This time a miniature of IBG production: Type 1 Chi-He.
The shortcomings of the Type 97 Chi-Ha tanks and the later Shinhoto Chi-Ha (mainly weak armament, problems with engine cooling) were to be addressed in a new model.
In 1941, tests began on the prototype of the Type 1 Chi-He tank. It retained the drive, running gear and armament of the Type 97 Shinhoto Chi-Ha (so where’s the improvement), but the hull and turret were redesigned. Both were welded, the new hull had a simple design and consisted of the fewer number of plates. The turret was larger than in earlier Japanese tanks, thanks to which it was possible to enlarge the crew with a loader and relieve the commander.
A six-cylinder diesel engine powered the drive. The running gear consisted of six road wheels, a drive wheel, a tensioning wheel and three rollers supporting the track, and basically, it was a repetition of its predecessor’s system. The main armament is a 47mm Type 1 tank gun. Additionally, the Type 97 machine guns were mounted.
All the machines produced were intended to defend the home islands, so they did not participate in the fighting. I think, fortunately for their crews, because in the clash with Shermans and heavy tanks entering the U.S. armament, they probably wouldn’t have had a great chance.
Model – I must admit that IBG surprised me positively. Quite a good level of detail, nice fit (although not everything went smoothly. It’s rather my fault – see the poorly fitted top plate). The running gear is a masterpiece – it couldn’t be made better in this scale: wheels cast together with caterpillars, and glued outer wheels and halves of the drive and tensioning wheel. A piece of cake.
Painted freehand, with authentic Gunze C colors. I didn’t mask the camouflage, although it would probably be more in line with the original. Weathering, moderate, done with Gunze and Vallejo mud, AK pigments, washes by Tamiya and AmmoMIG in various shades, including black on the engine cooling shutters. I have no experience in such little tanks and I did not want to overdo with special effects, but – for the first completed armor model in this scale in the last 12 years, I am satisfied. I had a great time with it.