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Armor/AFV: Axis - WWII
Armor and ground forces of the Axis forces during World War II.
Hosted by Darren Baker
Dragon type 97 Chi Ha early version
russamotto
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Posted: Saturday, June 02, 2018 - 06:26 AM UTC
IMG_9443 by russell amott, on Flickr

Just received this and will shortly write up an inbox review as well as start a build log here. This kit is in line with the previous Type 95 light tanks and type 2 amphibious tanks in that it looks like the "A" team of designers were behind it. The tracks are a little different-link and length, and have a template to create the track sag. I searched all over the internet to find a decent price and Hobbyeasy had it for the best I could find, including shipping. Less than half what a number of other sites were charging.

I would like to do this tank, which is of course not an option with the kit decals. 1st independent tank platoon at Guadalcanal. No idea what the color would be for the rectangular insignia on the side. Here it looks dark. A separate photo from the beach makes it look much lighter.
VB-102 First Tour_000343 by SDASM Archives, on Flickr
russamotto
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Posted: Wednesday, June 06, 2018 - 05:04 AM UTC
The written review has been submitted and I have started on the build. In general, assembly has been fairly easy and I haven't encountered any problems. The plastic is good quality and has been easy to cut and clean up. Details are very nice and I have had no issues with the instructions.

Step 1 covers assembly of the running gear. The road wheels come as four bogie sets and four single wheel sets. Two types of hub are present, one for the front and one for the rear. The front hub has a small grease nipple present.

IMG_9508 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9509 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9510 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9511 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9512 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9513 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9515 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9516 by russell amott, on Flickr

The idler and drive sprocket are two simple halves but have very good detail. For the drive sprocket, there is a bit of play in the keyed connection point so I used a track section to make sure I had the halves aligned properly.

IMG_9514 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9517 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9519 by russell amott, on Flickr

There are two types of return roller, with one having a recess on the rim. Check reference photos for your specific subject. In most photos that I looked at it appears that the flatter roller is more common, and for the subjects I am looking at it is correct.

IMG_9518 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9520 by russell amott, on Flickr

Step two is assembly of the upper glacis. The first part asks you to remove some molded on detail to replace it with etch parts. There isn't really a way to get the Mitsubishi plate off the part without damaging the rivet detail, and the molding is good enough that I opted not to mess with it. Same for the Imperial Chrysanthemum star. I added the small etch detail part for the plate and the transmission access hatches but left off the handles and headlight as those will most likely get knocked off during assembly.

IMG_9521 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9522 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9523 by russell amott, on Flickr




russamotto
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Posted: Wednesday, June 06, 2018 - 09:54 AM UTC
Step 3 covers assembly of the suspension arms, rear hull plate and idler mounts. The suspension arms have a bit of play in them and should be placed with the springs in step 4 to get them aligned properly. Detail on all parts is quite good but care is needed to make sure the arms on the idler mounts move so they can be properly adjusted for the tracks. The fit of the rear hull section was tight, even after I sanded it down. I left off the rear lights so I wouldn't break them off during assembly. I jumped into step 4 to add the springs for the suspension and the upper and lower glacis plates. The upper part needs to be added first, and then the lower as the lower has an overlapping part. I need to do some cleanup on the springs to remove the mold seam.
The spring attachment points are keyed to fit a slot on the front and rear-most arm cranks.

IMG_9524 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9525 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9527 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9528 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9529 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9530 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9531 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9532 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9533 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9534 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9535 by russell amott, on Flickr

d6mst0
#453
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Posted: Wednesday, June 06, 2018 - 12:05 PM UTC
Russ,

Nice progress, those road wheels assemblies always take the longest to finish. I just finished the late production model by Dragon for the "Dragon" campaign. The kit was one of the best I worked with so far.

Look forward to your next posting.

Mark
russamotto
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Posted: Friday, June 08, 2018 - 11:58 AM UTC
Thank you, Mark. I really liked that kit as well. I'll keep saying it-the Japanese tanks Dragon has released have been overlooked and their quality and detail are outstanding. The only thing they lack are interiors and figures.

Step 4 continues with some other added details. There is an interior vision port on the left hand lower hull. Again, there are two options-open and closed. Considering how hard it would be to see in the first place, and how hot it would be in the jungle, locked up inside a tank, I imagine anything that could be done to add some light and ventilation would be welcome. I opted for open. The return roller mounts were added and a nice feature with them is keyed locator pins so you can't put them on upside down. I put the idler pins on, leaving off the etch cover plate until I place the tracks.

IMG_9536 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9537 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9538 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9539 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9540 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9541 by russell amott, on Flickr



Step 5 adds the final drive and suspension covers, and the road wheels, which I am leaving off for now. The final drive covers are two part to maximize detail with rivets. The suspension covers go over the springs and the parts are different lengths, but identical for either side so just make sure you have the right part, and that they match the molded on flange.

IMG_9542 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9544 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9545 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9546 by russell amott, on Flickr

Step 6 assembles the hull machine gun and position. The gun mount is made to be moveable and includes a sight that I left off here as it won't be visible. I opted for the open peep hole but a closed option is included. The upper hull interior also includes the glass vision port blocks but are not visible from the outside. The molded detail is just an engraved line and does not go through.

IMG_9547 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9548 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9549 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9550 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9551 by russell amott, on Flickr



russamotto
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Posted: Friday, June 08, 2018 - 12:22 PM UTC
More to add.

Step 7 adds the front MG section to the upper hull, a small driver's hatch and a hull hatch as well as the engine cover, including etch mesh for the interior. The engine hatch is louvered and very finely detailed with even the handles being molded such that they appear as a separate part. I have left the driver's vision hatch off for now as I will experiment with a driver figure and see how well he fills the opening.

IMG_9552 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9553 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9554 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9555 by russell amott, on Flickr

Steps 8, 9 and 10 cover several sub assemblies for the turret. The commander's cupola, turret machine gun and main gun. The commander's cupola has vision blocks inside and the option of open or closed periscope. I put the sight on the turret machine gun as I may have the hatch open and the detail just might be visible. For the main gun, there are two options. Option one is a multi-part assembly for the mount that allows it to traverse left to right as well as for elevation. Option 2 is only for elevation. Both come with open or closed sight. The breech guard/shell bag/control assembly is fiddly but with patience can be done. There are two small tabs on the front that won't fit and I am not sure what purpose they served. I removed them to place the completed assembly.

IMG_9556 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9557 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9558 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9559 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9560 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9562 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9563 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9564 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9565 by russell amott, on Flickr

Step 11 has the mufflers, rear hull plate and access hatch and mud guards. The mufflers are multi-part and keyed on one end so you get the right part in the right place. The only thing to watch for is the placement of the exhaust tip. The part needs to be filed down a bit and then placed to that it sits centered in the hole and facing outwards. There is a drawing calling attention to the placement of the parts. The mud guards get an etch mud flap with the front flaps having some bolt detail. There is none on the rear but I bent them the same way and that reversed them for the instructions. There are also small bolt heads to shave off the sprue and attach the front mud guards and 1:1 drawing is provided showing placement. The rear mud guards get a small bracket arm-this is the one piece that was knocked off the sprue but was undamaged and still in the bag. A plate is added to the rear lower hull and then the upper and lower hull sections are attached. Overall, fit has been quite good with only a couple of parts needing some careful sanding to get the fit right.

IMG_9566 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9567 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9568 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9569 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9570 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9571 by russell amott, on Flickr
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IMG_9574 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9575 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9576 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9577 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9578 by russell amott, on Flickr


Taylornic
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Posted: Friday, June 08, 2018 - 02:03 PM UTC
Great work! Looks like a good kit. I really like the Japanese tanks. I wish someone would release an updated Type 1 Ho-Ni soon...
Ringleheim
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Posted: Saturday, June 09, 2018 - 06:13 AM UTC
Thanks for posting your work here!

I mostly build German WW2 stuff, but I personally find the various Japanese tanks really interesting.

My only knock on them is that they are SO small! They almost appear to be in a scale smaller than 1/35. I think they cry out for a diorama or vignette type display for that reason.

Keep up the good work!


d6mst0
#453
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Posted: Saturday, June 09, 2018 - 07:00 AM UTC
Russel,

Making great progress, won't be long before painting. I see this kit come with link and link tracks. It looks like the upper runs have a bit of sag in them but the photos I see of this tank there is no sag in the track run.

Mark
russamotto
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Posted: Thursday, June 14, 2018 - 01:41 PM UTC
Sorry for the delayed reply.

Jim, they are about the same size as a Pz. I or II, or the 38T series-small yes but lots of detail.

Mark, the track runs are molded flat but are designed to be carefully bent into shape. There is a template provided on the "D" sprue to allow for this.

I realize that I made a serious mistake. I was fairly careful (I thought) in following the instructions and even laid the parts out correctly but in the process of setting out all the options I picked up the wrong parts and it went downhill from there. The gun mantlet is reversed. I kept looking at it and wondering why what I thought was interior detail was on the outside but it just didn't sink in far enough until today, when it finally hit home, as I was carefully fitting the part. That being said, the two small tabs I removed in step 10 should not be removed because they do fit in the proper part. Sometimes I get dyslexic, and sometimes I just get confused. Either way, I am in the process of correcting the problem.

On to the proper updates. Step 12 is dedicated to attaching the rear engine doors and covers. On the access doors there are two handles with options. One set of handles has a support rod for the cover and one set does not. Option 3 is to use the front handle with rod and not the rear. There are also two options for the cover-styrene and photoetch. The styrene option features nice detail including a molded on lip around the edge and some rivet detail for the hinge of the support rod (they attach to the cover and rest on the handle). The other option is the etch piece, which is flat, with added styrene hinges at the engine deck. The detail on the etch part is lacking. I attached the handles but left the covers off for painting as the camouflage pattern goes over the engine doors. The engine access doors receive etch screens for the interior that add nice detail and also help conceal the empty interior.

IMG_9579 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9583 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9584 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9585 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9586 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9587 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9588 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9589 by russell amott, on Flickr

Step 13 adds small details to the rear hull and deck. Tools, jack, tow cable or empty cable bracket. The jack is nicely detailed although they did not hollow out the ratchet socket area, an issue easily corrected with a small drill. The socket for the jack arm is nicely hollowed all the way down and the jack arm fits completely-no trimming like on the type 95 kit. It has two separate bases with very minor differences. I can't see enough detail from photos to know which one is more correct so I simply chose one. The option of placing the tow cable or leaving it off is a bonus for the modeler as the tow cable ends are separate parts, allowing you to use your own length of string or wire to place the cable where you want. At this point I also added the rear lights as there won't be much more handling of the kit. There are also two options for the rear license plate. In this case the etch piece is appropriately thin and has good screw detail. The styrene part is thick.

IMG_9590 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9591 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9592 by russell amott, on Flickr
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IMG_9598 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9599 by russell amott, on Flickr

Step 13 is the turret assembly. There are small parts that attach to the turret ring-wheel crank and hand crank, to turn the turret. The interior of the upper gets optional open or closed vision ports that are nicely handed so you can't put a part in the wrong place (something I need quite often). There are some gaps that would need filling if you left the turret open for inspection. The turret machine gun mount is keyed to get it facing the right way and with care the inside bracket holds the assembly in place and it is moveable, although with the sight on the gun it is restricted in movement. In reality the turret was small enough that both the MG and main gun could not be operated at the same time. The turret top light bar is also inserted from inside the turret.
IMG_9600 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9601 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9602 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9603 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9604 by russell amott, on Flickr
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IMG_9606 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9607 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9608 by russell amott, on Flickr

So now I am off to fix the main gun, then add the cupola, tracks and all the other small details. Hopefully painting won't be too far off.
ColinEdm
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
ARMORAMA
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Posted: Friday, June 15, 2018 - 03:09 AM UTC
Great looking little kit, hope you get the main gun issue sorted, you're making me want to get one of these!
j76lr
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Posted: Friday, June 15, 2018 - 11:03 AM UTC
Keep us posted Please . i built the Tamiya version , might get this one.
russamotto
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Posted: Thursday, June 21, 2018 - 09:12 AM UTC
Colin and Lou, thanks for watching. It is very nice, and I think well worth getting.

I did get the main gun issue sorted out. It looks like it is a little set back in the mount but I did triple check fitting and everything (now, at least) is how it should be. It is also a little loose, but I attribute that to user error and not a kit fault. The cupola has been attached to the turret but not the hatches as I am still trying to decide what I want to do. There are two types of antenna frame. The difference, as near as I can tell, is that the support arms on one antenna are shorter (counted the little knobs that I think are insulators). Once you get the first couple of arms on the others sort of rest in place where they need to be. I also added the toolbox on the rear left fender. Assembly was simple.

IMG_9611 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9612 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9613 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9614 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9615 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9616 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9617 by russell amott, on Flickr

The tracks are link and length type with individual links for curved areas. The upper run is bent carefully into shape and checked against the provided template. The track flexes easily but as it bends it will begin to bend not at the real connecting point but at the open area on the track shoe where the plastic is thinner. I used tweezers and smooth pliers to hold the links while I carefully flexed and bent them to prevent them from bending at the wrong point. Once they were set at the proper curve I carefully set them in place. I then worked slowly around the drive sprocket with the individual links, down to the lower run and started up around the idler, which is still adjustable, so I would be able to make sure I had the proper length. The instructions call for two individual links to connect the short straight run from the drive sprocket and the long run that goes under the road wheels. As I assembled it I found the bottom run was too long and removed one link at the front road wheel. I then assembled the run around the idler wheel and everything fit. The links are small but a little thick, and not to different from those on a Pz. III, though just a little more narrow. They are much larger and easier to work with than Pz. II tracks.

IMG_9618 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9619 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9620 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9621 by russell amott, on Flickr
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IMG_9631 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9632 by russell amott, on Flickr

I'll finish the other side and then I can start painting, at least the base coat. Still trying to decide on figures. Seeing all the German kits with full interiors makes me envious as there would be so much to show with a kit like this. I haven't looked at the Fine Molds interior kit.

russamotto
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Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2018 - 05:34 AM UTC
Tracks are on and base coat applied, but I am having issues loading the photos right now.

I am having a small problem with a detail found on the tanks at Guadalcanal. There is a small platform/plate on the left rear side of the turret that appears to fold up. I don't know what it is for. It can be seen in this photo centered between the three figures (the turret is reversed). https://www.flickr.com/photos/sdasmarchives/9045668320

I am fairly certain that this is the tank that was captured in good condition and taken back to the US for evaluation. It can be seen again in the top three photos of this page.
https://tanksinworldwar2.com/japan-type-97-chi-ha.php

From a post at Missing-Lynx I found these enhanced photos from Taki. https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/missinglynx/type-97-turret-roof-details-and-magazine-help-t308065.html

The plate appears to be attached at the turret rivet points and an antenna or other wire comes out of the peep hole, with another wire coming out where the upper rivet was. I think it hinges at the top and folds out with the sides being a frame. Can anyone clarify the issue?

Also, I have read some comments that the tanks on Guadalcanal had fender extensions but the photos of the captured tank don't seem to show this.
russamotto
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Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2018 - 07:46 AM UTC
Fixed the issue with the camera. Instead of using the molded cable provided with the kit I assembled the ends and used some kite string for the cable. Everything is attached now except the tools, which will be mounted after painting, and the base coat is on. I used Tamiya dark yellow with some brown and green added to darken it slightly and give it a little more depth.

IMG_9634 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9633 by russell amott, on Flickr
IMG_9635 by russell amott, on Flickr

I left one link off of the other side, as I found again that I had too many links. The tank captured at Guadalcanal was apparently brought back in running order for evaluation but I don't know where it wound up.
ChurchSTSV
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Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2018 - 08:53 AM UTC
What do you use to primer? I would love to primer in my booth but the Tamiya spray primer is just too much!
russamotto
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Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2018 - 10:43 AM UTC
I just use the regular Tamiya acrylic as the primer. It has always given me good adhesion.
chefchris
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Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2018 - 11:43 AM UTC
The back shelf was for infantry. Wire fence with a wooden frame I think. Also I think the triangle was red on Guadalcanal. Great review!
musashibo
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Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2018 - 01:42 PM UTC
The racks mounted on the rear of some Type 97s and other vehicles were for storage. They were assembled in the field, typically of angle iron and wire mesh. Although troops may have climbed up on them, that was not their intended use.
russamotto
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Posted: Friday, August 10, 2018 - 06:10 AM UTC
Modeling time is limited at the moment. I have made some small progress though. I applied the paint but the brown I used dried with a pinkish tone that is much lighter than I wanted.
Untitled by russell amott, on Flickr
Untitled by russell amott, on Flickr

I also haven't figured out the fender extensions. I tried working with some thin copper sheet but the extensions are flared around the final drive housings to follow the contours. I will have to trim a thin strip and then attach it to the fender portion. Also working out the attachment on the left rear of the turret. It was folded up in the photos where it is being examined but down in the official US Army photographs, and the fender extensions are removed.
pgb3476
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Posted: Friday, August 10, 2018 - 06:50 AM UTC
Colors/camo looks great.