Announced a few weeks ago, and now freely available, the mighty battleship Yamato from Tamiya is released in 1:350 scale. According to Tamiya, this is an all-new tooling of the ship, not a rehash of the previous Tamiya 1:350 scale kit.
News last week of continuing delays on the Lockheed Martin F-35 aircaft meant that at least one defence planner was losing sleep. UK Admiral Sir Trevor Soar was reported - inaccurately, apparently - by The Times of London, as thinking about the French Dassault Rafale (Revell kit above) and US Boeing F-18 Hornet as backup aircraft in case of further delays.
The fact that this major Chinese model manufacturer has taken on established kit-makers at their own game is perhaps not a great surprise. China is responsible for producing a great deal of Western kit output anyway, so it wasn’t long before original kits started to appear.
Earlier this week, we looked at matchstick-modeller Phil Warren's tabletop navy, and now we've been impressed by another modelmaker's dedication to duty. This time it's the work of Brian Bartlett, who has amassed a vast collection of card buildings, ranging from a miniature White House (above) to St Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.
Over the years, there's been a never-ending waterfall of miniatures featuring the classic 1984 fantasy movie Ghostbusters. And here we go again with two more releases, though they are of the same subject, the Ecto-1 Cadillac ambulance, released in two scales.
Despite the doom and gloom surrounding the Eurozone’s finances, the fact is that outfits like Italeri are still producing good stuff, and it looks like 2012 is shaping up to be a very interesting year for modelmakers. Here’s the latest batch of goodies from that sun-kissed land of pizza, pasta, luscious ladies, and (oh yes) model kits.
Modelmaker Phil Warren from the UK has spent some 62 years building an incredible fleet of 1:300 scale waterline model ships. So far, there are 432 vessels in in Phil’s Navy, and there’s not a kit-built example among them - for he makes his ships entirely of wooden matchsticks and their boxes. Most navies are represented in the collection - those of Italy, Russia, Spain, the US - they are all there, plus many others, and of course ships of the British Royal Navy figure very strongly.
Next up from Dragon is this interesting 1:144 scale ‘Warbird Series’ kit of the PLA WZ-10 attack helicopter, the Chinese answer to Western types like the famed US-built Boeing AH-64 Apache. In layout, the WZ-10 is pretty standard, with a stepped tandem cockpit seating two crew: gunner in front, pilot behind. Flight controls are dualled to act as mutual backup, and the cockpit sides and bottom are protected by composite armour, as are the engines and fuselage fuel tank.
Here’s an intriguing, and relatively quick, conversion for anyone interested - as I am - in both cars and space. Here the car is a 1:24 scale Lindberg Dodge Charger, while the space connection is actually an aircraft, a Lockheed Martin ER-2 flown by NASA on high-altitude flights on Earth resources and other research missions. I’ll come to the Charger kit shortly, but first some background information.
In our opinion, Wingnut Wings of New Zealand are purveyors of the most drool-making 1:32 scale World War I aircraft kits ever produced. We looked at one of Wingnuts’ earlier kits, the German Gotha bomber, last year - and here’s the Rumpler C.IV, another German aircraft that should join the Gotha, high on the list of must-make kits for any modeller keen on this early era of the aviation story.
Fujimi of Japan has some fascinating stuff heading our way, including this 1:144 scale model of a ‘what-if’ design, Japan’s ‘ultimate’ World War II heavy bomber, the Nakajima G10N Fugaku (Mt Fuji) designed with the power and range to attack the US West Coast. It’s interesting that Fujimi should choose this relatively small scale, as there’s a similar-sized model out there already: the Anigrand Craftwork 111-component resin production.
There’s no doubt that big movie franchises really get people’s interest in a major way. Alien and Predator represent two of the biggest in the science-fiction genre, so it’s interesting to see an individual miniature concept that is not destined for the mass-market toy, kit, or collectible markets.
This is ‘sorta amazing’ as advertising concepts go and it’s also a creative take on the many Japanese transformer toys and model kits available. Here we have a Turkish Air Force jet-jockette (and, it has to be said, very fetching) mother who manages to leave her coffee mug at home before the day’s mission.
Factual space modelmakers are having a rather good time of it at the moment, with reissued Apollo kits from Revell, updated launchers from Airfix, brand new kits from Aoshima and Dragon - and now Bandai have released this fascinating 1:10 scale ISS Spacesuit kit, featuring the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU).
It’s something of a sci-fi fest at the moment in the scale model world, and here we go again with another Star Wars kit from Japan’s Fine Molds. This time it's the super-sleek twin-engine Naboo N-1 Starfighter.
We featured the Revell cruise ship kit before its release in November 2011, when the pix available were the plain test shots. Now Revell has released images of the ship in ready-to-show condition, and very handsome she looks too. The model shown here is the 1:400 scale version, and the 300-odd components assemble to make a model that measures some 629 mm (24.8 in) long. A simpler kit is also available, and this one is three times smaller, being made to 1:1200 scale.
International finances are such that 2012 could be a difficult year if you’re the investing type. However, a relevant question for the scale model fan is: “Does the model and miniature world offer any money-making opportunities?” Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is a guarded yes, as old plastic kits continue to be valued buys for connoisseurs, assuming they are mint and boxed, in unbuilt condition, and with all parts present and correct.
Of all the craft featured in the Star Wars saga, one of my personal favourites is Luke Skywalker’s X-34 Landspeeder, first seen in Star Wars Episode IV: ‘A New Hope’. And now - hurrah! - we have a kit to build.
Here’s a bunch of 2012 aerospace kits from Hong Kong’s Dragon, and very good they look too.
First American in space
On May 5, 2012, it will be 50 years since Alan Shepard Jr piloted the Freedom 7 Mercury capsule to become the first US astronaut. And now Dragon celebrates Shepard’s sub-orbital flight with a 1:72 kit of the Mercury capsule, together with its Redstone launch rocket.
Here’s another solid, dependable, and interest-packed book from SMN’s own Mat Irvine. This one arrived from the PR Dept at the Crowood Press recently, and matches the format of Mat’s other Crowood title Scale Spacecraft Modelling published in 2006. Scale Car Modelling comes in oversize paperback format, is full-colour throughout, and has 176 pages plus covers.
Even after all these years, the model companies can still surprise us, especially when one of them - Fujimi of Japan - recently announced a model kit of a ‘star car’ that appeared in Blade Runner, a famous science-fiction movie first released no less than 30 years ago this June.
Great news for ‘what-if’ space fans from Fantastic Plastic, with this month’s release of a reworked and upsized 1:72 scale version of Revell’s 1950s-era XSL-01 Moon Rocket. The original kit, designed by US aerospace engineer Ellwyn E. Angle, was a 1:96 scale production, making the FP edition half as big again.
The Italian partwork publisher DeAgostini is creating something of a reputation for large-scale kits, with several ships and a racing car produced so far in its ModelSpace range. Now aviation fans are target customers, with this massive 1:16 scale Mitsubishi A6M2b Model 21 Zero fighter, a widely produced version of the famed Japanese aircraft that was such a fearsome combat adversary for Allied forces early in World War II.
Hornby Hobbies are expanding the company image away from pocket-money-price ‘small boys’ toys’ to moneyed-and-mature ‘big boys’ toys.’ Well, that’s our take on the plan. In advertising marketeer-speak, Hornby has launched: “a long-term brand campaign as part of a big push to introduce adult consumers to its products.” Having said that, Hornby traditional strengths remain, with updates to the rail range that include the 4-4-0 locomotive above, and the ready-weathered 4-6-0 Black 5 shown after the jump.
Argh! What should I build in 2012? What new models are coming up? These are questions we might all be asking, so here’s a quartet of kits from Italeri that should be available right now - so all the better to get on building. Whether you go for a boat, a plane, or a tank, is up to you, but whichever it is, we wish you modelmaking success all the way through the year to come.
Scale Model News wishes you all a Happy and Prosperous 2012.
And then we'll be back tomorrow and beyond with news of... a stunning ultra-large scale World War II fighter with amazing interior detail... a science-fiction flying cop car... a NASA hot-rod... and much, much more...