Tamiya’s Next 1/32 Subject – New Factors Emerge


It’s always great fun to dig into Tamiya’s release patterns and try to make some predictions about where we might be heading. I’ve written on this topic plenty of times before – most recently HERE – and the general precedents have been holding for some time. Broadly, in TL;DR terms:

  • New 1/32 subjects come in the summer of odd-numbered years. Spitfire in ’09, Mustang in 2011, Corsair in 2013, and Mosquito in 2015. So we’re due for something new this next summer.
  • Variants follow in even-numbered years  – with the exception of the Mosquito, which I’m starting to think won’t see a variant release.
  • Subjects all exist in some fashion in their 1/48 catalog. The only real exception is the Spitfire – and that’s an exception in variants, not in subject.
  • Tamiya’s 1/32 releases have been coming out in the same chronological order as their 1/48 releases, albeit skipping aircraft like the Dewoitine D.520 that would be a long-shot for 1/32 release.
  • Tamiya’s subject choices have been of iconic aircraft with enough detail potential and bulk to justify the $100-plus pricetags.

Based on these precedents, I’ve been predicting that 2017 will give us either a P-47 or Me 262. 

But…recent signs may point to that precedent shifting.

Highway to the…

Earlier this year, Tamiya dropped their first jet since their lauded F-16, a 1/48 Grumman F-14A Tomcat.

The kit has some minor frustrations in terms of detail and limitations on which F-14A production blocks you can build out of the box, but engineering and fit-wise, it’s a simply wonderful kit.

Now…it’s not likely…but it’s within the realm of possibility that they may stray from props for their next 1/32 kit, and drop a new-tool F-14 on us instead.

If you’re not aware, Tamiya has already done a 1/32 Tomcat – but the tool dates to 1980, making it nearly as old as I am. It’s generally regarded as Tamiya’s weakest 1/32 kit.

“But Tamiya never goes back and revisits old subjects” you might say. And that’s largely true, with one exception. Not so many years ago, they released two brand-new 1/48 A6M Zero kits to replace another ancient tooling.

So…it could happen.

Another Wrinkle

While most of the buzz around Tamiya this year has focused on the new Tomcat and 1/24 Acura NSX, they just very recently announced another 1/48 kit, set to release toward the end of the year – a Ki-61 Hien.


Now this is pretty remarkable on its own – I think the last time Tamiya released two new-tool 1/48 kits in the same year might be the P-47 and Me 262 (ironic). But there may be more going on here.

Just look at the CAD renderings. output_011_2output_011

What the fuck is that?

Tamiya typically doesn’t go in for exposing the engines in its 1/48 inline props – I can’t think of a single one honestly – but there you have it, a Ka-40, the Japanese license-built version of the famous German DB 601.


Why does this matter?

Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe Tamiya’s just stepping up their 1/48 game.

Or maybe they’re twin-tooling and since they’re already doing something in 1/32, may as well put a simplified version in the 1/48 kit.

So…could Tamiya be ramping up a 1/32 Ki-61? Maybe?

Let’s Throw Some Odds

So…the way I see it, there are four distinct possibilities in play for Tamiya’s next 1/32 kit. But what’s the likelihood of any one of them happening? At this point, fuck if I know, but I’ll throw some numbers out anyway:

  • P-47D Razorback – 35%
  • Messerschmitt Me 262 – 20%
  • F-14A Tomcat – 10%
  • Ki-61 Hien – 15%
  • None of the Above – 20%

Bring on May 2017!


6 Comments Add yours

  1. So that’s why I’ve never gotten around to get Hasegawa’s Tony!

  2. Michael Satin says:


    Interesting analysis! But I think one factor you left out is that Tamiya’s pattern seems to be the release of 1/32 subjects that don’t exist in modern, up to date kit form. At the time the Zero came out, there were only older kits available, also true of the Mosquito. The Dragon P-51D was a washout as was the Trumpeter F4U. And the only 1/32 Spit IX was the good, but limited run, Pacific Coast kit. On the contrary with the kits you suggest, quite good 1/32 kits exist of all of them, with Trumpeter’s P-47 razorback being a fine kit and their Me 262 being considered one of their best. Hasegawa does very good P-47 bubble tops and Ki-61s. And I believe Trumpeter’s F-14s are considered to be quite good as well (though I don’t have one of those).

    I still think a new tool P-38 would be great (Trumpeter’s is not one of their A-Team) and let’s not count out a Ki-43 Oscar, the Japanese Army equivalent of the Zero and an aircraft badly wanting a new 1/32 kit, even though neither of these have been done by Tamiya in 1/48 (unfortunately). Keep in mind they hadn’t done a new Zero in 1/48 when it came out in 1/32, and they still haven’t done a 1/48 Spit IX.

    Only the modeling gods in Tokyo know for sure, but it’s fun to speculate!


  3. Ted Briscoe says:

    On another note…….HK Models is considering a Doolittle Raider kit for 2017 complete with all interior fuel storage modifications and nose art. I contacted them last week and their response was encouraging and with much interest since the last remaining Tokyo Raider is Dick Cole and he’s now a “young” 100 years old. So if this interests everyone out these in modeling nirvana, go onto Facebook and voice your encouragement.

  4. billweckel says:

    I have three (3) Hasegawa ’61’s. Ugh…

    The three aircraft that I would love to see given the Tamiya treatment, either in 1/48, 1/32, or both, are the three American war winners: P-38, F6F, and F4F. There are no stellar kits of any of these in 1/32. Trumpeter’s versions of them could be vastly improved on.

    The thing that makes me go WTF? is that Tamiya hasn’t ported their 1/32 A6M2 to 1/48, yet. It’s Japan’s iconic fighter – the sword of the samurai. They’ve released 3’s and 5’s in 1/48 so far, and a 2 in 1/72. What, exactly, are they waiting for?

  5. Michael Satin says:

    On the other other hand, what if Tamiya went completely off the reservation and did a new 1/32 F-86E? That’d sell like mad!


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