Because it’s Tamiya, that’s why!

Tamiya have for as long as I can remember, been my favourite company, so almost anything that has those two stars on the box tends to bring a smile to my face

How a Quarter-Scale F-14 caused the sky to fall in. Almost.

Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 09.47.03

You would think that the release of any new kit would be cause for celebration, but when that kit is joining the range of perhaps the greatest model making company on the planet, we should not only celebrate, but shout it from the roof tops.

Yes..?

No..?

Okay, maybe it’s just me that thinks the news that Tamiya are to release a brand-new F-14A Tomcat is cause for an outpouring of pleasure. Tamiya have for as long as I can remember, been my favourite company, so almost anything that has those two stars on the box tends to bring a smile to my face (alright, not entirely everything, I still don’t get those little carpet racers, but that’s about it!). So when the news broke this week, I was happy that a) I didn’t need to keep it secret any longer, b) that it looked so good in the pictures and c) that I could finally build a Tomcat and not have to wrestle with an ill-fitting kit, or one that featured twenty-five hundred parts – if you see what I mean.

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And then the Internet seemingly lost its mind.

Amongst the plaudits that have headed the way of the ‘Cat, there have been many dissenting voices – all of which are perfectly entitled to their opinions – that have been critical of Tamiya’s plans to release the kit in what appears to be a rather simplified form. There are no slats and flaps for instance, the kit weapons will not be part of the initial package – a la 1:72 F-16 Fighting Falcon – and that it will be too expensive. Yep, all true – well, except the price; cost and value are subjective when it comes to a leisure item and it you want it enough, you’ll save up. Simple.

All of these comments and impressions are certainly valid, but they don’t take into account the single overriding fact that underpins this new release: it’s from Tamiya.

Though we can all be accused of being ‘fanboys’, the release of a new Tamiya kit is a glorious moment because you know that when the kit arrives you will be greeted by a box chock full of gorgeous plastic parts, fine detail, features aplenty and a design that will be easy to build and relaxing. Of course there will be simplifications, but to you and I who know in our heart of hearts that we simply want to get to the painting (go on, admit it!), simplifications means ease, ease means speed and speed means to get to the good bits, quicker! Let’s not take anything away though; Tamiya may simplify parts of their kits, but the accuracy is always there and the detail that is supplied – including some of the best surface detail seen anywhere – is always top-notch.

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But of course that’s not always enough for those that want everything to be supplied and I can more than understand that. But in this case, I only have a certain degree of sympathy. The flaps and slats for instance; they are ofter not deflected when the aircraft is on the ground, so there is no compulsion to add them. The weapons; sure having them in the box is great, but as Tomcats are often seen with only light loads and tanks – and a lot of modellers would probably hunt for replacements anyway – why not simply leave them out, drop the price of the kit and then give the modeller the option to buy the additional set? The tanks, by the way, are in the kit…

f14tomcattamiya48previewbg_11

Tamiya’s new F-14A will be a stone-cold classic when it arrives in the summer. You know that the detail will be great, it will be a piece of cake to build and will look stunning on the display shelves. It might be a little more expensive than its competitors, but that will be offset by the quality of the package – just as it has been over the years with many other kits from this company.

And why will modellers buy this new kit? Because it’s Tamiya, that’s why!

My thanks go out to Brett Green for the images used in this feature. Cheers Brett!

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3 thoughts on “Because it’s Tamiya, that’s why!

  1. Michael Douglas Scott May 14, 2016 / 3:07 pm

    There will always be those modelers for whom no kit comes up to their desires and expectations. Which, is not a bad thing in itself but when their opinions are put forth as objective and negative criticism it shows how egocentric some people can be. I started building plastic scale models in the 1950s and been more or less involved (more, since retirement) ever since. I still build because it pleases me and puts me in touch with various aspects and eras of history. I do not like poorly designed and produced kits. Period. I have, for example, a Dragon King Tiger that probably has more parts than my full-scale Subaru and would be about as easy to assemble, further crippled by a set of hieroglyphic drawings passing as an instruction set. It is presently for sale on eBay. I also just took delivery of a Tamiya 1:48 F-16CJ kit. Why? Because it is a Tamiya and I need an enjoyable modeling break from 1:700 IJN WWII kits.

    When I think of kit manufacturers that produce high quality, good value and enjoyable experiences in a box, I think first of Tamiya, Eduard and Wingnut Wings. None are “cheap” in the monetary sense, but they are invaluable in terms of ease of build, accuracy, great instructions and reference materials and outstanding modeling experiences. My pitiful “stash” is rapidly dwindling to kits by those three makers, and I’m smiling.

  2. jacobrussell2014 May 14, 2016 / 3:40 pm

    Hi Spencer,

    Thank you for your insightful commentary. I’m a real fan of Tamiya as well; in fact I am building their 1/48th scale Focke-Wulf FW190F-8 at the moment, and what a pleasure it’s been, from start to finish.

    In my experience, Tamiya kits are accurate and easy to build-what more could one ask for? Perhaps more adventurous subject matter.

    The F-14, however iconic an airplane it certainly is, leaves me cold personally, but that’s okay. There are still plenty of great Tamiya kits on my shelf for me to build.

    As for price, I don’t complain about price if I can afford what I want, and happily I usually can.

  3. Victor R. Russell Jr May 15, 2016 / 2:39 am

    Good points on the Tamiya F-14 Spencer. Many of us have seen the other 1/48 Tomcats over the years. Each has their good and bad points. Up until now, the best option, was typically Hasegawa, with beautiful detail, but assembly challenges. Many amazing builds from that kit though. Tamiya, yet again, has raised the bar with “new” molding technology, such as the windscreen molded into the nose and not an overly complicated assembly process and a very manageable parts count. Tamiya kits, just typically build up nice. They do have their complicated kits too, 1/24 Ferrari’s come to mind with open doors and other details that can be exposed. But with careful assembly, a great result happens. Tamiya’s 1/48 Tomcat isn’t on my purchase list, but, if they downsize it, like they did their F-16, I’ll have a few. Keep up the good work, and I am a huge fan of the Blog and videos. Vic Russell.

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