Friday, July 29

Takom's O-I: The march of the heavies gets more detailed in our preview...

Takom's "Behemoth Attack" was hinted at last month, with the Vk.168.01P, Typ 205 "Mäuschen" & the Japanese O-I super heavy tank. We only had silhouettes then, but now we have some more photos and idea of what is to come. See what we know in our preview...
Takom's O-I: The march of the heavies gets more detailed in our preview...

Takom are hitting us with four experimental Super heavy tanks in 1/35th scale in the space of two months. We have recently previewed the "Mammutthat we looked at last month, the recent Type 205 Mäuschen & the VK.168.01 (P). Today we look at the new O-I Japanese Super Heavy Tank in design and in proposed plastic. 
The Subject: The Japanese O-I Heavy Tank
The O-I (オイ車 Oi-sensha) was a super-heavy tank prototype designed by the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War after the Battles of Nomonhan in 1939. The O-I is one of the Second World War’s more secretive tank projects, with documentation regarding the tank being kept private for over 75 years at Wakajishi Shrine, Fujinomiya. Surviving files pertaining to the design were acquired by the model company FineMolds Inc., and publicly previewed in mid-2015. The multi-turreted 150-ton tank was designed for use on the Manchurian plains as a supportive pillbox for the Imperial Japanese against the Soviet Union. 

One of the few official illustrations of the O-I concept in existence.
The gun was to be a 105mm with a relatively short-barreled gun, which, because of its short barrel would have been awful at anti-tank fighting. The large calibre meant a slow reload time. The multi-turreted layout simply reduced the firing arcs of the guns, and given that 3 of the 5 turrets only had 7.7mm machine guns, one has to wonder what the designers were thinking.

Some of the documentation acquired by FineMolds
The 100+ ton weight meant that in would have been an impossibility to transport to the islands in was supposed to be used on by anything other than boats. The O-I design used 8 road wheels supporting a narrow track. However, the O-I was designed to be used in the Pacific theatre, which meant jungles meaning that the O-I would have become a pillbox in short order. No Japanese vehicle during World War 2 was capable of recovering or towing a stricken/broken down super-heavy tank of such a weight, so once broken down, it would remain there.

the proposed armour layout of the tank
The engine and transmission would have been disastrous. The Japanese decided to use two aircraft engines mated together, producing a total of around 1000hp. Assuming they worked perfectly, this gives us 10hp per ton. This is equal to the Jagdtiger, which was notorious for being desperately slow and unable to crest hills. However, being aircraft engines, they produced relatively low torque. Additionally, cooling would have been a major issue. Aircraft engines required massive cooling systems in order to work, and that was impossible on a tank, no matter the size. The design speed of the O-I was 25km/h, with real life top speed likely being somewhere around 20km/h.

The closest the O-I came to real life, in the game World of Tanks
Finally, Japan had no heavy tank experience. Combined with the lack of experienced crew on any type of tank, this would have resulted in a crew that didn’t know how to use the tank. Air supremacy by the US would have made the O-I a sitting duck for CAS, and fuel shortages would have rendered the O-I immobile long before the transmission gave out.

Another of the retrieved documents of the design...
The project was disbanded four years after the initial development began, deemed unsatisfactory for continuation in 1943 after the lack of resource material for the prototype.

The Kit: Takom's 150 ton O-I Super Heavy Tank
Like the other super heavies in the late development stage from Takom. The kit number #2157 is going to be the O-I Super heavy Japanese tank in 1/35th scale. Design is undertaken in co-operation with Snowman Models.
Some finer points on this kit:
- The handles for the sides of the tank are optional.
- The kit is 28.3cm long when completed.
- Photo-etch parts are included
- Four barrels are included int he kit. Two main gun barrels and two for the secondary guns on the front mini turrets. 
- Clear parts are included for the periscopes of the tank's cupolas.
- A figure of a Japanese tank commander is included.
- The suspension, road wheels and tracks are all workable.
- There are four marking choices in the kit.
Keep tuned for more info on the kit as it comes...

That is all we know about this release for now. You can see more about Takom's kits on their website or on their Facebook page.