Warning! Ė This Review Contains Gratuitous Violence Ė Yes, this review of the Gold Medal Models 1:350 scale brass photo-etch set for the Hasegawa Mikasa is not for the squeamish or faint of heart. So if you suffer from nervous jitters, sour stomach, the heartbreak of psoriases or extreme to terminal flatulence, you may wish to stop here and read no further, as the contents of this review may excite your condition. Loren Perry, boffin of Gold Medal Models, complained in a message that reviews of GMM products on SteelNavy were too kind and avoided negative comment. So to humor Loren, this review of his latest set will employ a good measure of gratuitous and inane violence directed against an aspect of his Mikasa photo-etch set. Just look at the figure of Admiral Togo included in the fret and compare it against the figure of Admiral Togo included in the Hasegawa deluxe release of Mikasa, Battle of the Japan Sea ( Tsushima ) Edition.

When you compare or actually contrast the two figures, you will instantly notice that the 54mm pewter figure included in the kit has far more detail than the 1:350 scale brass figure from GMM. Just examine the photograph above to see the very noticeable differences. Notice that the 54mm figure is full round contrasted to the rather flat GMM figure. There are more folds to the uniform and overall uniform detail on the pewter figure than on the GMM brass figure. Look at the clasps on the pewter scabbard! You wonít find that level of detail on the brass scabbard provided by Loren. The conclusion is clear, if you want to have a chance at winning a prize in 54mm figure competition, enter the pewter figure and not the GMM figure. However, to be fair and balanced, I am forced to admit that the pewter figure may look a trifle over-scale when placed on the bridge of the Hasegawa 1:350 scale Mikasa. However, the sad tidings about the Mikasa fret do not end with just the Togo figure comparison. With journalistic zeal the host of SteelNavy squeegeemen were sent to interview the top experts in the gastro-intestinal field about this GMM product. The results are in and 9 of 10 experts agreed that GMM brass parts from the Mikasa photo-etch were not fit for human consumption. Thatís right! Ingestion of the GMM parts could cause lacerations of the walls of the stomach and intestinal tract. Loren does not include any such warning on the fret or in the instructions. This is an outrage!

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Warning! Sucrose Alert! Sugar Attack! Ė If you suffer from diabetes or have any sort of sucrose intolerance you may wish to stop reading at this point. What follows are syrupy praise and superlatives for this Gold Medal Models fret. Loren Perry said that my reviews of his products are too favorable. Well, I could say that the GMM 1:350 scale Mikasa set stinks like 5-day-old dead fish. Literally, that would not be correct, as I can not discern any odor of any type emanating from the product. Figuratively, such a statement would be a gross lie, as this fret is one of the best ever produced by Gold Medal Models. This product is superb on many levels. As is true with most large photo-etch sets, the many parts provided generally fall into two categories, those parts that replace parts in the kits and those parts that supplement the kit with new parts not found in the kit.

GMM Replacement Players Lineup
Youíll need a score card to keep up with all of the brass replacement parts. These are no second stringers sent in as fodder but they are top of the line players, graceful and hard-hitting. Just starting at the stern is the admiralís sternwalk. Frankly, the plastic parts provided in the Hasegawa kit are solid and have all of the grace of a concrete highway divider. Those solid parts mar a great kit, rather than improve it. Loren comes to the rescue with some absolutely beautiful parts for this very visible feature. This assembly alone takes up 13 parts, the perforated walk, the railing, the handrail, the shipís name plate (with a spare) and nine braces for the underside of the walk. The result will be light years ahead of what is provided in the kit. Equally impressive are the replacement parts for the torpedo net shelves. For some reason GMM calls these catwalks but they were more commonly called net shelves. Again there are clunky solid parts provided in the kit but not so in gleaming GMM brass. These net shelves are made of bars with open spaces in between, which are captured perfectly on this fret. Loren also provides individual support braces for these shelves. The kit comes with optional plastic stack caps, one with plastic grille pattern and one without. GMM provides relief-etched caps as well as delicate grille tops. In any event use the brass grille tops, even if you donít use the caps, as the result is far superior with the GMM parts. The caps themselves are much superior with open exhaust holes, rather than the solid ones found on the plastic pieces.

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The Hasegawa Mikasa comes with some railing covered by canvas dodgers. These are of course plastic parts and because of the medium are overly thick. GMM provides optional railing for standard railing or railing covered by canvas dodgers. Just contrast the plastic canvas railing with the GMM substitutes. GMM even provides eyeholes in the canvas used to secure it to the railing! The railing itself is relief-etched over the canvas dodger on these parts. The GMM replacement pilot house and rear bridge are more essential replacements. The kit versions are solid and I guess painting the windows black is acceptable. However, the GMM windows are open and each has a frame. There are door openings, so doors can be portrayed as open or closed. The doors have relief-etched paneling. Since GMM also provides the shipís wheel and bridge binnacle, youíll be able to see them inside the pilothouse with the open doors and windows. About the only improvement will be to glaze the windows with Micro Klear.

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To use some of the parts of this Gold Medal Models set will require removing the equivalent portion of the plastic part. Now this may cause a degree of apprehension on the part of the beginner but donít shy away. The improvement in Mikasa through the use of the GMM parts will be well worth the effort. There are a lot of boat cradles/chocks on the boat deck amidships on Mikasa. In the kit they are portrayed as solid, featureless lumps. They really are grossly oversized lumps in comparison the relief-etched GMM replacements. The GMM parts fold together so the final part is of double thickness. However, youíll have to remove the existing chocks that come attached to each boat. Likewise, many external bulkheads come with solid, thick inclined steps with no handrails. Bah! These really should be removed post haste and GMM inclined ladders with handrails immediately substituted. The forecastle of the Mikasa kit comes with anchor chain deck hawse with grill detail. There certainly isnít anything wrong with this but GMM will take these fittings to a new level with open grill parts as substitutes. With these open parts you can have anchor chain disappearing from the deck into open hawse covered by intricate grills, rather than the sold hawse of the kit. Of course youíll have to open up these areas with a hobby knife or drill. GMM includes beautiful relief-etched exterior doors for the middle casemate gun positions. These doors swung downward onto the net shelves. The ones on the the Hasgawa shelves look like ammo lockers. Skylights are another area where youíll have to cut or sand existing plastic smooth. However, significant detail can accrue by using the GMM replacement skylights. Each relief-etched skylight has open portholes. If you open up the position in advance or drill out each porthole after attachment of the brass part, you can glaze them with Micro Klear for an authentic appearance of glass portholes. Additionally you get replacement doors and hatches and the deck hatches have separate hand-wheels.


Instructions
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Supplemental Parts
Although the bulk of the brass parts on this fret are for replacing plastic parts on the fret, there are a substantial number of parts that have no equivalent plastic part to replace. These add a rich new level of detail to your Mikasa. Although the Hasegawa kit comes with some bridge railing with canvas dodgers, the kit has no open railing for any location and no forecastle or quarterdeck railing of any type. GMM has done their usual superlative job with providing this railing. Ho-Humm more outstanding parts from Loren. Of look, individual chain links can be discerned on many portions of the railing. How boring, GMM has exceeded expectations yet again. Large accommodation platforms with open platforms and bridles are also brand new parts to add further eye candy to your Mikasa. In addition to the replacement funnel caps and grilles, each funnel is provided a complete series of hand and foot rungs that appear all the way up each funnel.


Parts Comparison
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MikC5135pilothouse.JPG (17822 bytes) MikC5134hawse.JPG (26350 bytes) MikC5140gdoors.JPG (16991 bytes) MikC5126doors.JPG (21767 bytes)

In addition to replacement cradles/chocks, the shipís boats are further decorated with a series of new enhancements. The steam launches have keel/rudder/ propeller additions, and oars for smaller boats. Boat davit pulleys, derrick pulleys, turnbuckles, yardarms with foot-ropes, eyebolts, anchor chain loops, stern platform, and stack platform rails are found in abundance to add extra detail. You donít have to use every part that Loren provides with this brass set but itís nice to know that they are present if you want them.


Parts Comparison
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Verdict
Gold Medal Models has done it again. Loren Perry continues with his insidious design of populating the model warship world with outstanding photo-etch products. With the GMM set for the Hasegawa 1:350 scale Mikasa he has produced another state of the art fret, chock full of relief-etched glory. Will Loren accept his well-earned praise and plaudits for this wonderful product? Nooooo, he will again pull out his humble, ďGood? Little ole me? Aw, shucks folks, tíwas nothing. Youíre too kind.Ē Well, Iím as mad as hell and I wonít take it anymore! The GMM Mikasa set is superb! It covers about everything that a photo-etch set could cover to super detail the Mikasa. Loren will have to take his lumps now and like it. I say again, the GMM Mikasa fret is superb! Take that Loren!

Bubba Badass
The Irate Reviewer

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