Statistics show that the Japanese aircraft carrier Hiryu had twice the aircraft accident rate as that of her half-sister Soryu. Now the pointy head pocket protector crowd will give you a scientific explanation. They will explain that it is natural for pilots to pull to port if there is a mishap in the landing approach. Since the Hiryu had her island mounted on the port side of the flight deck, this design decision caused more accidents than the Soryu with island on the starboard side of the deck. However, as ship modelers already know, that was not the cause. The island looks great on the port side but 1:700 scale pilots were ashamed of the low level of detail on the flight deck of the Aoshima Hiryu. It is time to put your Hiryu pilots of Plastic Aversion Therapy. The surest way to remove the mental block of these pilots is to replace the plastic Hiryu deck. Doctor Lion Roar has the remedy to cure their malady. Lion Roar is now producing brass decks in 1:700 scale and set LE700051 is specifically designed to provide the Hiryu with sartorial splendor. 

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This Lion Roar product is an extravaganza of detail. Three brass photo-etch frets are included. One is a thicker gauge brass deck for attaching to the plastic hull, on provides the major portion of the flight deck but with open large panel openings amidships. The third fret includes the photo-etch panels that are placed in the openings of the deck. First a look at the top deck. The deck fret measures a little over 12 1/2-inches by 2-inches. The deck is designed so that only the metal portions of the Hiryu's deck are on this fret with openings inside the deck for separate photo-etch for wooden planked portions. On the perimeter of the flight deck (A1) is a treadway of the traditional IJN non-skid cross-hatch pattern. Within this relief-etched treadway fore and aft are smooth metal decks that occupy approximately 20% of flight deck space each. Lion Roar has included small openings in both of these decks for what appears to be aircraft tie-down points. There is eve more detail on this major pirece. Surrounding the aft elevator is another narrow band of anti-skid treadway and positions for the gear for the two aft arrestor wires. Forward a long thin rectangular cut-out in the smooth metal deck indicates the placement location for deck wind baffle. 

Inside the open area of this fret, Lion Roar has packed all sorts of gear and equipment. Forward is the deck wind baffle. This can be assembly in an up or down position. With superb detail and nine intricate parts (A9,23,24) it is so intricate that the strong temptation is to have it deployed in the up position. Just aft of the baffle are 19 relief etched doors, which cover the arresting gear (A22). Japanese carriers had an intricate series of support bracing under the fore and aft deck overhangs. Next in line on this fret are eleven pieces for the width support bracing under the forward overhang (A13-20). Next in line are crash barrier frames (A8), some of the support frames for the deck baffle (A9), bridge windows (A10), top mast (A11) and deck searchlight covers (A12). The lengthwise support girders (A3-6) for the forward deck overhang are next on the brass hit parade. These and the beam braces will form an intricate and highly detailed waffle pattern over the forecastle. Two large perforated platforms (A2), which fold over and open lattice support frame make up the rest of the relief-etched parts inside the openings of the deck. On the edge of this fret are five more parts. Included are two stack grates (A25-26), folding tripod mast (A27), and crash barrier net (A7,28).

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The smallest fret (C fret), 6-inches by 3-inches, contains the wooden portions of the flight deck. These panels fit within the openings in piece A1. There are six such panels and they all feature intricate wood plank detail with tie-down points. Two of these panels (C5,6) have elevator detail. The elevator is surrounded by the same anti-skid metal deck cross-hatch pattern but the actual elevators are smooth metal. Part A5 has positions for arresting wire gear and deck searchlight positions. Part A6 has positions for gear of two arrestor wires. All four of the other deck panels (A1-4) also have arrestor gear locations. The overhang at the stern of the Hiryu's flight deck also had support girders. The balance of C fret is composed of those parts. Length-wise supports (C7,10,11,12) and beam/width supports (C8,9,13) form the same intricate waffle pattern over the quarterdeck, that is found over the forecastle. 

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B fret is of only one piece, the sub grade or base for the flight deck. It is of a thicker gauge than the intricately relief-etched parts on frets A and C. This attaches to the plastic hull, with the details of frets A and C attaching on top of it. The top surface, which is the interface between the two deck frets is entirely smooth except for a number of holes, which were put into the brass sheet as glue points. This is a very thoughtful inclusion. Otherwise, without those glues, excess glue could be pushed up through tie-down holes onto the top of the flight deck and squueze out the sides. Either of which could mar the appearance of the deck.  If you flip this deck and look at the bottom, you'll find some incised detail. Fore and aft are locator lines for the support girders of the deck overhangs. This greatly simplifies placement of those girders. You will also notice some writing. At first it is difficult to make out but it is English text, which states "Glue here" and points to the circular openings in the deck. However, the English characters were reversed in the art transfer process but that is of no consequence as long as you know that the openings are for glue application to weld the decks together. 

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Don't let your Hiryu pilots die from the shame of the expanse of featureless, nondescript flight deck found in the plastic kit. With Lion Roar LE700051, your 1:700 scale Hiryu can have a brass deck of such intricate detail, that your Hiryu will be the toast of the fleet and her pilots will beam with pride. 

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