In-Box Review
JGSDF Type 73 (Early) and PE
Japanese Ground Self Defense Force Type 73 (J20) Light Truck (w/MG) and Type 73 PE set
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by: Gino P. Quintiliani [ HEAVYARTY ]


Fine Molds provides another version in the long line of Jeep vehicles used by militaries around the world. This example is the Mitsubishi Type 73 used by the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF). The type 73 is a derivative of the Willys CJ3B jeep of the 1950s and was used by the JGSDF until the mid '70s.


The Jeep was introduced to the Japanese market as the Jeep J3 in July 1953 after Willys granted Mitsubishi a license to build them in Japan. The Type 73 as found in this kit was based on the J20 model which began production in 1960, a lengthened six-seat version. Mitsubishi also added small diagonal skirts to the leading edge of the J20's front fenders. This style was to remain the last change to the sheet metal up front until the end of Mitsubishi Jeep production in 1998 and was the basis for the Type 73 military version. Mitsubishi was to continue production of vehicles derived from the CJ-3B design until August 1998, when tighter emissions and safety standards finally made the Jeep obsolete. In total, approximately 200,000 units were built.

The first production of the military Type 73, known as the Mitsubishi Type 73 Light Truck (Kyū) was based on the Jeep CJ-3Bs that Mitsubishi Motors had been producing under license from Willys. The first Type 73 Kyūs began production in 1973 with the chassis of the CJ-3B-J4C (J-20). Production continued until 1997 after the Type 73 Light Truck Shins (CJ-5A-J54A) were fielded in 1996.
Compiled from Wikipedia and The Complete Jeep webpage.


The Base Kit:
Fine Molds continues to produce very-well crafted kits of mostly Japanese subjects. Their latest line is the Type 73 Light Truck. The kit comes packaged in a sturdy box with a drawing on the front and pictures of the built model on the sides. The box contains two main sprues with the suspension and detail parts, a small sprue with the .50 cal MG and its mount, a clear sprue with windshield and headlight lenses, a small decal sheet, the body tub and a separate hood. The instruction sheet is divided into 22 steps and includes a small addendum for step 19 showing that the wheel backs need to be drilled out to fit the axles. There are markings for four vehicles of the JGSDF; three in OD Green and one in OD and Dark Green camo.

The parts are crisply molded with no flash and parts breakdown is very logical. The assembly and parts breakdown are similar to other jeep kits such as the Tamiya Willys MB or the Skybow/AFV Club M38A1 kits.
The kit is very detailed with such things as separate clutch, brake, and gas pedals. The interior and exterior of the body tub has fine details and there are decals for the gauges and data plates. There are options for a folded windshield with folded hinges and a radio or another troop seat in the back. As mentioned above, there is also a separate hood for the engine compartment; however, no engine is included. An engine could easily be added using the engine, radiator and engine compartment parts from the Skybow or AFV Club M38A1 since they both used the Willys Hurricane 4-cylinder engine. There is an engine bottom blank to show under the frame.

The suspension is very detailed as well with separate springs, axles, shocks, and steering components. The front wheels are not able to be posed in a turned position though. The wheels are cast with the proper uni-directional tread pattern and nice sidewall detail with fine lettering for the maker and inflation data information. The frame is a one-piece affair with crisp details and the rear bumperettes attached to it. The underside of the body tub is detailed with stiffening ribs under the front fenders, but no other underside details.
The .50 cal and its mount are also nicely detailed and made up of multiple parts to allow for greater details. The gun comes with a positionable feed cover and separate parts for the hand grips and charging handle. The ammo can is also made up of multiple parts such as the hold down bar and a separate ammo can holder.

MG 73 PE set:
Throughout the instruction sheet, there are small hexagons with "Detail Up Option" on it. These denote areas where Fine Molds separately sold PE set includes parts that can be used to add more detail at each stage of assembly. The small PE set includes one small brass fret and a sheet of instructions. The fret includes some nice parts to add a bit of extra details to the model such as a front bumper, headlight guards, seat belts, ammo can holder, diamond tread plates, antenna mount, and a few other small pieces. This small set has some nice details, but may not be worthwhile to buy as it doesn't have that much on it. Most modern kits would have included it.
Highs: Finely molded parts and crisp details. The available options are nice additions and the amount of decals is more than adequate to finish off the interior.
Lows: No engine nor underside detail on the kit. In the price range that this kit is, these are expected and should be included. The PE set is small and should have been included with the kit as well.
Verdict: A very good kit of a little-known Jeep variant. A hit by Fine Molds. This and their other Type 73 versions should be added to any Jeep enthusiast's collection.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: FM35 & MG73 (PE set)
  Suggested Retail: $29.95 & $16.25
  PUBLISHED: Nov 03, 2012
  NATIONALITY: Japan / 日本

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About Gino P. Quintiliani (HeavyArty)

Retired US Army Artillery Officer, currently a contractor at MacDill AFB in the Tampa, FL area. I have been modelling for the past 40+ years, really seriously on armor and large scale helos (1/32, 1/35) for the last 35 or so.

Copyright 2021 text by Gino P. Quintiliani [ HEAVYARTY ]. All rights reserved.


Thanks for posting it James. It is a nice little model.
NOV 03, 2012 - 03:18 PM
I got the Jeep with the canvas top, I am building it now, nice kit, like the author said, all locator pins provides for easy assembly, the details are great, minimal flash, some fragile parts such as the gear shift on the steering rod, but generally a joy to build.
NOV 03, 2012 - 04:03 PM
The model represents the Mitsubishi J24. The military version was built for the Japanese military from 1973 to 1997. The instructions in the canvas top version of the kit has markings dated 1994 and 1995. Research I did about a month ago came up with J4's (CJ3B clone) and J24's in Japsnese military service. No references to J20's . In photos the J20 and the J24 do appear to be very similar. The J4 is a 1/4 ton vehicle. The J24 is a 1/2 ton vehicle. The J numbers are Mitsubishi model designations. The JGSF designation TYPE 73 is used for all the military jeeps starting with the J4 through the current models which started production in 1996. Trumpeter makes two versions of post 1996 vehicles. The meaning of the JGDSF designation "TYPE 73" is not clear to me. It can also refer to other types of equipment: for instance there is a TYPE 73 tank, a TYPE 73 APC and a TYPE 73 cargo truck.
NOV 03, 2012 - 04:45 PM
Thanks Gino for the review! I'm planning to get the canvas covered version of this kit, plus probably the recoilless gun variant that should be out by the end of this year in Japan. Cheers, Christophe
NOV 03, 2012 - 08:04 PM
From what I could make out from my reasearch, the JGSDF started using the Type 73 Light Truck with the J20 model. It had a few changes over the years and was still called the J20, but was also known as the J24, depending on the version. The basic model was the J20 though, so it is a little confusing. That is why I went with the J20. The JGSDF "Type" designation is like the US Military's "M" (Model) designation. You need the words after it to tell what it is; ie: Type 73 Light Truck (Kyu). The M designation works the same way. There is an M1A1 Abrams Tank, M1A1 Rifle, M1A1 Carbine, M1A1 Howitzer, etc...
NOV 04, 2012 - 12:21 AM
Great review Gino - really like the look of this one. Have you seen the APC that they are releasing also? best Mark
NOV 08, 2012 - 08:22 PM
I just finished building my Jeep today, and I enjoyed every minute of it, I have attached some pictures to show what it will look like once finished. This is a straight from the box build. Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
NOV 18, 2012 - 10:29 AM

Click image to enlarge
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