ARM: Review - DML 1/72 scame Type 2 Ka-Mi with Pontoons - Late Production

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/72 scale Armor Pro Series Kit No. 7486;
Type 2 (Ka-Mi) w/Floating Pontoon Late Production; 78 parts (75 in grey st
yrene, 2 DS Plastic tracks, 1 etched brass); pre-order price US$22.95 via D
ragon USA Online
Advantages: modified kit of this vehicle now builds the late model with spl
it bow pontoons; wise inclusion of DS Plastic track avoids frustration with
itty-bitty single links
Disadvantages: no major items of note
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all Pacific War modelers and diorama fans
As it did with the spinoff of its 1/35 scale Ka-Mi kit, DM
L has now produced a late model kit with different parts to provide for the
final version with a split front pontoon vice the one-piece pontoon in the
earlier kit (No 7485).
As noted before in the review of that kit, the Japanese had a unique appro
ach to amphibious tanks. While they made their amphibious tanks much larger
than their land-based counterparts like the Type 95 Ha-Go, they simply att
ached large pontoons at the front and rear to give them the sea-going buoya
ncy they needed. The Type 2 Ka-Mi (a 1942 design) was one of the more proli
fic ones, with about 185 of them being built during the war. It did mount a
37mm cannon and two 7.7mm machine guns, one of which could only be used wh
en the bow pontoon was dropped. The vehicle weighed 13 tons with the pontoo
ns mounted, and 10 when they were dropped.
Using mechanical components from the land-based Type 95, the Type 2 used a
new hull design with pontoons held in place with ?claw? type clamps th
at could be jettisoned from inside the tank when the vehicle no longer need
ed them. Divided into separate compartments, the pontoons gave excellent bu
oyancy at sea and proved to be effective. However, like its Soviet counterp
arts, the tank portion proved to be quite vulnerable to enemy antitank meas
ures and could be penetrated by everything in the US arsenal above .30 cali
ber. Coming in to service too late to be effective in its design beach reco
nnaissance and assault functions, the Type 2 tanks were forced to fight on
land which was not their strong suit. As a result, they were encounterd by
US forces starting in 1943 who quickly eliminated them where encountered. O
nly a single example captured by the Soviets (with its pontoons!) exists to
day in the Kubinka Museum in Russia.
As it now comes with the bulky pontoons, the new version is a much larger
vehicle and will be about the size of a Tiger II when completed.
The kit replicates the previous release (No. 7485) but adds a complete sup
plemental ?A? sprue of 27 parts with the bow and stern pontoon sections
, the wading intake and control tower, and all necessary fittings. Note tha
t this kit will build both the early single pontoon and late split pontoon
variants. As they have been molded complete, and not simply ?stick-on?
parts, the modeler may show the model in the process of dropping its pontoo
ns for combat which is a nice option. The split pontoon version comes with
the inner sides so it can be shown with the pontoons dropped to either side
of the bow.
This kit has the road wheels as two piece bogie assemblies with all other
wheels being separate. The lower hull is slide molded with all details in p
lace for the suspension mounts. The upper hull is nicely done with ?see-t
hrough? grilles on the engine deck.
Propellers and shafts are separate parts and very petite, but none of the
?claw? assemblies of the larger kit are provided. While the 7.7mm machi
ne guns are complete, and part of the turret race is replicated, only a bar
rel is provided for the main gun. The exhaust guard is provided as an etche
d brass grating, however.
The DS Tracks once again now come with an installation guide noting they s
hould be 137mm long for proper fit. The ones in the review sample were righ
t at 137mm.
Four (five) marking options are provided, all vehicles in IJN green: Vehic
les 651 or 652, Ormoc, Leyte 1944 (white numbers); Vehicle 501, Kurile Isla
nds, 1944 (white numbers); Vehicle 179, Unidentified Unit 1944 (white numbe
rs); Unknown vehicle, Unidentified Unit 1945 (white rectangle on sides of t
urret). Decals are a tiny targeted set from Cartograph.
Overall this matches its ?big brother? for quality and
should be a popular model to match the previous DML Type 2, Type 95 and Ty
pe 97 models in 1/72.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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