Wednesday, August 28

New item preview: Takom's new 16th scale Panzerkampfwagen I Ausf A & Type 94 tankette

TAKOM has already given us two Type 94 Japanese tanks in 16th scale -Now a re-release & a new resin figure - while the Panzer I Ausf.A is the start of what we hope is a whole new family to come. See what we know about these two kits and the real tanks in our preview...

Takoms two new 16th scale Type 94 & Panzer I Ausf.A in our preview

From: Takom
1:16th scale
Kit No # 1007
Working hatches
Moving roadwheels & Suspension
Photo-Etch & Clear parts included
four marking choices inside the box.
Well, it is a surprise but a welcome one that takom are bringing their quality to the 16th scale lines again for those larger-scale modellers with what we hope is a new family of Panzer I's in 16th scale. There are so many possibilities for this kit going forward we hope that they build more of these in the future.

But hey - which one exactly was the Panzer I Ausf.A?

The Panzer I was the very first in a long line of tanks. Its story is linked to the 1919 treaty of Versailles, which severely reduced the abilities of the German Army to rebuild a potent army. Germany was forbidden from owning any kind of tanks. But, despite the fact that the few tanks built in 1917-18 never had the power to change the outcome of the Great War, the potential of this new weapon was well-understood.
In 1930, Krupp was selected by Waffenpruefwesen 6 (the automotive and tank design office of the German army) to work on the design of a small light tracked tractor named Kleintraktor. It was to be equipped with a 20 mm (0.79 in) auto-cannon, powered by a 60 hp engine and weigh no more than 3000 kg. A year later, in 1931, Krupp sent a description of the Kleintraktor-Fahrgestell (chassis) to Wa.Prw.6. A description of the superstructure was promised after the construction of a wooden model.
The Krupp Kleintraktor was described as a fast and manoeuvrable tracked vehicle that weighed about 3.5 tons and could achieve 45 km/h (28 mph). The hull was made of steel sheets welded together. It was armed with a 20 mm (0.79 in) auto-cannon and carried 500 rounds.

Panzer I during Japanese testing - note the new Japanese number plate.
As development proceeded, several prototypes were made, and faults were removed from the tank. The turret was redesigned to fit 2 machine guns and armour was increased. In 1933, the Panzer I was considered ready and an order was placed for 150 training tanks, with another 1000 combat-ready tanks being ordered the following year. Neither of these orders were fully delivered.

Chinese Panzer I Ausf. A’s with DP machine guns, abandoned in Nanjing, December

Panzerkampfwagen I Ausf A Version:
This first model came into production in late 1934, and continued until early 1936. Around 800 were built, having several limitations. The armour was insufficient, being only 13 mm (0.51 in) at its thickest. There were problems with the early suspension, making the tank pitch backwards at high speeds. There were also concerns about the propulsion, overheating, the commander being both gunner and loader of the two machine guns, and communication going through old-fashion vocal tubes. With its two machine guns, light armour and speed, these machines were nothing more than training and scout tanks. Despite this, most of them fought in regular Panzer divisions alongside the improved Ausf.B until late 1941.

Panzerkampfwagen I Ausf A Specifications
Mass: 5.4 tonnes (6.0 short tons)
Length: 4.02 m (13.2 ft)
Width: 2.06 m (6.8 ft)
Height: 1.72 m (5.6 ft)
Crew: 2: commander and driver
Armour: 7–13 mm
Main armament: 2 × 7.92 mm MG13 machine guns
Engine Krupp M 305 four-cylinder air-cooled gasoline engine
60 PS (59 hp, 44 kW)
Power/weight 11.1 PS (8.1 kW)/t
Suspension: Quarter-elliptical leaf spring suspension.
Operational range: 200 km (120 mi) on-road; 175 km (109 mi) off-road.
Speed: 37 km/h (23 mph) on-road; 25 km/h (16 mph) off-road.

Imperial Japanese Army Type 94 Tankette (Late Production)
From: Takom
1:16th scale
Kit No # 1009
Working hatches
Moving roadwheels & Suspension
Photo-Etch & Clear parts included
Includes a figure inside the box.
Although the Type 94 Japanese tank in 1/16th scale from Takom has been announced we have not the lovely minimalistic - (dare we say Tamiya like?) boxart by Takom is really effective, and it lets us in on a few things we did not know,  more on that in a second, first of all, what was the service record and usage of the Type 94?

The Type 94 in service

The Type 94 tankette (Japanese: 九四式軽装甲車 , Kyūyon-shiki keisōkōsha, literally "94 type light armored car", also known as TK that is abbreviation of "Tokushu Keninsha" that means special tractor was a tankette used by the Imperial Japanese Army in the Second Sino-Japanese War, at Nomonhan against the Soviet Union, and in World War II. 
Although tankettes were often used as ammunition tractors, and general infantry support, they were designed for reconnaissance, and not for direct combat. The lightweight Type 94 proved effective in China as the Chinese National Revolutionary Army consisted of only three tank battalions to oppose them, and those tank battalions only consisted of some British export models and Italian CV-33 tankettes. As with nearly all tankettes built in the 1920s and 1930s, they had thin armour that could be penetrated by .50 calibre machine gun fire at 600 yards range.

The Type 94 was mainly deployed in "Independent Tankette Companies". By 1936, each Japanese infantry division had its own Tankette Company with six Type 94s for use in the reconnaissance role.
The Type 94 Tankette was an inexpensive vehicle to build, at approximately half the price of the Type 95 Ha-Go light tank, resulting in more Type 94's entering service than any other Japanese tankette (823 units). Production included 300 units in 1935, 246 units in 1936, 200 units in 1937 and 70 units in 1938.  Given the utility of the design in combat in China, the Imperial Japanese Army was therefore content to retain the Type 94, although the design, and indeed the concept of the tankette, came to be regarded as obsolescent in Western armies.
With the start of World War II, a number of Type 94s were issued to each Japanese infantry division in the Pacific theatre, with a tracked trailer. They saw action in Burma, the Netherlands East Indies, the Philippines and on a number of islands in the South Pacific Mandate. 
Some were also assigned to Imperial Japanese Navy Land Forces. A detachment of eight Type 94 tankettes forming the 56th Infantry Group Tankette Unit (Also named the Anai tankette unit, after the name of their captain), part of the "Sakaguchi Detachment", had a notable role in the Japanese conquest of Java, engaging a large enemy element on 2 March and routing them, capturing a bridge on the same night, and at dawn overrunning a position of 600 enemy soldiers on the opposite bank, and participating in offensive operations that led to the surrender of Dutch forces on the next few days near Surakarta. The Sakaguchi detachment, along with the Shoji detachment, would receive a thanks letter from their parent unit (the 16th Army) for their actions in the campaign, the only units to receive them.

In 1941, the Nanjing Nationalist Government's army was given eighteen Type 94 tankettes. In 1943 ten Type 94 tankettes were given to the Manchukuo Imperial Army to form an armoured company. They were still in use until as late as 1945. 
Type 94 TK specifications
Dimensions: 3.08 x 1.62 x 1.62 m (10.10 x 5.3 x 5.3 ft)
Total weight, battle ready 3.5-3.58 tons (7716 lbs)
Crew: 2 (driver, commander/machine-gunner)
Propulsion: Mitsubishi air-cooled 4-cyl petrol engine, 32 hp (24 kW)
Speed: 40 km/h (25 mph)
Armor: 4 mm (0.15 in) roof and bottom, 12 mm (0.47 in) glacis and sides
Armament : 6.5 mm (0.25 in) Type 91 or 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 92 machine-gun
Range: 200 km (162 miles)
Total production units: 823
This (newish) kit from Takom
These two new kits designs were supervised by Kazunori Yoshikawa, and his team has made a tank that will include a full interior kit, working hatches, moving roadwheels & suspension, photo-etch & clear parts included with a Includes a brand new (resin)  figure also inside the box.

 A CAD video of Jason Wong's figure for this kit
More news about this series and these kits as soon as we have it, till then keep tuned and we will get building them as soon as we get them in our hands here at TMNHQ.