|KIT #:||FM 29|
|DECALS:||Several fictitious options|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Type 3 medium tank Chi-Nu was developed to cope with the American M4 Sherman after it was clear that the Type 1 Chi-He design was still inadequate. The Army Technical Bureau had been working on the Type 4 Chi-To medium tank as the counter to the M4 Sherman, but there were problems and delays in the program, and as a result a stopgap tank was required. Development on the Type 3 Chi-Nu started in May 1943 and was finished by October, just six months later. The low priority given to tank production by 1943 meant that the Type 3 did not enter actually enter production until 1944, by which time raw materials were in very short supply, and much of Japan's industrial infrastructure had been destroyed by American bombing.
A total of 166 units were produced (55 units in 1944, 111 units in 1945). The Type 3 Chi-Nu was the last tank that was fielded by the Imperial Japanese armed forces, and was still being produced at the end of the war. All Type 3 tanks were being held in Japan to confront Allied invasions forces and never saw combat.
The kit is superbly molded in a light brown plastic. I found no flash, no sink areas and while there were a lot of ejector pin marks, they were all on one side of a part and I believe that most if not all will be hidden once the kit is built.
Fine Molds does not provide parts layout guides, but it is apparent to me that there are parts for the short-barreled version in with this kit. Whether that can be built from this kit is unknown. As tank kits go, this one appears to be pretty simple. The suspension and road wheels provide a lot of the parts, but not as many as on some tanks. The tracks are a single length of vinyl or perhaps deformable styrene, which would be nice. Aside from a rotating turret, the only options I see are the ability to have the various shutters over the viewing ports open or closed. There is no interior so no reason to have the hatches open, though one can if one wishes to place figures in there.
Instructions are well done and show any options (which are quite limited) that can be done. A few bits need to be modified by removing tiny areas. Most of the instructions are in Japanese with only a few color call-outs in English. Color references are by Gunze or Tamiya paints. Most of the exterior colors are referenced to a Gunze Japanese Army Paint Set that will be difficult to obtain in some areas so one will need to rely on the box art for help. All five markings options are fictitious and in various solid and variegated camouflage schemes using the afore-mentioned paint set. The small decal sheet is well printed and should prove no problem.
Another excellent kit from Fine Molds. Their choices of subjects is one that has been well recieved as Japanese armor gets very little from the more widely known kit makers. It helps that Fine Molds prides themselves on accuracy and this one looks to be the best on the market.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours at your local shop or on-line retailer while the getting is good.
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