I apologise for the long delay since my last blog post. I’ve been very busy at work, and while I have taken many pictures and have many ideas for blog posts….I often find myself too busy with the projects to actually document them!
So today is a quick, and very oddball one!
A friend of mine was getting rid of his Phrozen Sonic Mighty 4k, a larger printer then my current Sonic Mini’s and with a bit more detail. I’ve run my Minis like pigs, and while I’m not sure if the screen “degrades”, they don’t feel as sharp as before. The Mighty 4k was offered to me in a fashion I could afford, with a down-payment. He even joked it could be a dollar! While I certainly paid him a bit more then that, I still got an incredible deal, and I got to start using it right away.
It needed a shakedown cruise, and I did want to print some tanks. There are some incredible sci-fi models for that sort of thing, but my blog’s bread and butter seems to be weird little historical/alternate history projects. And as luck would have it….
Trenchworx, an American company that produces resin models for purchase, very recently(as of September 12th 2022) released some of their in-house STL files for manufacturing their models. These are professionally designed 3D masters, and they look fantastic!
I remembered a joke on the VBCW Facebook page a few months ago about Japanese equipment in Very British Civil War, and thought that the Type 89 might be a good fit!
The Type 89 was an interesting tank. Designed in 1928, and beginning production in 1931, it was actually quite a decent tank for its time. A good 57mm main gun capable of lobbing explosive shells at dug in infantry, and backed up 6.5mm Type 91 machine guns made it a capable infantry support tank. It served ably in that role in the Battle of Shanghai in 1932, and its low speed was of little hindrance in that kind of fight. The Imperial Japanese Army made it their standard tank, and in the early stages of the Sino-Japanese War, it saw good service. It’s thin armour was still enough to stop small arms, and the Chinese lacked many anti-tank guns/rifles to combat them.
That being said, it was less good in other situations. When it came up against anti-tank guns, either Chinese manned German guns or Soviet ones later on, it was an easy target. Anti-tank rifles(like the Boys) could effectively deal with the Type 89 as well. It’s slow speed made it less effective in open warfare, like what would face them in the Battles of Khalkhin Gol in 1939. It was supplemented in service by the Type 97 Chi Ha, but at least on the Chinese front, it never really stopped fighting.
This put the “good for 1931” tank eventually against Shermans and other later war Allied armour, where it was grossly outclassed. There are many reasons for why Japanese tank development was so badly managed, and while I don’t really have time to get into the gist of it today, lets just blame the Imperial Japanese Navy for monopolising all the steel and leave it at that. Ironically, it served the Imperial Japanese Navy very well, in the Navy’s own tank units supporting the Special Naval Landing Forces.
Now, all of this means its a perfect fit for VBCW! It’s a handy tank, and the UK in 1938 wasn’t exactly swimming in tanks, and those available wouldn’t be vastly different in capabilities to the Type 89. Much of the imported French armour one sees in VBCW would be better, but its generally a case of any tank would be an asset for it’s side. Most of the time, these tanks would be used sparingly, as the maintenance involved in keeping them running and the nature of logistics means its better to be cautious when deploying them.
Now a better question is how to involve Japanese tanks. A good degree of alternative history is needed, but King Edward VII, as a Prince, both went to Japan and recieved the then Crown Prince Hirohito on his visit to the UK. This does lead to some deeply amusing pictures.
Would a then King and Emperor, Edward VII and Hirohito, get along well enough to offer support to each other? Maybe, maybe not. But lets go with yes, for the sake of fun.
My excuse? Emperor Hirohito offers military aid, in the form of the then obsolete Type 89A Tank, as they had been replaced by newer Type 89B’s, alongside stocks of rifles, and a group of men pledged to the Royalist cause. This Japanese Mission would then see service in the ongoing Civil War. I have some ideas on how to equip the men for this platoon, but the tanks? That I can source now!
The Trenchworx file is a Type 89A, the early variant. Let’s take a look at what my new printer can do!
Of course…I did mention Konflikt didn’t I?
While this tank would be grotesquely outclassed by 1947 onward, I was very tempted to stick a Compression Cannon(a sort of sound based weapon, I think?) from Konflikt 47 on it. The beauty of 3D printing is that I can very quickly realise that idea. I quickly knocked together a quick facsimile of a Compression Cannon, using the Chi-Ha variant’s hexagonal barrel as an inspiration.
After I bodged the gun together, I then quickly printed it. It’s pretty small, but most of the details came through well enough to paint!
This a delightfully silly idea, and I’ve picked up a few Weird War Japanese from West Wind Productions to put together a platoon’s worth of Konflikt 47 Japanese. Add a walker, and two normal Type 89’s, and I have a tank platoon and some weird war infantry to back it up.
I never thought I’d be collecting WW2 Japanese, but here we are!
Anyways, I ought to get some rest. I work fairly early in the morning! Got to make sure that coffee is available when the Corporals and Sergeants walk in, no one wants grumpy NCOs! Working on an army base is actually a pretty neat experience.
As for the other news this week, while I have complicated feelings about the monarchy, I am saddened to see Queen Elizabeth II has passed on. I’ve always had an affection for the monarchy entirely at odds with a quite left-leaning political stance. My very existence as a mixed Anglo-Indian means that colonialism, is, quite literally, in my blood. My family both benefited from British rule and yet were also subservient to it, so I really haven’t made up my mind on that.
But Queen Elizabeth II was a class act most of the time. Serving in WW2 as a driver, despite having no expectation to, and ruling as our Monarch for the longest anyway has in Commonwealth history, and overseeing the dismantlement of Empire, is a heavy task. She was a person I could admire, and I was proud to swear my citizenship oath to Her Majesty, the Queen.
It is indeed, the end of an era.
So, Happy Wargaming wherever you are. And God Save the Queen.