Tamiya 1/700 - new mould
By : Mike Connelley
I'd like to volunteer a review of the 1/700 Shinano I picked up today (retail about $37). I also recently bought the old Shinano by accident (I thought it was the new one, silly me) and this is a great improvement. I must assume it's an improvement in accuracy as I have not seen anything in the way of reference material on the Shinano and I wonder if any exists at all!
Overall the parts breakdown is very different than the recent Yamato class offerings. Instead of the traditional waterline hull, this hull comes in two halves going from the waterline to the flight deck. The hull and flight deck parts sport both raised and scribed detail. The hangar deck is two parts and is visible through openings in the side of the hull. The elevators can be made up or down, and there's even a little side detail in the elevator shafts. The level of detail and finesse of detail is in excess of what we saw with the new Yamato kits, which at that time was the best I've seen in 1/700 scale plastic. On the Yamato the walls around the open AA mounts was rather thick...on the Shinano these walls are like sheet brass (well maybe not THAT thin but still amazingly thin).
The 12.7 HA mounts have been re-worked from the Yamato kit and are noticeably better and more accurate. The 25mm mounts are the same as on the Yamato which is to say very good but the 25mm barrels are still over scale and I'm planning on replacing them with PE. Gone are the days of overscale wedges supporting the AA installations on the sides of IJN carriers, these supports are now supplied as separate parts. The antenna masts on both sides of the deck can be posed up to angled to the side, and the deck crane can be made up or stowed. Whereas the old Shinano had a funnel with a oval cross section, the new one has a teardrop cross section. The steam pipes are separate parts and look very nice.
The 32 aircraft come moulded in clear plastic so you don't have to worry about trying to paint the 1/700 scale canopies, trying to make them look clear but always ending up looking like the canopies on wooden models. I think it would be neat to first paint the planes metallic blue like the cockpit interior then the camouflage colours so that you'd see the metallic blue through the clear canopy. Just a thought...might try it myself.
The decals deserve note. The have a flat finish and appear thinner than previous decals I've seen from Tamiya and remind me of the decals in my SMER kits. The decals include all the 1/700 Hinomarus you'll ever use in your life, the ship's name (in white...I thought it would have been gold like the Yamato was...but then again the Yamato kit has the name in white too...go figure), and all the deck markings (the usual white lines, the white smoke angle indicator on the bow and the red and white strips on the back of the deck). The kit also comes with a two sided colour painting guide which clearly shows both sides of the camo scheme which I think is very interesting. The colour mixing directions are a little suspect though. I think the main hull colour (the lighter green) should be three parts green, one part blue and one part light blue rather than three parts light blue, one part blue and one part green.
I thought $37 was a bit steep but looking at her and considering the fit ought to be as good as the Yamato (i.e. where test fitting was simply a waste of time) it seems worth it. The Tom's Modelworks set for 1/700 IJN carriers ought to spiff it up with radars, nets and those antenna masts that look just terrible in plastic. For being the biggest WW2 subject in 1/700 scale with the best detail I've ever had the pleasure to lay eyes on in 1/700 plastic, I highly recommend this kit.