In-Box Review
Decalomaniacs Type 89 Early
Type 89 Early Chi Ro Otsu Markings
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by: Bill Cross [ BILL_C ]


The Type 89 Japanese tank was the first mass produced diesel engine tank, and was borrowed in design from the Vickers Model C medium tank. It had a conical turret mounting a Type 90 5.7cm gun in the front and a ball-mounted 6.6mm machine gun at the rear (similar to Soviet tank designs). It was an important tank for the Imperial Japanese Army, so when Fine Molds brought out their kit, modelers were disappointed to discover the version released had fewer than 40 built, and served only during the Manchurian Incident in 1939. Bummer.

Cobber Bro/Arms Corps Models has come to the rescue with a resin conversion that swaps out the kit's engine deck to create a version that actually did some heavy fighting. But what about markings? In comes Decalomaniacs, who produce offbeat but highly-desirable sets of markings for numerous vehicles.

>h6>what the sheet includes
Printed on a single 4 x 5 inch sheet are markings for six different vehicles, plus instructions. They include:

1.) 7th Tank Regiment, Gonkiang (Xinjiang in western China), March 1939
2.) Special Tank Company (China)
3.) 4th Tank Regiment, Quantung (Kwantung) Army
4.) 4th Tank Regiment, Kungchuliang, Manchuria
5.) Special Tank Company, Battle of Taierchwang (Tai'erzhuang), April 1938
6.) 7th Tank Regiment, Gonkiang (Xinjiang), China, March 1939

the review

Decalomaniacs does not try to rival the quality of Cartograf, but given the specialized nature of its products, and the good value-for-money, these decals will delight anyone looking for these rare tanks. If you have the Fine Molds kit, or have an interest in IJA AFVs of the Sino-Japanese wars, then you will want this set.

And those who've used the decals would mostly agree that once the vehicle has been weathered, the markings will do very nicely.


I am not sufficiently expert in Japanese AFVs to comment on the accuracy of these decals, but applaud Georg Eyerman's efforts to fill the gaps in markings for many lesser-known, but still interesting and important vehicles.

Thanks to Decalomaniacs for providing this review sample. Please be sure to mention you saw this review on Armorama when ordering.


Highs: That they exist at all. Good value for money.
Lows: Faint whites, some loss of registration due to limitations of the Alps printer used. Will need to be weathered to look right, but the results should satisfy most modelers.
Verdict: If you plan on modifying the Fine Molds kit to a tank that actually saw action, there's no choice.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: DM-089
  Suggested Retail: $9
  PUBLISHED: Feb 22, 2012
  NATIONALITY: Japan / 日本

Our Thanks to Decalcomaniacs!
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 Bill Cross (bill_c)

Self-proclaimed rivet counter who gleefully builds tanks, planes and has three subs in the stash.

Copyright 2021 text by Bill Cross [ BILL_C ]. All rights reserved.


Sorry to say, I can't recommend these markings at all. In a day when there are quite a few non-Japanese people who speak, read and write the language, as well as websites that show you how to correctly write the various symbols,there's no real excuse for kana characters that look like they were written by a first grader, or kanji (Chinese characters) that are essentially gibberish. As fussy as the modelling community gets with small errors - such as DML releasing tires marked Continentau instead of Continental, there's really no reason to market such sketchy products. Japanese manufacturers have released marking for Type 89 tanks - better to stick with them.
FEB 29, 2012 - 12:33 PM
Uh, actually that was done as a dodge around paying royalties for the use of a trademark. A quick slice of a hobby knife turns ContinenaU into Continental. Can you provide some photos or other illustrations of these markings that would allow us to compare with the real thing? The Kanji are crude, markings in wartime often are. Without comparing them to the real thing, there's no way to evaluate that.
FEB 29, 2012 - 12:55 PM
Steve, Yes, you caught me red-handed! I don't speak, read or write kanji. Unfortunately, my decals are only as good as the references I have. In this case, I used: Wawrzyniec Markowski and Andrzej Tomczyk's "Japanese Armor 1931-45" and Steve Zaloga's "Japanese Tanks 1939-45." My artistic abilities aren't the greatest and neither are my tools in this case (I've got basic graphics programs). However, since you've been so gracious to point out the error(s), I welcome your assistance in rectifying the situation. You can contact me at: [email protected] and we can discuss it further. Perhaps you have better artistic talents and could possibly draw these up? I'd give you the credit and a sheet of decals for your time. Regards, Georg
FEB 29, 2012 - 02:40 PM
Hi Georg, Sorry if my comments came across as a bit harsh. I've been interested in Japanese AFVs and aircraft for over 40 years, and have, I guess, become a bit of a zealot for correctness. I have hoped for years for a definitive English-language source on Japanese AFV camoflage and markings, but haven't found one yet (although Steve Zaloga's Osprey book is pretty good). I had high hopes for the book you mentioned, but in looking at some pages from it on the web, decided to pass on it since the markings, particularly the kana and kanji were quite a bit off. I'd be more than happy to assist you if I can, and will contact you at your personal e-mail shortly. I'd also like to have some accurate markings for my expensive Type 89 kits. Best regards.
MAR 02, 2012 - 12:20 PM
Hi Bill, Yeah, the 'Continentau' example was perhaps not the best, but nonetheless, it raised quite a number of comments on various websites. Over the years I've looked through hundreds of photos of Japanese AFVs, and off the top of my head can't recall any examples of hastily-applied markings. Japanese tankers seem to have been pretty meticulous when applying names or symbols to their vehicles. For that matter I also don't see much photographic evidence that Japanese tanks were actually repainted in the field. One photo that comes to mind is a bow shot of a Type 92 TK tankette that appears to have a light color sprayed around the towing hook. The rest of the tank appears to be in the early-war scheme with yellow disruptive bands - so the light patch was perhaps just a quick touch up of a rusted area. Look if you would at the photos of Type 97 Chi-ha tanks turned over to the Soviets in Mancurhia in 1945 - they all appear in the early scheme with yellow bands. When it comes to painting Japanese AFVs, I think it's best to ignore the date of the campaign in which they appeared, and consider instead the date that they were manufactured. I thinks it's rather safe to assume that most AFVs produced prior to the latter part of 1942 - or perhaps even into the early months of 1943, were painted in the eary color scheme and not the later 3-color scheme with "parched grass" as the base color. All the best, Steve
MAR 02, 2012 - 01:04 PM
Steve, thank you for your informative comments. I can say that Georg is always working to upgrade his product. He's not Cartograf, and we should keep in perspective the differences between a dedicated modeler like himself and a for-profit business venture. I'm not saying that inaccuracies should be forgiven, but perhaps if you can work with Georg to improve the markings, the hobby will benefit.
MAR 02, 2012 - 01:09 PM
Thanks Bill, I'm more than happy to help Georg out, though I'm sure there are many more knowledgable people out there. Just like you, I'd like to see the hobby benefit through greater accuracy, and that can best be achieved through sharing information. Best regards, Steve
MAR 02, 2012 - 03:32 PM
First time on this site but found it very helpful.I have used the earlier set of decalmaniacs IJA set and concur about the white markings but they are the only set available.Dealing with Decalmaniacs great service recommended.Have CobberBros conversion set and Zitader Type 89 turrets again good service.Zitader did have a problem with their website which I notified them of by mail and they have rectified the problem .All these conversions were a direct result of using this site and for a 68 yr old 56 year modeller wish you had been around in 1956..transair
MAR 09, 2012 - 01:21 PM
Thanks, Gerald, it's good to know we're helping modelers. Good luck and welcome back to the hobby!
MAR 12, 2012 - 06:39 AM

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