Type 97 Shinhoto CHI-HA
Kit #FM21 - Kit #35137
Review by Terry Ashley
The Finemolds turret has the upper shell in one piece with separate rear panel with separate escape hatch as well as separate Commander’s cupola, loader’s hatch and right side hatch with the lower ring and bustle underside also separate parts. There are also quite thin separate grab handles for the hatches to add nice definition and care will be needed when removing these from the sprues as they are quite delicate.
The turret features subtle weld seams on the top panel but the rivets on the sides again appear a little undersized when compared to photos. The cupola has a lower ring with additional top hatch ring with separate split hatches with these and the Loader’s hatch having nice interior detail without any pin marks to contend with.
The cupola also has six clear pericopes added to the insides that can be seen when the hatches are left open and there is the bolted cupola ring engraved on the turret roof. On the roof the Commander’s periscope is a separate part as is the MG mounting on the left side.
The Tamiya turret is split in two halves with a separate roof and real panel but the turret is about 1mm too narrow at the top which is not a lot but as the separate two part cupola is the correct size it means the Loader’s hatch is undersized to fit into the reduced space. The Commander’s periscope moulded with the roof doesn’t have any detail and there is the MG mounting on the left side as well as an anti-aircraft MG included if you want to add this but note this was rarely used.
The Tamiya Loader’s and Commander’s hatches have separate grab handles which are not as thin as the Finemolds handles but the cupola hatches are moulded closed and you have to cut these in half if showing open but there is no internal detail so it may be better to leave closed.
The fit of all turret parts was excellent but make sure you use the right turret ring as there are two in the kit.
The Finemolds main gun comes complete with a nine part inner breech that is nicely detailed and matches the drawings in the Ground Power magazine very well with the outer gun having a two part mounting and the barrel in one piece with separate end cap which is a larger diameter than the barrel as it should be. Finemolds have also released (or are about too) a metal barrel for this kit which will be a straight replacement to the plastic barrel if you prefer metal barrels.
The breech and outer gun are attached to the square mantlet that is trapped to the separate turret front gun mounting which has subtle casting texture included allowing the gun to elevate and the fit of the mounting to the turret is again very good.
The Tamiya main gun has the outer mounting and barrel with separate end cap only which is adequate and this is trapped inside the gun mounting allowing elevation
There is a minor issue with the Finemolds and Tamiya mountings due to the constraints of injection moulding with the large side trunnion attachment screws not being well defined. There are also two indentations on the right side for the screws and these are slightly in the wrong place but it’s virtually impossible to do anything about them in any case and they don’t detract from the overall impression when the turret is assembled.
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Page created December 26, 2006