Hasegawa 1/48 Isuzu TX40 Type 97 Truck
|DECALS:||At least two options|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||New mold kit|
On April 9, 1937, the two companies that had, until then, divided Japan's automotive industry between themselves, combined in a merger to form the Tokyo Automobile Corporation. This enterprise later became the Isuzu Corporation. When the Sino-Japanese war began in July 1937, the Imperial Japanese Army placed a huge production order for trucks and other vehicles. In order to meet demand, a 1.3 million square meter factory was constructed in the city of Kawasaki, on the outskirts of Tokyo. Construction was finished in July 1938, with the first vehicle off the production line being an Isuzu TX40 truck one month later. Production soon reached a rate of 1,000 vehicles annually.
The TX-40 had a cargo capacity of 2 tons, and was developed for use in urban and suburban road conditions. All components on the vehicle were domestically produced; in this sense, the TX-40 could be said to have laid the foundation for the Japanese automobile industry. T stood for truck, X for engine, with 40 representing the vehicle's 4 meter wheel base.
By 1939, the IJA greatly increased truck orders and gave the truck the Type 97 designation. A number of different variants were built on this chassis, including a refueling truck and starter truck for both Army and Navy aviation units. Of course, a wide number of troop and cargo carrying versions were also built. Post war, only cargo carrying versions were allowed to be built, eventually leading up to the TX-80 with production at 1,500 units annually.
The vehicle was a dominant presence during the war and also added significantly to the rebuilding of post-war Japan. Its six cylinder, 4.4 liter engine produced a whopping 65 horsepower at 2600 rpm and provided it with a top speed of 70 kph (about 45 mph).
Hasegawa's kit of this important Japanese truck is superbly molded as you would expect from one of the world's premiere model companies. The tan plastic is devoid of glitches, though I really wish Hasegawa wouldn't pack all the sprues in one bag as parts can get tangled and torn from sprues. There are a lot of finely molded pieces as you might imagine. There are basically two ways to build this kit. One is with the canvas cargo cover up and the other is with it stowed. You also have an option of attaching a spare tire outside the passenger door. Of course, this will not enable you to pose the door open so a choice does have to be made fairly early in the build process.
This is a curbside and so though there is a lot of chassis detailing, the engine only has enough to make it believable from the underside. It looks like the most difficult part of the build may be the attachment of the canvas top and side curtains. It would have been nice to have the option of having the top down in the front as well and perhaps it is simply enough to leave the top pieces off during the build. Some kit modifications need to be made if either of the doors is to be displayed open.
In addition, you get two figures; a driver and loader, a selection of oil or gasoline drums, a tool kit and some aircraft chocks of various sizes. Obviously, Hasegawa expects this to be part of an airfield scene.
Instructions are typical Hasegawa with Gunze paint references. You can do either an Army or Navy truck, differing only in the license plates and radiator badge used. Both are in brown shades that need to be mixed and judging from the mix ratios, both are different shades. The top is a linen or canvas color. A small decal sheet is supplied as well.
Another interesting subject both for truck modelers, military vehicle modelers and those wanting a neat diorama addition. I'm sure we will be seeing other variations on this chassis in the near future.
My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local retailer or on-line store.
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