Sunday, November 18, 2012

An old survey, 30 years perspective, and models

If you've been in the hobby for 20 or even 30 years as I have, it's fun to look through old magazines and realize just how far we've come. With all the rivet counting of new kits (which I support, by the way), it's easy to forget that 30 years ago we were dreaming about many of the kits we have today. Sort of.

While unpacking old magazines after my move a year ago, I came across the January/February 1984 issue of IPMS's Update. It published the results of a survey in which the organization asked its members what new kits they wanted to see. Over 1,000 responses were counted, and the results are interesting. Consider the top ten kits requested for aircraft in the two most popular scales.

Aircraft 1/72

B-58 Hustler
F-89 Scorpion
A-3 Skywarrior
C-10/AC-110 Flying Boxcar
F3H Demon
F-94 Starfire
C-135/KC-135 Stratotanker
PBM-5 Mariner
F7U Cutlass
B-57/RB-57/WB-57 Night Intruder

Aircraft 1/48

A-20 Havoc
A-26 Invader
F-101 Voodoo
F-89 Scorpion
F-102 Delta Dagger
PBY-5 Catalina
Heinkel He-111
F-94 Starfire
Macchi MC.202 Folgore
SBC Vindicator

Most of these aircraft are now available in kit form, but many are what I would consider "third generation" quality, lacking the level of detail that we come to expect today. For example, Italeri's 1/72 B-58 is roughly 30 years old and totally shows its age, and only Monogram has tackled the A-26, F-101, F-89, and F-102 in 1/48 scale...about 20 years ago!

(By the way, the top five aircraft requested in 1/32 scale were the F-100D, P-6E, F-105D, A-10, and A-7.)

Now look at what the armor modelers were requesting in 1/35 scale in 1984.

M24 Chaffee
M2 Bradley
ZSU-23-4 Shilka
M18 Hellcat

You could probably make the argument that armor modelers have it made. Nearly all of these kits are available with fourth generation quality. (Dragon's Shilka is oldish, but still a very nice model.) And as I browser further in the IPMS wish list, I see many other AFVs that are now on the shelves of your LHS (BTR-60, M26, Wespe, BRDM-2, M88, T-34/85, JS-3, etc.).

I may spend more time looking at the list and comparing it to what's available today. A quick glance shows some odd choices from the manufacturers. For example, while over 100 people requested the B-58 only eight requested the F4D Skyray yet Tamiya offers a very nice Skyray while the B-58 in my stash has nasty raised panel lines all over it, not to mention proportions which I've read are way off. Fifty-five people requested a 1/48 F7F Tigercat and 12 requested a PV-1 Ventura, but which one did Revell choose to produce?

Oh well.

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