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In-Box Review
IJN Type 96 25mm A-A Guns
IJN Type 96 25mm Anti Aircraft Guns
  • WA1

by: Dade W. Bell [ KARYBDIS ]

Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights


An adaptation of a design by Hotchkiss, the Japanese Type 96 25mm gun was the standard light/ medium AA gun of the Pacific War. It was a ubiquitous weapon that was found in one form or another in nearly every ship in the IJN's fleet. It came in single, double, and triple mounts, and despite its widespread use, was actually a mediocre gun. It was plagued with slow training and elevating speeds (even in the powered triple mount), vibration and muzzle flash. To make matters worse, the gun had to stop firing every time the ammunition was changed due to its fixed 15 round magazine- this slowed its rate of rate of fire to only half of its theoretical rate of 260 rounds per minute. All of these issues added up to a gun that fell far short of the IJN's needed AA abilities as the war progressed.

Despite the gun's low performance, it is nonetheless an essential aspect of nearly any Japanese surface ship (and some submarines).

The Model:

For the longest time, IJN modelers in 1/700 have been plagued by the issue of lousy 25mm weaponry. While there were plenty of after market upgrades to large and medium guns as well as other aspects of the ships, the light AA always fell short. Photo etch replacements came along to take care of this, and for many people that worked out well. The only issues were the relative complexity of these guns and the fairly flat appearance of the guns' barrels in PE (although the PE was thick enough to be close to scale).

Fine Molds answered the challenge of a well-detailed, simple, scale 25mm replacement with their Nano Dread line. These guns come in two sets: WA-01containing double and triple mounts; and WA-02 containing single and double mounts.

WA-01 contains eight double mounts and sixteen triple mounts. They are divided up with two doubles and four triples per each interlocking sprue.

WA-02 contains eight double mounts and twenty-four single mounts. They are divided up with two doubles and six singles per each interlocking sprue (double mounts were the least populous of these guns, so that's why there are less of them overall in both sets).

Fine Molds has really pushed the envelope with these amazing little pieces-- they each measure less than 4mm in length. Jewelry-like craftsmanship and precision throughout, each gun is only one piece and easy to use. I was concerned that with such tiny complex pieces, there would be flash, but there is hardly any (you really have to look for it). What flash is there, can be melted away with a swipe of liquid glue. And unlike the complex assembly of PE guns, these excellent pieces are pretty much "clip and glue". The singles have a small nub of plastic on the ammo magazine that will have to be carefully removed, but nothing terrible. The price is also very competitive, resulting in one of the best cost/ usability/ quality ratios in the the after market.

The only drawback I can see is availability. These little items are already getting very scarce, so make sure to snatch them up right away. If you build IJN ships-- or even if you don't but think you might, these guns will take your build to the next level!

Here's hoping Fine Molds releases the IJN 5" AA gun series...

Note: Larger magnification pictures than what can be displayed here can be found on the Fine Molds website on this page. Just click on the Japanese link under each product's number to be taken to an image that can be zoomed in to a very high magnification.

Highs: Crisp, clean molding. Highly detailed. No real flash. Easy to use. Price.
Lows: Availability.
Verdict: A quick and easy update of a ubiquitous weapon that will take your build to the next level
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:700
  Mfg. ID: WA-01, WA-02
  Suggested Retail: 1,200 yen per set
  Related Link: Official Comapny Website
  PUBLISHED: Feb 02, 2009

About Dade W. Bell (Karybdis)

I'm a third generation modeler who builds a little of everything (mostly Japanese)- all while being a 45 year old hermit who lives a happy, simple life, with my fiancée (author Jaclyn Dolamore) and three cats. My father was an MM3 aboard the USS Saratoga (CVA-60), my grandfather was in one of the...

Copyright ©2020 text by Dade W. Bell [ KARYBDIS ]. All rights reserved.


Thanks for the review Dade,... you're right about the availability of these little gems,.... I can't find a single source! Frank
FEB 02, 2009 - 02:34 PM
Howdy Frank, and anyone else who may be interested in getting these. HW Japan has them on a back order... it's not perfect, but at least there's hope. Triples and Doubles Singles and Doubles Good luck!
FEB 02, 2009 - 07:03 PM
Top notch parts. Thanks for the review Dade! Hobby Search has em Singles and doubles only. Doubles and triples are reserve only .
FEB 03, 2009 - 04:03 AM
In order to consolidate these 25mm threads to keep there from being a bunch of subject wander, I'll post some information here that Bob brought up and beat me to posting. HLJ is also having a restock of the guns: http://hlj.com/product/FNMWA-02 http://hlj.com/product/FNMWA-01 They also have the shielded triple on pre-order: http://hlj.com/product/FNMWA-03 Gentlemen, start your credit cards!
FEB 04, 2009 - 06:23 AM
Great review Dade. Sorry about the extra post, I got excited when I saw that they were being re-released with an added bonus. Bob Pink.
FEB 04, 2009 - 07:42 AM
Thanx, Dade; a great review, as always. Are there equal-quality IJN anti-aircraft weapons available in 1/350scale? I see none listed on the Fine Molds website, whose URL you so kindly included in the review. Cheers, Stephen
FEB 10, 2009 - 03:25 PM
Woops, I thought I was subscribed to this thread, but I guess not as I just now noticed these posts. Sorry for the late response! Bob, no problem. It was easy enough to just re-post the stuff here. Stephen, there are some pretty nice 1/350 pieces, but they're in resin by Veteran Models... They make really nice IJN and USN (both WW2 and modern) equipment. A listing can be seen HERE... Just click on each item to see what it looks like.
FEB 10, 2009 - 07:04 PM

What's Your Opinion?

Click image to enlarge
  • WA1 Box
    WA1 Box
  • WA1 Sprue
    WA1 Sprue
  • WA1 Detail 1
    WA1 Detail 1
  • WA1 Detail 2
    WA1 Detail 2
  • WA2 Box
    WA2 Box
  • WA2 Sprue
  • WA2 Detail 1
    WA2 Detail 1
  • WA2 Detail 2
    WA2 Detail 2