Tamiya 1/48 scale Komatsu G40

KIT #: 32565
PRICE: $21.98 MSRP
DECALS: One options
REVIEWER: Bill Michaels
NOTES: WW2 Japanese Navy Bulldozer


The Komatsu G40 was produced for the Japanese Navy during WWII and had the distinction of being Japan's first ever domestically-produced bulldozer. It was developed as a means to speed up airfield construction, which had up to that point been done by hand. Komatsu based its design on their existing farm tractor and it was equipped with a 50hp gasoline engine as well as a hydraulic dozer blade. About 150 were built from 1943 to the end of the war and they were sent to engineering units in the northern and southern fronts. It also influenced the design of postwar Japanese construction machinery.

According to Tamiya’s website, there is only one example of the G40 still in existence, on display at Komatsu’s Techno Center in Japan. 


This is a brand new kit—number 65 in the 1/48 series, released in March of 2010.

The kit is molded in the same gray color that they used for many of their German armor subjects.    It is a small model— it is only about 3 inches (75mm) long. The moldings all look very good, no flash or troublesome ejector pin marks. 

Tamiya claims the suspension has been engineered for easy assembly, and that sure looks to be the case.  The tracks are molded as one piece units, with the drive wheels and suspension wheels included.  The upper track sections have a nice sag molded in. The moldings look great on the sprue, and should look even better on the finished model, once it is properly painted, with some dirt and other weathering.

The kit also includes a driver figure— a man in shorts and soft cap.   Like many of the Tamiya 1/48 figures, the detail on the face and hands is the weak point.  (He looks OK from the back, though!)

There is only one finishing option for the G40-- IJN Kure Arsenal Navy Gray, which is XF-75 in Tamiya’s line of acrylic paints.  Interestingly, the pictures on Tamiya’s website of the assembled model look like it was painted in this color, while the picture of the real one shows a more greenish- gray color.   There is a very tiny decal sheet, and a separate “metal transfer” for the IJN emblem on the bulldozer’s radiator front.

The instructions are like those included in all of the new 1/48 scale armor kits, printed in English and Japanese.  Colors are called out with Tamiya colors, as you’d expect.  This is not a very complicated vehicle, so it should be pretty easy to assemble. 


I built my model OOB, basically following the seven Assembly Steps in the instructions.  This kit goes together so well, I don’t see much point in providing a blow-by-blow description.  Rather, I’ll just provide a few comments/observations from my build:

-          I built my model OOB.  

-         Fit was good throughout, with one exception.  When I went to attach the main suspension piece (part A27), it didn’t fit snugly on the underside of the body/engine.  The problem is that the pin it mounts on is too long for the matching hole—I had to trim about 1mm off the pin to allow the part to fit snugly.

-         With the above item addressed, there was no need for filler during construction.

-         I did not use the supplied driver figure.  Like most of the Tamiya 1/48 figures, he is a bit “blobby” for my taste, especially in the face.

-         I recommend painting the model before you attach the track and the dozer blade.


I didn’t bother to use the kit decals—there are just a couple of tiny little markings, and I decided it wasn’t worth the hassle of clear coating and then flat coating just for them.

I assembled the model except for the tracks and dozer bade, and then painted all three sub-units before final assembly.   Tamiya calls for TS-66 (Kure Naval arsenal Grey) as the main color.  I didn’t have that in my stash, but I did have Tamiya’s US Neutral Grey, which is close, so I used that color instead.   

I airbrushed the dozer, the tracks, and the blade assemblies. I painted the one piece track/bogies units grey, and then went back and brush painted the tracks themselves. To paint the tracks, I used three main colors—Pollyscale rust, Model Master rust, and Pollyscale rimy black.  I used the Pollyscale color as a base coat, and then liberally over coated and blended with the other two colors.  If you’re going to do this, I’d suggest starting on the sections of track behind the wheels— that way you can refine your technique before doing the more visible sections.

To weather the model, I started out by drybrushing it extensively.  I used the same three colors for the tracks, mixing and blending.  I then went back and used some silver to highlight some wear points on the track. 

I had originally intended to do some washes and then airbrush some earth colors as a sort of dusty/dirty overcoat.  But I was so pleased with how the model looked after the drybrushing was complete, that I decided to stop at that point.  (“Less is more”, after all!)


Highly recommended to anyone wanting something a little different, something that will look at home next to 1/48 scale aircraft.   The model was an enjoyable build—a simple, OOB built that was fun and looks great when finished.   I am really pleased at how this little dozer came out.

Review kit courtesy of my wallet. Note that while the retail price is $21.95 you can find it for less.  I only paid $16 plus tax at my local shop.  

Special thanks to Pip Moss for taking all the great pictures.


I only had one-- The Tamiya website:   http://www.tamiya.com/english/products/32565komatsu_g40/

Bill Michaels

June 2010

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