1/48 Kurogane 4WD Type 95 & Isuzu TX40 Type 97
The Type 95 Scout Car had its origins due to the passage of the Military Automobile Subsidy Act, which officially established the Japanese automobile industry in 1928. Japan’s annual production began at 460 vehicles but grew to 43,551 by 1940. The Type 95 was a lightweight 4x4 reconnaissance vehicle that was developed after the Manchurian incident which demonstrated to the Japanese Army the need for such a vehicle. The Type 95 was built by Kurogane and was the Japanese army’s only totally native designed vehicle of its type. Most of the others were derived from American designs. This car (and it was a car, unlike the Jeep which was basically a small truck) was first manufactured in 1937 and was the most widely used machine of its type by Japanese forces on all fronts during World War II. There were a variety of body types and the total number produced was around 4,800. This was the “Jeep” for the Japanese army and was nicknamed ‘Black Medal’.
The vehicle was powered by a 4-stroke, 2-cylinder V-I-A-F 1399-cc air-cooled gasoline engine. It could develop 33 bhp. The air-cooled engine was ideal for the cool climates it was required to work in such as Manchuria and northern China. Its three speed transmission (three forward, one reverse) was able to pull the 2300 pound car at what had to be a sedate clip, especially if fully loaded with its maximum of four passengers.
The TX 40 truck was as ubiquitous for Japan as the Opel Blitz was for the Germans or the GMC for the US. The truck was designed by Isuzu but produced as much by Kawasaki heavy industries as anyone else. First rolling of the assembly line in late 1938, the truck soon reached a production of 1,500 units annually. A pittance compared to US production, but not bad by the Japanese standards of the time. This basic chassis was used for a wide variety of services as one would expect for what was basically a 2 1/2 ton truck. Like trucks in other ex-Axis countries, the Type 97 was produced post war and helped get Japan back onto her feet.