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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Review: Japanese Type 94 37mm AT Gun by Battlefront

by Throckmorton

I don't know if I've got to say this in official blog-dom yet, but I am beyond jazzed that the Japanese are now a faction for Flames of War. Of course, at the moment, they're only for Early War but that's OK. I've got some plans of my own to adapt the Rising Sun lists in to a Philippines Briefing.

That being said, I'm feverishly collecting up an army of these guys for my own personal glory so when a blister of Type 94 AT guns showed up at my door I knew I had to paint them.

The Japanese are known for a lot of things in WW2: Fanatical devotion to the Emperor and to each other, tenacious defense in the face of overwhelming odds and lighting naval campaigns. For some reason though, they never got over that whole "tanks, and how to destroy them" hump.

The Type 94 AT gun, used in Nomonhan and originally built 1934 (2594 by the imperial calendar used at the time, thus "94") was used throughout the war for lack of a better option. But for Early War, it is a serviceable AT piece at a thrifty  in game price.

Here's what the magical tells us:

ROF 3 is nice, AT 6 isn't bad and FP 4+ is pretty much what you'd expect. It's a solid gun and you'll certainly want to take your full compliment (sadly that means only 2 in Rising Sun) for either infantry list, the mech (horse) lists and perhaps even the tank lists as a cheapo extra platoon.

The kit itself is pretty easy to put together and paint up. As a bonus, it's the first actual Japanese models I've actually been able to paint, so I got to do a bunch of research in to photos and play around with color schemes before settling on what you see below.

All the pieces and parts to make 2 guns and a command team.

The one note I have for construction here is this: use green stuff on the wheels. I found that the pegs on the carriage are far too small for the holes in wheels. 

It's a simple process, grab some green stuff, mix it up, take 2 very small pieces and place them in the holes of the wheels. 

Put some glue on the posts of the carriage and you're good to go. Essentially, using green stuff in the construction phase has 3 uses. First, you can use it to patch up holes, dents or dings. Second, you can create extra cool effects on the body of a tank like hessian strips, netting, bullet/tank round dents etc... And third, you can use it to create extra surface area to bond 2 trouble spots together. 

And here it is all built up!

AT Guns ASSEMBLE! Quick note: the bayonets are AWESOME. They're thicker and sturdier than any I've seen in any faction's kit previous to this one. They really have held up so far. Also, I only ever put 3 crew on my guns that go on medium stands. Any more than that and the whole thing just looks crowded. 

When basing stands that do not have the brown based recesses, I tend to use Vallejo White Pumice (if they made it in black I'd use that instead to be honest). This covers up the the round bases on the infantry and gives the base bulk and a natural texture. It also allows me to sculpt in terrain features like drag marks behind where the gun sits. 

Note that the gun is not glued on for this stage. Also, quick pro tip: If you get pumice on your figures you can easily remove it by wetting your brush and brushing the pumice back on to the base. 

Once the pumice is dry (about 20 minutes) I glue the guns down. 

Then paint the bases, because I don't care if the dirt gets extra paint on it from the dudes or the guns as it far easier to mask/clean that up than it is to fix the dudes. 

Principle painting on the infantry. I decided to give my commanders flashy red katana's. I was looking at some pictures of Officers' swords from the period and they were more of a dark red, but I really wanted them to pop. 

Infantry complete. 

Next I paint up the guns and do the basing.  And here, it's all done!

Go shoot some ruskies!

I added some detail to the sword pommels to make it look like they were braided cord over ivory. I think it turned out pretty nice!

Let's score it:

Detail 4.5/5 Rising Suns: Mostly what you'd expect from battlefront. Which means it's exactly what I want out of an infantry kit, big details and poppy features that draw a clear visual contrast on the battlefield. The bonus here is that those bayonets are more sturdy than any I've seen from an earlier kit.

Build 3.75/5 Rising Suns: If it weren't for those damn wheels this would have been a 4. One of the things that keeps infantry kits from reaching a 5 in build for me is the basing and mold lines. I love to base, but I think the new kits should all come with the recessed brown bases and not the older flat grey bases. And many BF kits have mold lines in some of the worst places (like directly on top of the helmets). Green stuff in the wheels was the only real build challenge here though.

Value 5/5 Rising Suns: You're gonna want to buy this kit if you play Japanese. It's cheap, it's effective and it's really your only pure AT gun option. So go get a blister.

Overall 4.5/5 Rising Suns: Great kit and well worth it. If you're collecting Japanese, buy it. You'll want AT guns in Early War no matter who you're playing against and most of the time the AT 6 is perfectly serviceable for your needs. The build is simple, they paint up easy and look good.

"Throckmorton is a reclusive cactus farmer living somewhere in the frosty northern climes of Alberta, Canada. When not pricking himself on pointy caryophyllales, he occasionally deigns to climb down from his northern 'Cactus Throne' to play some Flames and very occasionally writes about his adventures on Throck Of War, his personal blog."

Models provided by Battlefront Miniatures.

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