Saturday, 2 November 2013
Mini Post - Japanese Chi Ri Medium Tank
I scratch-built these two tanks when I re-started my interest in 54 mm Toy Soldiers back in 2009. Previously I had bought AFVs from Classic Toy Soldiers (Chi Ha's, Sherman's, Churchill's etc) and thought I would have a go at making my own. Unfortunately, having read somewhere that CTS models were about 1:38 in scale, I made these two the same. Bad move, I have since made all my models since to 1:32nd scale.
Anyway, the Chi Ri was designed for rapid manufacture using readily available components This was at a time when invasion of the Japanese mainland was inevitable and Japan needed armour for the defence of same. The tanks however, never went into production. They would have had a crew of 6 and were armed with a 75 mm gun, 37 mm gun and 2 x Type 97 7.7 mm Machine Guns.
The tanks themselves were constructed from laminated 20 thou sheet to produce 4o thou (it was early days!) and Evergreen styrene strip and shapes were also used. The main armament was turned up from plastic tubing in the trusty Black and Decker Drill. Road wheels were from old Game Counters from a long forgotten Board Game. Insulin needle covers were also used as well as various bits of wire and aluminium.
The tanks were painted with a tan undercoat and that is as far as they got! I will probably make these tanks again one day in the correct scale (as can be seen from the first photo, compared to the figures they are a bit on the small side.) but as they were my first attempt at scratch-building for so many years, they still have a place in my collection.