Type 97 Shinhoto CHI-HA
Kit #FM21 - Kit #35137
Review by Terry Ashley
Both the kits have one piece upper hulls with separate central superstructure plate with the sides included with the superstructure on the Tamiya kit but included with the hull and just the top plate separate on the Finemolds kit but this just semantics with both arriving at the same result.
The rivet heads on the Finemolds hull are better sized than on lower hull and the front hull inspection hatches and rear side engine compartment doors are also separate parts on the Finemolds hull but moulded with the hull on the Tamiya kit. This results in the air outlet grills being included on the Finemolds fenders for very good detail and the rear engine deck inspection door is also separate on both kits.
The central engine deck has a separate grill panel and includes the inner radiator and there is little difference between the two apart from very minor details and of course you would paint the radiator before attaching the outer grills.
The separate rear inspection door is slightly larger on the Finemolds kit and this better matches the size seen in available photos but the difference is only marginal.
The curved front Driver’s plate is a separate part on both kits with well done contours and both have separate driver’s visor flap and hull 7.7mm machine guns with the Tamiya gun being slightly bigger but hardly noticeable unless compared side by side.
Detail on the front plate is rendered slightly different with the bracket around the machine gun have different contours and photos show both styles in use and the Tamiya panel also has a weld seam down the middle which isn’t on the Finemolds panel but none of my reference photos are clear enough to show this area of the panel.
The rivet heads on the Tamiya panel look more the correct size when visually comparing the photos and there is one rivet missing from the right of the Driver’s visor on the Finemolds panel with this rivet appearing on all photos seen of the front panel.
The two front hull panels should sit flush when closed on the Finemolds hull but the outer hinged sides sit up a little and opening out the hinge recesses a little will fix this. The raised star situated in the middle of the front place to moulded in place on the Tamiya hull but is a separate part on the Finemolds hull as this is not present on many photos of the later CHI-HAs and you can add this depending on the vehicle being modelled with the Finemolds instructions indicating which scheme should have the star fitted.
The tools on both kits come with moulded on tool clips and the large jack on the right rear fender is two parts each with the Finemolds kits including additional separate mounting bracket and clips as well as the aerial mounting on the left side not present in the Tamiya kit.
At the back is the large square storage box which is included in both kits with separate lid and moulded plastic tow cable but the Finemolds kit also includes the cable brackets as separate parts if you want to show the box without the cable fitted.
The fit of the hull panels was very good on both kits without the need for any trimming (apart from the front Finemolds hatches as mentioned) and the fit of the upper and lower hulls was also very good on both kits making for very quick and easy assembly when you don’t have to worry about ill fitting parts.
Click on each headings below for a detail look as those sections:
Upper Hull: (This page.)
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Page created December 26, 2006