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Type 74 MBT

Trumpeter 1/72 Type 74 MBT JGSDF

By Bill Kruger

Date of Review July 2005 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject Type 74 MBT JGSDF Scale 1/72
Kit Number 7218 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Very nice detailing Cons Hull halves length - see narrative
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $12.95


The Type 74 Main Battle Tank was manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and carries a 105mm L7 type rifled tank gun that was manufactured under license from Great Britain. It was a typically Japanese style tank carrying many Japanese originated ideas. It includes a hydro pneumatic suspension system, which makes the vehicle excellent for operation over the rugged Japanese terrain. Armament includes a .50 caliber anti-aircraft machine gun and six smoke dischargers. The Type 74 tank was adopted into the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force in the early 1980’s. It has since been superseded by the Type 90 Main Battle Tank.

The Kit

Type 74 MBT

Trumpeter’s offering comes in a lid and tray type of box, with a color painting of the tank on a white background. Sides of the box show color drawings of the tank from different angles. The kit consists of approximately 140 injection-molded plastic pieces on 5 dark green trees, and one of light gray. Also included are “rubber band” style tracks and a decal sheet. Most of the plastic trees are enclosed in clear cello bags, the upper and lower hull pieces are packed separately.

Noted on the instruction sheet, but not found in my box, are a sheet of clear plastic film and a run of “rope.” Evidently, the clear sheet was lost before I received the kit; I am not sure what happened to the “rope.” The instructions consist of a 10-page multi-folded sheet which breaks down the construction into 16 steps. Included is a “painting and marking guide” which shows the placement of decals as well as the paint colors to be used. The recommended paint brand is Gunze Sangyo Mr. Color. Unfortunately, other than paint color numbers, there is no other description or definition of the colors to be used. As a result, one is forced to go elsewhere to find correct colors to be used, which isn’t all bad anyway.


Type 74 MBT

This is the first Trumpeter kit that I have had the pleasure of building. The construction begins with the assembly of the rubber band tracks. I chose to delay this until later in the build, and went on to the assembly of the road wheels, idler wheels and drive sprockets. Following this is the assembly of the wheels to the lower hull of the tank.

Because of the camouflage pattern used by the JGSDF, I chose to paint the wheels and lower hull now, before the assembly of the track. I found several references to this tank on the Internet and a couple with color photographs of the camo pattern. For this, I used Dark Green and Dark Earth colors by Testors Acryl. During the initial painting process, I discovered that the mold release agents used by Trumpeter must be pretty thick. I had to re-wash the kit several times to allow the paint to adhere properly.

The tracks go together well, but are way too large for the model. The ones I had hung way over the road wheels. I was able to glue them down so they have a more realistic appearance.

After the assembly of the tracks, construction continues with the assembly of the upper hull parts. This includes the muffler housing, exhaust pipes and front hatch cover. The next few steps will complete the assembly of the upper hull. The construction is very straight forward and no problems were encountered.

Type 74 MBT

From here, you move on to the construction of the turret and gun. Most of this construction is easy. There is a framework that is built at the rear of the turret that is a little dicey, but if you take it slow, it will come out looking nice. With the turret, the kit provides options for hatches closed or opened. You can choose from three different hatch styles for each opening. According to the instructions, one hatch is for the tank commander and the other is for the gunner. I left just one hatch partially open (tank commander’s) with the hatch door option opened at 90 degrees.

For the main gun, you also have two choices. Each gun is molded as one piece, so it looks more realistic than one where halves are glued together. I am not sure what the difference in the gun options are, so I chose the one that I thought looked better.

The final few steps include the assembly of the .50 caliber machine gun and the infrared projector. The clear plastic sheet is used as a glass cover for the projector. I was able to find a piece of clear plastic in my spares box to substitute for the one that was missing.

Type 74 MBT

After completing these assemblies, you are ready to attach the turret to the hull assembly. When this is done, the tank is completed except for final painting and decal work. I painted my model before finishing work on the upper hull. This included the assembly of tools, spare tread, and “rope.” For my rope, I was able to make a thin piece of plastic sprue and attach it to the upper hull. I also used stretched sprue for the antenna on the turret.

I followed the “Painting and Marking Guide” in the instructions for the decals to be used and their placement. There are several options of decals, but unfortunately, no explanation or description of their meaning or unit designation. This is usually expected and should be rectified by Trumpeter. The decals went on fine with no setting solution required.

My final step in the construction was the assembly and painting of one of the crew members. I used my best guess in painting, using Testors Acryl Khaki for the clothing. After painting, I placed the commander inside his hatch.


Type 74 MBT

I enjoyed putting this model together. It is a fun build and goes together pretty easily. The only difficulties I encountered were the multitude of small parts, the tracks which are too long, the lack of any description for colors (other than Gunze Sangyo numbers), the need for several complete and thorough washings, and an explanation/description in the instructions for the various unit designations on the decal sheet.

I would recommend this kit to anyone with an interest in modern Japanese armor, or modern armor in general. My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!

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