by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
The range of WW2 vehicle kits with tie-ins for 1/48 scale aviation modelling continues to expand with Hasegawa's latest release - a double pack containing the Type 95 Kurogane and Isuzu TX40 Type 97 truck.
The two kits are bagged separately in one large box and comprise:
73 x sand-coloured styrene parts
9 x clear stryrene parts
108 x sand-coloured styrene parts
8 x clear stryrene parts
A single decal sheet is provided with markings for both vehicles.
As you'd hope with a new Hasegawa, the moulding is basically flawless. There's no sign of any sink marks and ejector-pin marks are kept mostly out of sight. Mould separation lines are very light, so clean-up should be quick and painless.
Type 95 KuroganeHasegawa's kit will obviously be compared with the recent Tamiya version. Jean-Luc Formery summed up the differences between the two kits neatly in the Forum:
"You want an easy kit? Pick up the Tamiya version.
You want more detail? Choose the Hasegawa one.".
Hasegawa include some of the details that Tamiya passed over; there's a full engine (although there's no option to open the bonnet to display it) and the suspension is more detailed. The wheels are very different, with prominent tyre treads which seem much more in keeping with the original vehicle's 4x4 off-road capability.
As in the rival kit, the body is still moulded with both doors closed, but at least Hasegawa have moulded some detail on the inside of the shell. The floor includes such items as pedals and a battery, while the dashboard has raised bezels plus decals for the instrument faces, which should look better close-up than Tamiya's decal-only approach.
One thing I bemoaned in the Tamiya Kurogane was the way they'd moulded the soft-top stays integrally with the side windows. Frustratingly, Hasegawa have done exactly the same(!) - although their parts breakdown avoids awkward seams to fill across the roof itself.
Whereas Tamiya included a lovely little etched anchor Navy badge (ironically not needed in the version presently kitted), Hasegawa 's badges on the Kurogane and TX40 are moulded styrene, which obviously can't match the etched version for delicacy.
Hasegawa provide a pair of seated figures - a driver and a passenger manning a Type 96 machine gun. The detail on both figures is pretty good, but the machine-gunner is going to be of rather limited use for most aircraft scenes. To mount the machine gun, the windscreen comprises a separate frame and clear inserts. The gunner's side can be hinged up, but the photo on the box top makes the glass look about two scale inches thick. Along with the machine gun, there's also a rifle provided and the final accessory to round things off is a binocular artillery scope.
Type 97 TruckThe Isuzu TX40 first appeared as a fuel bowser with the recent Ki-45. The version included here is the standard truck with an optional soft-top.
Unlike the Kurogane, there's no engine provided, but the chassis is neatly detailed and the cab is again complete with pedals and raised dashboard details ready for decal instruments. This time there's the option to model the driver's door open. While the separate door has interior details, the body shell itself is bare. Bizarrely, if the door is posed open, spare wheel can't be fitted - surely this wasn't true on the full-sized truck?
The truck's cargo space has a planked wood-grain finish and optional side rail or raised soft-top. The tail gate is moulded shut and will need some tricky cutting if you want to open it. The canvas roof is fair, but lacks any interior detail and looks a bit heavy around the rear opening.
There's once again a pair of figures - this time a seated driver and a mechanic manhandling on of the four fuel drums included. The final accessory is a neatly detailed tool box that should prove very handy in airfield dioramas.
Instructions and decalsEach kit has it's own separate sheet of instructions which are clearly illustrated in typical Hasegawa style. As usual, colour matches are for Gunze Sangyo paints. In both cases, assembly looks pretty straightforward and the kits shouldn't cause any problems for most modellers.
There are Army and Navy schemes for both the Kurogane and TX40 and the shared decal sheet includes a selection of badges and number plates. The decals look good quality and there are plenty of numbers included in several sizes, but the carrier film is quite thick and extends across the rows of numbers.
ConclusionThis is a good kit that should prove deservedly popular. Selling at over £20, it may seem a little pricey, but it actually works out about the same, or slightly cheaper than a pair of comparable Tamiya vehicles. Nevertheless, I'd still prefer the option to buy the Kurogane and TX40 separately. Maybe that option will appear in future releases. As it stands though, Hasegawa's dual kit will provide plenty of possibilities for WW2 Japanese airfield scenes.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.