Detailed Photo-etched Parts for South Dakota and Kongō classes (Review)

I’ve just received my latest consignment from HLJ yesterday. After scrutinizing its contents and studying the goods thoroughly, I deemed the project for the Kongō battleship to be (still) on hold. These nifty little metal details are ideal for practice as I’ve zero experience in the detailing aspect of modelling ships – photo-etched parts can be rather tricky to manipulate and upon first look, appeared very brittle and painfully small such that you’d fear breaking these apart.

South Dakota & Kongo photoetched parts

In the picture above, the South Dakota detail-up parts (from Pit-Road) are on the left whereas the Kongō parts (from Hasegawa) are to the right. Take note that all of the above parts are not complete per se – the frets are lacking the railings and you’d need to either get a full-range set which inevitably costs more or settle for a semi-detailed finished product. I’m getting the Kongō photo-etched parts first so that I could study the base kit in detail and sorting out the parts that needed upgrading. Plus, the two sets themselves collectively cost little more than RM60 which is pretty reasonable. The idea of upgrading the Kongō Hasegawa kit stemmed from my first impression of it, which is not positive – I noticed that Hasegawa models tend to have rather simplistic finishes and lacked the something extra to enhance the default scratch-built kit.

Yes, what you see is what you get. Once you have taken a look at Fujimi’s 1/700 offering of the same kit, I was suitably impressed as the scratch-built version (i.e. literally straight out of the box parts) is as top-notch as you would expect from the industry’s finest. Still, for my immediate premier project concerning the Kongō battleship, I’m satisfied that the Hasegawa kit offers room for improvements and is virtually free from the casemates issue which plagues the Fujimi kits of the Kongō sister ships. Further, I could easily acquire Fujimi’s photo-etched version to service the Hasegawa kit which I have, and I believe that with some tweaking and lots of patience, I’d be able to obtain the approximate quality. It has not arrived yet, though, so that’s why I’m still declaring that the project is still in the planning stage and awaiting kick-off.

Now, it has not been all idle talk so far. I’ve also gotten the ship kits for the USN Washington (issued by Aoshima – replete with their old company logo still intact on the box art) and the USN South Dakota (from Hasegawa).

USN BB Washington and USN BB South Dakota

Obviously the above kits appeared to be old releases in that they are released sometime in the 1980s. With the photo-etched detail parts for the South Dakota, I’d be able to get started on the kit this Saturday. The railings for the bow and bridge areas would have to be sourced from somewhere else, though, given the somewhat small fret of metal parts to work with in the Pit-Road offering. And so, the classic ‘can’t wait for the weekend’ has an added emphasis…  


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