UPDATE 2/7/2012: Some new…perhaps not facts…but some new perspectives have come to light regarding this whole affair. Please check out “Of Wingscale, Wing XL, H-K Models and Big-Ass B-25s” for the latest.
If there’s one thing I hate in a business, it’s laziness and a lack of passion. I prefer that the products I buy have a soul, that you can tell that someone, somewhere poured their heart into them, and went the extra mile not to meet some quarterly target, but because they loved what they were doing and took pride in their work. It’s why I drive a Mini, and why, despite their price, I will happily throw down for Tamiya’s Fi 156c Storch or Tasca’s M4A3E8. There’s passion there.
Why this long preamble? Well, it explains why I was so excited about this new kitmaker, WingScale. Instead of sticking to the popular 1/48 scale, they went big, announcing nothing but 1/32 kits, and then went bigger still, announcing nothing but big multi-engine aircraft (well, excepting the Gloster Meteor, which is multi-engine, but not especially massive).
Their first planned release? A 1/32 B-25 Mitchell.
In three flavors no less – the standard, glass-nosed B-25J, the boarded up, gun-nosed B-25J, and the B-25H gunship, which packed a mean 75mm cannon in its nose alongside the usual .50 caliber machine guns.
Now…a 1/48 B-25 is already not-small. In 1/32 scale, the B-25 has a wingspan of something like two feet! It’s a big-un, and while I have no idea where I’d stuff such a beast, I pre-ordered one anyway. I mean, look at it.
Shortly before Christmas, WingScale wowed again, with a prototype of a 1/32 B-17 Flying Friggin’ Fortress. Talk about a monster.
Everything was looking awesome, until the B-25’s release date came and went with nary a peep.
Now, today, an announcement from the CEO.
Long story short, work began before the company was legally incorporated, and the guy’s Chinese partner brought in a third partner. This was unwelcome, and ultimately no resolution could be found. As a result, a Chinese company whose name has to be revealed at some point will be releasing the B-25, B-17, and P-61. Martin and WingScale, meanwhile, will do…something?
This, put in the terms of a British colleague, “sucks very hard indeed”.
I was looking very forward to the B-25, but more to the existence of a company with the balls to launch a 1/32 B-25 as their very first kit. It seemed too good to be true. And…obviously it was.
I wish all the best to Martin in whatever course he decides to pursue next. Hopefully it involves regrouping, and offering similarly audacious kits in the near future. May I suggest the PBJ-1?