Book Review

Gakken Pacific War series 27 - IJN CA Myoko Class - by Tom Kristiansen
Pacific War
Book Title
Pacific War 27 - Myoko class
Gakken, Japan
ISBN Number
Retail Price
1800 JPY (ca. $17 USD / €14 Euro)
Imperial Japanese Navy Heavy Cruisers Myoko, Nachi, ??? , ???
Japanese text + a handful English captions
Gakken Pacific War series 27 - IJN CA Myoko Class - Book Review
The Pacific War series from Gakken are highly regarded by IJN modeling-enthusiasts as a fantastic source of information of Japanese IJN ships. Altough the books are written in Japanese, they contain enough visual information to be of invaluable help for a non-japanese IJN modeler.

Book Contents:

181 pages:

21 color-photos of 1/200 Superdetailed Nachi

81 BW-photos

8 tactical maps

1 illustration

8 linedrawings

4-page foldouts:

- photo of supermodel 1/200 Nachi

- 1/350 photoscale top+side of 1/200 Nachi

- B/W photomosaic of Myoko

- B/W photo of Ashigara

- illustration of Ashigara , close to 1/350 scale

- linedrawing 1/350 Myoko top +side

- linedrawing Myoko internal structure (top) + hullprofiles

- linedrawing Myoko internal structure (side) + platforms

The Myoko-class formed the first generation of the Japanese 10.000 tons cruisers. They were built in the period 1924 to 1929 and was limited in tonnage by the Washington Treaty, the advanced designs and building techniques used in these ships mounted maximum aramament and highest possible speeds. The cruisers used inclined side armor and had a thickness of 100mm (4"). The protection against torpedoes was strengthened in the form of an arched protective bulkhead inside the main armor belt.

The Japanese construction-doctrine in the 1930's was to make every warship-design superior to all comparable classes of other navies. After 2 modernizations in the 1930's, the constructors suceeded in their design-doctrine with the Myoko-class (and the later Takao-class) since the design was the most powerful design in almost all heavy cruiser-categories. The 6-4.7 in single mounted guns were replaced by 5 in AA in twin mounts, and the four sets of three fixed torpedo mounts on the main deck were replaced by two quadruple rotating mounts on the upper deck. But this was not without tradeoffs. The added protection and armament combined with the large, almost battleship-like brigdestructure on the Myoko and Takao-class had a tendency to make the ships a bit top-heavy in rough sea. Later designs had a lighter brigde-structure.


The supermodel of Nachi is very complex and extremely detailed. It will surely inpire many modelers to add extra details to their models. However great the detail-level is I cannot help myself to get distracted by some imperfections to the model. The finish is somewhat rough. The hull is not properly sanded with fine sandpaper, portholes are not properly alligned , the railings are in some places bent, some rigging is slighly twisted and the overall model is to shiny. The lightreflection clearly enhances small imperfections in the hull. A dull flat clear should have been sprayed onto the model before the pictures was taken in order to mask these imperfections. A pity really - since the model has a greater detaillevel than most of the other models I have seen in the Gakken Pacific War series. The modeler have done a fantastic job, let there be no doubt about that, but a flat clear finish would have helped a great deal!. The wuality of the photos are as always great. Focus is sharp and the photos are LARGE. Several of them span over 2 pages. No need to find your magnifierglass - you can see every detail!

A photodocument-chapter with 48 BW-photos gives an ilustrated history of the lifespan of the 4 cruisers. Each ship has its own chapter. Some of the images illustrates some features I have never thought about before. Like the windshield on the open topdeck of the brigde. The windshield are placed under the observationdeck on the brigde so that the wind that collides with the superstructure are pressed up through this windshield and thus pushes eventual seaspray up and away from the lookouts on the open brigde.

It would not be a real GakPacWar-volume wihtout linedrawings of the subjects and nr 27 has its share of them. The foldouts are particulary interesting with a beutiful illustration of ?? by Yuiko Mizumo. But unlike other PacWar volumes nr27 does not have drawings devoted to the superstructure. A pity but it may be because this volume probably does not need them if one are interested in the class as it was in WWII. To my knowlegde only minor changes/refittings in the armament was given to this class after the second reconstruction.

The mechanics-section features tables, documentcopies and photos of the mechanical fire-direction computer. 6 CG-pictures shows the light AA-armament from several angles. A whole lot of text in Japanese would surely make this section interesting, but westeners would not use too muh time with this section.

The historical section has 3 parts: Designhistory, operational history and a section devoted for Ashigaras midwar-period visit to Europe. Several photos in this section shows Ashigara in this peaceful naval-meet. Harmonic!



It is a genuine Gakken PacWar-title and - although the text is Japanese - a must-have title to have if you plan to superdetail one of the ships of this class. Beeing a difficult person to satisfy once a standard has been placed, I must say I feel the lack of the superstructure-drawings that are featured in other Gakken books. But that is me in a nutshell! The Gakken PacWar 27 is a super title to have in your naval libary and I do not regret for a second that I bought it! The visual quality in for instance the supermodel is invaluable. The words told by these pictures well exceed over 1000 times the normal phrase : one picture says more than a thousand words. ..And with a picture that says more than a million words... - What more can you ask for? :)


Review by Tom Kristiansen

Gakken Pacific War series 27 - IJN CA Myoko Class - Scans from the Book

Where you can buy the book (if not sold out):
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