Fine Molds 1/35 Kurogane Type 95 Scout Car

KIT #: FM 50
PRICE: 3000 yen SRP
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New tool kit (2017)


The Type 95 was a Japanese scout car built by Tokyu Kurogane Industries (東急くろがね工業 Tōkyū Kurogane Kōgyō?), and was used during the war with China and World War II in the East. Between 1936 and 1944 approximately 4,700 were built. It was the only completely Japanese designed reconnaissance car ever used by the Imperial Japanese Army, which tended to use civilian cars.

It is the world's first four-wheel-drive passenger vehicle placed into mass production before the Willys MB (Jeep), which was introduced in 1941, the Daimler Dingo in 1940, the Volkswagen Schwimmwagen introduced in 1942, and the GAZ-61 in 1938. Its nickname is the "Yonki" (よんき) which in Japanese means "woodpecker". In the field, soldiers often called it the "daruma".

An interesting tidbit is that it was powered by a V-twin engine displacing 1.3 or 1.4 liters. Of the 4, 775 built, only four are still extant in museums.


Some of you know that I have a fondness for wheeled military vehicles, so when I saw this for sale on a Japanese web site, I knew I had to get it. Besides, it was relatively inexpensive, and I know that Fine Molds kits are pricey in the US.

The olive brown plastic is superbly molded as one has come to expect from Fine Molds. The kit is not a curbside and does come with the air-cooled engine. Unlike Dragon and other kits, this one relies on quality molding not just parts count to provide detail. The kit provides a frame/interior floor/front wheel well piece on which all the various suspension parts are attached. There is a pretty complete exhaust system as well. Differentials and shocks are also nicely done.

Much of the smaller detail is limited to the interior pieces with separate controls and three one-piece seats. The windscreen has separate clear pieces that could be installed after painting the vehicle. Decals are used for instruments. The car body has separate sides, each containing a rear fender. Despite having a full engine, the bonnet is shown attached closed and no option to have it open is provided. The rear section fits between the two rear fender pieces. The top is molded down and there are separate doors provided. Wheels are a full outer wheel with most of the tire as one piece with a partial tire/inner wheel piece. The kit comes with a standing figure to provide scale.

Instructions are excellent with a nice color reference chart offering several paint options. Of course, everything is pretty much in Japanese so any interesting notes are illegible to most of us. There are four options, all in overall Japanese Army Khaki with red-brown seats and a tan top. All the vehicles are based in China or east Asia as apparently none of these were sent to the various Pacific islands. The nicely printed decal sheet offers pretty much just license plates and a couple of them have fender or door markings.


If you have an interest in this sort of vehicle, or just want something a bit different from the norm, then you should seriously consider getting this one. It should be a pretty easy build, especially as it has only 104 parts. Due to the juxtaposition of some of the parts, I would consider painting many of the subassemblies prior to assembly.


March 2017

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