In-Box Review
IJA Type 95 Kurogane
IJA Type 95 Small Personnel Carrier
  • PitRoadG10

by: Jim Lewis [ GUNTRUCK ]

The Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) seeking a small military personnel carrier, directed Nihon Nainenki Company to develop what would become Japan’s first 4-wheel drive vehicle. When standardized in 1936 as the Type 95, the indigenous Kurogane (the company’s brand-name) was considered quite advanced for Japanese automotive technology. It had an air-cooled, 2-cylinder motorcycle engine, with large 6.00 x 18-inch tires and double-wishbone suspension for good cross-country mobility.

It is a small, Phaeton-style body type car designed to carry two passengers. It has two doors and a convertible top, and strikes an interesting profile – sort of “bustle-high” exaggerated by the curved body lines and rear deck mounted spare tire. The Type 95 weighs some 1060 kilograms and is constructed from sheet steel stampings, with steel piping bumpers. Aside from tiny flares behind the front fenders, the Type 95 does not support steps or running boards along its sides like other contemporary auto designs of its time.

It did not have a sophisticated suspension system for additional stability, but its short wheelbase and large diameter wheels performed well. It had a large approach and departure angle and good performance on rough terrain. The front wheels track slightly inside the rear wheels – so don’t think your model kit is out of whack when you build it.

The small engine displaced 1399 cc’s and developed a maximum of 33-horsepower at 3300 rpm. It was easy to maintain in the field.

The Type 95 would serve the Japanese military in command and reconnaissance roles on all fronts, with some 4800 units built for the IJA.

Inside the Box
The Pit-Road kit comes in an appropriately sized box, with nice artwork outside. The parts in my example are sharply cast, with no flash to be found. Sprues are individually wrapped to keep the parts from moving around loose in the box. Mold seams are sparse and non-existent in some places. Ejector pin remnants do not mar any of the important details. Two figures, one driving and the other standing, are done nicely too. I anticipate their details will be easy to paint and pick out for finishing with no problems.

The Instruction Sheet is an exploded-view type, printed on both sides of an 8 x 11.5-inch sheet of glossy paper. Part call-outs are in bold, where Gunze Mr. Color Paint call-outs are italicized – be careful here not to confuse the two as they appear where appropriate during the construction sequence. Other than that, the suggested assembly sequence does not appear to cause any concern upon initial review.

Seventy plastic parts are cast in desert yellow color. The folded-down canvas top is decently rendered. The five wheels are cast as single pieces with no appreciable mold seam down the tread – which is nice. The deployed canvas top is done well, though a bit on the thick side.

No clear headlight inserts are provided – but the housings are hollowed-out, so you can use your favorite brand of replacement lenses here. Windshield Wipers are cast separate from the Windshield Frame, giving option to pose them in different positions. The Body is made up of three pieces, with separate Hood, that all drop onto the Frame/Chassis. Pit-Road provides the little engine for enterprising modelers, and the suspension components are presented adequately in the kit too.

Five clear parts on a sheet are given for the windows around the Kurogane, if you choose to use them, appearing simple to trim away. Dashboard detail is rather Spartan (but there isn’t much there to see in reality), and the Seats appear beefy and generous for the car – not like the seats seen in the walk around over on Prime Portal. The center-positioned rear seat appears more like what one would expect to see.

There are no decals provided in the kit for rendering the Instrument Panel Gauges nor Data Plate and MFG Tag for the dashboard. Pedals are cast into the Floor, but modelers might opt to replace this detail. The interiors of the Doors do not have details – again opportunity for a modeler to add a bit more towards personalizing their miniature.

The prominent Grill up front is sharply cast, with separate IJA Badge for the modeler to add, but you cannot see through the slats to the inside of the Engine Compartment. Providing that feature would have helped set this model kit into another category. Vents on the sides of the Engine Compartment are present on the vehicle’s exterior, as appropriate, but not on the inside – so the modeler is faced with adding them if they open the Hood. The wheels are not positionable, but it doesn’t appear to difficult a task to accomplish if desired. The tread pattern inside the kit does not match the box art.

The first Pit-Road 1:35th scale kit I’ve ever purchased is a nicely done effort. It is not replete with ultra-fine details, resin and photo-etch like some might expect for model kits released today, but what is presented is well executed. I felt no urgent desire to replace anything provided in the box by Pit-Road, though there is much room for incorporating additional detail. Kuroganes are handsome little vehicles and offer modelers an enjoyable respite from rendering big battlefield behemoths, and opportunity to model different scenes and moods for their collection. A modicum of extra effort will pay good dividends in the end, and the basic kit appears to present little challenge during assembly – good subject for a novice modeler to take on and expect good results. I hope Pit-Road has future plans for more 1:35th scale military vehicles.
Highs: Basic Engine detail and major components appear to come with the kit. Consistent level of detailing throughout the model kit.
Lows: Somewhat simplified interior details. No decal sheet for Instrument Panel Gauges.
Verdict: Appealing subject for fans of Softskins and modelers of all skill levels should find building and completing the model enjoyable.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: G-10
  Suggested Retail: $28.00 USD
  PUBLISHED: Oct 14, 2008
  NATIONALITY: Japan / 日本

About Jim Lewis (GunTruck)

I love American AFV's from all eras and researching Vietnam-era Gun Trucks and US Army Pentomic and Atomic Battlefield Ordnance from the 1950's through the 1960's. Avid Sci-Fi fan and modeler as well - Star Wars, Space:1999, and Star Trek are favorites. Owner/Master Miniaturist - GunTruck Studios....

Copyright ©2021 text by Jim Lewis [ GUNTRUCK ]. All rights reserved.


Nice review Jim. I got one of these in the mail about two weeks ago. It looked too cool not to order one. I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the box. This kit is a real little jewel! The quality is exceptional and it will make a neat little subject. It should be a simple, pleasant OOB build, nice and relaxing! I too hope that Pit Road has more releases planned.
OCT 13, 2008 - 05:33 PM
Apart from the wobbly rifle it looks really nice. This car has been on my wants list for years, so it's great to finally see one in 1/35th. I wonder who'll be boxing it for the European market? David
OCT 13, 2008 - 08:54 PM
Good review, Like David, I went straight to the figure to check out its quality. It's pretty good for something thrown in with a vehicle but the rifle lets it down. Chas
OCT 14, 2008 - 12:06 AM
Thanks for the review. Mine arrived the other day. Very nice "little" kit.
OCT 14, 2008 - 03:14 AM
Hi Jim, Thanks for the review, completely missed this one. Looks like a neat little kit. Had a look on their web site does, anyone know of a UK distributor? This one looks like fun. Thanks Al
JAN 03, 2010 - 04:17 AM

Click image to enlarge
  • PitRoadG10
  • G10Sheet1
    Front side of the Instruction Sheet.
  • G10Sheet2
    Back side of the Instruction Sheet
  • Kuroganepic001
    Typical of the model kit packaging - items came wrapped in their own bags.
  • Kuroganepic002
    Views of the Body and Chassis/Frame.
  • Kuroganepic003
    Views of the Body and Chassis/Frame.
  • Kuroganepic004
    One-piece Wheels and Canvas Top deployed and stowed.
  • Kuroganepic005
    The Figure Sprues show a little more mold seams than the rest of the model kit parts.
  • Kuroganepic006
  • Kuroganepic007
  • Kuroganepic008
  • Kuroganepic009
  • Kuroganepic010
    The Grill and Hood. The quality of the molding is high in the kit.
  • Kuroganepic011
    The beefy Seats and front-face of the Engine.
  • Kuroganepic012
    Closer look at some Figure detail.
  • Kuroganepic013
    The Figure's accessories are nicely done too.
  • Kuroganepic014
    Inside the Body, underneath. There are no Ejector Pin remnants to deal with, and no Manufacturer stampings either. But, there is no detail provided to hint at Doors, Louvers, etc...
  • Kuroganepic015
    The bottom of the Chassis/Frame is also clear of Ejector Pin marks and Manufacturer logos - a clean part.
  • Kuroganepic016
    There are Ejector Pin remnants on the underside of the blown fenders, but they are not deep and easy to address. There is no other detail underneath to worry about in cleaning them up.
  • Kuroganepic017
    Interior of the Canvas Top. It is a bit thick for the scale and there are Ejector Pin marks to contend with.