For South East Asia, their second world war began in Manchuria and China in the 1930s. The Japanese Army that prosecuted that war, like many armies at the time, was in a transition from horses to horsepower. The Kwantung Army was the Japanese army responsible for the Manchuria Mandate, and in 1937 it was still heavily reliant on cavalry and horses due to the lack of roads in northern China at the time. The Japanese Army were also early adopters of the tank, and after starting with imported designs such as the Whippet and FT-17, they had quickly moved into developing their own, and the Kwantung Army included two armoured divisions. I liked the idea of this transition period in warfare from horses to tanks and so decided to depict a simple scene with a horse officer meeting a tank on the plains of Northern China.
Fine Molds first released a Type 89 as a part-work with the Japanese model magazine, Armour Modelling, in 2010. It was released again with a few new parts and decals as a ‘Girls & Panzer’ release in 2012 to tie in with the popular Anime series, and again in 2015 with new decals before they got around to a standard IJA boxing in 2017. I managed to get the 2012 release (41101) cheap a couple of years ago and started to gather items for it. A good friend in Japan, Norio Takemura, put me in touch with Mr Kunimoto from the publisher Kunimoto