The 1/72 scale Japanese Type 97 Chi-Ha tank has proved an extremely popular Dragon Armor item. Now Dragon is adding an Early-Production variant to the collection, this time representing a vehicle fighting at the close of WWII. The Type 97 was Japan’s most widely produced medium tank of WWII. Boasting a 57mm main gun and two Type 97 machine guns, this tank was intended to serve as an up-scaled version of the Type 95 for infantry support. Armor protection was modest on this vehicle. A total of 2,123 Chi-Ha tanks were produced from 1938-43, most of which carried the low-velocity 57mm gun. The tank could move at a speed of 38km/h.
One area where the Chi-Ha was deployed was China. Dragon Armor’s model depicts a tank belonging to the 4th Tank Company of the 34th Tank Regiment. This regiment belonging to the 1st Independent Tank Brigade was created in 1944; it was one of nine independent tank brigades formed at the end of WWII in Japan and northeast China to act as a mobile force. The 34th Tank Regiment spent the entirety of its short existence in China until the war ended. As well as being an Early-Production version, what stands out most on this model is the striking camouflage scheme consisting of three colors plus bright bands of yellow. Markings painted onto the hull suggest this tank was sponsored by members of the Japanese public, with the characters representing “patriotic”. This attractive item allows collectors to field another Japanese tank from WWII.