In-Box Review
Japanese Army Infantry
Japanese Army Infantry (Iwo Jima 1945)
  • 153667352_o

by: Chas Young [ YOUNGC ]

The Imperial Japanese Army is one of the most ignored modelling subjects, especially when it comes to available figures in plastic, despite the strong demand for more. With another plastic model manufacturer set to release their 1:35 Japanese SNLF, the first set of Japanese infantry in plastic in over 14 years, the subject should become somewhat more popular.
The Kit
DML’s Japanese Army Infantry were the last set of 1:35 Japanese infantry to be released in plastic, way back in 1994. Before that, there had only been two other kits released. Due to the kit being out of production, it is now extremely difficult to buy. It occasionally appears on modelling webstores or ebay, where bidders usually pay a very high price for the kit (one went the other day for about $18 USD). A few years ago, DML reissued the kit in their ‘Windtalkers’ set, and this is how I got my hands on it.

The kit is divided into two sprue trees, the larger containing primarily body parts and equipment, the smaller (traditionally) containing weapons. The kit contains enough parts to build up 4 figures. The poses are quite animated, with 3 enlisted soldiers attacking/firing while an officer (holding sword) fires his pistol. Modellers may wish to create other dynamic poses by swapping recommended parts or buying multiple kits.

I believe that the original kit release included colour instructions on the back of the box, however the ‘Windtalkers’ release offers instructions in the form of a leaflet.
Two figures, labeled ‘A’ and ‘D’ in the instructions, wear Type 98 tropical shirts with half breeches. Figure ‘A’ is wearing quite an extensive network of belts and straps, which are well sculpted. The figures, ‘B’ and ‘C’, wear the Type 98 tropical shirts with concealed pockets, worn un-tucked. All the figures bar the officer have their bayonet frog molded onto their breeches.

I’m not entirely convinced that figure ‘C’ is in a realistic pose. With the weight of the light machine-gun, he would not be able to run with such ease. He looks as if he should be holding a broomstick, not a 9kg LMG!

All figures wear puttees with leather shoes, of which the level of detail is outstanding. Although figure ‘D’ is posed in a strong, firing action (which is also well molded, his trousers even have a rip in them), it is figure ‘B’ which wins my award as the most dynamically animated figure. He is set in a lunging/ firing position, well proportioned and realistic.

One point that must be mentioned, the instructions and box art show a vertical ventilation slit/flap on each of the figure’s shirts. However, this detail is not present on the parts themselves!

The faces do not closely resemble Japanese features, and although passable, I would recommend using resin replacements.
The kit includes:

• 2 Arisaka 6.5mm Type 38 rifles (with bayonets)
• 1 Type 96 LMG
• 2 Type 14 ‘Nambu’ pistols
• 1 Type 94 officer’s sword

The Type 96 LMG included in my kit was strangely missing the carrying handle. Whether or not it simply snapped off and got lost I do not know. DML has picked up on the common Japanese practice of fitting a bayonet to the end of their LMGs. It is a good representation of the gun, with bipod cast separate, and is the only one made in 1:35 plastic to my knowledge.

Due to the Type 14 ‘Nambu’ pistol being mold in the grip of the officer, detail and accuracy lacks, but an extra Nambu is included on the weapon sprue.

In order to model the officer brandishing the sword, it is necessary to cut the blade off the kit part and glue it to the hilt molded in the officer’s hand. You then have a spare hilt in case you want to model the sword in its scabbard.
The kit includes:

• 3 bayonet scabbards
• 4 frontal ammunition pouches
• 2 rear ammunition pouches
• 1 Type 92 steel helmet (with netting)
• 1 Type 92 steel helmet (with canvas covering)
• 2 field service caps
• 1 pair of sun curtains (for field cap)
• 3 canteens
• 1 felt-covered canteen
• 1 officer’s map case
• 4 haversacks
• 1 tool pouch (for LMG maintenance)
• 2 holsters for Type 14 ‘Nambu’ pistol

The rear ammunition pouches include the oiler, and are well sculpted. On the other hand, the frontal ammunition pouches are not satisfactory in detail. The Type 92 (1932) helmet netting is well defined and the field caps are very good in terms of thickness and detail. The sun curtain compliments the overall animation of the figure really well, they seem to flow very nicely and capture a sense of movement. Of the remaining standard equipment, the tool pouch for the Type 96 LMG gunner stands out as very thoughtful and a nice addition to the kit.
As the newest 1:35 Japanese infantry plastic kit to date, this is obviously the most accurate representation available on the market. Details are sharp in most cases, overall posing and animation is acceptable and some usable heads are provided. The kit suffers because of the very little optional/extra equipment and weaponry provided. As hard as the kit may be to purchase, I would recommend trying your best to get your hands on one simply for the LMG kit part, which is not provided by any other vendors.

Also take a look at other Japanese Infantry reviews by Chas:

  • Tamiya Japanese Army Infantry

  • Airfix Japanese Infantry
    Highs: Good pose animation, a good basis for conversions. Sharp detail and accurate representation of the Type 96 LMG, uniforms and headgear.
    Lows: Weapons molded in hand’s grip lack detail. Lack of optional equipment and weaponry, especially headwear. Low availability due to the kit being OOP.
    Verdict: By far the best plastic kit in terms of quality and accuracy to buy if you are planning to model Japanese infantry. Try your best and good luck finding one!
    Percentage Rating
      Scale: 1:35
      Mfg. ID: 6044
      Suggested Retail: Out of Production
      PUBLISHED: Aug 10, 2008
      NATIONALITY: Japan / 日本
      THIS REVIEWER: 82.70%
      MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.16%

    Copyright ©2021 text by Chas Young [ YOUNGC ]. All rights reserved.


    It looks very nice but the warrior ones looks more better
    OCT 29, 2008 - 01:22 AM
    I'm pretty sure the LMG in my Dragon set had the carrying handle - but the equivalent in my original-issue white plastic Airfix set was missing the hand-grip. David
    OCT 29, 2008 - 02:36 AM
    That is what we can expect in terms of quality since these are plastic, Warrior's are resin. I have all the Japanese infantry figures from Warrior (thanks to one of 'Q's online sales!). I decided not to review them as some good reviews already exist here and on other modelling sites. David, is your kit the original 1994 release or was it included with the Windtalkers edition? Chas
    OCT 29, 2008 - 07:39 PM
    Chas, mine are the orignal issue. David
    OCT 29, 2008 - 08:45 PM
    Hi Chas, have a look here http://www.japanesearmorking.com/jak3.htm Al
    OCT 30, 2008 - 07:24 AM
    Hi Alan, I have seen these figures before, I'm a bit put off by those prices though! Interesting to see that the sculptor claims that: These figures include scratch built ammo pouches, the only ones that are correct on the market! Apart from the Airfix's kits missing the oiler on the rear pouches, I am not aware of any blazing inaccuracies on the pouches provided in Tamiya's or Dragon's kit. Also, it is 'interesting' to see that this review has recently been rated 'not helpful' by somebody. Should I feel the need to rate a review poorly, I always endeavour to offer and explanation or feedback to improve the review in the item's thread. One bad rating isn't bad, but I would have liked to receive some indication of why the review was not helpful to this particular person. Chas EDIT: I have just received an email from Ted Dyer, the sculptor. He says that Dragon's, Tamiya's and Airfix's ammo pouches are too small! He has also told me that the bayonet frog and scabbards are also too small.
    NOV 01, 2008 - 10:13 PM
    Not easy to find decent photos of Japanese equipment as most of the obsessing on the net is about rifles and swords, and not personal equipment. Found a site eventually which has some nice re-enactor shots like this one http://tksu1co.fc2web.com/choheinanpou.html David
    NOV 02, 2008 - 11:25 PM
    Thanks David, Very interesting and useful. You can notice that the pouches appear to be larger on the small Japanese stature. All three figure manufacturers have scaled down the pouches to 'fit' the Japanese size. I hope that Masterbox will notice this detail before they release their Japanese figures. Looking back on their in-progress shots, I noticed that the pouches are also too small. Chas
    NOV 03, 2008 - 12:07 AM
    Chas, if you plough through the site you get to this page which links to some excellent detail shots of various bits of kit, including the pouches and their interiors http://tksu1co.fc2web.com/gunsouhin.html But no scales to give an idea of the sizes...... David
    NOV 03, 2008 - 12:24 AM

    Click image to enlarge
    • DMLjap
    • DMLjap_1_
    • DMLjap_3_
    • DMLjap_4_
    • DMLjap_5_
    • DMLjap_6_
    • DMLjap_7_
    • DMLjap_8_