The Type 87 AW is a Japanese anti-aircraft self-propelled gun based on the Type 74 MBT and designed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Its development started in 1982 to replace the M 42 Duster within the Japanese Ground Self Defense Forces (JGSDF). The initial prototype was built in 1983 and the first series vehicles entered service in 1987.
The vehicle is equipped with a turret armed with two fully stabilized Oerlikon 35 mm guns. The guns are built under license in Japan by Japan Steel Works. They can hit their target up to 4000 m. A single cannon rate of fire is 550 rounds per minute. The ammunition that can be fired comprise incendiary explosive , antiarmor and incendiary antiarmor rounds.
The fire control system allows the fire on the move. It comprises a surveillance radar, a tracking radar and an IFF system. A laser rangefinder and an optical tracking system are available as well.
For its self-protection, the vehicle is fitted with a laser warning on the roof and three smoke grenades dischargers per side. Its armor sustains artillery splinters and munitions up to 0.50 cal. It is also equipped with a NBC filtration system and an automatic fire suppression system.
The crew includes a driver in the hull, a vehicle commander and a gunner in the turret.
Around 52 vehicles are in service with the JGSDF.
It is manufactured by Trumpeter and comes in a sturdy cardboard box with a separate compartment for the hull. In the box you get 9 light grey plastic sprues, 17 sprues for the tracks links, 1 sprue of clear plastic, 2 hull halves, 2 turret halves, 1 photoetched parts (PE) sheet, 2 brass tubes, 1 sprue for the polycaps and 1 sheet of decals. The instructions come in a 16-page booklet and are supplemented by an additional color page for the painting instructions.
The level of detail is very good as is the modling. Some parts need to be thinned to be put in place. Some molding lines need to be thoroughly sanded, and on the turret a number of gaps between assembled parts need to be filled. The various radars remain mobile thanks to the polycaps.
It begins with the suspension. Trumpeter gives two options: lowered or raised suspension. For the raised one, Trumpeter also provides a template to assemble the tracks links and represent the sagging.
The tracks are the low point of this kit. The connectots and the guide horns being solid, the links do not naturally fit around the sprockets and the idlers. Thus you need to modify the links and give an angle to the connectors and the guide horns. When done, the tracks are glued. To facilitate the painting, the outer wheels, the sprockets and the idlers are not glued.
The upper hull is glued to the lower one before gluing the details. Many PE grilles enhance the realism of this large part. The headlights are painted chrome silver and get their glass which is masked with some tape. The headlight protections C21/C22 are thoroughly thinned. On the top, you need to glue a PE part with an antiskid coat. Trumpeter gives a drawing to shape the part but no plastic template. This needs some attention.
You will face the same issue with the mesh of the rear hull basket.
From step 11, the turret assembly begins. Step 12, several parts need to be thinned: D19, E17 and the basket D7. Parts D8 and D4 are replaced by PE parts provided by Trumpeter. Parts B20 can hamper the correct fitting of the cannons at step 18.
At steps 13 and 14, you must carefully fill the gaps between assembled parts on several sub-assemblies. You get the same issue at steps 16 and 17 with the cannons covers. To facilitate the gun barrels assembly, you need to delete the positioning pins.
Steps 19 to 21 concern the smoke grenades dischargers. Trumpeter gives two types. I opted for the early type. The PE parts 16 and 22 msut be cut out so the brackets are fully in contact with the turret sides.
For the painting, Trumpeter proposes a scheme of brown and dark green. I used the Tamiya JGSDF special shades: XF-73 Dark Green and XF-72 Brown. The camouflage scheme is not exactly Trumpeter's one. I used many reference pictures and ended by noticing that the vehicles had a different scheme, probably from a unit to another.
Once the base coat was applied, I sprayed a coat of gloss varnish to put the decals. For the markings, Trumpeter gives 4 options but no unit indications. I chose the eagle head which is the most colorful of the options.
The weathering is done with pigments for
the mud on the running gear and thins layers of Flat Earth and Brown for the
dust on the hull.
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