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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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!