IJN Type 2 (Ka-Mi) Amphibious Tank

Kit #: 7435 Preview by Christopher Benjamin - christopherb214(at)msn(dot)com
Edited by Al Magnus

The IJN Type 2 (Ka-Mi) Amphibious tank is the first Japanese tank of this type with 184 built, all by hand. It is based on the suspension of the Ha-Go tank and could be launched from submarines and even carry torpedoes! It was mostly encountered in the Marshall Islands and Marianas, especially Guam, but they were usually dug-in. There is a surviving example with full pontoons at Kubinka, Moscow and a hull in the bush near an airport on the Island of Palau. [1]

On the box top we have the Ka-Mi in an aggressive mode, belching black smoke with another Ka-Mi behind. In the background is a grouping of Japanese troops. The artist of the box-top artwork can't be found. The box states there are around 45 pieces.

Upon opening the box, we can see it's mostly full of air. The kit only comprises one sprue, hull top and bottom and header card with tracks, small sheet of decals and one tiny photo-etch square of screen taped to the card in typical Dragon fashion. This is a small kit, the top hull only measuring roughly 2 3/4 inches long. A lot of empty space in the box should be expected this time.

The instructions show the kit being assembled in four very largely printed steps that could be compressed into three as as the fourth step is only adding tracks and the assembled turret. You can have your Ka-Mi tank in any color; as long it is dark grey. Two marking schemes are provided. One on Saipan in '44 with the rising sun flag on the turret, and "601" from Aitape, July-August 1944.

While taking the parts out of the baggies for photographing, I played with the fit of the upper and lower hull halves. They seem to have a snap-tight fitting, but without pushing hard I noticed you may end up with the sponson pieces peeking out underneath the hull. Attention will be needed here. I also took note as you will, of the strange attention to detail when it's not needed and a lack of detail where it certainly could be used. Two beautiful machine guns with ammo mags popped out at me, but the hull machine gun location hole is not even drilled out to receive it. With the top turret hatch open maybe the idea was the other machine gun would be visible, but Dragon did not make a breech for the main gun, which would also be visible.

This will be a great weekend builder or even quicker. A Ka-Mi with full pontoons is expected soon, and should help fill the otherwise nearly empty box.


[1] Wikipedia

Review sample purchased by the author.

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Article Last Updated: 14 February 2013