by: Mark Doremus [ ]
HistoryI'm not familiar with Japanese military equipment, so this history is largely from Internet sources:
This model represents the Isuzu type 73 or SKW (h/t Jeff Tucker). The basic truck chassis is an adaption of a commercial design. And the fuel tanker is a derivative of the standard issue general purpose military 3 ½ t truck. It’s a cab over design with a 6x6 drive system. The design dates from the late 60’s and the JGSDF has used this chassis in a number of different configurations from standard cargo trucks, construction vehicles, heavy haulers and even portable missile launchers.
JGSDF 3 ½t Jet Fuel Truck is mainly assigned to Aviation Section and Logistic Support Regiment of JGSDF utilized for fuel supply to aircrafts and fuel transporting. It has a casing with 340mm length on its back end, and fuel capacity is 1,100kg less than that of JGSDF regular fuel truck. It’s used primarily in support of remote operations.
Specification of actual vehicle: Length 7,530mm, Width 2,485mm, Weight 9,740kg, Maximum Load 4,000kg, Maximum Speed 97 km/h, Power Output 250 PS.
The KitAoshima has released several versions of this truck and about 25 of the parts in this kit are destined for other versions. They packed almost 120 green and 6 clear parts on 8 sprues, plus a cab and a section of vinyl tubing into a sturdy two piece carton. Over 20 of the parts are destined for another kit and are marked not for use on the instructions. The six clear parts are packed in a separate bag. The parts are crisply molded and free of flash, sinks and ejector marks. Delicate details like hose reels and the steering wheel are reproduced well. Several parts have diamond plate detail molded in place. While the exposed pump is detailed nicely, the wheels have no back side and are glued directly to the axles. Car modelers would call this truck ‘curbside’ as the engine details are only represented by the bottom of the oil pan and transmission.
I’ve test fitted several parts, the fits seem ok, but there are several fine locators, so take care during the assembly steps.
The InstructionsA folding instruction sheet with ten pages in Japanese text and English subtitles describe 20 assembly steps. Construction appears to follow logically in subassemblies from the undercarriage, to the cab, to the top of the chassis, then to the fuel tank and controls. The control box is very empty, crying out for clever gizmology to dress it up. The final step is adding a very complex looking, 3 reflector, rear view mirror set up.
Each step includes detail painting instructions. A five view drawing shows overall colors and decal placement. Color callouts are given in traditional Mr. Color and Aqueous Hobby Color numbers. There are also callouts for a Mr. Color JGSDF Vehicle Color Set. I haven't been able to cross those colors to more common Model Master. But Tamiya offers JGSDF brown and green acrylic paints. A detailed parts map is provided, as well as a parts summary (only in Japanese). There are 13 identified decals and another 140 small decals, numbers and Japanese characters. A 4:1 blow up of the decal sheet is included that will help find them before placing them on the truck. The decals include an instrument cluster for the driver.
ConclusionsComparing parts to the pictures on the internet, it seems that , I'm not aware of these trucks being used by any other military service. It could work well in a diorama with any modern Japanese military aircraft. The instructions recommend this kit for children 10 and up. Given the complexity and fineness of the details, I strongly suggest an older and more experienced modeler.