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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.

18 responses to Ho-Ni I (Type 1)

  1. Nice looking diorama Rob.
    It show what is going on.

  2. Another intersting mini-dio, Rob…glad to see your posting issues are finally resolved, too. 🙂

    • Thanks, Craig. Cheers for your assistance in recent weeks, Turns out my broadband provider had put through a software upgrade without notification and I needed to reboot the router. Martin can now stand down the code monkeys he’s had working on this for six weeks!

  3. Rob, You always do nice work and this is another fine project by you. Well done !, Your base also looks great, actually looks like the PTO.

  4. Young whippersnapper! As this lawyer once said to yours truly, “I’ve got ties that are older than you!” I tell the guys in my IPMS chapter some of my paint is older than they are.
    I don’t remember (surprise! geeeze) this one a-tall. Interesting idea, wonder how it worked in combat? The lack of crew protection and defensive MG don’t look good.
    Have to admit, those Fine Molds Japanese tankettes do tempt me.
    Looks really good, and in my experience, a rare model, first I’ve ever seen.
    Thanks for showing it. IJA is always interesting.
    Glad to hear your gremlins are suppressed.

    • Thanks, Bernard. I agree the FM kits are varied and high quality yet not over-engineered. I was looking at one or two of them when putting together ideas for my recent Pacific dio, but of course not every idea makes it off the drawing board, and as I mentioned, the figures with the Tamiya armour made it the kit of choice in that instance.

      • Rob and any others:
        Whose Japanese 1/35 figures do you like? I know Tamiya has some, anyone else?

        • Dragon, Masterbox (who do a whole ‘bloody atoll’ series), Finemolds, Minisoldier (resin sets of Marine and Japanese officer (two sets that I know of), The Bodi (fallen Japanese soldier in my recent Pacific dio), also I think Miniart do a set, and a Japanese firm called ModelKasten who specialise in AFV but who have also produced a nice set of Imperial Army soldiers (mechanised crew). MK also do a couple of nice sets of Japanese pilots in groups, e.g., Zero pilots in Rabaul.

  5. Looks great Rob! After those last couple of intricate dio’s, this must have seemed like a weekend project! As simple as it is, it still sets off the subject in a beautiful contextual surrounding. And an interesting subject to boot!

  6. Really nice. Brave souls, protect the gun but not the crew

  7. Very nice Rob. Those old Tamiya armor kits are fun.

  8. Maybe simple, but very effective. Excellent display, Rob, lots of atmosphere, especially good work on that tree.

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