Monday 1 May 2017

The Japanese aircraft kit you'd die to see (re-)released

Two posts today.
First up the results of the "The Japanese aircraft kit you'd die to see (re-)released" market research.
By far the most popular demand is a new Aichi E13A "Jake" in 1/72 & 1/48 with 10 votes and the second by a narrow margin is a Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally" in 1/72 & 1/48 with nine votes. 
I have absolutely no idea why Hasegawa or Fine Molds haven't come up with new kits of these very important Japanese aircraft in both scales. "Sally" in particular offers a big variety of camouflage options and at least two types. As a bomber she was even more important than "Donryu" of which a series of brilliant kits by Hasegawa have been released in 1/72. Considering that perhaps Hasegawa did not want to directly compete with Nichimo and their "Jake" in 1/48, there are no "Sally" kits released by major Japanese companies. So what's the problem releasing a brand new "Sally" kit at least in 1/72?
In third place is the VERY surprising Tachikawa Ki-54 in 1/72 with five votes. The only kit around was released by A&V Models, years ago. Personally I find it highly unlikely that Hasegawa would release a kit of a fairly little known transport/trainer. I think it is more likely to see a model released by a Czech company like RS Models. Much better than nothing, right?
In forth place there is a tie between a new Kawanishi H6K "Mavis" in 1/72 and a Kawanishi E7K "Alf" in 1/48 & a new in 1/72 both with four votes. I don't think we will see a new "Alf" by Hasegawa in 1/72 any time soon but a "Mavis" following their latest AMAZING "Emily" release is more probable. I heard "Emily" sold very well, although things have started to cool down a bit.
Disappointingly fifth comes one of the coolest Japanese aircraft ever; Mitsubishi Ki-15 "Babs" in 1/48 & new in 1/72 with only three votes. The cheap and very good for their scale LS/Arii kit are easy to find so I don't think it would make much sense Hasegawa or another company to release a brand new kit in that scale. In 1/48 though, that's another story. I suspect the biggest problem is the luck of available photos, drawings or other material of the cockpit of the "Babs" that would make for a good kit in 1/48. Otherwise there are many many cool options including the famous "Kamikaze-go". So, unless we see something new detailing the cockpit of the "Babs" I think it is unlikely we'll see a new kit in 1/48.  
All your requests were very interesting and show how many different kind of kits of Japanese aircraft could be released. Let's hope that we will see new kits coming out if not by Japanese companies who are traditionally extremely reluctant to take any risk but from other companies like RS Models, Sword or Meng. If only their prices were more customer friendly...The new Ki-102 by Sword is sold around $US30 in Japan.
Airfix recently remembered that the Japanese flew aircraft during WWII and released the most predictable Pearl Harbor set of Zero, Kate and Val in 1/72 for the US market. Perhaps 20-30 years later they will release an "Oscar" when they remember it's the aircraft the British encountered in Burma. Or maybe not.
Aoshima very pleasantly surprised us all by recently releasing a brand new "Hien" and "Shiden" series. I do hope they release a "Hayate" and a "Raiden" if they are going for single engine fighters.
Fine Molds are in a self-induced comma. I guess instead of flying they prefer to crawl with their admittedly amazing Japanese tank kits they've been releasing.
Tamiya. Zero and Betty, Betty and Zero. If they release an amazing Kate in 1/48 things will start moving to a really interesting direction for the Navy. But...hey, what am I saying here! They have released  a brand new "Hien" and it's absolutely fabulous!!! I guess they finally got the message.
So, that's all folks. Thanks a lot for contributing. As promised I will indeed forward the results to Hasegawa, with whom I'm directly in touch, and let's again all hope we'll see a new "Jake" or "Sally" in the near future. 


Dan Salamone said...

I did not realize there was a vote for belatedly:

1. 1/48 Jake
2. 1/48 D3A2
3. 1/48 Ki-46II

The lack of the late Val and early Dinah in 1/48 makes my brain hurt.... ;-)


Scoobs said...

Great review and analysis - glad to see my top 4 picks ended up in the lead! Sword has done some great work breathing new life into subjects that haven't been touched since the ancient Hasegawa and Fujimi kits long ago. Given their recent track record of Japanese subjects and the occasional seaplane (their Arado 196 is a gem), it seems that they'd be a natural to tackle the Aichi E13A and Ki-54. As with the mindboggling absence of a modern Ki-21, I can help but wonder if a lack of surviving examples and technical blueprints might explain why companies haven't made an attempt.

Oh yeah - if Hasegawa would get around to updating their ancient to G4M1 Betty to go along with their modern G4M2, that'd be great too!


Pankoub said...

I'd die to build a 1/48 Helen..I'd die to build a 1/48 Helen..I'd die to build a 1/48 Helen..I'd die to build a 1/48 Helen....I'd die to...

D. Chouinard said...

Yes, some subjects would have to be covered by companies like RS, Special Hobby, or Sword. I would like to see a 1/48 Ki-15/C5M even if the cockpit was a very good educated guess! However, I would be very happy to see a new E13A, H6K or Ki-21.
I agree, this might be a time for Airfix to step up. Sure, there are other K-43 kits out there, for example, but they don't make any money for Airfix. Their B5N is very nice but their Ki-46 kit could do with a re-tool.
Unfortunately, outside of Japan, the market for J-planes is relatively small compared to U.S., British, and German subjects. (Unless it's a Zero....)

Thank you for forwarding the info to Hasegawa!

Derek Cooper said...

A few years back, one of the Eastern European manufacturers (AZ Model?) announced a new 1/48 scale "Babs", much to my delight. This progressed to a test shot of the parts and all appeared to be going well, but then suddenly the project was dropped. I have never been able to find out why, but I think you are right, George, that they probably could not find any details for the interior.

HantsBirder said...

A great review, lets hope that it encourages some of the manufacturers to take the plunge and produce something that has been listed.
Out of interest, I don't know if it has already been mentioned...but:
RS Models are about to release models of the Nakajima Ki-87 & Ki-87-II in 1/72nd scale. A bit of a surprise to me, but very welcome.