If, as Sherman said, war is hell, there had to be a special place in it for the Japanese Type 95 light tank. Inside its tiny, hand-operated turret, the commander was responsible for loading, aiming, and firing the main gun. The simple suspension was such a rough ride that the three-man crew was unable to operate at speed in rough terrain. So, the interior was padded with asbestos, which also helped protect the crew from sun-heated armor plates.
Dragon continues its new Japanese World War II series with the release of the Type 95. The kit features posable hatches, turret interior, DS tracks, photoetched-metal optional parts, and markings for four vehicles.
The first thing to do is decide on the paint scheme and markings. Road wheels and suspension arms are painted along with the lower hull for each vehicle’s different set of markings. I painted the wheels and suspension arms, then set them aside to build the lower hull.
When building the rear axles, parts B11 and B12 slide back and forth as part of the track tensioner operation; I glued it as far aft as I could to take up as much of the slack in the vinyl tracks as possible. You have a choice of the plastic part A28 or the photoetched-metal part MA19. The rest of the suspension is then added.
Building the upper hull, you also have a choice between photoetched metal and plastic for the rear angled deck. All the hatches can be positioned open or closed. However, no engine or drive train is provided, so you might want to keep those hatches closed.
After assembly, small gaps between plates appeared. But they are cleaned up easily enough. The front hull plate and fenders combine as one unit. Again, you can leave the transmission hatches open or close them. Same goes for the driver’s hatch, which also features vision blocks in clear plastic. However, there is no interior for the crew. I used a chopstick to bend the photoetched-metal muffler guard and painted it before attaching it.
I found the turret an interesting build. The commander’s hatch can be positioned open or closed, and there is a photoetched-metal lip to replace the plastic Part C20.
The main armament is well-detailed, as is the machine gun. What is missing is the ammo ready rack on the right side of the turret. I left off the flag holder (Part F1) from the left side of the turret.
I painted my model with Tamiya yellow, red brown, khaki, and JA green using Silly Putty for masking, and weathered the model with Tamiya pastels overall. The decals went down over a coat of Pledge Future floor polish without any silvering. For the Kwantung Army vehicle, you have a choice of two numbers for the vehicle.
It looks as if Dragon will release a late version of this model as well, so the series continues. While the build is relatively easy, the complicated camo scheme will take some extra effort. Still, I had a fun 20 hours building this little tank.
Note: A version of this review appeared in the October 2013 FineScale Modeler.