Painting and weathering Japanese armour of World War Two is the subject of AK Interactive’s latest softback book.
Japanese armour is an undervalued subject – and offers an interesting alternative to the much more common German/US (and even British) tank genres. The fact is not lost on multi-faceted company AK Interactive, which has made Japanese AFVs the focus of its new 135-page softback. Japanese Armor in World War 2 features nine modelling projects across 1/35 and 1/72 scales, completed by different builders, but all centre on painting and weathering – yet construction techniques are included in parts of the narrative (with the requisite visuals). The projects are:
• Dragon 1/35 Type 95 Ha-Go
• Tamiya 1/35 Type 97 Shinhoto Chi-Ha
• Fine Molds 1/35 Type 97 Te-Ke
• Gum-Ka 1/35 Type 89 Chi-Ro
• Dragon 1/72 Type 2 Ka-Mi
• Dragon 1/35 Type 4 Ka-Tsu
• Fine Molds 1/35 Type 4 Ho-Ro
• Pit Road 1/35 Type 98 Shi-Ke
• Tamiya 1/35 Type 1 Self-Propelled Gun
When military modellers consider Japanese tank camouflage, that most well-known livery – green, brown and sand, with a yellow ‘cross’ pattern – will spring to mind. However, there is more variety in the schemes and it’s demonstrated ably in AK’s book. Different paint hues are shown, as well as how to make a monotone green scheme look more eye-catching. Unsurprisingly, AK Interactive products come to the fore, but this does not mean you have to slavishly adopt their use… other brands could be employed for more general work. The effect of aftermarket items such as palm tree leaves is explored, but using natural products features too. A fine example is how to replicate palm tree trunk unditching logs via twigs and modelling putty, and the depiction of bamboo with toothpicks and fine wire. This is handy for many modellers who wish to pose their model in a particular scenic setting.
The weathering of paint and tracks is approached in various ways, all being shown through well-taken in-progress photos, with great light and depth of field. Usefully, too, the application of different pigments is explained, for replicating dust, mud and grime. Ostensibly, this is all about making Japanese armour look more realistic… but some of the work is just as applicable to other countries’ vehicles. For instance, giving monotone green paint more depth is just as relevant for a Sherman.
This is a bright and breezy, well-designed publication full of useful and fun tips to improve your armour finishing. The Japanese focus only makes the proceedings more fascinating and, in a way, even more exotic. It is a fact that the Pacific Theatre is often ignored by modellers… the 1939-45 conflict in Europe usually attracting more attention. Hopefully, AK’s inspiring book will help redress the balance – and lead to a whole other world of modelling for many. It costs €24.95 and is available direct from AK Interactive.
JAPANESE ARMOR IN WORLD WAR TWO
By: Kristof Pulinckx, Joaquín García Gázquez, Witold Socha, Kreangkrai Paojinda
Format: 298 x 213mm