At the outset of the war, Japanese tank design was well behind that of its potential adversaries. Even by 1945, Japan's industrial base was struggling to produce armoured fighting vehicles that could match Allied and Soviet tanks. In 1942 the Chi-Ha, Japan's standard medium tank, was up-gunned with high-velocity 47mm anti-tank gun in a new and larger turret. This new version is known as the Type 97-Kai Shinhoto (meaning 'improved new turret'). With an armament just about capable of defeating medium Allied armour, the new tanks were relatively fast, with a low profile and low weight that gave them an adequate chance against Allied armour.The advent of Rift-technology, however, has allowed Japan to close the gap in some areas. Although increasing industrial capacity hasn't been easy, the study of the Rift messages provided by Germany has allowed Japan to create a family of rapid firing compression weapons.As Japan's Rift-tech scientists developed the first of these cannons, the Chi-Ha chassis with the larger Shinhoto turret was used as a test bed for the earliest weapon trials, which in turn led to a compression cannon-armed variant entering service in late 1946. Equipped with either a 47mm anti-tank gun or the rapid firing light compression cannon the Type 97 Chi-Ha has proved capable of competing against heavier Allied tanks.In China, it outclasses its rivals comfortably. Indeed, the success of the tank in the field has directly led to the development of the larger-turreted Type 3 Chi-Nu mounting a larger compression cannon.
Resin, metal and plastic components.