Move Along! Nothing To See Here!

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!


  1. I think your being too harsh on your painting John, to me they look very effective, and if I was playing that time zone would happily field them on the table. As for not having to look up the details, just shows your level of passion for the subject.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks Dave! πŸ™‚ I’d have liked them to look better, but it’s not going to stop me from trying to get them into a game. I have, of course, had the best part of a lifetime to learn the designations of some of these vehicles, so it’s maybe good that some of it has stuck!

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Now I’ll acknowledge that I’m quite ignorant of the history associated with these vehicles and the way they would have looked in real life but from a purely aesthetic point of view they look damn good to me. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Pete! πŸ™‚ We are probably all our own worst critics at some point! I could have opted to try and match them more closely to my 1980s style (even though that is not how I’d want to paint now) but I think I’d have probably still not been happy! C’est la vie!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Even though you think you made a hash of the painting, I think at “arm’s length” they will really look the business on the table, which is my favourite way to view our troops. So well done.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I can only echo what Wudugast has had to comment. They look excellent to me but I can understand your disappointment if you know the look and appearance you were going for and it didn’t quite come off. As someone whose memory retention is only slightly better than that of a goldfish I am always blown away by your subject knowledge. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Great effort John. I really like the Ho-Ki APC’s and makes me think I might move my 28mm French up the project list because of their Lorraine 38L carriers and their Chenilettes! You keep on distracting me as I remember something else that is cool that I want to finish – keep it up!!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Dave! πŸ™‚ If you’d like me to apply some more pressure I could try and make the effort to paint my own 38L carriers – I’ve got two sitting in their base green/brown camouflage at the moment, so they need shading and highlighting, along with getting some French LMG teams to go with them (the latter basically convert my WW1 French infantry battalion in khaki into two 1940 infantry squads representing companies). I’ve also got a UE and trailer to paint, along with a 25mm anti-tank gun and crew, so still a few French 1940 bits to do!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I’d be more than happy to have painted them that well, though I do see what you mean about the dark wash, it’s a bit of a shame really as the actual camo designs you’ve done look brilliant.

    I think we all need to get out more at the moment πŸ˜‰.

    Cheers Roger.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I think the painting is better than advertised (time for a new marketing team at, John)! πŸ˜‰ I think the sculpts have soft details which probably made painting them a bit more challenging than other vehicles in your collection but I’d say you did well with these obscure vehicles and I’m glad you shared them with us!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Jeff, I appreciate that! πŸ™‚ I think it maybe comes down to knowing that I could do better, but maybe not with these models and still wanting them to fit in with my older ones. If you want obscure, I’ve got some stuff coming up that fits the bill perfectly (no spoilers)!

      Liked by 3 people

      • I know exactly what you mean, John. I’ve felt that way with minis I’ve completed in the past as well. I’d imagine its more common if you mix and match miniatures from different manufacturers as well!

        Liked by 2 people

  8. More very nice miniatures. I think you should embrace your esoteric knowledge of Japanese vehicles and revel in your greatness — it isn’t “sad” at all. You never know when you might end up on a game show or something and the category will be, “Japanese armored forces of the 1940’s.” πŸ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Ann! πŸ™‚ You’re right, although if I was in a game show I’d fail on the simple questions about sport and soap operas before they got to the “tougher” tank questions. I should probably add here that I think I’m going to get something finished for your March challenge even though I’m cutting it a bit fine! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I probably wouldn’t do well at Sport either, unless the questions were about very narrow areas indeed. As for soap operas, I was pretty up on them as a kid because my best friend’s mother loved them and always had them going and had magazines about them all over the place as well.

    As for the tank stuff, image the amazement on the faces of the audience as you demoralize your opponents with your magnificent come back as your run the category!

    I’m glad to read that you’re going to try and get something done for the March challenge. Remember that it doesn’t end until April 2nd (midnight your time) so you have a couple of wiggle days after March is over to get something done if you haven’t already.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Sorry I missed this gem and the painting is far better than you stated John. There is a Ho-Ro at the American Heritage Museum in Massachusetts just 30 miles from me. It’s pretty rusty but I believe was captured in the Philippines. NICE JOB JOHN!

    Liked by 2 people

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