Mami in Action #09 - Buddy

Mami in Action #9 - Buddy

Mami looks serious, does this mean it is time for another addition of Mami in Action? Yes, indeed it is. It has been some time since Mami geared to test a new firearm and today she would be taking a look at the earlier previewed Howa Type 89 assault rifle. This time, Mami is taking the domestic route with this Japanese military service rifle and see if it has what it takes to stand toe to toe with its Western counterpart.

Despite being designed with the average physique of a Japanese servicemen in mind, the Type 89 is by no means a small rifle measuring 916 mm in total length. This is close to a meter in length! By comparison, the similarly chambered yet older M16 is 1,003 mm and the newer, modern FN SCAR is just 889 mm in length. 

Chambered in 5.56 NATO rounds, the Type 89 uses the modern standard of assault rifle ammunition as used by most member nations of the NATO alliance. The Type 89 itself is a pretty unique rifle with features such as an integrated bipod, magazine marker and flash suppressor all built into a single rifle. Yet, there remains to be very few variants (in fact, only one) of the Type 89 due to its high production cost and the limited combat requirements of the Japanese military. In fact, this is the first full length assault rifle ever featured on Mami in Action as all previous variants were optimized for Close Quarters Combat (CQC).

Like every other assault rifle, the Type 89 can be broken down into three main components. The first is its stock which has two variations. Seen here is a fixed stock used in the original Type 89 design. It may look dated by today's standards but, it was very much the norm back when the rifle was being designed. Later on, a folding stock was introduced for the Type 89-F designated for more mobile soldiers such as paratroopers and reconnaissance. For this 1/12 replica, Platz was kind enough to include both stocks.

Next up, we have the receiver which houses the main firing mechanism of the rifle. Other key components include, the magazine, fire selector and iron sights. One unique feature of the Type 89 is the magazine marker located below the charging handle which allows users to identify the type of magazine they are using be it a 20 or 30 round magazine. Unfortunately, this feature is only usable with Japanese made magazines specifically for the Type 89. M16 magazine could be used too but, omitted this feature. Ultimately, this feature has faded out as the 30 round magazine became the norm and various operators having reported potential foreign object entry into the port. 

Lastly, there is the barrel which makes ups the final third of a rifle composition. The Type 89's barrel measures 420 mm in length and features an integrated flash suppressor and bipod. The end of the rifle also sports the second part of the iron sights. You will not sport any Picatinny rails throughout the rifle as the Type 89 never received a modernization cycle like many of the other existing assault rifles. Nevertheless, the Type 89 can be modified to accept different tactical components although this was largely reserved for the Special Forces.

Enough with the essays, let us now find out what Mami thinks of her full length assault rifle. 

Mami loads a fresh 30 round magazine into the rifle.

And she is ready to go!

Hmmm... the fixed butt-stock may be a little too long to work with. If only the Type 89 was manufactured with a telescopic stock.

No matter, Mami will attempt to work around this.

Because of its length, the Type 89 looks very much at home when being fired from the hip.

It is hardly the most accurate way of discharging a firearm but, it will work when quick reactions are called upon.

Moreover, skilled marksmen have demonstrated incredible accuracy by just firing from the hip. In that case, would it be fair to consider Mami as an expert marksmen?

The stock is not the only part which poses difficulty as the long barrel makes it rather difficult for Mami's left hand to grip onto.

Mami, the action hero.

The Type 89's length may look rather imposing and for good reason as it is only 100 mm shorter than the Type 64 battle rifle that it replaces.

Mami looks determined.

Acquiring target.

Target acquired!

The rifle may weight 3.5 kg in real life but, this 1/12 replica with relatively few parts is very light allowing for single handed poses to be done with ease.

In terms of the rifle itself, Platz did make several concessions to help keep the cost down. For example, the magazine is not removable and entire rifle only consists of 6 parts. Compared to the Little Armory series, the rifle is also very bare bones only sporting considerably less accessories.

But, it does make up for it in several other aspects. The detailing for one is very good and comes close to what Tomytec manages to with their Little Armory series. On top of that, the rifle is not solid black rather it is finished with a slight metallic finish as you may have noticed in several close-up images of the rifle.

While it would have certainly be easier to pose with a shorter rifle, this does not take anything away from the Type 89 as it was originally for larger framed military men and not middle school magical girls.

All of that said, the Type 89 is indeed a rather unique assault rifle especially when viewed from today's standpoint. Its design clearly calls back to the early days of the assault rifle with pioneering models such as the Colt M16, FN FAL and H&K G3 despite having been designed later. It was a call to service to update the aging arsenal of the then Japanese Self Defense Force and three decades after its inception, the Japanese government is once again issuing that call. The Type 89 had already seen incremental upgrades during the Iraqi conflict but, it is now ready to accept the modular standards that all assault rifles are adopting. 

Despite its aging design since inception, I still am rather fond of this rifle as I am sure Mami is too. It is no wonder that the Type 89 is affectionately known as Buddy in the Japanese military. A sturdy, reliable workhorse without many bells and whistles but, one that you can truly count on when it matters. All sounds stereo-typically Japanese to me. 

Bring it on!
With that, comes a close to the latest addition of Mami in Action. Having been out of service for this segment in quite a while, I had forgotten just how much fun it is to photograph and write this article. Of course, I would love to hear what you think about the series too or maybe even suggest the next firearm that I should feature? Do leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below. Until the next time, thank you so much for reading and have yourself a wonderful day ahead!


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