The Hyuga class is the largest naval vessel operated by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). The lead ship, Hyuga, was commissioned on
March 18, 2009 and is stationed in Yokosuka. The second ship in this class,
Ise, was commissioned on March 16, 2011 and is stationed at Kure.
Although similar in design to a light aircraft carrier or an amphibious assault ship, they are classified as helicopter destroyers. They are comparable to
the Italian
Giuseppe Garibaldi and Spanish Príncipe de Asturias, but they lack the ski-jump required to operate STOL aircraft. They also cannot
accommodate fixed wing aircraft and are restricted to operating only helicopters. A key reason for this restriction is that according to Japan’s
constitution, their military forces are strictly defensive; therefore the primary mission for these ships is to function as anti-submarine warfare vessels
and in that respect they are quite capable. Furthermore, all weapons fitted are for the defense of the ship.

Hyuga is 646 feet long, displaces 13,950 tons standard and has a crew of 360. It has a through-deck design to maximize potential space, enabling it to
launch and retrieve its complement of 11 helicopters, with up to four helicopters on the flight deck at a time.
Hyuga is also equipped with 16 Mk41
vertical-launch system cells for anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles, two 20mm Phalanx cannons and two triple 12.75in torpedo mounts for self-defense.
The ships in this class also have enhanced command-and-control capabilities, allowing them to serve as flagships. The vessel can also carry out
humanitarian and disaster recovery missions in areas prone to earthquakes, floods, tsunamis and typhoons.
The Kit
The Fujimi kit is very impressive in the box, with over 377 injection-molded parts, 39 phot-oetch parts and a large decal sheet. There are 9 sprues of
parts molded in gray, 5 sprues in clear plastic and one molded in black. The flight deck and island are each one piece and not attached to sprues. All
of the parts appear to be well done with a very good amount of detail.

This is a full-hull model which is comprised of a port and starboard half and a separate stern transom. A total of 14 cross members are used to
provide support and rigidity to the hull assembly. There is no easy way to convert the model into a waterline other than to cut the hull. This is not that
easy to do as the waterline is not clearly demarked on the hull parts. If you wish to take this step, I do not think that the cross members will get in the
way based on their locations. The molded detail in the hull parts is very good. There are numerous vent screens and several openings for the auxiliary
deck and bulkhead sections, which are sub-assemblies that are to be attached to the inside of the hull halves. There are location slots into which the
tabs on the parts for the catwalks and smaller decks around the perimeter of the flight deck will fit into. The hull bottom has stabilizer fins and bilge
keels and slots to fit the rudders and propeller shaft fairing and struts.

The flight deck is one big piece with a little bit of detail, but then again there is really not that much to the flight deck to begin with. There are
tie-downs molded into the deck surface and openings for the lifts and the kit gives you the option to build the model with each lift up or lowered or in
any combination. There are some other openings which can be modeled open or closed. The deck has tabs to help position the island on the deck and
locator holes for the variety of fittings. Towards the stern of the flight deck, there is a rectangular depression into which the VLS part is fitted and at
the bow some smaller holes for the forward CWIS mount.
The main section of the island is also one big piece, which is very cleanly molded and has a very good level of detail molded in, such as watertight
doors with “eyebrows”, lockers, utility boxes, ducts and piping. Like the hull, there are several vent screens along the sides of the structure.

Sprue “F” contains the parts for the lifts if you wish to model one or both in the raised position flush with the flight deck. It also contains alternate
parts to have the larger flight deck hatches modeled open or closed, the VLS cells, another flight deck hatch and a door that is fitted to the side of the

Sprue “G” contains the parts to model the lifts in a lowered position. It has very detailed bulkheads with the elevator machinery molded into them and
the doors that close off the hangar deck from the lift area. So basically, each lowered lift assembly is a box that is fitted to the bottom of the flight
deck where the opening is.

Sprue “H” contains the parts for the various auxiliary deck and bulkhead assemblies that fill in the openings along the hull. This sprue also has the boats
and torpedo tubes that are fitted to these areas as well as some of the parts for the main mast assembly, the sponson for the aft CWIS, the base for the
forward CWIS and the rudders. This sprue also has the tops for the funnels and exhausts that are integrated into the island.
Sprue “J” contains the transom stern part, the platforms and catwalks that are fitted to hull, the various SatCom domes, life raft cannisters, 12.7mm
guns and shields, prop shafts and struts and the propellers. The propellers are 3-bladed and based on other modern ships, these don’t look correct. I
believe these should be 5-bladed but I have no photographic evidence to back this.

Sprue “K” has the upper portions of the bridge and flight control areas of the island, which are as well detailed as the main island part. The main sprue
has the smaller fittings, such as the anchors and chaff launchers as well as additional parts and platforms for the main mast among other details.
Sprues “L”, “N”, “P”, “Q” and “R” are molded in clear plastic.

Sprue “L” has the windows for the bridge and flight control center. You will have to carefully mask these parts in order to paint the frames. The other
sprues contain parts for the JMSDF UH-60J search and rescue, MCH-101 mine countermeasures, and SH-60J and SH-60K anti-submarine helicopters
respectively. While these parts are very well detailed, I am personally not a fan of clear plastic aircraft. There are pros and cons of course but the brittle
plastic can be hard to work with. Still with work and care these will build into very nice miniature versions. Since only a maximum of four helicopters
could be on the flight deck at a time, it is good to have a representative sample of the types deployed on the ship.
Sprue “M” has the parts for the flight deck vehicles with enough to make two of each. Sprue “C” has the cross members used to support the main hull
assembly. A display stand is provided with parts on sprue “E” and “Base” sprue, the latter which is molded in black.

A photo-etch fret is provided with 39 vents in various sizes and shapes, which are meant to be used in corresponding locations on the hull and island.
Each vent is numbered and the locations for each are shown in the painting and decal placement guide. The photo-etch looks well done with good relief-
etching. Unfortunately, photo-etch is not provided for the railings, flight deck safety netting and ladders. Fujimi sells a separate dedicated set with
railings, netting and brass versions of the helicopter rotors, gun shields and other detail. One could argue that for the retail price of the kit ($350.00
discounted to about $230.00 at Free Time Hobbies) this should be included, but it is not. So if you don’t wish to buy this dedicated set from Fujimi,
you will have to either seek another source for at least the railings and netting or just go with what already comes in the box.
A complete set of decals is included, which contain markings for the flight deck, hull, and helicopters. However, for some unknown reason, there are
no flags on the sheet. They appear to be well printed and should be fairly easy to work with.

A 16-page instruction booklet is provided. While about 99% of the booklet is in Japanese, the assembly diagrams are very clear, so this should not be an
obstacle. The front and back covers (for lack of a better term) and page 2 contain some very good reference photos of the actual ship. Page 3 has two
views of a fully assembled model, which is another good visual reference. Pages 4 and 5 have a lot of writing in Japanese with a couple smaller photos
on Page 4. Page 5 has the paint color table with specific references to Aqueous Hobby Color and I am guessing Mr. Color paints. More general color
names are also provided in several languages. For JMSDF colors, I am going to go with
White Ensign Models Colourcoats, thank you very much!  
Pages 6 through 13 have all of the assembly diagrams which break the construction steps into a logical order. Pages 14 and 15 have images of the
plastic parts with those parts not to be used shaded. A separate and very large full-color fold out painting and decal placement guide is provided which,
as mentioned before, has the instructions for applying the photo-etch vents.
Hyuga is a very unusual and interesting ship with a split personality – while it is a called a helicopter destroyer it looks more like helicopter carrier or
even an amphibious assault ship but smaller. Whatever it is, the Fujimi kit is very good and appears to be a very accurate rendition of this vessel with
only a couple of minor quibbles. The price may turn some modelers off but if you are into JMSDF ships, you fleet would not be complete without one.
My thanks to
Dragon USA for the review sample.