IJN Type 2 (Ka-Mi) Amphibious Tank - Combat Version
The Japanese were among many nations during WWII to try and develop an amphibious tank. The Ka-Mi was the results of their efforts. My Japanese armor references are somewhat lacking, but the internet tells me that there were 184 of these floating tanks build during the war. Dragon has issued this great little kit in their 1/35 ’39-’45 series. Kit #6678 of the Imperial Japanese Navy Type 2 (Ka-Mi) Amphibious Tank Combat Version.
“Combat Version” means this kit does NOT come with the distinctive floats/pontoons that give the tank its unique look. Don’t let that put you off, as the kit itself is of exceptional quality, molded in the standard grey. The kit includes a great level of detail on all the parts, and comes with DS track, a small PE set, and a small sprue of clear parts. (Dragon has announced a release of the “full” kit with the pontoons which should be on store shelves soon.)
The quality and detail of the kit parts is wonderful. The molding is outstanding, and even the smaller parts are packed with detail. For example, the turret ring and the propellers look like the real thing and the detail on the machine guns is outstanding.
Assembly of this kit is simple and straightforward. I encountered no problems whatsoever with the kit parts, and the only use of putty I had was to correct some of my own errors. There are some interior parts included, such as a nicely detailed gun breach, and some of the flotation details, but none of these are visible if you choose to close the hatches as I did here.
Many of the parts with the kit deal with the suspension, and it is well detailed. There are virtually no molding marks/pins which need to be removed, as what few are on the kit parts will be hidden after assembly is complete.
The only area of caution I can pass along is to study the directions carefully – then look at your kit parts before you touch glue to plastic! I found that on more than a few occasions the directions were wrong or incomplete. This led to some head-scratching and talking to myself, but everything is pretty straightforward once you realize that the parts numbers called for in some of the directions are not the same as they are labeled on the sprue. For example: Step 1C has reversed the wheels A5 & A6 (one wheel has spokes, and the other does not). Step 1D also has done the same thing with the larger wheel. The images are correct, but the part numbers listed are not. A more serious error was in Step 7 in the assembly of the main gun. The directions totally omit part C46 which needs to be installed to the bottom of part C45 before that is glued in place. If you try and put the part in afterward, you have to do some trimming to get it to fit (ask me how I know). Most of these discrepancies will not be an issue for the experienced modeler, but if one follows the directions “by the book” they will end up with kit parts glued together that should not be.
The PE included here is mostly for the wheels. There is also a nice muffler guard and a deflector for the turret roof, along with some small brackets on the top of the turret.
Markings are included for two vehicles. I choose the “5th Naval Ground Base Guard (II), Saipan, June 1944,” with the Japanese flag on the turret, while there other decals are for the “27th Naval Special Ground Base Guard, Aitape, July-August 1944,” which contain simple white numbers on the turret.
I painted the kit in Model Master enamel Light Sea Gray FS36307, and gave the vehicle a quick wash and dry-brushing. I may have a bit more weathering to do when I go back and look the kit over, but I am pleased with the results for this great kit out of the box.
I highly recommend this kit to anyone interested in something different for his shelves. With the version of this tank with the floats on the market now – both will be a great addition to any collection.
Thank you to Dragon USA for the review sample, and IPMS/USA for letting me review it.