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Battleship Yamato

Gallery Models 1/200 Battleship Yamato Kit First Look

by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review June 2022 Manufacturer Gallery Models
Subject Battleship Yamato Scale 1/200
Kit Number 64010 Primary Media Styrene / Photo-Etch
Pros Nicely detailed kit Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $830.00

First Look

Battleship Yamato
Battleship Yamato
Battleship Yamato
Battleship Yamato
Battleship Yamato
Battleship Yamato
Battleship Yamato
Battleship Yamato
Battleship Yamato
Battleship Yamato
Battleship Yamato
Battleship Yamato
Battleship Yamato
Battleship Yamato
Battleship Yamato
Battleship Yamato
Battleship Yamato
Battleship Yamato
Battleship Yamato

The Yamato was the lead ship for her class of battleships built for the Imperial Japanese Navy shortly before World War II. She and her sister ship Musashi were the heaviest and most powerfully armed warships ever constructed, armed with nine 18.1" (46cm) main guns, which were the largest guns ever mounted on a warship. She was laid down in 1937 and formally commissioned a week after the Pearl Harbor attack. Throughout 1942, she served as the flagship of the combined fleet and in June 1942, Admiral Yamamoto directed the fleet from her bridge during the Battle of Midway. Musashi took over as the flagship in 1943 while Yamato moved around the theater in response to American threats. She was torpedoed in late 1943 and spent time in the Kure yards undergoing repairs and receiving new radar and anti-aircraft guns. The only time Yamato fired her main guns was in October 1944 while engaging enemy forces during the Battle of the Leyte Gulf. Yamato was ultimately sent on a one-way mission to Okinawa in April 1945 which orders to beach herself and fight until destroyed but the task force accompanying Yamato was spotted and was destroyed by American bombers and torpedo bombers with the loss of most of her crew on the 7th April, 1945.

Gallery Models released their first 1/200 scale warship and they didn't hold back on size! This is the Battleship Yamato and the kit is over 50 inches long! The box it comes in is about 56" x 17" x 7". My kit came inside another box that was heavy by itself, so needless to say, this kit is HEAVY. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on 50 parts trees (duplicate trees not shown) plus an array of smaller parts, four trees molded in clear styrene, and 15 frets of photo-etched parts. This is not going to a weekend project, rather it will likely take a year or more of weekends to get this beast finished. The lower hull reveals how sturdy this model will be after assembly - the hull is thick, and there are structural bulkheads pre-built into the one-piece hull (the photos show the hull as front and rear halves). According to the instruction book, there are no real challenges to building this kit other than time and patience.

Among the features and options in this kit:

  • A wide variety of boats and launches included w/photo-etch details
  • Two E13A1 seaplanes included
  • Two F1M2 seaplanes included
  • Seaplane tracks provided as photo-etch on the lower rear decks
  • Seaplane tracks provided as photo-etch on the main deck
  • Loads of small details and assemblies for the main deck and sides of the hull
  • Loads of small details and gun pits for the exterior of the superstructure
  • Loads of small details and ladders for each of the three main gun turrets

The instruction book spans 92 pages and only four pages show the layouts of each of the parts trees. There are a few potential challenges in there including a radar mast that might have looked good in color, but in black and white, it loses some fidelity. Each of the construction steps is broken down logically and while you get into laying out photo-etch from the beginning, you should have the experience of working with photo-etch before even opening this kit box. By the time you're finished with this project, you'll not only have excellent photo-etch skills, you'll also be able to touch-up different color areas as the building progresses.

Speaking of colors, the instructions don't deal with painting. You'll have to figure out how best to paint your model and at what stages you'd like to do that. The ship comes in a simple color scheme: all gray surfaces are Kure Gray, the anti-fouling red is supposedly cocoa brown, and the deck tan is tan. There are a few other areas that receive special colors through they are few and far between. The painting instructions as well as the decal instructions are essentially the same though there are very few decals covered by the instructions, so you'll need some good photo references as well.

One thing of note: there are no rigging instructions anywhere. The box art depicts the various runs of HF radio antennae and other flag masts, but nowhere in the instructions are these covered. Only one of the two painting and marking guides provide any signs of flags to be hoisted.

The four aircraft included in this set are the subjects of the four clear parts trees and provide some interesting options when painting the paint schemes on these models. The interior colors can be applied to the model after the canopies/windscreens are covered, followed by the exterior colors. When the models are completed and the masks are removed, the models will look quite nice.

If you would like to tackle the flagship of the combined fleet of Japan in 1942, this is the kit you seek. If you'd like to build the largest battleship to ever be sunk by airpower, your choice is the same. Grab one of these for the rainy day stash just so you can build only one kit that will take you a year (or more) to complete. Note that while the MSRP of this kit is over $800, the street prices appear to be around $665 if you shop around.

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!