Back in 2005 Hasegawa released a 1:350 scale injected plastic Mikasa, the flagship of the Imperial Japanese Fleet at the decisive Battle of Tsushima, which catapulted the comparatively new Japanese fleet into major naval power status. This kit was welcomed with open arms by warship modelers. It had been a long time since a Japanese company had released a warship kit in this scale. Tamiya was the only one of the Japanese companies to release a kit in this scale and their releases, which were getting long in tooth, had only included one Japanese topic, the mighty Yamato. The Hasegawa Mikasa was an excellent kit but what was not known back in 2005 was that not only was the long draught over, but also that the Mikasa was the first drop in a deluge of high quality Japanese kits in 1:350 scale on warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Right now we are in the middle of the monsoon of models with four 1:350 scale Takao class cruisers by Aoshima and now the Japanese battleships are coming into play with 1:350 scale Kongos from Aoshima and Fujimi and an Ise BB/CV hybrid coming from Fujimi. Hasegawa has not been idle as they have released another Japanese flagship, the Nagato and in the summer of 2008 will release the Mutsu. Lion Roar was there when Hasegawa released the Mikasa and introduced a deluxe upgrade set with brass barrels and multiple brass photo-etch sets to take the Hasegawa kit to another level. Lion Roar has again come forward to super-detail the newest 1:350 scale kit, the Nagato. This set, LS350008, provides fourteen brass photo-etch frets, a relief-etched name plate, brass barrels and resin parts, to take this newest Hasegawa kit to a new plateau. Almost all parts have relief-etching. Although aimed at a 1944 fit with all of the additional anti-aircraft guns added during the war, one of the frets provided by Lion Roar has specific parts for Nagato in her 1941 fit, when she was the flagship of Admiral Yamamoto.
Railing - Frets A & B
Both of these frets concentrate on the railing for the Nagato. On Fret A there are three types of railing. One run is for the starboard forecastle and another run for the port forecastle. Both of these runs have the gentle sheer found at the bow of the battleship. The other twelve runs of railing on the fret are for the rest of the weather/main deck. All railing uses an open stanchion end, rather than us a bottom gutter. Fret B has the specialized railing and foot/hand rungs. Specialized safety rails include a wide variety of locations: turret crown railing; platform railing; searchlight tower railing; HA platform railing; upper bridge railing; ship's boats railing; and boat's flag staff. Foot/hand rungs also have several locations with mainmast yardarm foot rails, multiple barbette rungs and multiple stack rungs.
Degaussing Cable - Fret C
One characteristic of most Imperial Japanese warships was an external degaussing cable. A low level electrical current was run through the cable to reduce the magnetic signature of the warship and accordingly make her less vulnerable to Magnetic mines and torpedoes. The cables were attached to the hull with brackets. The fret has ten runs of long straight cable, eight runs of short straight cable, and twelve specialized angled or curved cables. There are a few other specialized parts. The best of these is the very impressive chrysanthemum for the top of the cutwater. This is extraordinary well done with the convex shape, petal lines and center button. Other specialized parts are the platform and post for sound direction finding horns for the top of the pagoda
Aircraft Operations - Fret D
This fret includes a large variety of parts, all centered around floatplane operations on the Nagato. These parts include parts for the ship and also parts for the aircraft. The catapult is the major item and it is totally detailed with a great number of individual parts. These parts include: lower catapult frame; catapult top deck; six different internal bay frames; internal mechanism with pulleys; and side platforms. Other ship's aircraft handling equipment are the deck turntables, turntable rails, deck guide rails, aircraft trolleys, and aircraft cradles. Individual aircraft parts include propeller, wing struts, fuselage struts, main float struts, and wing float struts. Other non-aircraft parts included on this fret: rims for main gun turret openings, brackets for the top of the main guns, base platforms underneath the main guns, pagoda top platforms & antennae, bridge wing platforms, life buoy racks, and ship's boats oars.
Anti-Aircraft Guns - Frets E
Lion Roar provides two identical frets for all of the enhanced anti-aircraft guns loaded onto the Nagato during the course of the Pacific War. If you want AA, these have it all. For the late war ordnance Lion Roar provides single, twin and triple 25mm mounts, as well as the twin 5-inch AA mounts. Each individual 25mm mount has five brass parts, which are the barrel, barrel cradle, frame, gun sight and base plate. You'll still need the plastic posts for these guns. Parts for fifteen single 25mm guns are on each fret. There are six sets of parts for twin 25mm mounts on each fret. Each twin mount has five brass parts, which are base plates, mount frames, gun cradles, and two barrels. Each triple 25mm AA mount includes six brass parts with the base plate/gun shield, gun frame, gun cradle, and three gun barrels. Each fret has two of the 5-inch HA mounts. Each of these mounts has thirteen photo-etch parts, plus six turned brass parts and a resin part. When you realize that each of these twin HA mounts has twenty separate parts, you can see the lengths to which Lion Roar has gone to provide the last word in detailing Nagato. The gun shields are heavily relief-etched. In addition to the gun shield other parts include: two shield side brackets; two shield front brackets; shield base; shield side platform; gun cradle; cradle elevation gear; cradle top frame; two loading trays; and right side shield fitting. Main gun barrel tampions are on this fret.
Search Light Towers - Frets F
The searchlights on Nagato were clustered predominantly around the stack in a multiple level solid and lattice structure. There are actually a fret and a half of these parts, as the second half-size fret just provides an additional two main structures. These searchlight towers are big, easily the biggest parts found in the entire set. Each set folds into the three-dimensional structure and again is relief-etched with raised frames. There is an open ventilator louver at one end and an open door frame at the other. With other parts included on another fret, you can add an open or closed door. There are weight saving open void panels at top, bottom and ends. A complex arched frame connects the platforms. There are separate cross braces for each panel and support brackets for the platform overhead. Other parts include: ship's boats rudders; boat cabin hatch; boat stern platforms; boat cabin top rail; open boat steering post; open boat wheel; barbette top platforms; beautiful stern name plates; stack base frame with twin doors that can be left open or closed; DF loops; pagoda yards; main mast yards and main mast superstructure bracket.
Ladders - Fret G
Although most of this fret is composed of various types of ladders and associated structures. Ladders include inclined and vertical ladders. The Nagato has two double wide inclined ladders that allow simultaneous travel in both directions. There are at least 25 unique inclined ladder patterns on this fret. All, except the smallest rung types, have weight saving voids on the lower frames, hand railing, and treads that can be rotated to a horizontal position. Vertical ladders also come in many varieties. Sure you get the standard generic vertical ladders but Lion Roar provides a great variety of specialty vertical ladders. Specialized ladders come with top attachment loops or with superstructure attachment posts. Different specialized vertical ladders are for all four sides of each turret; turret range finder ladder; shelter deck ladders; barbette ladders; and stack ladder. Accommodations ladders have open support frame at the top with separate top platform and awning frame.
Shields & Decking - Fret H
There are a variety of different parts on this fret. Many of the parts are for anti-skid metal decks with relief-etch cross-hatching. These decks can be found outboard of the secondary battery, and turret AA platforms. With all of the additional AA positions present by 1944, splinter shielding was also added to protect gun crews. This fret has these shields custom designed for each position. Each shield has incised lines for placement of the separate support gussets, also found on this fret. Other parts include ship's boats anchors.
Doors, Chocks, Reels & Ammunition Lockers -
This fret has an assortment of fittings. All of the doors are in open position and can be closed at the option of the modeler. Three different patterns of doors are included. Eleven different patterns of open deck boat chocks are present. There are 27 cable/hose reels in three different patterns, although as common with most photo-etch reels, the modeler needs to provide the center spindle. All of those hungry AA guns, trying to stave off the venomous Helldivers, Hellcats, and Avengers, need a lot of ready ammunition. About 40% of this fret contains those ready ammunition lockers found in two different patterns.
Radar & Fittings - Fret J
At the top of the 1944 pagoda is found the large Type 21 radar and on each side of the main mast are Type 13 radars. This fret provides the multiple parts to replicate those arrays. There is no sense in using solid plastic parts when you can use these beauties. A circular foot rung for the base of the Type 21 mount is also included. Another significant part is the platform and cage for spare floatplane wings and floats. Other large parts are the boat/aircraft crane with rigging, funnel grate, funnel side platforms, and aft superstructure yards with underneath supports. Other parts include: bridge outboard frames; pagoda yard foot ropes; main mast yard foot ropes, main mast platform; paravane attachment brackets; aft superstructure outboard observation platforms; and boat jack staffs.
Stanchions - Fret K
Almost half of K fret is composed of tripod stanchions. Whether you wish to rig a deck awning or just have the bare stanchions present, you certainly have the option with these parts. The biggest parts on this fret are for the large platform at the top of the main mast with pentagon shaped lateral support struts. Two other delicious parts are the long thin triangular rays or platforms that jut rearwards from the top of the pagoda. Smaller parts include turret AA platform access rails; boats' rudders, boats' steering posts & wheels; boats' propellers and shafts; boats' masts; propeller guards; davit cross braces; leadsmen's platforms; stern platform and assorted aft superstructure platforms and supports.
1941 Specific Parts - Fret L
OK, maybe you don't want your Nagato loaded down with additional anti-aircraft guns or new fangled radar. Maybe you like the 1941 Nagato that was flagship of Admiral Yamato. Fret L provides for parts found in the 1941 fit. Prominent large cage structures are included for the crowns of B and X turrets. Additionally there are small tripod stanchions for the turret crowns and crown railing. Instead of the complex radar array on top of the pagoda, there is a short lattice tower with platform for a DF loop and anemometer. A separate relief-etched name plate in Japanese is included.
For the Nagato Lion Roar provides not only turned brass barrels for three types of ordnance, but also the recoil cylinders for the HA five-inch guns. Of course the big 16-inch gun barrels are included. The muzzle has a slight flare with noticeable barrel liner. Additionally at the base are the prominent raised rings. The secondary guns show their tapered form and also have a slight flare at their muzzles. Eight HA five-inch guns for the four twin HA mounts are included. They actually look longer than the secondary guns but this is just because they show the entire gun barrel, since they go into open backed shields, while the secondary barrels are just the portion that extends beyond the blast bags. Each of the HA guns has twin recoil cylinders mounted on top of the barrel and these cylinders are also part of the turned brass parts provided by Lion Roar.
Lion Roar includes many excellently detailed resin parts to upgrade the Hasegawa Nagato. One common feature of Japanese warships during the war was sisal bags. Just as the Royal Navy used additional splinter protection in the form of the "mattress" so the IJN used stuffed bags, called sisal bags, to provide additional protection against shrapnel and machine gun bullets. These had a very unique shape, much like a string of sausages, and until now, were not represented in model kits or after-market parts. Lion Roar provides twenty runners of resin sisal bags with each runner having three parts of three sisal bag groups. How about three-dimensional life buoys? Normally these parts are in photo-etch but not so with the Lion Roar Nagato set. You can see the support ribs on each life ring and these will look great inside the photo-etch life buoy racks. The four right sides of the HA mounts are included as resin parts. Sound direction finder cones found at the top of the pagoda are of resin.
Lion Roar provides resin blast bag parts for the 16-inch main guns and the secondary guns. Each part has the drooping folds of this canvas fitting. The modeler has the option of using different blast bags for the main guns. One set has the guns position parallel with the deck, which would be the position normally found. If you want more action to your Nagato and perhaps have a go at those pesky Jeep carriers at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, then you might want to use the second set of blast bags. With these the barrels would be angled upward to engage targets at long range.
The Lion Roar Nagato set comes with six sheets of instructions, three of which are back printed. The unnumbered cover page is printed only on one side. This sheet provides a parts laydown of all photo-etch, turned brass and resin parts included in the set. For assembly modules, all instructions show the parts in a drawing as well as alpha-numeric designation, which matches the same designation on the frets. The first actual assembly sheet has pages 1 and 2. Page one has assembly of the 1944 fit turrets, locations for degaussing cable parts and assembly of reels, doors and inclined ladders. The second page has the catapult, aircraft trolley, aircraft assembly, ship's boats assembly and anti-skid metal decks. The next sheet has pages 3 and 4. Page three has three modules, one each for signal 25mm AA mounts, twin 25mm AA mounts, and triple 25mm AA mounts. Page four has pagoda structures with radars, platforms and other fittings. Also included are fittings for the aft superstructure and man mast. The last back-printed sheet has pages 5 and 6. Page five has the assembly for the searchlight towers, crane, accommodation ladders, HA platforms and aft superstructure details. Page six has modules on the stack and the HA gun mounts. Page seven is printed one side only. This shows the 1944 AA mount attachment location with splinter shields and ready ammunition lockers. A separate unnumbered sheet has instructions of th 1941 fit parts.
If you have ever seen one of the Lion Roar multi-media deluxe sets for 1:350 scale super-detailing, you will already know the extensive lengths to which Lion Roar will go in this top of the line product. With fourteen photo-etched frets plus a name plate, turned brass barrels for 16-inch main guns, secondary guns and HA guns, and numerous resin parts, the Lion Roar 1:350 scale Nagato deluxe set LE350008 provides a host of highly detailed parts to upgrade the Hasegawa Nagato.