Tamiya’s New 1/48 Bf 109G-6 – Quick Thoughts

Every time a Shizouka Hobby Show or All-Japan Model & Hobby Show roll around, the modeling community gets all pins and needles in anticipation of the latest Tamiya release. There are other manufacturers, too, but for the most part their new stuff blows cover well before it’s shown publicly. Tamiya seems to be one of the very few that holds its powder for industry event reveals.

At this year’s AJMHS, the betting money was on a variant of their excellent F-14. Well, until the last few weeks, when work of a new 1/48 tooling squeaked out.

It turned out to be a new 1/48 Bf 109G-6.

Yay?

Unlike last year’s F-14, or even the Ki-61 (more on that in a minute), it seems like the 109 is receiving something of a muted reception. But I’m sure it’ll still sell like hotcakes.

With Tamiya’s 1/32 releases, I usually do a quick post on the kit and its implications.  Even though the 109 is 1/48, I figure that it’s a significant enough release to justify the same. So let’s get into it.

Great. Another 109.

This is the prevailing sentiment floating around the interwebs right now. And it’s valid. Usually, Tamiya does a pretty good job of wading into a subject area it can exploit. But with the 109G-6, the field is already littered with competitors. Many of them – like Academy and Arii – aren’t particularly great and can be more or less discounted. That still leaves the venerable Hasegawa and the newer Eduard and Zvezda kits, however.

What can Tamiya possibly bring to the table that’s not already there?

In a word – itself. Tamiya is one of the few brands that is an absolute guarantee of quality engineering and fit. I have no doubt this 109 will build beautifully.

And the Tamiya quality alone will ensure that they sell a ton – unless they do something crazy with the price and list it at $80.

The Price is an Open Question

Eduard’s Bf 109G-6 Profi-Packs have an MSRP of $50, and a street price of around $40. I’d expect Tamiya to show up at a slight premium above that, especially considering the included engine.

The similar-sized, DB 605-having Ki-61 has an MSRP/Street of $52/$42, for example. And the 109 will probably follow in its footsteps.

The Variants are Another Open Question

Tamiya sucks at covering off on variants. They’ll do a few and then move on, leaving us without, say, a P-47N or a Spitfire Mk.IX or an A6M2 Zero. Or the oft-wished for F-16D.

And if there’s one thing that the 109 is known for, it’s an absolute fuckton of variants. Even among the G-6, you’ve got the early short tail, the later with the taller tail and rudder, versions with the usual canopy cage, versions with the Erla Haube hood, and so on. Then you’ve got the various G-10s, the G-14, and the like.

It’s practically a given that Eduard will produce every single one of these. But Tamiya? Don’t hold your breath.

Granted, they have clearly designed the kit with provisions for additional variants. The cowl “cheeks” are separate, and the tail in particular is cut up to easily fit the tall tail and rudder if desired.

BUT the F-16 has provisions that set up a two-seater, so just because Tamiya’s laid the groundwork doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.

It Has an Engine

Like last year’s Ki-61, the new 109G-6 boasts an engine, something of a rarity for a V-arrangement engine in a Tamiya 1/48 kit, and something that will set it apart from the Hasegawa and Eduard kits (but not the Zvezda). I’d imagine this kit’s development is perhaps part of the reason that we got the DB 605 in the Ki-61 kit, and can’t help but wonder if it has implications for future larger scale subjects.

There are also separate parts for building the cowl panels opened up, or closed. A practice that Tamiya has used to great effect in the past (for landing gear doors, or for wing sweep components on the F-14), and that manufacturers like Kitty Hawk could stand to learn from.

New Paints? Maybe?

New Tamiya kits are frequently accompanied by new Tamiya paints. Frustratingly, those paints are often rattlecans. But while a rattlecan might work for, say, a 1/32 Corsair, it’s not going to cut it for 1/48 mottling. So we might – might – be seeing some new XF paints for RLM 74/75/76.

It May Portend Future 1/32 Developments. Or Not.

At this point, outside of timing, I have no idea what the fuck is going to happen with Tamiya’s next 1/32 subject. Precedent would have had a whole new subject landing this past May, but instead we got the F4U-1D. Next year, odds are we will be seeing a whole new subject.

What will it be though? If they keep going along their 1/48 release order, a P-47 or Me 262 still seems likely. But their 1/48 moves are muddying the waters. A case could be made for a new-tool 1/32 F-14 to replace their nearly 40-year-old original tooling.

And now, a case could certainly be made for a Bf 109. It would require some backpedaling from Tamiya in terms of pricepoints. I’ll buy kits at the drop of a hat, and even I’d balk at spending $100+ on a 109 kit, no matter how good it was or who made it. I can only imagine the reaction of those who think that Hobby Lobby’s kit selection is overpriced.

I’m pissed at the prospect of a 109 potentially bumping a 1/32 P-47 out of the way, but at this point, if we’re being honest, I’d have to say that a 109G-6 just became the favorite for Tamiya’s next 1/32 release. And I’d buy one, and build it up in Finnish or Romanian or Italian service. All the while stewing at not having my dreamed of 1/32 Tamiya Jug.

12 thoughts on “Tamiya’s New 1/48 Bf 109G-6 – Quick Thoughts

  1. I know the standard response from a lot of folks will be “but Tamiya doesn’t make money from Eduard 109s” however the current Eduard kit is pretty damn good. Big T should have not tilled the same furrow. Why not a P-38? Hasegawa’s is good but damn fiiddly. Academy is a kind of a Frankenstein. It’s in many people’s minds a Pacific bird. Big T are the most likely suspects to engineer a P-38 best. Ho hum add another 109 to one excellent, one very good , and one aging but good 109G already available. Just about as exciting as watching the grass grow…..

  2. I was looking at this video posted on facebook showing how you can click in the cowling and fuselage MG cover after the build is complete!

    The Engine:
    You can have your strudel and eat it too! Kierkegaard would have a cow about this. You don’t build it one way and not the other – you build both open and closed engine bay and fuselage MG covers. It’s a pretty exciting feature to offer in 1/48 scale.

    Basic modeling skills required. Tamiya’s long experience in plastics molding and production really shines here. Engineering a “shake and bake” or “click together model” takes real genius.

    Now is Eduard going to be hurt by this kit? Not likely. Eduard’s core business is still making aftermarket. They’ve done the research on the B-109G now they’ll just offerup some click-in Brassin upgrades and you can build a $150 Bf-109G show stopper.

    While many are disappointed and frustrated with this release it’s always good to remember that you build the models that are offered not the ones you wish to have.

    Hooray! A new Ukrainian company is going to release a 1/48 Wapiti! Thank the Maker!

    • ‘You can have your strudel and eat it too’ – Well, yes. This has always been the case. But what you cant do is ‘eat your strudel and have it’.

  3. Just a quick note on the engine, it does have an advantage over the Zvezda G6 in that area. The zvezda kit has the engine sprues from their F releases, so it’s a DB 605 A, quite a bit different from the DB 605 D.
    After having experienced the marvel that I find their 48th scale Tomcat to be, I am really looking forward to this one.

  4. I’m confused, this is taken from Tamiya’s American homepage.
    “The 57th All Japan Model & Hobby Show
    The 57th All Japan Model & Hobby Show is in the books! We’d like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to everyone who was able to come and visit the Tamiya booth.
    Click here to see photos of the Tamiya booth, on our Japanese language homepage!” http://www.tamiya.com/japan/newstopics/2017/0927newitem/index.html
    Scroll down and there’s pictures of a 1:32 F35A.
    Is that the new 1:32 subject maybe?
    Cheers from Sweden!
    /Per Ekström

  5. Don’t worry everyone. Eduard just announced a new tool G-10 (not even kidding). So long as Hasegawa, Meng, Italeri and Airfix get the memo we’ll get a new tool of all the major Gustav variants by Summer.

    Thank God I was worried there wouldn’t be millions of 109 kits for a minute there.

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