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Space Battleship Yamato (1/500 scale) Preview

By Chris Lemke - images & text © 2005

Scale: 1/500
Parts: 174 Injection molded plastic (Yamato) 27 IMP (IQ9)
Instructions: 4 Pages all in Japanese but VERY clear.
Decals: 1 small sheet for Yamato's main guns
Molding Quality: 9 - No defects, pits or miscasts, Very little to no flash, small mold lines
Detail: 9 - All details are there and sharp and crisp, however the panel lines are all raised and some antenna detail is missing.
Accuracy: 9 - Right on the money, down to the smaller defense guns and fighter aircraft, some very tiny details are missing but not noticeable to the casual observer.
MSRP: ¥ 3800 JPY (~$31.95 USD/$37.94 CAN/ € 27.11 EUR) available from HobbyLink Japan
Overall Rating: A great model for the cost and a MUST for fans of this series.

"At one time, the Yamato was a great battleship. It fought nobly unto the end. While rust and decay have taken away her once-sleek beauty, the legend remains bright, a legend of bravery and sacrifice. Now, just as the ancient ship appears again, the legend will come alive again, a legend and a ship, that will save Earth."

[Please click to enlarge]

^ What you get

Image: Main hull and deck

Image: Misc. sprues and decal sheet

Image: Main guns

Image: Super AAA guns

Image: The robot is a kit in its own right

Image: Instructions

Resurrected by the Star Force from the rusting hulk of the World War II era battleship the Space Battleship Yamato is Earth's last hope in the war against the Gamilon Empire. Her mission: to travel 158,000 light years to the planet Iscandar to retrieve the Cosmo-DNA from Queen Starsha to save the planet Earth from the radiation caused by the Gamilon bombardments. This mission must be completed in 365 days.

I found this kit on the HobbyLink Japan website. The kit is by Bandai a company well known for their quality and anime kits. Shipping was fast, price was good… on to the kit!

What You Get

Two kits! No really, there is a small kit of IQ-9 a robot character from the series, but let’s start…


The kit comes in 4 trees, 2 hull halves, a deck section and pre printed stand, for a total of 174 pieces in all. The ship parts are molded entirely in battleship grey (how appropriate) and the 3 stand parts are molded in flat black. There are no defects or flash whatsoever, there are small mold lines but these are easily removed. All the major and some minor details are represented very nicely except for the raised panel lines in the hull (I would have preferred engraved panel lines). A couple of nice details that stand out are the massive amounts of “anti-aircraft” guns that flank the sides of the main conning tower (on the small scale kits many of these guns are often omitted), and the inclusion of three in-scale CosmoTiger II fighters, giving you the option the model them on the “catapults” or just display them along side the kit for scale reference.

There is only one small sheet of decals for the kit and these are for the stripe details on the barrels of the main turret guns.

The instructions are very clear despite their being wholly in Japanese. The drawings and symbols are very clear for construction, however for painting the instructions are only useful to show you what to paint (by coloring the area to be painted in grey), those who cannot read Japanese will have to use the box art or other references for the correct paint scheme.


This kit is intended to be used as a coin bank (the robot’s body has a slot in its back and the instructions are clear as to what the slot is for). The kit’s 27 pieces are bolded in red with the exception of 2 clear domes for either side of the robot’s head. All the parts are defect and flash free with a bare minimum of mold lines just like the Yamato. The details on this kit are a bit soft and “toy-like” t an example of this would be the detail on the robots “feet” these are tank-like tracks with absolutely no detail for the drive wheels at all. All other details for the electronics on the robot are in decal form, although these decals are very nice looking and very clear.

The instructions are all in Japanese and contain very clear drawings. The decal placement iv very clearly laid out and easy to understand, however once again unless you can read Japanese you will need other recourse for paint colors and color placement.

Assembly & Finish

Assembling this kit should be pretty straightforward: just like building a WW2 warship. The most difficult part will be the closing the hull halves cleanly and removing any seam mark. Most likely I will sand down the raised panel lines and inscribe them into the hull. The interior of the hull leaves plenty of open space if I choose to light this kit, the base however has no way to hide the battery box so some extensive redesign on the base may be required.

There may be painting instructions included in the directions, however I cannot read Japanese. That will not pose any difficulties as there are many web-based sources available, and the Series is available for purchase or rental on DVD.


All told I think this is a GREAT kit. No flaws in the moldings great details and little extras like the fighters. And at the price of $32.86 USD it’s pretty comparable to WW2 ship kits of the same scale. Plus if you count the IQ-9 Robot you’re really getting a very nice little kit for free! I recommend this for ambitious beginner/intermediate modelers and any Yamato fans.

Many thanks to Chris' wallet for providing the review samples. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 3500+ readers a day? Contact us!

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the reviewer.
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This page copyright © 2005 Starship Modeler™. First posted on 30 November 2005.