It’s A What . . . ?

OK, this strange looking vehicle was finished alongside the Type 92 Combat Car, but since I only bought it in February it doesn’t qualify for the Neglected Model May challenge.  I think it deserves its own post anyway and I reckon Mark, who reads my blog in the US, would agree with me on this (check out his great retro sci-fi stuff here if you haven’t already)!


The vehicle is a Japanese Type SS engineering tank, dating from the 1930s.  It existed in several versions, some of which performed slightly different functions and had different equipment and weapons fitted.  I’ve got some info on it in a couple of books, and there is a Wikipedia page for it, but I’m still not quite sure which variant this model represents (but I’m not too hung up on that, thankfully)!  This model is fitted with three flamethrowers, a ball mount for a machine gun, two mine rakes on the front and rollers on the hull top to allow a portable bridge to be carried.  Production of the Type SS totalled more than 100 vehicles, they were apparently used in China in the late 1930s and some were captured in the Philippines in 1945 by US forces.

As with my Type 92 model, this is a 3-D printed model from Shapeways, although in a white, strong and flexible (WSF) plastic.  I saw this model in February when it was first made available, so I just had to get one!  The detail is not quite as good as the Type 92 and, somewhat surprisingly, it is solid.  The WSF material has a grainy texture, so I wasn’t sure how this would look after drybrushing!  I’ve got other WSF models in the painting queue, so I was keen to see how this tank turned out.


It’s painted in the same colours, style and method that I used for the Type 89s and Type 92, although I left off the thin yellow bands – difficult to tell from photos whether the Type SS carried these or not!  Whereas I thought the grainy finish of the WSF material might pick up too much of the drybrushed sand highlight, it turned out it was the thinned black/brown mucky/shade that was more difficult to deal with, with the grainy finish making the paint a bit harder to wipe off!


The more observant amongst you will have noticed that this model doesn’t have a bridge, even though it has the rollers on the top of the hull to carry one!  I think it’ll look better with a bridge fitted, so I do plan on getting one for it – Shellhole Scenics in the UK make a separate bridge for their Russian T-26 bridgelayer and I reckon it’ll do the job!

Unlike my Type 92 combat car, this Type SS is not the first model I’ve owned of this vehicle!  Way back in the late 70s (!) I actually scratchbuilt one from card based on a picture in a tank book that I borrowed from a mate!  Unfortunately I have no idea what happened to it, although it was no doubt painted in a pretty garish and highly inaccurate  camouflage scheme, which I no doubt thought looked great at the time (and it was the 70s after all)!



    • Thanks IRO! I’d like to think I could just blag it and make the stuff up but, unlike yourself (who can spin a ripping yarn), I can’t so I just have to remember and pass on the scraps of truth I pick up! You’ll regret going to the Shapeways site – I think they have bits you could use for kitbashing!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thanks for the shout out, you honor me sir! As for the engineering tank, very nice. It would possibly not always carry the bridge, so don’t worry if you don’t have it. My understanding is that this vehicle was truly multipurpose, in that if the mission required say mine clearing, or breaching, or bridge laying, it would be configured differently. US engineer vehicles (which have varied over the years) were more specialized (and by this I mean more in the Vietnam era and later). Truly nice work and a pleasure to see, keep them coming!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I knew you’d like this one, so you well and truly deserve a mention!
      I really was pleased when I found this model and bought it straight away! I’m with you on all the engineering vehicle comments as well! I sometimes wonder if today’s US and UK armed forces mourn the passing of the engineering tanks they used to have that carried the 165mm demolition gun (the M728 and the Centurion AVRE) – short-ranged but packed a punch if you needed it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s my era for sure. Desert Storm sealed the fate of those behemoths as the M1 tanks outran them so they were not battlefield effective. That det gun was impressive as you could not fire it unless buttoned up (the round was so large that the minimum safety distance was greater than the range of the gun). Today they would use TOW missiles for the same effect, or aviation deployed munitions I would think. The M1 does have a dozer blade version which is in service, but the engineer tank has joined the Davy Crockett (look that one up) in the ashbin of history.

        Liked by 2 people

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