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Armor/AFV: Braille Scale
1/72 and 1/76 Scale Armor and AFVs.
Hosted by Darren Baker
Type 97 Chi Ha (Early)
tread_geek
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Posted: Friday, March 02, 2012 - 07:15 AM UTC
Greetings fellow Braille Scalers. I am currently doing a build review of the new release of the Dragon Type 97 Chi Ha Early Production tank. I wasn't originally intending to post anything here but since it is entered in the "Dragon Out of the Box" campaign I though I'd share some of it with the community. In a sense this is what they call a "Spoiler" and you'll have to read the full review when it comes out for any specifics and more pictures.



As you can see, this is the "Early Production" Type 97 Chi Ha. I have built (the Blog is in this forum) and reviewed their offering of the late production version and this one shares 90+% of the same parts. There is a new upper hull, rear hull, revised stowage and a number of other parts on a new smaller sprue.

As with the previous kit, there are a few things that I wanted to correct. The most glaring is that the lightening holes on the rear idler only appear on the front-most wheel.



With trusty pin-vice in hand I drilled the holes through the back disk of the idlers.



I had some problems with the front hull drivers plate on the last build so I attempted that next. The fit was MUCH better on the new hull.



Last for this instalment is a muffler and its guard piece being attached. The pegs and locating holes were much better than the last version. In the picture below you can see some of the differences in the early and late rear hull top.



Comments or questions, cheerfully accepted.

Cheers,
Jan
tread_geek
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Posted: Saturday, March 03, 2012 - 04:28 AM UTC
Work on the Type 97 continues. The mufflers and their associated PE guards are in place. I had tried to use one muffler as a template for bending the PE but it just wasn't working (so small it was hard to hold down). Best option was to make a crude square template out of Evergreen sheet stock to form the guards into their rough shape. Here's the mufflers with their guards in place.



Progressing I decided to attach the covers over the side engine compartment louvers. Each cover requires two supports that are barely 2 mm long. To add to this, the front ones are infinitesimally longer than the rear most. This is due to the engine deck having a slight slant to it.There are various items to attach to the rear plate. Fit was good but the parts are positively tiny.

Here you can see the tiny supports and parts added to the rear.



With the louvre cover attached. The jack had to be put on before the cover was glued or it wouldn't have fit.



More to follow.

Cheers,
Jan
erhntly
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Posted: Saturday, March 03, 2012 - 04:56 AM UTC
Hi Jan,

a good start watching with pleasure.

C[ ]

(This section was silent.
Continue to move ...
I'll be )
weathering_one
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Posted: Saturday, March 03, 2012 - 06:03 AM UTC
It's been awfully quite in this forum lately so it's nice to see a couple of blogs pop up. Where have all the Braille builders been hiding? I followed your last build of the other version so this one will be interesting. Looks like it's coming together quite cleanly and you haven't mentioned any major problems so far. I will be watching this one.

Regards,
Aj
tread_geek
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Posted: Saturday, March 03, 2012 - 09:03 AM UTC
@Erhntly - thanks for dropping in to have a look and commenting.

@AJB - I agree that this forum has been rather sparse with posts lately. The only real issue with this kit so far has been dealing with the tiny pegs that hold up the louvre covers. Everything else so far has been about the same as I list in the Late version review.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

While waiting for certain parts to dry I tackled the turret of the Early Chi Ha. Nothing really overly new here other than what I noted in the previous build. The main gun is still rather nicely detailed even though you can't see much of it. After a bit of research I learned that these Chi Ha turrets had no turret basket or even floor. The floor was just the hull floor plate. From one source it was stated that there weren't even any crew seats. When traversing the turret the crew had to step over the drive shaft and any other obstacles on the floor.

One thing that I did do is open up the small vision holes on the turret sides. THe moulded on ones were too shallow to make a difference. Just for interest, these "holes" had a swivel armour plate to cover them up.







The main cupola was next but before I glued it on I had to attach the PE vision slit pieces. There are only four but really tiny. I marked where they were to go with a fine point marker.





So far it's coming along faster than the first one.

Cheers,
Jan
tread_geek
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Posted: Sunday, March 04, 2012 - 06:42 AM UTC

Got more free time and worked some more on the Type 97 Early. Got the modified idlers on, the return rollers and sprayed the beast with a base coat. In the pictures where the upper and lower hulls are shown together its just "dry fit."





Here's a shot with a better view of the back of the idlers.



In the next pictures the MG pintle is on and so is the frame antenna. This kit's antenna was a little warped out of the box so it took a bit of fiddling (judicious bending) to get it on.




Next up is to start on the camouflage and then I can finish the suspension.

Cheers,
Jan
tread_geek
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Posted: Friday, March 09, 2012 - 09:40 AM UTC
Greettings all! It's been a while but real life and preparations for an upcoming show kept me diverted from the Chi Ha. I sprayed some preliminary IJA Green on the base coat but ran out of the colour. As luck would have it, the LHS was out of several Tamiya colours also. Here's where I got with the green:





Yesterday I decided to do a bit of the brown and guess what! Yup, ran out of that. Decided to start on the suspension a bit and got the four single road wheels on. They're the ones without any inside detail but at least they fit perfectly.









That's it for now and I'll see about getting the rest of the suspension done over the weekend.

Cheers,
Jan
weathering_one
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Posted: Sunday, March 11, 2012 - 05:59 AM UTC
I see that you are at it again, Jan! It's coming along but it doesn't look that much different from the other one you reviewed. How's this one going together or do we have to wait for the review to find out?

Regards,
AJ
vonHengest
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Posted: Sunday, March 11, 2012 - 06:18 AM UTC
Loving the build Jan, it's great to see older Japanese armor in any scale. The fidelity of the mesh is wrong for the scale, but that would be hard to reproduce properly. They look better when painted for sure. I was also going to drill the holes for the idler wheels, just like I've done with the road wheels on the older T-34 kits. It really helps
tread_geek
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Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2012 - 06:49 AM UTC
Greetings all.

The actual full review has been submitted and should be up shortly. As I didn't totally complete the build (decals, weathering), you'll have to wait for that until I post here.

@AJB - All the details about construction will be in the review but I'll say that the build wasn't too much different from the first Dragon issue.

@vonHengest - Thanks Jeremy and yes, these older Japanese subjects are definitely an interesting change from the norm. I'm glad if something about this blog or the review is found helpful to others. When I first got back into the hobby I found these types of things very enlightening.

As for the muffler screens, I guess all we can say is that they are much better than a piece of solid plastic with some lines on it. Just a though but I won't be surprised to see another Chi Ha variant or two released in the future. There are a couple of "features" on the new upper hull that make me think this.

_________________________Progress_________________________

First up is a couple of comparison shots between the Late and early versions.





As you can see, all the difference is in the rear of the tank. Next are two pictures from the upcoming review of the model with all the parts on. The two hatches are just dry fit for the pictures as I'm not sure how I'll display them (open, closed or one of each). Due to an unfortunate accident with my older airbrush, I had to strip the model and redo the paint. I still have a couple of spots to touch up so no decals or other work until after that is done.





That's it for now, comments and questions always welcome.

Cheers,
Jan
Braille
#135
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Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2012 - 11:16 AM UTC
@tread_geek – Jan,

The twin Type 97 (early production) is coming along nicely. Hopefully Dragon will release more WWII Japanese armor subjects along with various vehicles and figures.


Quoted Text

One thing that I did do is open up the small vision holes on the turret sides. The molded on ones were too shallow to make a difference. Just for interest, these “holes” had a swivel armor plate to cover them up.


WHAT! No armor glass!


Quoted Text

With trusty pin-vise in hand I drilled the holes through the back disk of the idlers.


Jan, I like what you did here as it helps put in left out detail that could easily been seen on the completed model. I could see some bur left over from the drilling on the inside of the idler wheels. The tracks will go a long ways to hide this but only where the tracks come to rest on the idlers leaving half the wheel exposed to the viewers.

What I do in this type of situation is to start with a smaller diameter drill on the first pass, just as you have done and then follow it with a larger diameter drill (final size of hole) but drill from the opposite side to help eliminate the burs on the inside areas of the idlers. In this case you would be making your second pass with the larger diameter drill starting from the face of the rear most wheels. Go slowly on this pass, as this will help the drill pull the plastic towards itself. Any left over burs can be sanded away with a small piece of medium grit sandpaper. Hope I’ve explained that right?

You’re doing a good job on this build, try not to run out of paint!

~ Eddy
vonHengest
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Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2012 - 12:18 PM UTC
Jan: I agree about the mesh covers, and I also like to open the vision ports on any scale. I find that it really helps with the Russian tanks, I'll make sure I do it with these as well.

Eddy: Good thought! I have been taking the same approach as Jan in hopes that the holes would be lined up properly. I will give your technique a try and see if I'm happy enough with my skills to do it again.
tread_geek
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Posted: Monday, March 19, 2012 - 05:31 AM UTC
@Braille-Eddy,


Quoted Text

The twin Type 97 (early production) is coming along nicely. Hopefully Dragon will release more WWII Japanese armor subjects along with various vehicles and figures.



Thanks and one can only wish that your hope materializes. With the original Chi Ha kit I suggested that we might see another version sooner than later. At the time I was thinking along the lines of the "Shinhoto" with the 47 mm gun. This "Early" kit totally took me by surprise. As I point out earlier in this thread, there are some moulding features on the "Early" upper hull that have me speculating that we might soon see yet another version of the type 97.


Quoted Text

WHAT! No armor glass!



I recall that you broached this subject in my Type 97 Chi Ha Blog pertaining to the original release. It seemed to raise quite a discussion on the topic. For those interested, it starts about half way down page "1".


Quoted Text

Jan, I like what you did here as it helps put in left out detail that could easily been seen on the completed model. I could see some bur left over from the drilling on the inside of the idler wheels. The tracks will go a long ways to hide this but only where the tracks come to rest on the idlers leaving half the wheel exposed to the viewers.



Not to worry Eddy. The build is not yet totally finished. I had scraped the inner surfaces of the idler with an Excel Super Sharp blade and cleaned up the back of the inner disk with a super small needle file. There is a bit more to do but I wanted to get the tracks on and take pictures so the review could be sent in. The tracks will be removed when further finishing progresses.


Quoted Text

You’re doing a good job on this build, try not to run out of paint!



Thanks and rest assured that I have stocked up. The LHS finally got restocked and I took advantage of the full racks to make sure that my commonly used paints would be plentiful.

@vonHengest -


Quoted Text

Good thought! I have been taking the same approach as Jan in hopes that the holes would be lined up properly. I will give your technique a try and see if I'm happy enough with my skills to do it again.



I have tried the pilot hole with a smaller drill approach before but it didn't seem to work too well at keeping the holes aligned with these single piece slide moulded wheel pairs. At this time I felt that a drill bit of similar size to the original hole would allow the greatest "accuracy." That is not to say that where applicable, I don't first mark a spot where a hole will go with a fine needle, drill a pilot hole and then bore it out to a larger diameter. Then there are cases where one can ream out the smaller opening with a very fine needle file. Just another case where different situations require a different method as circumstances dictate.

Cheers,
Jan
Firefly74
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Posted: Monday, March 19, 2012 - 06:37 PM UTC
Looking good Jan!
Cheers,
Tim
tread_geek
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Posted: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 03:05 AM UTC
@Firefly74 - Appreciate you taking the time to comment, Tim. I haven't seen you around lately, how goes your M113 FSV build?

Cheers,
Jan
Firefly74
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Posted: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 12:23 PM UTC
Hi Jan. Have had a busy start to the year and decided to start playing Flames of War which has kept me busy building an 8th army force! I have only finished one braille scale build for the year so far which I will post soon. I will be picking up where I left off with the FSV soon, I'd really like to get it finished!
Cheers,
Tim
tread_geek
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Posted: Thursday, March 29, 2012 - 04:36 AM UTC
My build has languished a bit (been working on another build for an upcoming review amongst other things) but I managed to get a bit of work done yesterday. Mostly it was finishing the first part of painting the rubber portions on the suspension components and a tiny bit of pin washes here and there. Still a ways to go but some progress is better than none.









I just got the parts to repair my older Paasche airbrush and opted to modify it to accept their finest needle/point (from .3 mm to a .1 mm). I've been practising with it and will use it to revamp the upper camo a bit.

Cheers,
Jan
erhntly
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Posted: Thursday, March 29, 2012 - 08:17 AM UTC
Hi my friend,
I wish I knew better English, Its too late
I would like to talk to camo, "in my opinion", remains soft transitions overscale for braille scale...While 35 scale AFV
or 48 scale aircraft, airbrush is a good idea. But be careful for 72 scale AFV. Your workmanship is very good for airbrush. I'm sure you are make some retouch when repair your airbrush. I'm glad to watch your job and models, continue please..
regards.
tread_geek
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Posted: Friday, March 30, 2012 - 04:04 AM UTC
Not to worry, Erahan. Your English is fine when compared to my lack of Turkish. This build still has a way to go before I consider it finished. I will probably use masking for the final camo. This gave me a chance to practice with the airbrush and I still have lots to learn.

Bu, Google tercüme kullanarak yapabileceğiniz en iyisidir. Yorumlanması ve bu forum giderek tutmak için teşekkür ederiz.

Cheers,
Jan
Braille
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Posted: Saturday, March 31, 2012 - 10:43 AM UTC
@tread_geek – Jan,

Well I read through your review and left a comment for you. Now waiting to see if you’ll give us a shot with a coin by one of the idler wheels and track, for size comparison. Just so we could appreciate the fine detail and thin track on this really dinky little bitty tank! Oh, did I forget to mention the freehand applied airbrushed camouflage paint scheme in this scale? NICE!!! But I do agree with Erhan aka ‘erhntly’ about the camouflage, in that it may have been a hard-edged applied paint scheme, at least that's what is looks like on the box art?

Eddy
weathering_one
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Posted: Saturday, March 31, 2012 - 04:17 PM UTC
Jan,

I really like the fine spraying with the airbrush but I respectfully agree with the other two people that it might not suit this build. I believe that you had a picture of the first Type 97 in the other post of the late version with a Sherman. Could you do that with this one also? A question, I can't find a Dragon Chi Ha in my area shops, is the Airfix an early or late version?

Regards,
      AJ
tread_geek
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Posted: Sunday, April 01, 2012 - 04:42 AM UTC
@Braille and AJB -

Thanks for the comments and as I wrote earlier, the camo is in no way definite or set. Just another one of my ongoing experiments pertaining to this hobby. BTW, I recently read (can't remember the Web source) that Japanese tanks were hand painted at the factory.

Eddy, ask and ye shall, perhaps, receive! AJ was correct in that there are pictures of the Late version with a Sherman in its particular thread. There are also some images with the tank with a coin nearby. However, not with the tracks on. So without further ado, here are some size comparison photos.

WARNING - There are images in the group that will be a spoiler pertaining to a subject of an upcoming review.














One thing to note is that if you think the Type 97 is small, just imagine the Type 95 Ha Go (at 7.5 tons loaded).

AJ, the Airfix Chi Ha IS for all intents and purposes supposed to be an early version. I built one a long time ago and don't recall how it goes together. From looking at the old model, it's very close in size to the Dragon one even though it's 1/76 scale. As it is quite a dated mould I would expect certain problems and cruder detail. However, it is generally in the "ball park" as far as accuracy is concerned.

Cheers,
Jan
weathering_one
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Posted: Tuesday, April 03, 2012 - 03:40 PM UTC
Thanks for the info on the Airfix kit, Jan. I checked the sprues and they don't look too bad but I wonder about the tracks as they are quite twisted. It also doesn't have the supports for the overhanging plate in the rear or any tools. :-(

Your pictures show that same Sherman but I don't know the sand coloured tank.. German? When will the review be up as it looks kind of different.

Regards,
AJ
Braille
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Posted: Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - 07:45 PM UTC
@tread_geek – Jan,

Thanks for coming through and posting that coin next to that dinky little tiny tank, which now looks even smaller in size than I had thought it to be. You have an interesting line-up of tanks there. And all of them are the most prominent ones representing each of the countries that made them.

You have my curiosity aroused so I'll be on the look out for a review from you with this group shot to show up soon.

Eddy
tread_geek
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Posted: Thursday, April 05, 2012 - 03:51 AM UTC
@AJB - the little pegs should be easily doable by using stretched sprue. As for the tools, if you were to get one of these Dragon kits then one issue would be solved as the tools from the Late Production are on a sprue and marked as unused. The only one missing would be the jack.

@Braille - Happy to oblige, Eddy. The Sherman is the Dragon M4A2 "Tarawa" kit and the sand coloured one is the new Dragon Panzer IIIN and the review just went up yesterday. You can find it HERE. As an interesting side note that I read while researching the review, Germany sold Japan two Panzer III's in late 1942 but they didn't arrive until mid '43. The Japanese plan was to reverse engineer the Panzer but by that time the tide had turned against them and they put all their effort into ships and planes.

Cheers,
Jan