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Built Review
135
Japanese Army Infantry
Japanese Army Infantry Peleliu 1944
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by: Russ Amott [ RUSSAMOTTO ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

Dragon models have recently begun releasing Japanese Armor kits in 1/35 and 1/72 scales. The type 2 and type 95 tanks I have reviewed are among the best designed and detailed kits ever offered. Now Dragon models has offered a new set of Japanese army infantry figures as an expansion of the line, either to stand alone or mixed in a diorama setting with the light tanks.

This set, numbered 6555 as part of the '39-'45 series, which also follows closely on the heels of the US Marines Peleliu set, comes in the now standard end opening box with artwork depicting a group of four Japanese soldiers in action. On the reverse instructions are provided in the form of pictures of completed figures (not the same as in the box, but larger scale production prototypes, unfortunately showing much better detail that you will find in the box) with parts numbers and arrows indicating their positioning. At the bottom is a basic painting guide, again with lines going to the designated area and showing paints called out by number for GSI Creos Mr Color and Aqueous Hobby Color lines, and Model Master enamel paints. This paint guide is unfortunately not complete.

Review

Inside the box, the single parts sprue is wrapped in a plastic cover. All four figures are contained on the sprue, numbered A, B, C and D. Various equipment is also included, numbered but without specific lettering. Each of the figures is molded in the now standard 6 part assembly of upper torso, two leg/lower torso parts, two arms and head.

Figure A is the commander, holding a type 94 Nambu pistol in one hand and a sword in the other (necessary backup as the type 94 had a reputation for failing to function). His cloth covered Model 92 helmet includes the 4 piece neck cover. He has a water bottle, generic pistol case map case, small ammo pouch for the pistol and binocular case. He is wearing boots with leather shin guards and appears to be wearing the tropical tunic with undershirt and half drawers.

Figure B is the assistant machine gunner. He is lying prone, holding a type 99 rifle with bayonet attached, and his gear consists of a bread bag, water bottle, bayonet frog, spare ammo pouch for the machine gun and a small case on his back, possibly a mess kit. His type 92 helmet has a net cover and neck guard panels. His uniform (and the others) appears to be the tropical 2/3 sleeve tunic. He is holding a spare magazine in his hand, ready to hand it to the machine gunner.

Figure C is the machine gunner. He is dressed identically to his assistant but carries additional magazine pouches on his belt. His type 99 machine gun has a bayonet fixed for close action.

Figure D is a kneeling infantryman, type 99 rifle raised in firing position. He carries a pair of type 38 spare ammunition pouches on his belt, along with his bread bag and water bottle, plus a spare pouch (possibly intended to be the gas mask pouch). His rifle also has the bayonet fixed. His position is somewhat awkward. He does not have a balanced stance, instead leaning forward and holding is rifle below the line of sight. I couldn't hold a rifle in that position and aim effectively.

Figures B, C and D are wearing the unique "Tabi" shoes, a rubber soled soft shoe with the big toe separated from the rest. Tread pattern is present on the sole.

All four heads have oriental looking features, but detail is fair at best.

Examination of the kit parts shows heavy seam lines, unexpectedly soft molding on many parts and sink marks on the legs of the machine gunner that will be visible. I was very surprised at some of the softness present. At the same time, the figures hands are very well detailed and the netting on the helmets was a very nice attempt. Much of the gear was disappointing, especially after having handled the recent FineMolds IJA infantry set. This design crew is certainly not the same as the team that did the tanks.

I did basic assembly of the figures, putting the legs and torso together to test for fit. There was significant clean-up of the parts, and the plastic itself felt different, not like the styrene I am used to from Dragon. It was softer and didn't scrape off as easily. In particular, clean-up of the puttees on the legs was a challenge. At the seam lines, much of the detail suffered badly also, with folds not lining up. There was some flash on the connecting surfaces of the legs, but this was easily trimmed away.

When I attached the legs the joint was fairly good, but attaching the torsos left gaps, even after some clean-up. Both joining surfaces were rounded off, and filler will be required.

The two prone figures looked a little awkward as the legs seemed somewhat unnaturally flattened on the top. I thought I had the machine gunner's legs backwards, but they are positioned correctly. There is a large sink mark on the top portion of his leg which has affected the surrounding detail and will require repair.

No decals or markings are included in the kit, but this is generally standard. Again, FineMolds spares will be able to fill in.
Conclusion

Overall, my impression of this kit is that it is somewhat of a let-down, especially compared with other Dragon models figure sets I have reviewed, and recent improvements by their competition. It has many nice features in terms of the accessories present, cloth neck covers, helmets and the type 99 machine gun, and the bread bags are even molded to conform to the figure surface, but the seemingly half-hearted effort put into the molding is disappointing. With work, the figures can be cleaned up, but considering how limited the options are for Japanese figures from WWII what could have been a tremendous release is now just below average.
SUMMARY
Highs: Lots of accessories provided for the figures.
Lows: Soft molding and detail, prominent sink marks on one figure.
Verdict: Useful for IJA fans, but not Dragon's best work.
Percentage Rating
70%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 6555
  Suggested Retail: $16.95 US
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jul 20, 2013
  NATIONALITY: Japan / 日本
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 84.47%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.19%

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Russ Amott (russamotto)
FROM: UTAH, UNITED STATES

I got back into the hobby a few years back, and wanted to find ways to improve, which is how I found this site. Since joining Armorama I have improved tremendously by learning from others here, and have actually finished a couple of kits. I model to relax and have fun, but always look to improve. ...

Copyright 2017 text by Russ Amott [ RUSSAMOTTO ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Hi, All! I was waiting for a comprehensive review of this new DRAGON Japanese Infantry Set. Reading this review has answered my questions... What seemed at first to be crack in DRAGON's monolithic subject matter, turns out to be a big disappointment for us modellers who like to build things other than, or besides WWII German. I hate to say, "I told you so", but... I may just buy this Japanese "Peleliu" Infantry Set anyway, just to see if it's salvageable- but then, maybe not... I HAD planned on doing a "mini-vignette" with this set, posed alongside one of my Type 95 "HA-GO" tanks. No big loss...
JUL 21, 2013 - 07:53 AM
Hmmmmm.... another giant step backwards for the Dragon!
JUL 21, 2013 - 09:17 AM
As per usual Dragon have failed to deliver...a subject no-one else really does and with the amount of Jap armour they've been releasing we could have expected something with a bit of dynamism in there. No, an officer pointing. Oh hang sorry they gave him a pistol to point where they're going. A rifleman in a really weird unnatural pose. The MG team may be useful somewhere. Their first set of Japs was a lot better than these so why not re-release them. Load of crap as far as I'm concerned hence I've not bought any of their new releases for years. Masterbox are miles better both posewise and detail wise. Dragon are yesterdays figure manufacturer.
JUL 21, 2013 - 08:59 PM
When Dragon makes something good, it's great. But then they turn around and make great mistakes. Maybe if they slowed down their production schedule and spent more time planning and researching each release, they could get it right the first time. I'm starting to acquire more respect for Bronco. Even their figures are pretty good.
JUL 22, 2013 - 10:36 AM
This kit was announced quite a while ago. Then it sat and sat. I wonder if it was finally subcontracted out to get it done.
JUL 22, 2013 - 03:17 PM
Hi, All! Russ, thanks for the review, which I should have mentioned in my previous post. I don't think DRAGON sub-contracted these figures- costs too much money that way. I'm thinking that they probably said "To Hell with it- Ship 'em! 'em, if they (meaning us) can't take a joke!" Sad, really- Some of their stuff is top notch, and then... * Oh well, maybe we'll get some additional (and better!) Japanese Infantry kits from MASTER BOX, MINIART, or maybe even BRONCO...
JUL 22, 2013 - 03:58 PM
Masterbox already make two sets which include Japanese inf. They're probably better than Dragon's. Hope they make further sets. MiniArt has a set of Japanese tank crews coming, at some point.
JUL 23, 2013 - 10:01 AM
Hi, All! I have several of each of the TAMIYA, FINEMOLDS, VERLINDEN, and MASTER BOX Japanese Figure Sets, along with DRAGON's "Iwo Jima" set. The two MASTER BOX sets, one of which also comes with a couple of USMC figures, are GREAT, as is their other USMC set. They also produce some GREAT US Infantry & Para sets centered around the "Normandy/D-day" genre. But as with mostly all plastic figure sets, they benefit with the use of HORNET's beautifully done resin heads. I just wish that HORNET would release additional "Asian" and "African" head sets, along with some more Female heads with "1930s/40s hair-styles". We could also use some additional WWII US ARMY and USMC heads from HORNET. It's too bad that WARRIORS didn't/doesn't make or re-release more of their excellent US Head sets... I wonder what ever happened to the molds for those..? I know that SQUADRON took over some of the WARRIORS figure line, but I don't see anywhere near the variety of figures that WARRIORS used to produce. Can anyone shed some light on that..? I never did get the WARRIORS "Banzai" Charging Infantry set, which would have made a nice addition to the other Japanese Infantry sets. This set does appear on EvilBay once in a while; next time they do, "Old M4A1Sherman" is going to buy a set, even though I generally don't do dios. Though DRAGON had a good idea in doing the "Peleliu" set, it's a pity that this set is just not up to par with their "Gen 2" figure sets...
JUL 23, 2013 - 10:39 AM
so its a let down . not up to the dragon standards ?
JUL 26, 2013 - 08:34 PM
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