In-Box Review
Japanese Army Infantry
Imperial Japanese Army Infantry
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by: Bob Davis [ DIOMAN13 ]


This is a review for fine molds 1/35 scale Imperial Japanese Army Infantry, kit # FM-37. These figures are marching in a semi-relaxed posse on un-even ground.


The box is an open-end type with an artist color image on the front. On the back are the assembly instructions, paint guide and decal placement. Inside are 3 light tan sprues bagged separately. This sample had no broken or loose parts. No flash was present either. The main sprue has all 6 figures on it and the equipment sprue is a double set.


Starting with a break down of the parts that make up the figures which are;
  • 1-head
  • 1-torso
  • 2-arms
  • 2-legs

The mold lines are the smallest I have ever seen. I needed a head magnifier and bright light to find some. They are located in the usual areas associated with figures, clean up was a breeze, with the exception of the puttees. Being cross-taped puttees it took most of my clean-up time to do these. The fronts took the most time because the front of the boot limits your work angle. There are two types of puttees; they both start wrapping at the bottom towards the top leaving a sharp edge, three tie off at the top while the other 3 are cross-taped leaving a large X in the front and tie off on the top. Patience is really needed along with a new #11 blade and a flex file for them.

The 2 leg halves line up but the flat area for mounting the torso is not always level, but when the torso is attached a bit of putty smoothed over liquid glue will solve that. When you attach the torso it will leave a barbie doll waist, not to worry as the equipment fills it out. Most arms fit well with no gaps, but a small amount of filler will be required. The heads fit well with no gaps, and have an Asian look to them. They all have molded chin straps but no bow under the chin where they tie. Some straps are good some were bad. The 2 figures with field caps have straps but I was not able to locate any reference for them.

When built up the figures look too straight in the back like a parade march. No forward bending of backs or shoulders which makes them look stiff. 2 figures (d & f ) have weird leg positions. I tried to walk the posse and found it unnatural. Some cutting and re-posing of one leg each will make a big difference. All in all not to bad and some tweaking will make them a lot better.

Sprue Z-2 double accessories
  • 12 rifles-6 type 38, 6.5 m.m introduced in 1905
  • 6 type 99, 7.7 m.m. introduced in 1938
  • receiver / bolt assembly separate, nice detail, good representation
  • 8 bayonet-type early 1897 30, sheathed, good representation
  • 18 ammo box-12 ( part # 3), 2 on the front belt
  • 6 ( part # 2 ), 1 on the back belt with cleaning bottle, good representation
  • 8 canteen-enlisted man type, side strap shoulder go all the way to the plug, decent representation
  • 8 helmets-type 92,no interior , good representation
  • 8 field caps- bill seems a bit short, decent representation
  • 2 entrenching tools- 2 part type strapped together not tied to pack in canvas cover, nice detail, good representation
  • 6 gas mask pouches-contoured to fit, nice detail, good representation
  • 4 pistols & holsters- type 14 Nam-bu,introduced in 1925 8mm, 7 rounds. Holster has a bulge which is extra ammo and cleaning equipment, nice detail, good representation
  • 2 backpacks- I could not find any reference, but they look good and are contoured to fit nice fit and look
  • 8 haversacks- Canvas sacks for rations and personal items, good representation

Note-bayonet fit under gas mask pouch. Add pouch first and slip bayonet under.

Uniforms- They appear to be field jackets as some shirt sleeves extend beyond the cuff. Pocket flaps and buttons are good but lower pocket detail is missing. The buckles on the straps and belt is soft. Tunic and trousers have decent creases but are a bit soft. Boots and puttees have nice detail though no hob nails, which wouldn't show in this case.

Decals- There are 30 sets on the sheet. A small set on some but they will hardly be noticeable in this scale. Both of my references had contraindications as to what some were, so Google will help. These are the color tabs and yellow stars for field caps.


Finally we have some more W.W.2 Japanese figures. Though they won’t be usable with other available kits, they are a welcome set none the less. Diorama and vignette and figure builders will find a decent use for these (plan gears rolling guys?). Experienced figure builders should have no problems with this set. Beginners take note lots of small parts and some surgery is required. The option of 2 types of rifles was very nice. Some will want to replace the heads and hands, but for me they worked just fine. I liked the back pack set up and I feel they should all of had them. With just 2 figures with packs it looks a bit strange. All in all , even with the tweaking and possible surgery's needed I enjoyed this set and hope fine molds will continue to fill this gap.


Google and the following books-
War in the Pacific Oklahoma press, Edited by B.C. Nalty
The Rise and Fall Of Imperial Japan, Military Press, Edited By S.L. Meyer
Highs: The high of this set is the availability of them in general, and the different sets of rifles included along with the equipment.
Lows: The low for this set is that they are pretty much the same looking, some weird leg positions and the angle of the figures backs.
Verdict: I still would give this set a good deal as the I.J.A. figures are poorly represented in the modeling community
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: FM-37
  PUBLISHED: Apr 24, 2013
  NATIONALITY: Japan / 日本

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About Bob Davis (dioman13)

Copyright ©2021 text by Bob Davis [ DIOMAN13 ]. All rights reserved.


Thanks for the review, Bob. I have this set as well. I agree that the poses are a little stiff, but the equipment supplied with them is first rate. The tunic is a tropical weight shirt with vent slits on the sides as well as the rear. I imagine if the arms were raised more we could see the underarm vents as well. I would have liked to see the neck protection flaps on the soft helmets, but they are fairly simple and should be easy to make. I did like the addition in the decals of the "mountain crest" badges and diligence chevrons. They will help detail the Modelkasten set I have.
APR 24, 2013 - 06:06 AM

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