Kajika 1/700 IJN Kirishima 1915

Haruna was the third of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Kongō-class battlecruisers.

Kirishima (霧島) was a warship of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War I and World War II. Designed by British naval engineer George Thurston, she was the third of the four Kongō-class battlecruisers to be launched. Laid down in 1912 at the Mitsubishi Shipyards in Nagasaki, Kirishima was formally commissioned in 1915 on the same day as her sister ship, Haruna. Kirishima patrolled on occasion off the Chinese coast during World War I, and helped with rescue efforts following the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake. Kirishima was limited to patrolling actions in Southeast Asian waters during the war and did not see any major combat service.

From the period between 1912 and 1915, the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) put to water four Kongo-class battlecruisers. Battlecruisers were a short-lived naval initiative intended to promote the firepower of a Dreadnought battleship with the speed of a cruiser. While not entirely a successful mating, many of the type found success in some of the battles waged during the 20th Century. Beyond Britain and Japan, German also adopted the battlecruiser form and it was with British assistance that IJN Kirishima was developed. IJN Kirishima formed the third of the four-strong Kongo-class and she was ordered in 1911, laid down on March 17th, 1912 by builder Mitsubishi at the Nagasaki shipyard, and launched on December 1st, 1913. She was formally commissioned on April 19th, 1915 in time to serve in World War 1 and carried the namesake of Mount Kirishima of Kyushu.

As completed, Kirishima displaced 37,200 tons and held a length of 728.3 feet, a beam of 10.7 feet, and a draught of 31.9 feet. Her propulsion system was made up of geared-steam turbines developing 136,000 horsepower to four shafts. Her range was out to 10,000 nautical miles. Armament centred around 8 x 14″ (356mm) main guns held in four, two-gun turrets – two fitted forward and two aft of the superstructure. This was complemented by 16 x 6″ (152mm) guns in eight, two-gun turrets. Additional support came from 8 x 5″ (127mm) guns set in eight, single-gun turrets. She also carried some 20 x 25mm Type 96 cannons for air defence. In terms of armouring, she held up to 203mm thickness at the belt, 280mm thickness at the turrets, and 121mm thickness on her deck. Her complete crew complement was approximately 1,360 personnel.

This new kit from Kajika follows up on their previous release of the IJN Kongo, Hie and Haruna and depicts the Kirishima as she would have appeared in 1915 shortly after her commisioning.

I can find several 1/700 Kirishima kit releases over the years, but I think this is the first of her as she was in 1915. All the other ones are by just Fujmi, Aoshima and Hasegawa, with a couple of other one-off companies from the 60s, and are of the 1941 version of the ship after a major rebuild. That makes it the only Kirishima available depicting her between 1915 and 1927. In 1927 she started a 4-year modernization rebuild.

The box is a standard top opening box and inside everything is bagged. Some bags have a couple of parts inside, but they are bagged so that nothing will be damaged. I suspect there will be quite a few parts left over as there are quite a few sprues the same as in the Kongo and Hiei kits. This box contains the same sprues as the Haruna with the addition of new sprue V, which contains a new main turret, and a few small parts. The Kongo had 4 sprues, not in the Hiei and Haruna and didn’t have 7 sprues used in the later 2 ships. Even though the Kongo class are similar the 4 Kajika kits are all different in small ways.

The box contains:

  • 7 sprues of varying sizes holding 315 parts (not all are used)
  • 8 larger parts
  • 1 metal base plate
  • 1 small decal sheet
  • 1 long double-sided instruction sheet.

The instructions are on a long single sheet of double sided glossy paper. The build is covered in 11 steps and all look to be clearly laid out and easy to follow.

  • Step 1. Putting the bridge together
  • Step 2. Putting the masts together.
  • Step 3. Putting the funnels together along with other pieces such as ships boats that are in the centre of the superstructure.
  • Step 4. Putting the 16 secondary guns together.
  • Step 5. Putting the main turrets together.
  • Step 6. Putting the 2 part deck together and adding the secondary guns before the deck goes in place.
  • Step 7. Putting the rest of the ship’s boats on their davits.
  • Step 8. Putting the ships boats and other small pieces on the ship.
  • Step 9. Fitting the main parts of the superstructure and main armament onto the ship.
  • Step 10. Adding small parts at the bow.
  • Step 11. Adding small parts at the stern.

The level of details on the plastic parts is as good as you will find anywhere. Attachment points are small and ejector pin marks are unobtrusive. There are lots of small parts, but they will build into a finely modelled kit of the Harun. I noticed that the funnels are one piece and hollow and the stacks are also a framework and not a solid piece of plastic.

The paints are called out in Mr. Hobby and Tamiya. The colour chart in the instructions is in colour which makes things a lot easier. The ship does not have a camouflage pattern so it should be a pretty simple painting job.

The decals are 2 Japanese flags and look to be good quality with a minimal backing sheet.

I can see this kit is currently available for pre-order at HLJ for $33.65.

Overall it’s an impressive kit from Kajika with a lot of fine detail and a high parts count. They are continuing with their WW1 time period that will appeal to many people and has not been touched upon before for this ship. The quality of the kit is as good as any out there and on a par with their sister company, Flyhawk.

Several extra parts are available for this kit, detailed below. These are not part of the kit itself but available to purchase as optional extras. Have a look at our review of the Hiei if you want to have a close up look at what those parts will probably look like.

  • KM71023 PE fret of approx 123 parts. It covers the usual railings as well as replacing several plastic parts throughout the ship.
  • Km71024 Wooden Deck.
  • KM71025 – Deck Paint Mask

Many thanks to Kajika for sending the kit along for review.

Paul Tosney – Editor
ModelBuilder International

Paul Tosney

Paul has been with Model Builder International since almost the beginning. He started building models as a boy, and took a hiatus, but started building again a few years ago. He builds pretty much anything, but mostly WW2, with a smattering of modern and the occasional SciFi model.


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