Military Scales Captured Japanese steamroller in 1/72

Reviewed by Rato Marczak (2024)




- 3D printed construction equipment.


- 1/72 (can be printed in other scales)


- 16.00 USD 

Contents & Media: 

- Resin parts


- Good printing resolution.


- Soft details. Printing marks. Model printed in one single piece (see text)..


- Recommended.

I think we all agree that one of the areas in scale modeling that most benefited from the current 3D printing trend is dioramas. The nature of diorama projects always claims additional items to complement the scene. More than that, until the availability of 3D files and services to the general public, most diorama scenarios had to rely on existing kits and few resin offerings for the main characters. We could scratchbuilt the details and accessories scattered around, but evidently, it is way more difficult for the average modeler to scratchbuilt complex pieces of equipment.


This was exactly my case years ago when I started planning a Pacific airfield diorama, with the construction equipment working on the airstrips at the same time aircraft were operating on it. I even began collecting reference material to build tractors and scrappers, but ended up archiving the project more than once. Until now.

This kit is of a captured steam roller once belonging to a Japanese construction battalion on Guadalcanal. There is a photo of it elsewhere after the Americans captured the airfield. However, if you decide to paint it in the colors of your city's construction corp or a Seebees unit, nobody will tell the difference.

This particular model is printed in one single part. Apparently printed in 4k resolution, there are a lot of supports to remove, but once they are gone, we can appreciate the model better. I broke one of the main wheels' scrapping pads while removing the supports, so take your time.

Firstly, there are some printing lines visible. I am working on this model as I write, and I think most of them will disappear after a good coat of primer, but not all. I recommend an overall sanding with 500 grid sandpaper, taking care to not damage the raised details.

Talking about them, they are a bit too soft for my taste, and the panel lines of the engine covers will probably disappear after painting, or at least make the use of washes pointless. I rescribed most of them.
The crude type of machinery is well captured by the printed model. A couple of nuts could probably be replaced by more crispy items, but the model is in general well done. The curved areas (wheels and cabin hood) look faceted, and I had to spend some time sanding them off to look more appropriately like curved steel plates.

Now the downside. I've been criticizing, over podcasts and forums, 3D printed models with very small parts count. Although many modelers love the idea of not having to glue, putty, and sand anything, in most of these cases the model results in many spots that are inaccessible by the modeler. Be it by a brush or airbrush, by decals, by sandpaper or even to apply weathering and effects. You simply can't get there.

This is one case. I cannot paint properly the area between the wheels and the chassis, and everything under the drive's hood will be impossible to detail paint. To make things worse, there are a couple of very strange 'crack-like' marks inside the driver's cabin that required puttying and sanding, and the only way to do it was to remove the hood and its supporting bars. The driver's wheel axle is also molded integrated to the chassis, while a metal rod replacement would do a much more realistic job there. But if I have to remove it, probably will also damage the surface details there.

I would prefer to have the chassis, wheels, hood, and driver's wheel printed as separate parts. I detached these parts in my sample, and it is much easier now to prepare the parts for painting. I will even add a couple of gauges inside the cabin.
But apart from this, it is still a nice model of something that probably no mainstream manufacturer will release in all main scales soon. I can't wait to paint mine.

The captured Japanese steamroller on Guadalcanal. American Engineers used this roller to complete the half finished runway of the Lunga airfield. August, 1942.

Recommended, but will require some extra work.

Rato Marczak 2024