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Type 2 (Ka-Mi) w/Floating Pontoon Late Production

DML 1/72 Type 2 (Ka-Mi) w/Floating Pontoon Late Production First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review November 2013 Manufacturer DML
Subject Type 2 (Ka-Mi) w/Floating Pontoon Late Production Scale 1/72
Kit Number 7486 Primary Media 78 parts (75 in grey styrene, 2 DS Plastic tracks, 1 etched brass)
Pros Modified kit of this vehicle now builds the late model with split bow pontoons; wise inclusion of DS Plastic track avoids frustration with itty-bitty single links Cons

No major items of note

Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $16.95

First Look

As it did with the spinoff of its 1/35 scale Ka-Mi kit, DML has now produced a late model kit with different parts to provide for the final version with a split front pontoon vice the one-piece pontoon in the earlier kit (No 7485).

As noted before in the review of that kit, the Japanese had a unique approach to amphibious tanks. While they made their amphibious tanks much larger than their land-based counterparts like the Type 95 Ha-Go, they simply attached large pontoons at the front and rear to give them the sea-going buoyancy they needed. The Type 2 Ka-Mi (a 1942 design) was one of the more prolific ones, with about 185 of them being built during the war. It did mount a 37mm cannon and two 7.7mm machine guns, one of which could only be used when the bow pontoon was dropped. The vehicle weighed 13 tons with the pontoons mounted, and 10 when they were dropped.

Using mechanical components from the land-based Type 95, the Type 2 used a new hull design with pontoons held in place with "claw" type clamps that could be jettisoned from inside the tank when the vehicle no longer needed them. Divided into separate compartments, the pontoons gave excellent buoyancy at sea and proved to be effective. However, like its Soviet counterparts, the tank portion proved to be quite vulnerable to enemy antitank measures and could be penetrated by everything in the US arsenal above .30 caliber. Coming in to service too late to be effective in its design beach reconnaissance and assault functions, the Type 2 tanks were forced to fight on land which was not their strong suit. As a result, they were encounterd by US forces starting in 1943 who quickly eliminated them where encountered. Only a single example captured by the Soviets (with its pontoons!) exists today in the Kubinka Museum in Russia.

As it now comes with the bulky pontoons, the new version is a much larger vehicle and will be about the size of a Tiger II when completed.

The kit replicates the previous release (No. 7485) but adds a complete supplemental "A" sprue of 27 parts with the bow and stern pontoon sections, the wading intake and control tower, and all necessary fittings. Note that this kit will build both the early single pontoon and late split pontoon variants. As they have been molded complete, and not simply "stick-on" parts, the modeler may show the model in the process of dropping its pontoons for combat which is a nice option. The split pontoon version comes with the inner sides so it can be shown with the pontoons dropped to either side of the bow.

This kit has the road wheels as two piece bogie assemblies with all other wheels being separate. The lower hull is slide molded with all details in place for the suspension mounts. The upper hull is nicely done with "see-through" grilles on the engine deck.

Propellers and shafts are separate parts and very petite, but none of the "claw" assemblies of the larger kit are provided. While the 7.7mm machine guns are complete, and part of the turret race is replicated, only a barrel is provided for the main gun. The exhaust guard is provided as an etched brass grating, however.

The DS Tracks once again now come with an installation guide noting they should be 137mm long for proper fit. The ones in the review sample were right at 137mm.

Four (five) marking options are provided, all vehicles in IJN green: Vehicles 651 or 652, Ormoc, Leyte 1944 (white numbers); Vehicle 501, Kurile Islands, 1944 (white numbers); Vehicle 179, Unidentified Unit 1944 (white numbers); Unknown vehicle, Unidentified Unit 1945 (white rectangle on sides of turret). Decals are a tiny targeted set from Cartograph.

Overall this matches its "big brother" for quality and should be a popular model to match the previous DML Type 2, Type 95 and Type 97 models in 1/72.

Thanks to DML for the review sample.

Sprue Layout:

  • A 46 Turret, suspension
  • A 27 Bow and stern pontoons, rudders, seakeeping towers
  • X 1 Upper hull
  • Y 1 Lower hull
  • Z 2 DS Plastic track runs
  • MA 1 Etched brass