As far as 20mm scale vehicles painted in January and February go, this is the last of the four posts covering the models in a bit more detail. It’s the last post in the series because 1) it covers Japanese vehicles from 1944/45 and is chronologically the last group of models, and 2) I did a crap job of painting them and was hoping I’d forget to post about them!
First up are two Japanese Type 1 Ho-Ki armoured personnel carriers (the two vehicles on the road in the photo above). I’ve known about these vehicles for years, but only found out in 2008 that they were actually deployed to units in China, Manchuria and the Philippines in 1944 (some sources also say they were used in Burma). Considering the Japanese late response to developing armoured divisions it’s probably quite surprising that they developed and deployed a full track APC (other countries had tracked, armoured utility vehicles but no purpose-built APCs – I’m excluding bren gun carriers here since they’re more akin to utility vehicles, and the Priest and Ram Kangaroos were conversions of existing vehicles).
I was fortunate that Frontline Wargaming produced a model of the Ho-Ki in 20mm scale and I bought them as soon as I found out they were actually used in combat theatres. I was pretty quick off the mark getting them cleaned up, primed and undercoated in khaki, but then they were left to languish and were probably the oldest neglected vehicle models I had. So I thought I might as well get them painted along with two other Japanese vehicles since they’d been left long enough. I painted them in the khaki/dark green/brown scheme that all my ’80s Japanese vehicles are in, but then I made a complete hash of the dark wash and drybrushed highlights, the wash ending up too dark and the highlight too light! Back in the ’80s I just put a mucky wash on vehicles and made no attempt to either line the details in or highlight them with drybrushing, but I thought I should try that with these models. Whereas this approach tends to look not bad on German vehicles, the darker colours of the Japanese vehicles requires a darker wash and I feel it just hasn’t worked!
The other two vehicles painted at the same time were a Type 98 So-Da APC and a Type 4 Ho-Ro self-propelled howitzer (shown above). I covered the So-Da here and haven’t really got much more to add. It was developed on the chassis of the Type 97 Te-Ke tankette and is more of a small utility vehicle. Other versions, such as observation post and cable laying vehicles existed, but I don’t think they were produced or deployed in large numbers. Ignoring my poor paint job, this is a nice 3-D print by Paint & Glue Miniatures.
The Ho-Ro was a version of the standard Type 97 Chi-Ha medium tank, but carrying a short 150mm howitzer within a fixed armoured superstructure. Having examined photos of the vehicle I get the impression it was a stop-gap conversion built on a modified Chi-Ha hull (other self-propelled version of the Chi-Ha, the Ho-Ni series, appear to be more carefully designed). A small number of Ho-Ros were built and at least two deployed in haste to the Philippines in 1944, where they were destroyed or captured by US forces. The layout of the Ho-Ro seems to indicate it was not designed to operate in an indirect fire support role, so it may have been considered more of a last ditch effort tank destroyer – even without any special anti-tank ammunition, I think a 150mm high explosive shell can make quite a mess of a tank if it hits it directly!
The model is another Frontline Wargaming resin model. It did have a partial roof to the superstructure but I thought it looked just as good without it so I left it off. It’s painted in the same scheme as the other vehicles here, with the same disappointing overall result unfortunately! I think the two Ho-Kis look better than the Ho-Ro and So-Da, probably because they have large flat areas that at least let you see the underlying camouflage scheme. I might still hunt around to see if I can find some figures that I can use to crew the Ho-Ro.
Anyway, they’re all done and, despite the paint finish, I’m pleased to have got them done. The saddest part of all this is that I did’t have to look up any of the Japanese vehicle type numbers or names! Definitely need to get out more!