By Rob Morgan
In the local model shop, I found two packs of 1/700th Hasegawa ‘Water-Line’ series accessories. I’ve often mentioned the Hasegawa ‘Tugger’ set of small vessels suitable for conversion as armed auxiliaries in many periods of modern naval warfare. One or two will even suit the ACW. These two packs were sold at a relatively cheap price, under five pounds, and so I bought one of each. They are worth some closer examination.
First the ‘Heavy Vessel Ordnance Set’ No. 517.
This is described as intended for ‘Leviathan vessels,’ and contained two sprues of small — sometimes very small — and fragile odds and ends, intended to upgrade and super detail Japanese heavy units in the Pacific. There are 30 different items of equipment, ranging from three versions of the Type 89 Twin 12.7cm AA gun, to seaplanes, an ‘Alf’,’Dave’,’Jake’ and a ‘Pete.’ There are a also couple of searchlights and some signalling lamps, anchors and boat davits. Small detailing material for kits.
The sprues are well made, absolutely no flash as you’d expect from this manufacturer, and pack 517 also contains 18 ship’s boats, from 12m motor boats to small cutters. The former are specifically Japanese, and require some small trimming for use elsewhere, I thought of Manchukuo river patrol boats to escort junks, or the Yangtse possibly.
The cutters are almost universal, with or without davits. There’s a mass of 30 or so smaller triple and twin AA mg’s, which can be used anywhere of course, and a few other odd items which can be cannibalised to use on other nation’s warships in 1/700th, in 1/600th with little problem, and more than a few of these small accessories have use aboard 1/300th models. The 12.7cm with the flat rounded anti-smoke shield I found use for in Science Fiction models, along with the Type 94 Fire control system tower. The 12.7cm (you may not believe it) makes for a good spaceship gun turret! The other larger guns in more typical shields could make shore batteries, or be added to Chinese Civil War craft.
It’s a very useful pack.
So is ‘Light Vessel Ordnance Set’ No.518.
At first sight, I thought this was similar, but the differences are many. Four seaplanes, a ‘Glen’, ‘Rufe’, ‘Rex’, and a ‘Special Attack Seiran’. The seaplanes are fiddly to construct but look good when completed. Each pack contains decals for the planes, by the way. Again, 30 items are provided, no fewer than 14 triple and quadruple torpedo tubes, and the same number of 12.7cm guns in single- and twin-covered mounts. Along with a large number of AA weapons and anchors, and searchlights, all great for adding detail.
The 10 ship’s boats and cutters are smaller, 7m versions than in the other pack, and look better mounted on say Peter Pig 1/600th ACW vessels or Tumbling Dice WWII craft. I was very impressed with the 14 single guns, intended for IJN submarines, but tremendously useful for any warship of the modern or Ironclad period as ant-torpedo boat or light AA weapons. Two other deck pieces are worth mentioning, four depth charge launchers, small but neat, and four minesweeping paravanes, which can easily be used elsewhere, on the Tumbling Dice WWII Drifter for example or the Heroics & Ros small German escort trawlers.
The reasoning behind the exact composition of these packs is lost on me, though perhaps some IJN buff can explain where 10 of the Type 90 Triple Torpedo Tube mounts could be used! Again, I put my SF hat on, and thought of a new wonder weapon — the unmanned floating torpedo battery for harbour defence. However, there are many components with significant value, enough to make these packs a must for any naval modeller.
I’ll end with a query please. I wondered if anyone can answer a question. Hasegawa have side-lined two destroyer kits, IJNS Momi and IJNS Wakatake. These I know were old destroyers soon downgraded to escort craft, but each of the kits includes a small armed vessel, less than a quarter of the size of the destroyer. Can anyone tell me, please, what that little ship is? It’s role? It’s numbers and fate?
One further point crosses my mind. Pack 518 contains a ‘special attack’ floatplane, which in my mind spells ‘Kamikaze’, but this is a floatplane, hardly the fast moving live bomb you’d expect! Anyone know more?