ARM: Review- DML 1/72 Type 2 Ka-Mi Tank

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/725 scale Armor Pro Series Kit No. 7435; Imperial Japanese Navy Type 2 (Ka-Mi) Amphibious Tank; 51 parts
(48 in grey styrene, 2 DS Plastic tracks, 1 etched brass); pre-order price US$17.50 via Dragon USA Online
Advantages: first kit of this vehicle in this scale in styrene; wise inclusion of DS Plastic track avoids frustration with itty-bitty single links
Disadvantages: “Combat” version without pontoons
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all Pacific War modelers and diorama fans
    DML has now “shrunk” its nicely done 1/35 scale Ka-Mi kit into 1/72 scale with good results.
    As noted before in the review of that kit, the Japanese had a unique approach to amphibious tanks. While they made their amphibious tanks much larger than their land-based counterparts like the Type 95 Ha-Go, they simply attached large pontoons at the front and rear to give them the sea-going buoyancy they needed. The Type 2 Ka-Mi (a 1942 design) was one of the more prolific 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 when the bow pontoon was dropped. The vehicle weighed 13 tons with the pontoons 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 that could be jettisoned from inside the tank when the vehicle no longer needed them. Divided into separate compartments, the pontoons gave excellent buoyancy at sea and proved to be effective. However, like its Soviet counterparts, the tank portion proved to be quite vulnerable to enemy antitank measures and could be penetrated by everything in the US arsenal above .30 caliber. Coming in to service too late to be effective in its design beach reconnaissance 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. Only a single example captured by the Soviets (with its pontoons!) exists today in the Kubinka Museum in Russia.
    In 1/72 scale it is surprising that DML did not offer this model with the pontoons as it is not a very big vehicle (they later released a one with them at a much higher price.)
    The kit only has about 20 percent of the parts in its big brother, but other than a nearly complete lack of an interior (which would be hard to see in this scale anyway) it appears to have held the line on details.
    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 place for the suspension mounts. The upper hull is nicely done with “see-through” 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 machine guns are complete, and part of the turret race is replicated, only a barrel is provided for the main gun. The exhaust guard is provided as an etched brass grating, however.
    The DS Tracks once again now come with an installation guide noting they should be 137mm long for proper fit. The ones in the review sample were 135mm so a bit of stretching will be necessary to fit the model and permit “sag” in the tracks.
    Two (to four) marking options are provided: 5th Naval Ground Base Guard (II), Saipan June 1944 (battleship grey with “Rising Sun” flags on the turret); 27th Naval Special Ground Base Guard, Aitape, July- August 1944 (battleship grey with side numbers 601, 602 or 603 on the turret). 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 95 and Type 97 models in 1/72.
    Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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