The Taisho 3 Japanese Heavy Machine Gun was basically a copy of the French Hotchkiss 1914 design. It was a 6.5mm, gas-operated gun weighing a hefty 122 pounds due to the Japanese adding extra upgrades and ammunition was fed in by a 30 shot strip inserted through the side of the gun. It was a tripod mounted weapon and the legs had sockets built into the feet into which short metal or bamboo poles could be attached for ease of carrying. The most infamous aspect of the Taisho 3 was its very slow rate of fire, earning it the nickname of "The Woodpecker" for its distinctive sound. In the early 1930's the Japanese upgraded the Taisho 3 to a 7.7mm caliber weapon, naming it the Type 92. However, not much else changed from the original design, only minor adjustments were made to the arrangement of the firing handles and trigger. Although the Type 92 outclassed the Taisho 3, both guns saw extensive service with the Japanese Armed forces during the Second World War. This 1/35 release by the Polish manufacturer RPM covers the earlier Taisho 3 design.
The kit comes with many detailed, well sculpted parts on a single sprue and is relatively easy to construct. The assembly guide on the back of the box is clear and construction takes place in 3 main stages. The first stage is the construction of the barrel which goes together without issues however the barrel is missing its sights. An easily fixed oversight, but something that should have been addressed by RPM. Additionally, from a modeling point of view, the Type 92's "pistol grip" firing handles could be easily scratch built to replace the older Taisho 3 design provided in the kit if you wished to update it to that model. Alternatively, the kit could also be used to model the 1914 French Hotchkiss with a few adjustments. The second stage is the construction of the carriage, height adjustment apparatus, etc. Finally the third stage is the construction of the tripod. Basically, each component of the gun is a separate part which may prove difficult for an unsteady hand.
There is a slight mistake regarding the labeling of parts. It is very hard to explain in words, unless you have the kit in front of you, but most modelers should pick it up as they build the kit. The correction is:
Sprue no.21 in part D of construction should be labeled sprue no.9. Sprue no.9 in part B of construction should be labeled sprue no. 21, which is missing in the sprue diagram.
Some very nice surprises include the many different options provided in the kit. As well as the usual static position, the kit comes with parts allowing the gun to be mounted in an anti-aircraft role. Poles are provided in the kit as well, allowing it to be modeled in a transportation position. Nine sandbags and a Japanese ceremonial sword are also included to round out the extras.
Highs: Simple construction, many build options, no visible sink marks. High number of additional accessories included in the kit.Lows: A few missing parts, unclear labelling in some places. Minor inaccuracies such as the missing sights.Verdict: A highly recommended kit, versatile and suitable for any modeller with an interest in the Pacific Theater.
About Chas Young (youngc) FROM: WESTERN AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA
I bought my first model kit when I was 12 years old. I began making 1:35 figures and dioramas when I stumbled across the Kitmaker Network and never looked back. My main area of interest is the Pacific war especially Australian, Japanese and British/Commonwealth subjects. I am currently hosting the H...