Well, it’s official…ish. Recently, Brett Green spilled the beans all over the interwebs. Tamiya’s next 1/32 kit will be the De Havilland Mosquito FB.VI.
Speculation regarding Tamiya’s next subject has been raging since the Corsair was announced two years ago. I heard it on “good authority” and “on the DL” from those with “an inside line” that the next kit would definitely be a Bf 109. Or a Hawker Hurricane. Or a P-40B Tomahawk. All of them, as it turned out, were wrong.
And so was I, with my fervent hope prediction of a 1/32 P-47 Thunderbolt.
Last time around, the months leading up to the announcement saw speculation solidify into rumors of a Corsair. This time around, the cat was let out of the bag much earlier when pictures of Tamiya’s engineers going over a Mossie were posted to Facebook. Even so, the confirmation still came as a mild surprise – probably given the impending release of HK’s Mosquito B.IV.
So…the Mosquito FB.VI.
We’re still a few weeks away from seeing the kit in all its glory at Shizuoka Hobby Show, but a few CAD illustrations have found their way online already. Between those and some educated guesses, I figured I’d put together a few thoughts on the Mossie and, yes, start the speculation of the next big Tamiya release!
1 – THE PRICE IS THE REAL SURPRISE
There’s been a lot of handwringing lately over the price of certain new kits – I think notably Wingnut Wings’ Felixstowe and AEG G.IV. Nobody expected a Tamiya 1/32 release to be cheap, but I think most people were expecting a twin-engine like the Mosquito to cross the $200 line with ease.
Not so. The officially listed price? 19,800 yen – which works out to about $166 (as of now you can pre-order it at HLJ for $133). That’s definitely more than the Spitfire, Mustang and Corsair, but not that much more.
2 – WE WILL PROBABLY ONLY SEE ONE OTHER BOXING, IF THAT
Tamiya is notoriously bad about following through on multiple variants of their kits – the Spitfire could have easily been extended into a Mk.Vc and Mk.XIV, at the least, with minor changes and a new engine sprue. A P-51B/C Mustang would have taken more work, but also would have sold gangbusters.
I don’t see any reason for Tamiya to change with the Mosquito. At most, we will see a B.IV bomber variant, and that will be it.
3 – THE F4U-1D IS UP IN THE AIR NOW
Every single modeler has been taking it for granted that Tamiya’s Corsair run would at least include the Birdcage, F4U-1A, and late-war F4U-1D. With the Mosquito arriving, I’m honestly calling that assumption into question.
It may well be that we never get a kit of the “Angel of Okinawa”.
4 – AS USUAL, SHADES OF THE 1/48 KIT
Tamiya’s 1/32 kits are very much their own animals, but if you squint your eyes, you can see how the basic outlines of the engineering draw inspiration from the 1/48 kits that came before.
The same, so far, appears true of the Mosquito. Early CAD illustrations show the integrated cockpit/wing spar that is a prominent feature of the 1/48 Mosquito. This is far from a bad thing – Tamiya’s 1/48 Mosquitos are fantastic – but it is a very different approach than the one HK is taking with it’s B.IV.
5 – EXPECT SOME INTERESTING ENGINEERING
One glimpse of the kit’s tires shows that Tamiya, as usual, is giving as much thought to how the kit goes together as to the details that go into it. Having (thank god) abandoned vinyl tires this time around, Tamiya looks to be taking steps to avoid the dreaded “middle seam” and perhaps even come at realistic bulged tires in a new way. I’ll still be very, very tempted by resin, but these could be very promising.
6 – ANOTHER FACTOR IN SUBJECT PICKING?
Two years ago, I posited that Tamiya picked their subjects based on two factors:
- Popularity – Developing kits of this magnitude is not cheap, so they need to sell at volume. The Zero, Spitfire, Mustang, Corsair and now Mosquito all fit.
- Competitive Opening – Tamiya doesn’t shy from competition, but they do tend to aim at subjects that nobody has “nailed”. Then they swoop in with the definitive kit.
With the Mosquito, I’d say we can add a third factor – Precedent. That the subject has been tackled before, in 1/48. This makes a ton of sense – these are the subjects Tamiya is interested in. These are the subjects where they already have a sense of the engineering. And where they have a sense of sales and general subject interest.
7 – LET THE SPECULATION BEGIN
Last time around, I predicted Tamiya’s next 1/32 subject would be announced in 2015, and that it would be a P-47 Thunderbolt.
At least I got it half right!
Looking ahead to the next kit – I’m going to make a similar prediction. The next 1/32 subject will be revealed in April 2017, shown at Shizuoka in May, and released in July 2017.
Why? Precedent. Going back to 2009, Tamiya has established something of a release pattern, with new 1/32 subjects dropping in odd-numbered years:
- 2009 – Spitfire
- 2011 – P-51 Mustang
- 2013 – F4U Corsair
- 2015 – Mosquito
- 2017 – ???
So what will we all collectively be freaking out about in 2017?
I’m going to call it now – it will either be a 1/32 P-47 Thunderbolt or a Messerschmitt Me 262.
Let’s look at those three factors again…
Popularity. The P-47 and Me 262 are definitely popular subjects – I would argue moreso than the Mosquito and possibly more than the Corsair. Either one would be guaranteed bank.
Competition. The Jug and 262 both have some rather good offerings in the marketplace. Trumpeter’s Me 262 lineup represents some of their finest kits (although there is still room for improvement). On the Jug side, Hasegawa and Trumpeter both offer what I’d call 75% kits. Good, and buildable, but neither of them is what could be considered a definitive kit.
Precedent. Tamiya has produced both the P-47 and 262 in 1/48 scale, and their kits of both are widely regarded as the best representations in quarter-scale.
Now…the Jug and 262 each have a “wildcard” factor in their favor as well…
- With the P-47, it’s the Pratt & Whitney R-2800. Tamiya created an exquisite one for the Corsair, and they’ve already demonstrated a penchant for extending engines across kits (see Spitfire and Mustang).
- With the Me 262, it’s those black crosses on the wings. Modelers just love them the Luftwaffe, and after five uber-kit releases with nary a German anything in sight, one has to imagine there’s pressure to put out something with a balkenkreuz on it.
Could it be something else entirely? Sure! I’m only guessing and projecting off of precedent here. I think the Jug and 262 are the most likely subjects to get the 1/32 treatment next, but here’s where I think some other contenders stand…
- Bf 109 – Not going to happen. Other companies have swarmed all over the 109, and at prices well below what you see Tamiya’s kits selling for. While I’m sure they could do a much better 109G than Revell or Trumpeter or Hasegawa, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for one.
- Fw 190 – See the 109. Also add in the imminent Focke Wulf flood coming from the likes of Revell and Zoukei-Mura.
- Beaufighter, Japanese twin-engines, Skyray – All of these have precedent and competitive openings on their side, but I question the popularity of all of them – especially up against the Jug or 262.
- Gloster Meteor and Do 335 – Doubt either of these will happen given recent and well-received releases from HK Models as well as an impending 335 from Zoukei-Mura. In fact, I can’t help but wonder if the Mosquito was chosen in part to get ahead of HK…
- Il-2 Sturmovik – Tamiya’s latest 1/48 release would seem like an obvious target for 1/32-ification, but I just don’t know. The Hobby Boss Il-2 is well-regarded but you never see it being built. And even the Tamiya kit – I saw a ton of builds at first, and then it just vanished. I don’t know that the Il-2 is really all that popular. As a modeler I’d far rather see 1/32 kits of pretty much anything else in the VVS.
IF Tamiya goes off the reservation and kits something all-new, or do what I’ve heard a few rumors/made-up hopes of, and tackle a new subject in both 1/48 and 1/32, I think it could be one of these:
- P-40B/C Tomahawk – Hasegawa has the later Allison-engined P-40s in hand, but nobody’s really made a good 1/32 (or 1/48) early P-40. And with the Flying Tigers in the mix, it’s a very popular aircraft.
- P-38 Lightning – People have been hoping for Tamiya to tackle the forked-tail devil for years. If there’s one company that could probably crack the engineering, it’s Tamiya.
- F-14 Tomcat – Last year, a flurry of rumors suggested that Tamiya’s next 1/48 kit would be the F-14. I think that may still be an option…and the complicated nature of the design could explain why 2014 came and went with no new 1/48 release. A 1-2 punch in 2016 and 2017 of a 1/32 Tomcat would make a lot of modern jet fans very, very happy.
What about you?
What do you think of Tamiya’s new Mosquito? What do you think they’ll chase it with? Sound off in the comments!