After drawing Kirishima for the real life challenge, going on with the rest of the Kongo class seems quite the natural way to go. Drawings will be added with time accordingly. Descriptions will be filled as well, eventually.
1913 - tba
1924 - tba
1928 - tba
1931 - tba
1934 - tba
1937 - tba
1941 - tba
1944 - tba
As of 1914:
Hiei was built in Japan, but with roughly a quarter of all materials imported directly from Great Britain. She differed from Kongo by having the fore funnel moved aft and a slightly different bridge structure.
As of 1915:
Somewhere between her commission date and the end of 1915 Hiei recieved small modifications to her foremast: the starfish below the forward spotting top was removed, and a new one fitted slightly lower around the searchlight platform. The spotting top itself was slighly enlarged and a small crow's nest added hughr up the mast. The bridge platform was also expanded aft. I addition to that, the forward funnel was raised an a few more minor modifications implemented, the most noticeable being the scupper pipe near the mainmast.
As of 1926:
Between December 1923 and December 1924 Hiei underwent a small refit. The forward tripod topmast was reduced in height and the forward spotting top enlarged. Extra platforms housing fire-control equipment and stations were added to the tripod mast by building up the starfish. Two 3,5m rangefinder for the secondary battery were also added. Two large secondary battery command stations were added on the lower section of the tripod. Two large searchlight towers were added between the birdge and the forefunnel. The maximum elevation of the main battery guns was increased from 20 to 33°.
as of 1928:
From October to November 1927 Hiei was refitted to be able to accomodate and operate two Yokosuka E1Y floatplanes. During the same works, the forward superstructure was also further expanded with the addition os two more searchlight platforms, lookout stations and a battle bridge.
As of 1930:
Between October 1929 and April 1930 Hiei was demilitarized and converted into a traning ship to comply with the upcoming limitation of the London Naval Treaty. The aftmost turret was removed, as well as all torpedo tubes and the side main armor belt. Boilers were reduced to 11, cutting the maximum speed to 18 knots, and the forward funnel removed. All aircraft and related equipment was landed.
Still, all of her demilitarized equpment and armament was carefully stored and preserved.
As of 1933:
Between July 1931 and December 1933 Hiei underwents further refit works. All starboard 76mm guns are replaced by two twin 127mm guns. The entire casemate secondary battery was removed, as well as the main gun director.
As of 1935:
Between January 1934 and March 1935 Hiei underwent works in preparation of her incumbent remilitarization. All casemate guns were re-imbarked along with the main gun director. The forward superstructure was further built up and the shell room for the n°4 turret reconstructed. Awaiting for the turret itself to be fitted back in the barbette is loaded with ballast, with draft increasing to pre-demilitarization levels.
As of 1940:
Unfettered by the Washington and London Treaties' restrictions, Hiei was refitted between April 1937 and January 1940. She received eight new oil-fired Kampon boilers and new geared turbines, increasing her speed to 30 knots. Her aft 14-inch turret was refitted and a new fire-control installed. The thickness of the horizontal armor over magazines and machinery spaces was increased, and torpedo-bulges added to the hull. Stern was lengthened by 7,5m and the bow reshaped for higher top speeds. The elevation of the main guns increased to 43°. The bridge structure was completely recontructed as a prototype for the Yamato-class then under design. A catapult and rails for two Nakajima E8N and one Kawanishi E7K floatplanes were installed aft of her No. 3 turret.
As of 1942:
Before December 1941 Hiei recieved wind baffles around the battle bridge and a degaussing cable around the hull. Later on, In July 1942 she is drydocked in Yokosuka for a small refit. receiving one Aichi E13A and two Mitsubishi F1M2 reconnaissance floatplanes. Also, a few small deckhouses are added at midship, below the searchlight platform and just above the aft machine gun platform inside the tripod mainmast. In this guise Hiei took part in the first Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on November 13th 1942 . Damage to the rudder, caused by gunfire by the US cruiser San Francisco, makes her unable to manouver. After multiple unsuccesful attempts of take her in tow or haveher retreat, Hiei came under multiple air attacks from Henderson filed USS Saratoga and USS Enterprise. After over 70 air sorties and further damage suffered, Hiei is scuttled by her crew by the early hours of November 14th.
As commissioned in 1915:
Kirishima (like Haruna) was built completely in Japan with no imported materials. She had the higher fore-funnel from the start and main gun turrets with round faces compared to the angled ones of Hiei and Kongo.
As of 1916:
By 1916 Kirishima had recieved her full equipment of 90 and 110cm searchlights, sighting hoods on the turrets, a 4.5m rotating rangefinder for the n°2 main gun turret, bridge wing extensions, four small spotter platforms on the fore tripod mast, a retractable 3,5m rangefinder on the bridge, slight mofications on the aft tripod starfish and minor extra equipment.
As of 1920:
By 1920 all main guns had recieved canvas bags and 8cm training guns, searchlights were rearranged with the addition of an extra platform on the foremast and by extending the aft flying bridge. The spotter platforms were enlarged, enclosed and turned into secondary battery command stations. The original low-angle 76mm guns were replaced with four hig-angle models, fitted on raised platforms.
As of 1924:
Between December 1923 and September 1924 Kirishima underwent her first, smaller scale, refit: the forward tripod topmast was reduced in height and the forward spotting top enlarged. Extra platforms housing fire-control equipment and stations were added to the tripod mast by building up the starfish and deleting the former searchlight platform. Two 3,5m rangefinders for the secondary battery were also added. The four secondary battery command stations on the tipod legs were modified, the upper ones was deleted and turned into searchlight platforms, the lower ones were doubled in size. Two large searchlight towers were added between the birdge and the forefunnel. Main battery guns also had their maximum elevation increased from 20 to 33°.
As of 1930:
Between May 1927 and April 1930 Kirishima went through her first major modernization: Deck armor was increased to 80mm over machinery and 120mm over magazines. Turret armor was increased to 152mm and barbette armor below the main deck was strengthened to 152mm as well. Two antenna towers were added on top of turret 2 and 3, which also had their older 4m rangefinders replaced by newer 8m ones. The forward tripod topmast was deleted altogether, to make space for a LA director and RDF equipment. New 3,5m rangefinders for the secondary battery was fitted, and new platforms for command and lookout stations added to the tripod mast creating the usual Japanese pagoda effect. The compass bridge level was partially enclosed and extended aft to include a lookout platform and a flag station. A 4,5m rangefinder for secondary battery fire control was added on a platform above the conning tower, the lower secondary battery command stations were deleted while the lower bridge level was extended aft, supported by lattice platforms. The two forward 76mm guns were relocated at deck level to make space for an elevated set of platforms housing a lookout tower and an open 4,5m rangefinder each. The original searchlight towers were removed and replaced by a single standalone two-level one. The forward funnel was removed altogether, while funnels 2 and 3 were removed and replaced with a larger and taller one in the first case and a smaller one in the latter. Torpedo bulges were added on the hull, increasing beam for 29 to 31m and four of the eight original underwater torpedo tubes were removed. The scupper pipes were extended and the elevated boat deck was increased in size, allowing to fit new enlarged ventilators for the boiler rooms at deck level. The aft flying bridge was expanded both forward and aft with new enclosed deckhouses and fitted with an open 3,5m rangefinder. A derrick for aircraft handling was added aft of turret 3 to operate a single a single Yokosuka EY3 reconnaissance floatplane. All anti-torpedo-net equipment was removed.
As of 1934:
Between late 1932 and early 1933 Kirishima recieved another small-scale refit, during which the four single 76mm anti-air guns were replaced four twin 127mm mounts. Also, the aircraft-handling deck was expanded in size, in order to allow the ship to carry up to three Nakajima E4N seaplanes. A Kure n°2 catapult was also embarked. Further modifications were made to turret 4, which recieved a much larger radio antenna tower (turret 3 also had its one upgraded), and the aft superstructure, which was slightly enlarged and recieved a set of maneuvering lights on the flying bridge. The midship spotting platforms were modified as well, fitting an enclosed lookout post and a Type91 HA director coupled with a 4,5m rangefinder for the 127mm guns fire-control. two twin 40mm machine guns were fitted at midship, leading to modifications of the scupper pipes. The forward pagoda also had the lower lattice supports being plated over to both protect it from gun blast and also to fit extra stairs for the upper levels. The top of the mainmast was shortened significantly. Finally, piping on the funnels was modified and the paravane equipment upgraded.
As of 1937:
Between November 1934 and June 1936 Kirishima went through her second major modernization. During the works all of her boilers were replaced, the stern lenghtened by 7,5m and the bow line reshaped for an increased top speed of 30knots. The second starboard anchor and capstan was removed. The forward pagoda bridge was extensively modified and expanded to house an extensive array of fire control systems. This included a Type94 10m rangefinder and a type94 director for the main guns, two Type94 4,5m rangefinders for the secondary guns, observation and direction controllers, target tracing, Type94 secondary gun directors, 1,5m navigational rangefinders, searchlight directors, RDF equipment, Type90 radio antennas, 60cm signaling searchlights, navigation lights, morse deck lamps and a plethora of 12 and 8cm binoculars. Also fitted were six twin 25mm machine gun positions. The searchlight platform was expanded around the forefunnel, now housing six 110cm searchlights and two Type95 machine gun directors. The two twin 40mm machine guns at deck level were replaced by two twin 25mm ones. The aft searchlight platform on the mainmast was moved to a higher position and fitted with two Type95 machine gun directors. The entire topmast was removed along with most of the starfish and replaced with a much smaller one. height of the aft funnel was increased substantially as to make it as tall as the forward one. The aft superstructure was completely enclosed and streamlined and fitted with an auxiliary Type94 director, two Type94 4,5m rangefinders and an enclosed lookout positions. The aircraft handling area was further expanded with the catapult moved aft an on centerline. The original derrick was removed and replaced by a foldable 4-ton crane on the port side. The airwing was upgraded to two Nakajima E8N and one Kawanishi E7K. Armament-wise, the 140mm casemated guns had their elevation increased to 30° while the forwardmost pair was landed. The main gun elevation increased to a maximum of 43°.
As of 1941:
By the start of the war Kirishima had recieved a degaussing cable, two extra twin 25mm machine gun mounts and an anti-aircaft command platform on top of her pagoda tower. The starfish on the mainmast was deleted. Turret faces and barbettes recieved additional armor plates.
As of 1942:
Wartime modifications before her loss were minimal but still happened: The floatplane complement was upgraded from one E7K and two E8N to one E13A and two F1M. Minor modification were also made on the director plaform at midship, the aft searchlight platforms were raised and the 25mm machine guns at midship were raised onto a new platform to improve their firing arcs.
In this fit she took part in the first an second naval battle of Guadalcanal. During the latter she damaged the USS South Dakota befor being crippled by gunfire from the USS Washington, eventually sinking (because of damage or by being scuttled) at 03:25 on the morning of 15 November 1942.
As of 1915:
Haruna (like Kirishima) was built completely in Japan with no imported materials. She, like kirishima, sported rounded turrets as well. Shortly after being commissioned Haruna was repainted in a peculiar dark brown with white stripes dazzle camouflage.
As of 1917:
Either in February or November 1916, Haruna was repainted back in a standard scheme. She acted as the Imperial inspection vessel shortly thereafter.
As of 1919:
In May 1919 Haruna recieved a small refit at Yokosuka, during which she recieved high-angle 76mm guns in raised platforms in place of the older low-angle ones. She also recieved a searchlight platform on the foremast and two enclosed secondary battery command stations.
As of 1928:
On September 12th 1920, during gnnery practice, Haruna suffered a breech explosion to the the starboard 14-inch gun barrel of the no°1 turret that blew off the armored turret roof. Subsequent repairs and refits eventually kept the ship off active service for almost eight years. Between June 1921 and March 1922 the compass bridge was fitted with a permanent windscreen and two torpedo control positions were added together with a new searchlight platform. Haruna then served as a gunnery training ship until December 1923.
Between February 1924 and July 1928 Haruna underwent her first major refit: During the rebuild all of her original 36 boilers were removed and replaced with 16 new ones and the number of funnels was reduced from three to two, deleting the fore funnel. As a result of the changes in the boiler room layout, two remaining funnels were more widely spaced than that of her sisters.
The thickness of the horizontal armor over the magazines and machinery spaces was increased and anti-torpedo bulges added. Torpedo nets and four torpedo tubes were removed and both fore and aft superstructure extensively rebuilt, with most of the searchlights relocated to a newer platform erected just in front of the first funnel.
As of 1930:
Between November 1929 and March 1930 Haruna underwent another minor refit. During works both funnels were fitted with rain protection caps. An aircraft handling deck and a derrick boom were fitted between the aft turrets in order to operate one Yokosuka E1Y and one Nakajima E2N floatplane. Also, a pair of 2,8m rangefinders was added at the secondary gun fire control platform high on the pagoda bridge. Some small platform modification was done on both the forward and aft superstructures.
As of 1933:
Between May 1932 and May 1933 Haruna underwent an anti-air suite upgrade. All 76mm single AA guns were replaced by four twin 127mm ones and two twin 40mm Vickers machine guns with all the needed fire control equipment. The aircraft handling deck was extended to accommodate an aircraft catapult to the port side aft of turret n°3. Both forward and aft superstructure were slightly modified, and a new set of searchlights was added aft of the forefunnel.
As of 1934:
Between August 1933 and September 1934 Haruna underwent her second main modernization. Both fore and aft superstrucutres were completely rebuilt, The stern lenghtened by 7,5 m. 11 new boilers were fitted along new geared turbines. Top speed increased to 30 knots. The 40mm machine guns are moved to a new set of platform erected abreast the forefunnel. The aircraft catapult was moved aft and on centerline and a new collapsibe derrick installed. Two Nakajima E4N and one Kawanishi E7K floatplanes were embarked for reconnaissance duties.
As of 1941:
Between November 1937 and November 1938 Haruna was docked for an additional refit. The two foremost casemate guns were landed and the bow stem line reshaped for the higher top speed. The 40mm machine guns are replaced by Twenty 25mm AA guns in ten twin mounts. The airwing was upgraded to one a Kawanishi E7K and two Nakajima E8N floatplanes. The main topmast was shortened. A degaussing cable was added before the start of the Pacific War in December 1941.
As of 1943:
Between late February and early April 1943 Haruna was fitted with a Type21 radar and the top of the pagoda bridge lowered by one level by deleting the spotting top and enlarging the anti-aircraft command post. Aircraft complement is upgraded to one Aichi E13 and two Mitsubishi F1M. Two secondary guns are landed and Two triple 25mm machine gun mounts added. Most portholes and scuttles below the middle deck level were plated over.
As of February 1944:
Haruna went through a further refit between December 1943 and 1944. During works four more casemate guns were landed and two new twin 127mm gun mounts installed. The light anti-air suite was also increased to eight triple and six twin 25mm machine guns. New ainti-air shelters were added for the crew and wind baffles were installed around the battle bridge level on the pagoda.
As of October 1944:
As of 1945: