Thursday, December 6, 2012

Speculating about Kitty Hawk's next release

You can glean the most interesting nuggets of information if you follow every discussion on every forum and read every post. In case you missed it, ARC forum participant "song" (who works for Kitty Hawk Models) essentially said on this thread that the next Kitty Hawk release will be Russian.

I thought it might be fun to speculate about what aircraft it might be because, well, I have too much time on my hands. It's an interesting exercise, especially if you're able to step away from what you would like to see and carefully consider what would be profitable in the marketplace. I'm going to assume this next release is a 1/48 scale jet but could be wrong right from the start, in which case all of this is moot.

Let's think about what the kit will NOT be. It won't be a MiG-21 because Eduard and now Trumpeter have released their respectively nice kits. A MiG-23? Not likely considering Trumpeter kicked of its series of MiG-23s earlier this year. It could be a MiG-27, but if I worked for Kitty Hawk I wouldn't take that risk given that it wouldn't be difficult for Trumpeter to modify their -23 molds to produce a -27.

A Mig-29? No way, not with Great Wall's promising new kit. Many of you would be thrilled with a MiG-31 (as would I), but having seen limited service it wouldn't be quite as attractive a subject as other aircraft. That said, a new MiG-15 or -17 might be interesting, but I'm not sure modelers would find those to be truly must-have kits. Ditto for a MiG-19, though a Farmer would be fairly high in my product backlog.

I think that leaves three strong possibilities.

I think Kitty Hawk's next release could be an Mi-8 Hip. The helicopter was produced in many variants and was used by more than 50 nations, so there's no shortage of camouflage and markings options for the modeler.

It could be a MiG-25. Personally, I find this to be the most exciting possibility, and the Foxbat is always popular on internet wish lists. We're long overdue a fifth or even fourth generation representation of that impressive aircraft, and there are at least three distinctively different variants that Kitty Hawk could produce -- I'm thinking a fighter (either the P or PD), reconnaissance type, and trainer), and with a variety of markings for several nations. But there's a more compelling possibility.

My prediction is that Kitty Hawk's next release will be an Su-22 Fitter. I think a Fitter would make for a more interesting model than a MiG-25. It was used by at least a couple dozen air forces around the world in a variety of schemes, and the loadouts would provide a great deal of creativity for the modeler. It wouldn't be that difficult for Kitty Hawk to produce an Su-22A, an M4K, and a two-seat UM3K. The only thing that might weigh the choice in favor of a MiG-25 would be Eduard's recent release of their Su-22 package, but given that it's built around a merely average kit, I think the folks at Kitty Hawk might see the opportunity for improvement.

What do you think? No wish lists please, just viable, profitable models.


  1. I'd like to see the MiG-25 too! Revell has been the only game in town for decades and it has a lot of inaccuracies.

    I'd like a reconn version in Soviet markings...those camo schemes were nice.

  2. I'd be all over the Foxbat but even more so over the Fitter. You have two different paths you could take with the Fitter, or maybe even in parallel, the Su-17 and the export Su-22. From the fuselage break point forward,including the wings, the aircraft are the same, aft of the break point, the fuselage was a bulged on the 22 to fit the larger Tumansky engine (same as fitted to the MiG-23). It give the aircraft a very distinct appearance that the KP misses due to it really being an Su-17.

    By creating the molds in such a way as the front fuselage being separate from the rear, Kittyhawk could produce 1 single seat front fuselage, one dual seat front fuselage and one aft Lyul'ka fuselage and one aft Tumansky fuselage and in short order cover the entire gamut of the the late Fitter.

    How likely are they to go through that much trouble? Probably pretty unlikely. But if they du, I would suggest to them to pick up ARMADA's excellent monograph on the Fitter.

  3. Good points! I could justify the work required to tool up such complex molds only if they believed they could sufficiently sell multiple variants of the kit. Maybe the Su-22 doesn't have wide appeal to that extent, but there are some interesting schemes to be found.