Ho-Ni I (Type 1)
After the start of the Pacific War, units of the Imperial Japanese Army began to encounter advanced Allied medium tanks such as the M4 Sherman. The Japanese Type 97 Chi-Ha medium tank lacked sufficient armour or armament to deal with this threat, and work was begun on a tank destroyer version.
The Type 1 Ho-Ni I was developed by using the existing Type 97 chassis and engine, and replacing the gun turret with a 75mm type 90 Field Gun mounted in an open casemate with frontal and side armour only (similar to early German Panzer jäger tank destroyers). The Type 1 Ho-Ni I was designed to operate as self-propelled artillery in the armoured divisions at ranges of up to 12,000 metres. The design had no provision for a defensive machine gun which together with the open structure made it very vulnerable in close combat.
The Type 97 chassis, suspension and diesel engine were used unchanged. The 75 mm Type 90 Field Gun was protected on three sides by 50 mm thick armoured plate. Armour overall (one of the weak points of the Type 97) was increased by an additional 16 mm of armour plate. The gun mounting gave ten degrees of traverse and -5 to +25 degrees of elevation. The Type 1 Ho-Ni I carried 54 rounds of ammunition.
The Type 1 modelled here is the Tamiya version (c 1975), a nicely detailed kit with clean lines. The current release included a series of figures. I actually purchased the kit simply to use the figures in a large diorama. Having the kit to hand, however, I thought I’d complete it as a mini-project, retaining the loader figures and adding an officer figure from a different Tamiya figure set. The base and foliage are from stock.
4 additional images. Click to enlarge.