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by
David Angelo


The Kawakaze was built at Yarrow, Scotland in 1915 for the Japanese Navy. While still on the ways, the Italian Navy purchased her as a replacement for the sunken destroyer Audace.  As built her armament consisted of one 120mm gun, four 76mm and four 18Ē torpedo tubes. Subsequent to WW1 Audace's gun armament was changed to seven 102mm guns, two 40mm and four machineguns. In the 30ís all of her armament was removed and she was used as a control ship for the target vessel San Marco. During WWII she was rearmed with two 102mm guns;  three 20mm and four 18Ē torpedo tubes. The Germans seized Audace at the Italian surrender and used her until she was sunk in a November 1944 gun battle with two Royal Navy destroyers.

The 629 ton Audace measured 283' long and 27' in the beam according to Jane's, and had a top speed of 31 knots. The L'Arsenal kit, mastered by Falk Pletscher, measures 4.9" long x .5" wide, just slightly oversize if we assume Jane's is correct.

The Model
The box top has a black & white line drawing of Audace's starboard side in camo rig circa 1942Ė43. There are two double-sided pages of instructions. Page 1 has a brief history of the ship, a few lines of general instructions, and a sketch showing numbered parts on sprues and photo etch. The assembly instructions are on the second page and consist of plan/profile views, with resin parts indicated by squares & photo-etched parts with circles. The drawings are oversize and clearly show the location of all parts. 

Page 3 shows the port, starboard and overhead color schemes circa 1942-43. Colors are identified by Humbrol paint numbers. The 2 tone splinter camouflage is Humbrol #79 &  a 50-50 mixture of  Humbrol #128 and white. The forecastle has the distinctive red & white aircraft identification stripes common to Italian ships of this period, with a #27 main deck. I donít know enough about Italian and Humbrol colors to comment on the accuracy of these color instructions. 

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Instructions
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Instructions
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Paint scheme
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Paint scheme

The 4th page is comprised of two line drawings, the upper one showing Audace with all rigging and railings as arranged 1942-43. The lower one shows the ship prior to 1941 when she still carried seven 120mm guns. The instructions discuss changes needed to backdate the model to a 1941, but the extra 102mm guns required are not included.

The decal sheet has the ďADĒ needed for the prewar model, plus German crosses for the post Ď43 version. There are no instructions for placing the Kriegsmarine markings. 

The resin parts consist of the waterline hull casting mounted on a thin full-length keel sprue. Detaching this sprue from the finished model should be easy, but donít do it until youíve finished your Audace. It makes for a very convenient holding device while working on this small ship. Both casting quality and detailing are excellent throughout. The superstructure, funnels, vents, and gun tubs are part of the hull casting, which reduces building time considerably. Portholes are inlet into the hull and the anchors are cast in place. The bulwarks are thin and ďin-scaleĒ, and there were neither bubbles nor casting defects anywhere to be found. Other resin parts consist of:

  • The mainmast and 4 boat davits cast into a thin wafer backing. Exercise care in removing these parts from the carrier film.
  • Four identical sprues with containing a paravane, small rangefinder in a tub,2 unshielded 20MM cannon, and a 120MM gun.
  • Two sprues, each of which includes three life rafts and a twin torpedo tube.
  • A single sprue with two boats and a searchlight. 

All parts are cleanly cast in tan resin, and removing them from the sprue shouldnít pose any problems. Part numbers corresponding to the instructions are cast into the sprues, a nice touch. Iím not familiar enough with the Regina Marina to know if the stubby little 120mmís or the blocky 20mmís are the correct pattern. 

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Resin parts

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Etched brass & Decals

The brass photo etch sheet has 3-bar railings, boat davits, flag/jackstaff, propeller guards, ladders, mizzenmast, and topmast/yardarm for the mainmast.  The etching is well done, with thin delicate looking railings. There are locating holes cast in the deck for the boat davits, but the modeler will have to measure and drill his own locating holes for the masts and armament. 

I like this kit. Itís a simple subject, and with itís short forecastle and high narrow bridge decidedly odd looking. I recommend the LíArsenal Audace to modelers building a first resin kit. There is no resin overpour to complicate matters, the instructions are clear, buildup is straightforward, and extra parts are included. Experienced modelers will enjoy it too. Itís a well executed model of an lesser known subject. 

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