The subject is a Japanese Type 2 “Ka-Mi” amphibious tank. This vehicle was the first amphibious tank used by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), and it was closely based on the Type 95 “Ha-Go” light tank. It was designed for Japanese landing forces performing amphibious invasions of Pacific islands that didn’t have regular port facilities. Production commenced in 1942 and a total of 184 Type 2 amphibious tanks were made, although the design was really too late to participate in Japan’s island-hopping campaign. When used in water, large pontoons were attached to the glacis plate and rear deck to give it a top speed of 10km/h. These pontoons could be shed as soon as it reached land. The turret featured a 3.7cm Type 1 gun and a coaxial Type 97 machine gun.
The kit is closely based on measurements taken from a surviving tank on Peleliu (present-day Palau), the scene of ferocious fighting in late 1944. That ensures this kit of the Type 2 tank without its flotation pontoons is accurately dimensioned. This kit is produced to the highest Dragon standards, with wide use of slide molds to enable crisp detail. The one-piece upper hull and lower hull components, for example, are both slide molded. The Ka-Mi also includes DS tracks for easier assembly. This is a swimmingly good kit of a very rare and fascinating subject!