IJA Type 95 Light Tank "Ha-Go" Late Production
This is the second model in Dragon’s range of 1/35th military vehicles covering the Type 95 Light Tank “Ha-Go”, the first one being an “Early Production” vehicle, released in 2012. Unlike the battles in Europe or the Middle East in World War Two, tanks in the Pacific Theater were not used in the massive numbers seen in Europe, nor in any major tank vs tank battles. Tanks were mainly infantry support vehicles, both on the Japanese side as well as the Allied side. The Type 95 tank saw combat against Chinese and Russia forces in Manchuria on the mainland, as well as taking part in all the Imperial Japanese Army island campaigns in WW2. The tank was fairly light, weighing just 7.4 tonnes and it was designed primarily as an infantry support tank. It was the most produced tank in the Japanese arsenal with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries constructing about 2,300 vehicles. Being relatively small, it only had a crew of three.
- 5 Main Sprues of injection plastic parts, plus 4 smaller sprues
- 2 large hull parts, upper and lower
- 2 lengths of DS100 “rubber” track
- 1 small sprue of injection plastic clear parts
- 1 decal sheet by Cartograf, covering four marking schemes
- 1 photo etched brass sheet
- NO crew figures
I want to start this review with a definitive statement: this has to be one of the finest little models I have EVER had the pleasure to build. All the parts are extremely well molded with excellent rivet detail, and small points such as having the name of the rubber rim producer’s name on the edges of the road wheels. The kit was without sink marks, without any ejection pin marks, and the fit of the parts one to another was superlative. Many of the photo etched parts were purely optional. What was in plastic was often perfectly well detailed as to have me ignore the PE parts. Of the PE parts utilized, only one bend was required for most parts, with many requiring no bending at all. How great is that!
Construction of the kit starts with the road wheels and bogies, and as mentioned the detail on such parts is excellent, down to subtle weld beads etc. The fit of the road wheel bogies to the lower hull is excellent, without any wiggle room, and thus having all the parts line up nicely. The lower hull detail is exemplary, with all sorts of small details included. The upper hull is basically a one piece unit with a number of smaller parts such as positionable engine deck access hatches, though no internal detail parts for the hull are included. The separate hull fenders are very well detailed with photo etched strengthener details for good scale effect.
The turret is a tiny affair given the size of the real tank. The commander’s hatch can be positioned open or closed as can a side turret escape/loading hatch. The main gun has internal breach detail visible through the open commander’s hatch should you wish to mount a figure in the turret. That said, no commander figure is included with the kit, which is unfortunate given the paucity of good WW2 Japanese tank figures in 35th scale, and Dragon’s excellent reputation for producing excellent figure sets. The hull and turret machine guns are highly detailed, and are mounted in positionable ball units.
On the rear of the right side fender is a lovely 7 part engine exhaust unit, with very well executed photo etched guard. A four part jack is mounted on the left rear fender, together with a very well detailed pick and shovel combo. The tracks for the kit are in the rubberized DS100 plastic that Dragon pioneered, and the two lengths are very well detailed, glueable, and hold paint well. I cut a couple of links off the track to get the length I wanted, and the tracks glued to the road wheels and drive sprockets and idler wheels nicely, allowing for a nice sag to the tracks.
Dragon provides a small set of decals by Cartograf of Italy, thus insuring they are of excellent quality. Everything settled down nicely with the standard Mr Mark Setter and Mr Mark Softer decal setting solutions. There are markings for four schemes in the kit, all basically identical in terms of paint schemes, a later war four tone scheme. I utilized a set specifically designed for this sort of scheme produced by Vallejo in their acrylic line of paints. Gunze Sangyo also produce a similar set of paints, in their lacquer series of Mr Color paints. I airbrushed the scheme freehand, and then carefully hand brushed the yellow “lines”, again utilizing a Vallejo acrylic color. The model paint was then sealed with Tamiya X-22 Clear Gloss, followed by the application of the decals. Then another coat of X-22 was used to seal the decals. I then hit the kit with a blast of rattle can Flat Clear, TS-80, from the Tamiya range of rattle can lacquer paints. AMAZINGLY flat, is all I can say, just what the doctor ordered. I then applied my usual pin washes of Mig oil paints, “Shadow Brown” being my favorite, to pick out the excellent rivet and panel details.
Again, this is an amazingly pleasurable model to build. Fit, detail, ease of assembly, all are there in spades, and being such a small tank, it isn’t a major project. This would make an excellent first tank for a modeler with a few kits under their belt. I can’t recommend it more highly. My thanks to DragonModelsUSA for their generosity in providing IPMS USA with the review sample. Talk to your local hobby shop owner about ordering in a crate of these excellent kits!