There’s a lot to wade through in those links, but the TL;DR version is pretty simple. Going back to 2009 and the Spitfire IXc, Tamiya has established a pattern of releasing a new 1/32 subject in odd-numbered years (Spitfire in 2009, P-51 in 2011, Corsair in 2013, Mossie in 2015), and of debuting those new subjects at the Shizuoka Hobby Show in early/mid May.
By all accounts, we should currently be losing our collective shit over Tamiya’s next 1/32 subject. But we’re not.
Because it now seems highly unlikely that Tamiya is going to drop a new 1/32 subject at the 2017 Shizuoka Hobby Show.
If the Precedents Hold
All along, I’ve prefaced any and all forward-looking conjecture with the caveat “if the precedents hold”. Tamiya is a very fickle company, and even if a pattern is established, there’s no guarantee it will continue as such. Just look at 1/48 kits. After releasing the Il-2 in 2012, we got nothing for four years, until the one-two punch of the F-14 and Ki-61 last year.
In 2017, it seems, the precedents are not holding.
Sure, the past 1/32 releases have all broken cover at Shizuoka, but they’ve also been known beforehand, usually in mid-April. Maybe it’s a pre-order product page on HLJ. Or a few sprue and test build shots leaked to Hyperscale or some other friendly outlet. Generally by the beginning of May, though, we’ve known what’s coming.
And so far this year, there’s been nothing. Zip. Zilch.
What Does This Mean?
Your guess is as good as mine.
If Tamiya’s breaking precedent, they surely have a reason for doing so. Or they don’t. Who knows?
But here are a few possibilities…
1 – We’re going to be surprised
Tamiya will be releasing a new 1/32 subject and have been keeping it under wraps better than usual. It will be revealed at Shizouka and we just don’t know it yet.
2 – The next 1/32 subject is taking longer than anticipated
Which could point to a more complicated kit. Perhaps the wildcard of a new-tool 1/32 F-14 might be the culprit?
3 – Resources are focused elsewhere
Tamiya dropped two new 1/48 kits on us last year, as well as a slew of armor, cars, and motorcycle things. It’s entirely possible they’re focusing on variant development and this will be a year where we see an F-14D and a Ki-100 or something.
4 – No scale fights
Ever noticed how Tamiya doesn’t release the same subject in different scales at the same time? The 1/48 Il-2 comes out, then a bit later, the 1/72 kit drops. Maybe we’re seeing something of the same here? Which again points to the possibility of a 1/32 F-14.
5 – None of the above
Or…something else. Again…who knows?