I thought I’d make a slight departure from the workbench and take a look at the new items that have been announced for 2011. The Nuremberg show is over now, though almost everything had been leaked ahead of time. We might get some insight over new Hasegawa kits from Shizuoka in May, though they haven’t exactly been flooding the market with new 1:72 tools lately. So what do I find personally interesting in the 2011 release list?
Pride of place has to go to Revell’s Halifax. I’ve been working my way through the WW2 heavy bombers in the last couple of years and actually delayed starting the Airfix or Matchbox kits due to them no longer being of present-day quality. The Airfix is all raised lines and the Matchbox is one of the Trenchers masterpieces. Neither has much in the way of detail and it would be futile to expect great fit and engineering from them. But now I can relegate these ancients to the spares box, if the Revell B-17G and Lanc are anything to go by. Nice engraved panels and lots of detail, certainly as much as I can handle. It looks like two answered prayers (the Airfix Valiant and Revell Halifax) in one year. That’s a good start.
I’m also enthusiastic about the Revell A-400. I mean, I would have preferred a C-17, but any new transport kit that hasn’t been done before gets my attention. I wouldn’t mind if they would retool their C-130 too, to give us a modern engraved panel line version. And while we’re at it, how about a C-124? And how much longer do we have to wait for an AMX?
I am very respectful of the way Airfix has turned around since the Hornby buyout. The Concorde and TSR-2, while difficult models, showed some courage in model selection. The new Hawk T1 is a little gem of a kit, the Canberra is thoroughly buildable, and I’ve got a Bf-110 somewhere in the air between Hannants and me to play around with. As I mentioned above, the Valiant is one I’ve wished for for ages, and I will definitely get their new Swordfish and Gnat when they emerge. I’ve heard talk – mostly wishful thinking, I suspect – about a 1:72 VC-10 from them in 2012. I would certainly buy one.
DML/Cyberhobby made a big splash last year when they released a laundry list of new types, but it appears it was more of a 5-year plan (not unlike the way MPM announces their upcoming projects). The Meteor was a good choice for the first release, and I enjoyed building it. There are a number of interesting things in that long list, such as the A-20, F-35, Hurricane F1, and Sea Vixen. But a lot of the others leave me cold. Does the world need another P-51 at Cyberhobby prices?
MPM always has an interesting list, though you shouldn’t expect all of them to arrive in the next few weeks (or months). I’m interested in the Vautour and the B-18, and a number of others that appear when they appear. Sunderland? Perhaps, though I'd like to see some extra parts to make the civilianized options.
Trumpeter is another that seems to stick to pretty safe subjects, though I do appreciate their attention to current Chinese jet types. In my dream world, they would use their preference for large boxes to attack some of the big transports (like a C-17) or even some airliners (a 1:72 737NG or the ultimate in 1:72 modelling – a 747).
It is a truism that very few of us need to worry about new kits because we couldn’t finish the ones we’ve already bought in three lifetimes. But I do accept that buying new kits is a legitimate part of the hobby. One that keeps the hobby afloat, in fact. As long as we are buying in sufficient numbers, the kit makers will keep producing. And I would always prefer to build a kit with state of the art engineering and good detail rather than an indifferently molded lump from a mold cut when I was an infant, even if I have to pay a price penalty to do so.