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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Flames of War - Japanese Type 88 75mm Anti-Aircraft Gun Review

The Japanese Type 88 75mm Anti-Aircraft Gun was first accepted into service in 1928, and was designed to combat commonly encountered aircraft of the late 1920's and early 1930's. By the beginning of the Pacific War, the gun was largely obsolete, but it continued to serve until the end of the war with over 2000 being constructed. Allied intelligence regarding the gun was weak, and it was initially assumed that it was a copy of the German FlaK 36/37 gun, but only the names were arguably similar.

The Type 88 can be fielded in virtually any Japanese list taken from Banzai as a support choice (Heavy Anti-Aircraft Platoon). In addition to serving as a heavy anti-aircraft gun, it provides useful anti-take capability with AT 10 and firepower of 3+. However, the gun is immobile (though it has a turntable) and lacks a gun shield, so it can be vulnerable to ranged attack.

Battlefront has released the Type 88 in a blister pack (JP550) which contains one gun and a total of eight crew figures (including two that sit on the gun itself). Battlefront shows all of them on the base in the final product, but I'm considering pulling out a couple to use as the command sword team, though you'll need to provide your own small base. The Heavy Anti-aircraft Gun Platoon can have one or two guns, so if you want a full battery, you'll need two blisters. Unless you're fielding a Yosai Hohei Chutai (Fortified Company), you'll only be able to field one platoon, meaning you'll only ever need two guns - though if you choose you can field two platoons for a total of four guns with the Fortified Company.

The gun itself consists of the cannon, base, and five stabilizing legs. Construction is straightforward, with the normal amount of mold slippage that needs to be cleaned up with a file.  However, there was a bit of a hitch. As provided the legs are too long for all five to fit on the large base (see photo below).

The obvious solution at this point is to shorten the legs. Based on my research data, I've seen photos and drawings of the Type 88 with substantially shorter legs. All I wanted to do was get the legs onto the base, so I snipped a bit until I was happy with the new fit, and based on the photos I've seen I haven't sacrificed any of the authenticity of the piece.

Overall the guns went together pretty easily, once the issue with the legs was discovered. The detailing is fairly spartan, but is accurate to the original. These should paint up nicely and look good on the table. If you're doing a full battery of two, you could even re-purpose a few of the figures to get an extra command team which will be useful later on if you plan on fielding an Engineer Platoon.


Product:  Type 88 75mm Heavy Anti-aircraft Gun (JP550)
Manufacturer:  Battlefront
System:  Flames of War
Scale:  1/100 (15mm)
Rating:  3.5/5

  • Detailing is appropriate to the subject matter
  • Overall construction is straightforward
  • Ample crew included to create a command team for the battery
  • As designed, miniature does not fit on a large base
  • Fair amount of mold slip on the legs to the gun itself

Dr. Michael McSwiney has been playing wargames since the early 1980's and Flames of War since 2008. He is an author, contributor, and former playtester for Battlefront and maintains his own wargaming blog Miniature Ordnance Review.


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