ARM: Review - DML 1/35 scale Type 95 Ha-Go Late Production

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale '39-'45 Series Kit No. 6770; I
JA Type 95 Light Tank "Ha-Go" Late Production - Smart Kit; 287 parts (213 i
n grey styrene, 66 etched brass, 6 clear styrene, 2 DS Plastic track runs);
pre-order price US$49.95 via Dragon USA Online
Advantages: nice, new kit of this vehicle in this scale; petite details nic
ely reproduced; full armament provided
Disadvantages: no detail other than weaponry for interior provided
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all Pacific War fans
As with the previous two releases of the Type 95, Japanese tank design, li
ke many others, started with examples of the Renault FT from WWI and advanc
ed from there. Their first efforts, the Type 89 Medium and Type 92 Tankette
, paralleled Western designs. In 1935 they designed a new three-man light t
ank armed with a 37mm cannon and two 7,7mm machine guns. Weighting at about
8 metric tons, the little tank underwent four years of testing before ente
ring full production in 1939. But the Japanese did not understand or take i
nto account the results of tank combat with the Soviets in 1938-1939 at the
Khasmin Lakes or Khalkin Gol. As a result, they wound up with tanks with i
nferior armor and armament to their main enemy in the Pacific, the United S
While around 1,160 Ha-Go tanks were built, mostly by Mitsubishi Heavy Indu
stries, they served in all theaters and for the entire course of the war. B
ut they rarely enjoyed success in combat; tanks which work fine against una
rmed peasants in China and Korea are usually not well suited for a mechaniz
ed enemy with better tanks and better tactics. Attempts at upgrades, such a
s modifying the little tank to mount the heavier Type 97 Chi-Ha turret with
57mm gun, provided little relief. Possessed of poor visibility, a large "d
ead zone" around the tank, and tissue-paper thin armor, it was usually more
lethal to its crew than the enemy. Its swan song was during its use by the
2nd Japanese Armored Division as dug-in pillboxes on the island of Luzon.

This kit tweaks a few of the details found on the earlier kits to replicat
e the final production variants. It adds a new bow and upper glacis, ten mo
re etched brass bits, and some changes to the components of the earlier kit
DML has done a nice job of giving the modeler a very detailed kit with man
y parts provided as separate components, such as the fender and mudguard as
semblies. Photos show they did not last long in the jungle environments of
most tanks, so this assists the modeler for a specific replica.
This time the suspension comes with four brass spacers/washers per road se
t (e.g. eight per bogie) and a slide molded center ring for each pair of wh
eels, so they are quite involved. The suspension is very petite but complet
e, and happily DML has provided a set of DS Plastic tracks rather than sing
le link ones for this kit. The tracks are about the size of 1/72 Sherman tr
acks as a comparison so this is a good idea.
There is no interior per se in the model, but the turret has one and it co
vers a nicely done replica of the 37mm gun with a choice of two different b
reeches/catch baskets and moveable ball mounts for the two machine guns. Th
e commander's hatch offers either two styrene flaps or one with an etched b
rass seal. All hatches are separate and the front glacis ones offer either
closed and locked or open with unlocked latches. The driver has an optional
closed hatch or one with the viewer flipped up; each comes with its own cl
ear styrene insert. Each hatch now comes with an etched brass guide and loc
king arm attachment.
The vehicle is provided with basic OVM to include three tow cables, pionee
r tools, and a four-piece jack.
Technical assistance was provided by Shin Okada.
Four finishing options are offered: 14th Tank Regiment, Peleliu 1944 (four
-color camouflage, characters on hull and insignia on turret); 14th Tank Re
giment, Peleliu 1944 (four-color camouflage, different characters on hull a
nd insignia on turret); Company 3, 14th Tank Regiment, Malaya 1944 (four-co
lor camouflage, three bars on turret, star 663 registration plate); Company
1, 9th Tank Regiment, Guam 1944 (four-color camouflage, white split rectan
gle, characters on hull). A small sheet of Cartograf decals is provided.
Overall, this looks to be a nice kit of the final production version of th
is little tank but will require concentration on the part of the modeler to
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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