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All Good Things Come in Twos?

One cannot help but notice a trend in the scale modelling world: Whatever your area of interest is, chances are there are certain gaps in the lineup of available kits (unless, of course, you are into German WWII armor). These gaps are here for years, and no manufacturer seems to be willing to fill them. But then, finally, someone steps forward and announces a brand new tooling of such a gap-filling kit.

Only to be outdone by another company announcing theirs a week later…

Case in point: The M551 Sheridan light tank. If you are into Cold War Armor, this somewhat goofy looking tank may be high on your wishlist. There are some choices in 35th scale, but each of them has their issues. The 1970s Tamiya offering is simple, has shape issues, and is just not up to current standards. The 2005 Academy kit is more detailed, but brings its own major shape issues. And finally, the Jaguar resin kit is a beauty, but – well, resin.

Enter Tamiya again, who announced a new tooling of the M551 at this year’s All Japan Model Hobby Show. By the looks of it this is going to be a Vietnam version with the appropriate modifications for this time frame.

Of course there were lots of “oohs”, “aahs” and “Shut up and take my money”‘s on the internet. Some of them from me, admittedly. Did I pre-order one? You bet. Should I have waited? Maybe.

I Should Have Known.

Just this morning I was confronted with an announcement by Rye Field Models:

Looks like they will be releasing a later version, which is more attractive to me. And going by the sprue picture, this is not a matter of them throwing out a bogus announcement just to stop people from buying the Tamiya kit and keep them waiting. They already did quite some work on the kit, and it looks like it will be ready soon-ish.

Maybe it’s just me, but I do not believe in coincidences. And situations like this leave me wondering how this industry works. Are there tip hotlines at every major manufacturer, where you can call in and tell them “hey, I’ve seen these Tamiya guys in our museum taking measurements of a Sheridan. You better get your bums moving”? Is the scale modelling world populated by leakers and whistleblowers? Can we expect a future Bond movie with Daniel Craig fighting these machinations using just his panel line engraver?

What are your thoughts? Is it a good thing manufacturers try to one-up each other? Do we profit from this as builders? Or would you rather see them spreading their efforts to fill other gaps instead?

1 additional image. Click to enlarge.


9 responses to All Good Things Come in Twos?

  1. It seems the same with the airplane-kits. I’d rather have filled the gaps than double issues or the 105th “109” or 78th Phantom.
    What’s missing to me is vehicles in 1:32, like Kübel- or Schwimmwagen for airfield-dioramas – but that’s another question…

  2. Thank you Boris!
    Delighted to see some updated Sheridan kits!!!
    It would be great if kit maker’s concentrated on the gaps in the market – and here they have – but they are a bit like buses you wait an age for one to come along and then…!
    Generally speaking, I think the competition thing, is helpful.. if both are as good as they look I might buy both!
    I might even end up building one of them!

  3. …and all BAD things come in 3’s…or so I’ve heard. 🙁
    Thanks for the update, Boris.

  4. Things do indeed “happen” in this business, and more often than not the aggressor is Tamiya, not the other way around. And I suspect that’s the case here.

    I have it “from the horse’s mouth” that the Tamiya Beaufighter was released when it was in order to kill a project at Accurate Miniatures that would have resulted in a kit more like the new Revell kit (which has superior detail to the Tamiya kit), after AM declined Tamiya’s offer to market their new Beaufighter outside the US.

    Tamiya has the size to do exactly this. It’s one of the reasons my lack of enthusiasm for their products has grown in recent years.

  5. Thanks Boris for the update. I looked into the Sheridan 1:35 offerings since I was interested in the Shillelagh missile launch platform it offers. I did not buy any of the kits available so good news for me!

    I think there is no coincidence with these quasi simultaneus new releases. Like with many professional industries, I think there is only a few people deciding where the market goes, ‘it’s a small world’ as they say. These people meet at international trade fairs where such info on who is working on what spreads like a bush fire…

    Thanks for posting.

  6. I have to ask Boris, does anyone kit the Sheridan in 1/48? I’m looking for one to put into my C-130.

    Used to watch the Hercs airdrop Sheridans at Pope AFB a long time ago, both from altitude and LAPES (low altitude parachute extraction). Pretty impressive seeing an armored vehicle skidding across the ground after being yanked out an airplane 15 feet above the ground…

  7. Hi, Boris, please, I’m communicating through my friend Matthias, I’m having trouble signing up for Imodeler, I forgot my password, could you please send me new login information to my account at [email protected]? I mean, a login name and password, I would like to do as it is now, but unfortunately I can not log in. Thanks to Roman Fittl.

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