The Battle of Iwo Jima was fought from February 19 to March 26. Thus, a follow-up to the last post is still timely. Here’s a brief photo summary of prebuilt 1/72 scale vehicles available for the battle.
To my knowledge, there are eight such models for Iwo Jima, including the two amtanks reviewed in the last post. In alphabetical order by manufacturer, they are:
- Altaya DUKW 353, US Marine Corps;
- Altaya Type 97 Chi-Ha, 26th Tank Regiment, Imperial Japanese Army;
- CDC 3135 M4A3, “Black-Jack,” B Company, 4th Tank Battalion;
- Dragon 60331 M4A2, D Company, 1st Marine Amphibious Corps Tank Bn, Tarawa 1943 (Dragon mislabeled it; Sherman is actually from Iwo Jima);
- Dragon 60425 LVT(A)-4, 2nd Armored Amphibian Battalion;
- Hobby Master HG4402 LVT(A)-4, US Marines, 2nd Armored Amphibian Battalion;
- Hobby Master HG4407 LVT(A)-2, 10th Marine Amtrack Bttn., “Beach Yellow 1”; and
- Hobby Master HG4201 Willys Jeep with Trailer, 4th Marine Division, 2nd Battalion.
1. Altaya DUKW 353, US Marine Corps
This is an attractive model, though the detail is soft because of its diecast construction. On the plus side, the camouflage is very nicely done. To my knowledge, this is only one of two prebuilt DUKWs — the other being an Amercom piece, clearly a different casting, and without the canvas cover.
2. Altaya Type 97 Chi-Ha, 26th Tank Regiment, Imperial Japanese Army
As with the DUKW above, this Altaya is an adequate diecast model. However, in terms of realism, it pales in comparison to the detail and finish of the all-plastic Dragon Chi-Has. It’s unfortunate that while Dragon released four Chi-Has, not one of them represents a vehicle at the Battle of Iwo Jima. 3. CDC 3135 M4A3 (105mm), “Black-Jack,” B Company, 4th Tank Battalion
This piece is inaccurate in a number of ways and really only for the hardcore collector. To begin with, the real “Black-Jack” carried a standard 75mm gun — not a 105mm gun, as CDC represented it. Secondly, like other Sherman crews at Iwo, the crew of the “Black-Jack” added wooden planks to the side of the hull to provide additional protection. It was on these planks that the markings, including the name “Black-Jack,” were painted — not on the hull itself, as represented on the CDC model. Thirdly, compared to other 1/72 Shermans, the CDC series is significantly overscaled. Finally, its all-metal content results in soft detail, particularly when compared to the crisp detail of the all-plastic Dragon issues. 4. Dragon 60331 M4A2, D Company, 1st Marine Amphibious Corps Tank Bn, Tarawa 1943
This is a terrific little piece though, once again, Dragon research leaves a lot to be desired. As the very name of this Sherman indicates, “Destroyer” was assigned to D Company. It is well documented that only the 14 tanks of C Company fought at Tarawa. All 14 carried the elephant with raised right leg and cannon shot coming out of its trunk, which is why Dragon incorrectly assumed that the design of an elephant with a raised foot meant the “Destroyer” fought at Tarawa. Still, this Sherman is a nice piece of work and I plan to do a detailed review of it in the future. 5. Dragon 60425 LVT(A)-4, 2nd Armored Amphibian Battalion
This is another fine piece by Hobby Master. It’s a recent release and I’ve yet to assess its accuracy.
At least five manufacturers — Amercom, Cararama, Dragon, Hobby Master, and Zylmex — have tried their hand at producing the Willys Jeep in 1/72 scale. The Dragon, which is all plastic, is probably the best. Yet the weight of the diecast Hobby Master is satisfying to the hand and, at least in this case, there appears to be no sacrifice in detail in using metal. The Amercom model is an inferior copy of the Hobby Master, right down to the War Department number of the vehicle. By my count, there are 17 prebuilt WWII 1/72 scale Jeeps available and I intend to do a review of them in the future.Finally, here’s a lagniappe photo of all eight of these vehicles so the reader may better appreciate the difference in the respective sizes of the vehicles as well as the various camouflage schemes. Also of note is the difference in size between the CDC and Dragon Shermans.Italeri 6098 Iwo Jima Flag Raisers
For the sake of completeness, the reader should be aware that in 1977 ESCI issued a set of plastic 1/72 scale soldiers (ESCI 8062) depicting the flag raising at Iwo Jima portrayed in Joe Rosenthal’s famous photo. Though the ESCI set is now hard to find, Italeri reissued the set more recently (Italeri 6098). The set is a disappointment. In addition to the poor detail, the figures have disfiguring sink marks on their backs and pronounced seam marks along their sides. Moreover, being almost 40 years old, the set is beginning to show its age as the figures are rather poorly engineered — some with separate limbs — and a couple of hours of effort yielded endless frustration and a less than satisfactory result. I would not recommend this set to anyone except those of stout heart, steady hand, and monk’s patience.I hope you enjoyed the post. If the reader knows of any other 1/72 vehicles for the Battle of Iwo Jima, please do leave a comment or send me an email. As always, thanks for your indulgence.