appearance to the original ship.
The super structure enhancements for the command bridge area done superbly. Windows are included as well as railing fitting the appropriate section of the super structure. The platforms have their anti skid structure incorporated where needed and come with attached railing in many cases. This is a very nice move by the manufacturer as gluing separately delivered railing in this scale is difficult.
Every platform incorporated into the masts is included as well with according ropes etc. A beautiful crane structure is provided as well. The recon airplane receives also photo etched enhancements. The list is almost endless. All radar equipment is provided in these frets.
Alone these parts are a jawbreaker on their own right. Then again, those people at Veteran Model did not stop.
This fret of photo etched brass gives the modeler water tight doors. Now, nothing is surprising there on the first view. However, upon close inspection you will find that Veteran Model gave you the doors with the option to build them in open or closed configuration. That is a big step forward as it allows loosening up the ship visually wise. With this said, let me tell you what Veteran Model did further. Having the doors with optional opened position is nice for itself but what about the structural elements of an opened door. Normally a modeler just glues on a door and all is done. If you open it up, the inside of a door has some details like the handholds. Well, watch Veteran Model stand up on this one as the enclosed pictures prove that the inner side of the door is provided as well. It is just one bent upwards and you receive a full door. Now, how is that?
If that did not make you cheer up here come the various hatches which are located on the deck.
Again, the modeler receives option for a closed or opened configuration. The according support structure for the opened position is included as well.
This one deals with the railing mainly. Different types of railing are provided and are awaiting their attachment to the Fujimi kit. The etching is nicely done with the hanging railing being clearly distinguishable from the fixed railing. Also, one receives the step irons for the funnels. They are pre shaped and should give no real problem attaching them. You will find some ladders on this fret as well. Furthermore and if I am not mistaken, the modeler receives two lookouts which are attached to the funnels. The funnel grill is not missing either. Some provided awing stanchions make this truly an Ultimate Set feature.
The naming of the fret is program here, Fret G stands for guns. We are talking the Type 96 25mm twin and single AA guns. Even though the folding procedure looks a bit difficult, it is truly manageable. The details are superb due to 3D etching.
Fret H gives the modeler loads of ammunition boxes in two sizes. Now, this is a really brilliant move by Veteran Models as it allows presenting the ship in a battle ready configuration. The folding is an easy affair and should not give any major problem.
Fret I deals with the boats. What makes this representation outstanding are the fine relief etched details. Just look at the close up photos and you instantly comprehend what I am trying to say.
This one provides the davits. Further on some reels and inclined ladders in various sizes are provided as well. The etching quality is stunning for itself.
This fret made out of etched white metal is needed to further enhance the 12.7 cm AA guns.
Of course, this review provides only a rough representation of the many details included. Photo etched wise and considering the scale, Veteran Model indeed provides an “Ultimate Set” as indicated by the kit’s name. The wealth of additions for the Fujimi styrene kit is overwhelming. Looking through all these parts makes me wonder how much of the original kit parts will remain unused or at least disqualified.
Now, with this said the people at Veteran Model somehow were not satisfied with what they achieved. They could have stopped here but they did not. The next chapter coming will show you that it is possible to raise the bar so much higher …
The Resin Parts…
The Resin parts are securely laid into the green box I mentioned earlier. Several clear plastic bags contain the parts. The bags are not numbered. My first impression was, well, what I shall do with that. With the bare eyes it is hard to appreciate the provided quality. For this, I grabbed a magnifying glass and … Wow …. What a difference. What appeared like not so well done piece of resin turned out to be the most accurate representation of actual ship parts I have ever seen. I included some samples of the resin parts as over all view as well as with a close up shot. The parts are not cleaned yet but even in this state show rich quality.
What you receive are the following resin items all in 1/700 scale:
1. 12 cm Binocular * 32
2. Binocular with signal lamp * 6
3. Binocular with Infrared Message Transmitter * 6
4. 18 cm Binocular * 6
5. Type 94 110cm Searchlight Controller
6. Type 13 Look Out with 12 cm Binoculars * 6
7. Voice Pipe * 35
8. Large Size Paravane * 8
9. Winch * 9
10. 8 cm Main Gun Exercise Machine * 8
11. Type 13 Main Gun Fire Control * 4
12. Type 14 Secondary Gun Fire Control * 6
13. Type 95 25 mm Gun Fire Control * 8
14. Type 13 Target Tracing Installation * 4
15. Type 11 Target Course and Speed Controller * 4
16. 110cm Searchlight Controller * 8
17. 12 cm Observer * 6
18. Compass * 8
19. Target Designation Exercise Machine * 2
Now, with this list given it is obvious, Veteran Model defines the word “Ultimate Set” completely new. I have seen a lot of aftermarket sets for various ship models. None of them showed so much dedication to detail. In fact, none of the sets I am aware of even cared to provide the many devices used on a ship and which are repeatedly omitted by the styrene manufacturer.
If not already for the photo etched parts, it is for these resin parts by Veteran Model which makes this set so extraordinary and outstanding. I cannot even recall to have seen devices like these in 1/350 scale.
As if all these were not already enough, Veteran Model raised the bar even higher by providing …
The Brass Barrels…
You receive the main gun and secondary gun barrel. The turned brass parts are superb in quality and execution. The muzzles are open on all barrels! Beside that, the barrels for the 12.7 cm guns are provided as well in brass. These parts round up a superbly done “Ultimate Set” by Veteran Model.
Whoever has read my past reviews knows I greatly care about the instructions. The instructions are the point where a manufacturer can poof how much he cares about his audience. What is the use of the best produced parts if the modeler does not get a guide on how and where to use them?
Considering the ever raising amount of parts this is very important, at least to me.
I included the full instructions by Veteran Model for you to judge.
First off, the instructions come on 4 double sided printed sheets of paper. The print is in color. The text is mainly Chinese but with English captions as well. The instructions are divided into subassembly steps which are self explaining. If a kit part needs to be left out, the instructions tell you clearly about it. Most of the instructions consist of 3D isometric views with important parts shown in a different color. At some points color photos! Of the assembly process are provided. Imagine that! This will not only make the specific step easier to comprehend but also reassure you about the correct configuration. Bravo on that.
All I am missing is some advice about possible references regarding the IJN Kongo. This would have helped greatly those who are more an actual model builder rather than anything else. On the other hand I can honestly say that this set is so well researched prior to production, that you will hardly need any reference and still receive a most accurate result.
Result and Conclusion…
This Veteran Model Ultimate Set for the Fujimi Kongo is beyond any standard I have seen so far. In fact, it is unique!
Very nicely executed and at the same time a novelty in 1/700 scale model ship building. Whatever detail I checked with my resources was there and beyond any reasonable doubt.
I have to admit, I was not aware of some of the details until I had to research them since they are included in this set. The manufacturer sure worked overtime and with passion in the planning phase. I am happy to tell you it paid out for us, the modelers, all the way.
From the superbly done photo etched brass sets over the turned brass barrels and the extraordinary resin parts up to the instructions everything tells you, this is a work of love and dedication to the IJN Kongo. The price for so much detail is on the modeler side to be very cautious with the building of the kit. The modeler cannot rush but needs to remain cool until the very end. Have a good pair of magnifier ready at hand though.
Lately I had the opportunity to attend the EuroModelExpo 2010 here in Germany and saw some models of the ever famous Mr. Jim Baumann for real. If you think that these tiny details like those provided in this Veteran Model set will not show in 1/700 scale after the built is done, let me tell you this: From what I saw of Jim Baumann´s models in 1/700 I can honestly tell you, every detail will pay out and attract the eyes of the viewers.
This is no set for an impatient person. You need to be very easy with the paint job. Quoting Mr. Paul Olsen, the artist who painted the Big E for “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”- it can be summed up like this: “You can always add some paint but you cannot remove what was applied.”
With this Ultimate Set by Veteran Model you sure have the best possible support to achieve the best IJN Kongo model in 1/700 scale ever. Best of it, all comes in one package!
I received permission to attach the manufacturer provided photos of the assembled raw kit alongside my review. Pease feel free to look through the superb photos regarding the end result that can be achieved.
Further on let me tell you that Ralph Kuo, an outstanding model builder from Taiwan, introduced his built of the 1/700 IJN Kongo with the help of Veteran Model Ultimate Set in the No. 35 issue of the ModelArt Magazine. Blog Entry