Monday, February 9, 2015

Are we running out of subject matter?

Do you know about the 2015 Kit Release page over on Cybermodeler? It lists all of the models that are planned for release this year by the major manufacturers. It's updated regularly, especially after industry events such as last month's Nuremberg Toy Fair.

As in prior years, there are a lot of releases in the pipeline. I count more than 160 aircraft and 110 armor releases. (Cybermodeler lists naval and automotive releases as well, but I'll let you tally those up.) That's a lot of stuff by any measure, and it doesn't even include the surprises that will inevitably be announced throughout the year. With so many new kits, I have to wonder, (queue my best Carrie Bradshaw voice here)...

Will we reach a point in the near future where the manufacturers have released a kit of practically every major type?

I know it sounds far-fetched, but let's look at the numbers.

Cybermodeler lists roughly 60 1/48 aircraft releases, 60 1/72 aircraft releases, and 90 1/35 armor releases. Some of those are re-pops and new boxings of existing kits, so just for fun let's round down to some easy numbers:

50 1/48 aircraft
50 1/72 aircraft
75 1/35 tanks and softskin vehicles

If the manufacturers stick with this release cadence, in 10 years we'll have:

500 new 1/48 aircraft
500 new 1/72 aircraft
750 new 1/35 tanks and softskin vehicles

My friends, that's a huge number of new models that few of us have begun to think about. Even if the manufacturers continue to release new-tool kits that make older kits "obsolete," (such as the Trumpeter 1/48 F-106, the Meng 1/72 F-102, or the Bronco 1/35 M24 Chaffee), that's still an enormous influx of new subject matter that is sure to fulfill your wish list.

Last week I listed five kits you shouldn't build, partly with this idea running around in my mind. If you're not in a rush to build a 1/48 SR-71, I bet if you wait a few years Trumpeter or Hobby Boss will step up and deliver one to your doorstep. I'm not the only armor modeler who'd like to see a 1/35 T-44, so rather than struggle with the resin kit that's currently available, I'm going to wait for the inevitable injected molded kit from Trumpeter, building all of those groovy T-64 and T-80 variants to pass the time while I wait. And I bet I'll eventually get that 1/72 L-17 Navion in injected molded form that I occasionally joke about on the forums. MPM, are you listening?

Am I completely off base here? I don't think so, but I'd love to hear your thoughts. Clearly, there will always be weird types that the manufacturers will take a chance on -- such as the three (3) 1/35 kits of the Soviet Type 279 and the MPM 1/72 Gloster Meteor F.8 Prone -- but I'd bet you a banana split that in 2025 the 10 aircraft, armor, cars, or ships that are on your wish list today will be on your workbench then.

And by the way, those numbers I mentioned above? They don't include new releases from the cottage industry folks such as Azur, Mirror Models, or new manufacturers that are likely to spring up over the next 10 years. You should be very excited!


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  2. Well i think you military guys get looked after quite well. Car models are well represented but when it comes to the Racing side of auto modelling it is quite slow especially from the mainstream guys. There are new items so don't get me wrong but i would not say we are is a golden period right now....

  3. With the real-world manufacturers producing new vehicles every year, car modelers will always have new subject matter to look forward to, but with the depth and breath of auto racing history, I can see where there are probably hundreds of possibilities for new kits. My figures are crossed for you!

  4. Those numbers seem ok. I build the re headed stepchild of the modeling world - real space. So I would welcome *anything* besides troops of the Saturn V and Space Shuttles. ;)