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Paul A H

IBG
Type 89 Japanese Medium Tank Kou (gasoline early) - 1:72 IBG Models

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Type 89 Japanese Medium Tank Kou (gasoline early)

1:72 IBG Models

 

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The Type 89 I-Go was a medium tank employed by the Imperial Japanese Army between 1932 and 1942. It has the distinction of being the first mass-production diesel-engined tank, although the version depicted in this kit is the early petrol-engined version. Armed with a 57mm main gun, the Type 89 proved to be effective against enemy fortifications in campaigns in Manchuria and China. Despite being upgraded and modernised at various points during its life, such as with the addition of a radio, it was still a fundamentally 1920s design and was considered obsolete by the outbreak of the Second World War. The first variant to be depicted by IBG was one of the earlier petrol powered variants with the later turret and tracks/running gear. Now they have turned their attention to the earlier petrol powered version with the earlier turret.

 

In usual IBG style The kit arrives packed into a surprisingly large top-opening box (I've worked out that their boxes are a standard size, regardless of the volume of plastic contained within) inside which are a large number of sprues of crisply moulded grey plastic. Just because this producer hails from central/eastern Europe, don't think for a moment that this is a limited run kit. It has all the hallmarks of a cutting edge kit, with high quality, slide moulded parts as good as those from any other mainstream producer. Also included is  a decal sheet, a small fret of brass parts and colour instructions. All-in-all, it looks like a quality package.

 

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Construction starts with the suspension and running gear. The road wheels are split into inner and outer faces which fit either side of the pre-moulded leaf spring suspension units. The suspension and road wheels fit onto the floor of the hull, which then joins onto the box-like structure of the upper hull. The glacis plate is moulded separately. The drive sprocket fits into the side of the hull, while the idler fits into the side skirts before being joined to the hull along with the return rollers. The tracks are very nicely rendered and are of the link and length variety, for which I have a strong preference. Construction of the running gear and tracks looks like it will be quite labour intensive, but IBG have made some use of slide moulding in order to reduce the part count whilst retaining a very good level of detail. 

 

With the hull, running gear and tracks assembled, construction turns to details such as the fenders and stowage boxes. These have to be fitted to the sides and rear of the hull. Naturally smaller details such as tools are all moulded separately, which is great for detail-hungry modellers. A rather nice exhaust is included, as well as photo etched parts for the exhaust shroud. This is a shrewd move, as such a part could not be realistically recreated from injection moulded plastic.

 

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The turret is made up of six parts, including the rather puny main gun and rear-firing machine gun. The muzzle of the gun has been manufactured using a multi-part mould to save the modeller having to drill out the opening. The commander's hatch can be finished in either open or closed positions. For once you can actually take advantage of this feature because IBG have thoughtfully included two crew figures – and very nice they are too – although they are not mentioned in the instructions and don't even feature on the diagram that shows the layout of the sprues.

 

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Two marking options are shown in the instructions, a Type 89 tank of an unknown IJA unit, based in China in the 1930s and a tank of the Special Navy Landing Forces, IJN, based in Shanghai in the 1930s. The decal sheet itself is nicely printed.

 

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Conclusion

 

I really enjoyed reviewing IBG's recent small scale armour kits, so it's great to see them turn out another variant of their new Type 89. Detail is excellent and the quality of manufacture looks to be up there with the very best. The inclusion of photo etched parts and especially the crew figures is very welcome too. Highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of IBG Models logo.gif


 

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Dammit that looks so nice.....But all my other Japanese stuff is in 1/76!  :wall:

 

A curse on Airfix and their dead-scale fanatics.....They've blighted us all for too long!  :pope::viking::jump_fire:

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