The Type 96 was the standard medium anti-aircraft gun of the Imperial Navy throughout World War II. A mediocre weapon compared to its contemporaries in other navies, it was nevertheless a mainstay of IJN antiaircraft defense, being mounted aboard practically every ship in the fleet. The Type 96 25mm machine guns represent Veteran Models’ first venture into the weapons of the Imperial Japanese Navy in 1/200 scale, but they have announced that there will be more to come!
These 25mm AA guns are little kits in themselves with superb resin, photoetch brass, and turned brass parts. The intricate assemblies represent an order of magnitude improvement over the parts provided with traditional paper or injection molded plastic kits. Paper 1/200 scale kits which mount various iterations of the Type 96 include numerous models by Angraf, GPM, Answer, Halinski, and others. Injection plastic kits include Nichimo’s 1/200 destroyers IJN Akizuki, Hatsuzuki, Kagero, Shiranui, the submarine I-19, and of course their monsterpiece, the massive 1/200 Yamato!
I just cracked the box on the Veteran Models 25mm triples – a first for me. Seeing these parts in person for the first time, all I can say is WOW! The elaborate detail of these beauties is unbelievable, the best I’ve seen, EVER.
The 25mm triples come as a set of four units, and the perfectly molded parts are a sight to behold!
The sharpness and delicacy with which the resin parts are cast is absolutely amazing.
There are even options such as alternate bases for shielded and unshielded versions.
The etched brass parts are equally well executed, with many spares for the miniscule parts. Each of the guns can be built as either “Type A” or “Type B” (with ring sights), and there are alternate parts to build either version, including two types of seats, optional ring and bead sights, and no less than three types of shields.
The 25mm gun barrels are the most impressive parts of all. These unbelievably fine brass castings (3D printed?) feature open muzzles, delicate flash suppressors, and the finest ribbed heat-dissipating rings that I have ever seen.
The first assembly is the gun base.
Though complex looking, this structure consists of only two resin parts. Fit is close to perfect, but gluing the micro-parts has to be done with the utmost care. After setting them in place, I use a piece of fine wire as an applicator. Dipped into a drop of cyanoacrylate (super glue), the wire can apply the glue in precise dabs to fix the joins. Not much glue gets on the parts, but the bonds are just strong enough to hold the tiny pieces together.
All of the resin parts are small, but some of them are truly miniscule:
Part R4, for example. Yikes!
After installing the brass barrels, the perfectly formed R4 affixes to the top center of the weapon. Lightly attaching the assemblies to masking tape (sticky side up) on a small box helps keep things stable while attaching smaller parts. The assemblies are so small and delicate that it is a challenge to add parts without damaging what has already been done!
Although almost impossible to see, the curved etched elevating sprocket mounted beneath the guns actually has tiny gear teeth.
After attaching the etched brass recoil guards, the completed gun assembly is fixed to the mount
Of the two versions of the weapon offered by Veteran, I chose Type B. What’s not to like about those beautiful etched brass ring and bead sights?
The resin and etched brass elevation gear and seat parts were then added to the left side of the mount.
And on the right side, the azimuth wheel and trainer’s seat.
At this point the gun may be considered completed, but most Japanese Navy 25mm mounts after 1942 were also fitted with splinter shields.
These shields varied slightly in design (the kit comes with three different styles), but all were created specifically for the Type 96mounts. The etched parts, angled at 110 degrees, attach directly to the resin baseplate.
Fitted to the mounts, the raked shields neatly enhance the functionally aggressive look of the Type 96 guns.
These absolutely stunning weapons are typical examples of Veteran Models’ “no compromises” approach to precision scale detailing. While the extraordinarily tiny and delicate parts can make these 25mm triples challenging upgrades to accomplish, the results definitely repay the effort.
There can be no doubt that Veteran’s 25mm triples are miles ahead of traditional plastic kit parts!