DescriptionDragon has begun to show some interest in Japanese subjects over the past year, bringing out a Type 95 Ha-Go and Type 97 Chi-ha in 1/72, and recently adding a 1/35 Type 2 Ka-Mi to the mix.
The Type 2 is one of the few significant World War II Japanese tanks not already boxed by Fine Molds or Tamiya, so it’s a very welcome addition.
I was working on another project when this one came rolling in the door, and I was so impressed by the kit detail that I decided to put aside my other project and proceed with this one.
First off, many modelers have already complained that it lacks the full configuration with pontoons and air intake trunk. This is true, but given Dragon’s past record, I would not be surprised to find out that this version is only the teaser, and that a full-up kit with the other features eventually emerges. In any event, I wanted to depict one of the tanks from the Itoh Detachment on Saipan which saw combat near Garapan in 1944, the only known occasion where the Type 2 actually saw combat. In this engagement, the tanks had already been deployed on Saipan, and there were no amphibious paraphernalia during the attack.
This Dragon kit is certain one of the best kits I have built in recent years, and I can offer few complaints. I built it largely out-of-the-box except for the usual clean-up. The assembly was excellent and uneventful.
The DS track is amazingly well detailed. I replaced the lifting brackets with some more delicate items from after-market model railroad bits, and I cut off the small rotating clips used to hold the air intake shroud and repositioned them for more variety. I rebuilt the signal light which is the vertical post on the roof to the right of the turret hatch. The kit comes with a considerable range of options, though this is not especially clear from the instructions. One of the nice features is option to leave the hull ventilation hatches open. The turret comes with a fairly complete interior, so I left the hatches open. One option not mentioned in the kit is to position the Type 99 machine gun on the turret mount, and it is a shame to hide all that lovely machine gun detail inside the hull.
The Saipan tanks had foliage camouflage at the time of the Garapan counter-attack, and I made this from a combination of photo-etch foliage and Silflor foliage.
Overall, this is a really superior kit and a pleasure to build.
Model, Images and Text
by Steven J. Zaloga