SEARCH FINESCALE.COM

Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

1/48 armor - a missed opportunity?

927 views
17 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    December, 2017
1/48 armor - a missed opportunity?
Posted by KyleBragger on Sunday, September 23, 2018 3:44 PM

I spent the weekend thinking about the 1/48 armor market... Was there ever one? Aside from the pretty reasonable amount of Tamiya kits that exist, is anyone else making 1/48 armor en masse? HobbyBoss seems to have a handful of kits, and I found two AFV Club Tigers recently, but it seems like a missed opportunity. Big enough (vs 1/72) where you don't lose tiny details to the perils of small scale, and not so large (vs 1/35) where a few of them take up your entire desk/shelf.

Anyway, just musing. Maybe there's a good reason I'm just not thinking of. (Sort of like plastic colors -- why anyone molds in anything besides gray is beyond me, but that's a post for another day!)

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Sunday, September 23, 2018 3:54 PM
I think it didn't take off because of lack of diversity in companies and kits,and at first a lack of AM and figures.when they 1st came out in 05-06 they were $20-25 dollars,you could get nice 1/35 Dragon kits for $35-40 crammed with AM. I personally got into armor by the 1/48 route,but ran out of subjects,so When I felt good I jumped to 1/35

  • Member since
    May, 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Sunday, September 23, 2018 4:12 PM

Hello!

You're right on the merits of 1/48 armor, but I think they just missed the train - many modellers (I'm just judging it by myself) probably already have a collection of 1:35 and/or 1:72 models and they hate the idea of doing everything all over again in 1:48. Additionally I heard about the 1:48 HB Shermans being badly mis-shaped... One more thing that I just thought of... - arent the Tamiya babies horribly expensive? Oh well, let them keep trying - thanks for reading and have a nice day

Paweł

All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

www.vietnam.net.pl

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Sunday, September 23, 2018 4:26 PM

Bandai made a series of 1/48 AFV kits in the 1970's. They seem to be pretty highly rated.

My guess would be that with the popularity and prevalence of Tamiya in 1/35 or close to it, and the prices originally being reasonable; there's a factor when opening a 1/48 kit of the same price of "that's all I get?" .

 

  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Rifle, CO. USA
Posted by M1GarandFan on Sunday, September 23, 2018 5:59 PM

Just a guess here, but it might have something to do with so many hobbyists having old tired eyes. The mfr's might figure they need to stay with 1/35th so we can see what we're doing.

In 1/72nd, as you say, there isn't as much detail to worry about, so its not as critical. I have enough trouble with 1/35th using an optivisor and the strongest light I can find.

My shelves (not that large to start) are full up, so I'm probably done now with all of it.

I think all models should be molded in O.D. only!

 

  • Member since
    March, 2008
Posted by Caveman on Monday, September 24, 2018 6:26 AM

Personally I would have liked to see more figures in 48.  I like to build my helicopter kits in the same scale as the rest my aircraft but they can look a little barren without a load of troops to go inside them.  Or a nice 48 scale LAV to stuff into the herc.

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Monday, September 24, 2018 10:31 AM

1/48 scale armor was around decades ago. It was Aurora's standard scale in the late 60s and early 70s until they went out of business and some of their molds were purchased by Monogram. The only 1/48 scale ex-Aurora armor kits released by Monogram were the M4A3E8 Sherman and Panther. Aurora's MBT70 was probably the one of the kits that goes for a lot of money since it was the only kit of that tank for decades.

Monogram released a handful of 1/48 scale snap together armor kits in the late 70s, the M4A2 Patton, M4A3E8 Sherman, Tiger and Panzer IV. Some of these were reissued by Revell a few years ago in pre-painted blister packs in a line called "Combat Crushers". These kits were wildly decorated, the Patton was called "Shade", the Sherman was "Quake" and the Panzer IV was "After Shock". I never saw if the Tiger was reissued.

The Bandai series was probably the high point of 1/48 scale armor modeling in the 70s. They had a fairly comprehensive line with complete engine and interiors. Some of these sell for a great deal of money, others that are the same as current Tamiya armor kits won't go for $5. Frog/Fuman reissued several of the Bandai armor kits in the late 90s.

Tamiya and Hawk released a series of motorized kits that were either 1/48-1/50. More like motorized toys in the 1960s, and several other manufacturers released motorized model toys that often shared a common chassis with just different upper hulls. So a Bradley, Abrams or T-72 all had the same lower hull.

The AFV Club kits you found were originally Skybow kits from around 2005. They did an early and late Tiger and had a Sturmtiger in the works when they went under. AFV Club reissued the Tigers, Sturmtiger and also an Sd.Kfz 251/1 Ausf. C that is really quite nice.

Hobby Boss and Tamiya have carried on the 1/48 scale model line. Tamiya's kits are about on par with their kits of the 1980s. Well detailed and easy to assemble. The line is mainly WW2, but a few modern vehicles like the M1A2, JGSDF Type 10 and HMMWVs are pretty good. Hobby Boss has some decent kits that are more akin to the old Bandai line.

Airfix also does a line of British modern vehicles in use in Afghanistan during their part in the war.

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Monday, September 24, 2018 10:53 AM

Caveman

Personally I would have liked to see more figures in 48.  I like to build my helicopter kits in the same scale as the rest my aircraft but they can look a little barren without a load of troops to go inside them.  Or a nice 48 scale LAV to stuff into the herc.

 

Tamiya does three different HMMWVs that could fit in a Herc. The standard 2-door M998 with cargo cover, the M1025 with Mark 19 40mm and the M1025 with M60. All three come with a driver figure, but the M1025s also come with a gunner. The M1025 with grenade launcher is the same kit as the one with the M60, but it adds the Mk 19 and smoke grenade launchers for the roof so you're better off getting the Mk 19 kit.

  • Member since
    May, 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Monday, September 24, 2018 5:17 PM

Rob Gronovius
1/48 scale armor was around decades ago. It was Aurora's standard scale in the late 60s and early 70s until they went out of business and some of their molds were purchased by Monogram. The only 1/48 scale ex-Aurora armor kits released by Monogram were the M4A3E8 Sherman and Panther. Aurora's MBT70 was probably the one of the kits that goes for a lot of money since it was the only kit of that tank for decades. Monogram released a handful of 1/48 scale snap together armor kits in the late 70s, the M4A2 Patton, M4A3E8 Sherman, Tiger and Panzer IV. Some of these were reissued by Revell a few years ago in pre-painted blister packs in a line called "Combat Crushers". These kits were wildly decorated, the Patton was called "Shade", the Sherman was "Quake" and the Panzer IV was "After Shock". I never saw if the Tiger was reissued. The Bandai series was probably the high point of 1/48 scale armor modeling in the 70s. They had a fairly comprehensive line with complete engine and interiors. Some of these sell for a great deal of money, others that are the same as current Tamiya armor kits won't go for $5. Frog/Fuman reissued several of the Bandai armor kits in the late 90s. Tamiya and Hawk released a series of motorized kits that were either 1/48-1/50. More like motorized toys in the 1960s, and several other manufacturers released motorized model toys that often shared a common chassis with just different upper hulls. So a Bradley, Abrams or T-72 all had the same lower hull. The AFV Club kits you found were originally Skybow kits from around 2005. They did an early and late Tiger and had a Sturmtiger in the works when they went under. AFV Club reissued the Tigers, Sturmtiger and also an Sd.Kfz 251/1 Ausf. C that is really quite nice. Hobby Boss and Tamiya have carried on the 1/48 scale model line. Tamiya's kits are about on par with their kits of the 1980s. Well detailed and easy to assemble. The line is mainly WW2, but a few modern vehicles like the M1A2, JGSDF Type 10 and HMMWVs are pretty good. Hobby Boss has some decent kits that are more akin to the old Bandai line. Airfix also does a line of British modern vehicles in use in Afghanistan during their part in the war.

To add to Rob's comprehensive list - in the early 2000s a Chinese company called Kitech released lots of model kits that weren't very beautiful, but they were cheap. They had a lot of 1:48 AFV models with electric motor drive and they were essentially Italeri 1:35 kits scaled down to 1:48. I have built their LAV-AT and T-72. They run beautifully but look a little worse. The LAV-AT requires some serious work not to look seriously off, the T-72 has a very nice top, just the running gear is a bit generic, specially the drive sprocket. Those kits allowed a young man to crank out a running, good looking tank in no more than just one afternoon.

Thanks for reading and have a nice day

Paweł

All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

www.vietnam.net.pl

  • Member since
    August, 2018
Posted by ogreb on Monday, September 24, 2018 9:05 PM

As someone stated...old eyes.

Reason I stick to 1/ 35.

1/72 is just crazy talk ! My eyes would melt. 

Never seen a 1/ 48 model. 

  • Member since
    April, 2005
  • From: OK
Posted by Mr.H on Monday, September 24, 2018 11:16 PM

40 years ago, with younger eyes, I came across some ESCI 1/72 battlefield sets. 

Neat, armor, infantry, accessories and some other offerings in one big box. 

I started loading up on 1/72.  Young eyes.

I grew up with Aurora 1/48.  Brother started me by giving me three that he had built when 

he stopped modeling.  I now have most of the Aurora armor kits as well as spares.  They 

were platforms to be painted or for add on details.  Simple basic kits especially for beginners.

I picked up some Bandai 1/48.  Very different.  Engine and transmission details that were hidden 

by bulkheads and access hatches.  Interior details that have not matched any 1/35 Tamiya that 

I have collected.  The difference between the Aurora and the Bandai was stunning!

I have picked up a couple of the Tamiya 1/48.  I do not think they are up to the Bandai standard.

I am at 1/35 now with older eyes.  I have some started a few years ago that have had to be set aside. 

I will get back to building some M.U.T.T.s that I was given as gifts.  The finished models will take up 

less space.  

Of over 600 kits collected, most of which are still boxed, of which a significant percentage are armour kits, I have been able to compare 1/35, 1/32, 1/40, 1/48, 1/72 Aurora, Tamiya, Monogram, Revell, Renwall (originals), ESCI, Academy, some disappointing Chinese, a couple of Polish (surprisingly nice), a few British, and Bandai.  Disregarding PE and speaking of plastic features only, I have to put Renwall high on the list for detail.  Aurora was simple.  Bandai 1/48 armour kits are the ones I wish I could have collected.

If I were to select a kit to use for a cut a way tank, the Bandai Panzer IV would be my first choice.

 

And that is my humble opinion.

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Tuesday, September 25, 2018 12:31 AM

Pawel

More like motorized toys in the 1960s, and several other manufacturers released motorized model toys that often shared a common chassis with just different upper hulls. So a Bradley, Abrams or T-72 all had the same lower hull. 

To add to Rob's comprehensive list - in the early 2000s a Chinese company called Kitech released lots of model kits that weren't very beautiful, but they were cheap. They had a lot of 1:48 AFV models with electric motor drive and they were essentially Italeri 1:35 kits scaled down to 1:48. I have built their LAV-AT and T-72. They run beautifully but look a little worse. The LAV-AT requires some serious work not to look seriously off, the T-72 has a very nice top, just the running gear is a bit generic, specially the drive sprocket. Those kits allowed a young man to crank out a running, good looking tank in no more than just one afternoon.

Thanks for reading and have a nice day

Paweł

 

I alluded to Kitech, Zhengdefu and Academy that released several motorized kits that had a common lower hull. I bought a bunch of the Zhengdefu kits because they used photos of modern Tamiya kits as the box art. I thought they would be scaled down copies of the Tamiya kits, but the Brad, Abrams, T-90, Challenger all share the same lower hull. I am using some parts from the M1A1 to make my Tamiya M1A2 into an M1A1.

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Sydney, Australia
Posted by Phil_H on Tuesday, September 25, 2018 1:29 AM

I think the high water mark for 1/48 armour would be Hobby Boss's T-34 range. Very affordable, with a full interior, both fighting compartment and engine bay. Just over 400 parts in a little package that would fit comfortably on the face of your smart phone.

  • Member since
    July, 2004
  • From: Sunny So. Cal... The OC
Posted by stikpusher on Thursday, September 27, 2018 2:18 PM

As was said earlier, there was a 1/48 Armor market. Back in the day Aurora and Bandai were the two big names with some great stuff available. Nowadays, Tamiya is the big dog, with Hobby Boss and others like AFV Club, Airfix, etc tagging along. And there is lots of AM available currently for 1/48 vehicles and figures.  Not as extensive as 1/35, but far more than say 1/32 or 1/24 & 1/25. Personally if I was to start over on standardizing a scale or two like I did 30 years ago, I would go with 1/48. BUT... and it is a big but (no not sir mixalot)... there is a huge vacuum of Cold War armor, one of my favorite subject areas. Yes, Tamiya and even the old Bandai have WWII covered quite well now. But where are the T-54/55s of that era, the Patton family evolution (M46 thru M60A3), T-62s, T-64s, T-72s, T-80s, Leopards, Chieftans, Challengers, early M1s, IFVs, MICVs, APCs... a huge untapped market. How about a 1/48 LAV or M198 155mm Gun to put with Academy’s 1/48 CH-53E for a sling load diorama?

Dont complain about old eyes and small parts- I’ve built 1/35 armor that has you installing separately molded individual 3/4” bolt heads. It does not get much smaller (or questionably over engineered) than that.

So yes, there is a nice untapped vein of a market just waiting for somebody to come along and exploit.

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Rifle, CO. USA
Posted by M1GarandFan on Thursday, September 27, 2018 2:28 PM

Stik,

I noticed my Dragon M4 105mm has a spruce with I dividual bolt heads on it. I just laughed when I realized what they were. Even my young eyes weren't ready for those. My hat is off to you for attacking that task. You're a better man than I (but we both knew that!).

Regards,

John

  • Member since
    July, 2004
  • From: Sunny So. Cal... The OC
Posted by stikpusher on Thursday, September 27, 2018 2:50 PM

M1GarandFan

Stik,

I noticed my Dragon M4 105mm has a spruce with I dividual bolt heads on it. I just laughed when I realized what they were. Even my young eyes weren't ready for those. My hat is off to you for attacking that task. You're a better man than I (but we both knew that!).

Regards,

John

 

If that is the M4 105mm with the HVSS suspension, I have not even looked at that area yet on the one in my stash. Dragon’s take on the HVSS bogies for the kit is another area that has me asking “why?”, and I don’t proceed beyond there...

thanks for the kind words, but I think it’s a question of sanity, not better... lol!

 

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Rifle, CO. USA
Posted by M1GarandFan on Thursday, September 27, 2018 10:12 PM

Stik,

Actually, my M4 105 has the VVSS. It is kit number 6548.

Far be it from me to question anyone's sanity on any of the things we do for modeling!

  • Member since
    July, 2004
  • From: Sunny So. Cal... The OC
Posted by stikpusher on Thursday, September 27, 2018 10:29 PM

M1, very true on that! We are all touched by some form insanity in the hobby...

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

JOIN OUR COMMUNITY!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

SEARCH FORUMS

FREE NEWSLETTER
By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. View our Privacy Policy.