Well, we do need something to shoot at, right?
For the first time ever, I will be showcasing both a different genre and a different modeller, but the scale remains the same. A nice little bit of Japanese armor by the head of IPMS-Seattle, Andrew Birkbeck. I have known Andrew since shortly after I returned to modelling in the mid-80s, when we were both involved in 1992’s IPMS-Nationals in the Emerald City. We’ve both been IPMS-Seattle newsletter editors and owners of one of the early internet hobby shops, The Supply Depot. Don’t hold his almost exclusive building of armor against him, though.
The model is the Japanese Army’s type 97 Chi-ha tank, as kitted by Dragon. Japanese armor is not common in either main armor scale, though with the explosion of new kits in the last 5 years the search for new types to kit has led to there being a larger amount of IJA metal. This particular model is of a late production type as seen on Saipan in 1944, as used by the 9th Tank Regiment.
It is apparently a pretty well detailed effort, including DS100 magic tracks and photoetch. Being in 1:72, some of the parts are very delicate and require careful separation from the sprues. Andrew’s build notes are clear that there are some fit problems to deal with, so test fitting and subtle trimming is rewarded. The tracks are extremely fragile, and may require some adjustment as well.
The color scheme is a typical IJA scheme of Brown, Green and Khaki, with yellow stripes. Andrew used Mr Hobby lacquer paints for these. Thankfully the decals are produced by Cartograph, so no problems there. A brown oil paint wash and a sealer matte coat finished off the festivities.
Andrew rates the kit very highly, noting the excellent and abundant detail, but again notes that you do need to pay attention to fit. There will be an early production version of the type 97 on the way from Dragon in the near future.
This is the Imperial Japanese Army’s type 97 Chi-ha tank, as used by the 9th Tank Regiment on Saipan in 1944.
Next time we'll be back to our regularly scheduled program of winged things, starring a Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 from 6 Squadron RAF.