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– Contents –
  • * Well! It's finally the first day of the IPMS Telford event!
  • * Meanwhile, it's almost time for my "Meet the Maker" address.
  • * A transcription of my "Meet the Maker" address.

Lo~ok!  These tasty-looking British hamburgers were provided by Shirley, the wife of Jim, who runs the "Scale Plastic & Rail" website!  Not only were they just as delicious as they looked, but they were perfectly filling!
They were a feast for our tired bodies.  Thank you so much for the food, Shirley!

* Well! It's finally the first day of the IPMS Telford event!

From early in the morning, there was an endless line of cars, cars, and more cars continuing to enter the parking lot.

Cars completely packed with groups of old guys, cars filled with entire families, huge cars, small cars -- when I think to myself that all of these people are "hobby fans," and that all of them have come for this event, for some reason, a warm feeling wells up within my heart.

Hustling and bustling from early in the morning, the area all around the event site was overflowing with that certain power unique to hobby fans, making for a lively first day for the event!

Now, time to brace ourselves and enter the venue!!

The Zoukei-mura booth had been completely and thoroughly prepared the day before.  With still an hour to go before the event opened, there was something that kind of, yet kind of didn't, resemble a line in front of it, as a crowd of old guys who seemed to be having fun just being there came and went, over and over.

Indeed.  Opening time was set for 10 am.

An hour prior to opening, IPMS members would be admitted to shop early, prior to general admission.

But at the moment, it was still not yet 9 am, so still a little too early to begin sales.

Of course, we were still able to take reservations.

At IPMS events, no matter where they're held, there are always many people who wish to place reservations on the day of the event.
Even here at Telford, there were those who wished to place reservations on the morning of the first day.

Meanwhile, in front of the booth, a long line was already beginning to form.

By the time we had taken care of all of the reservation requests from those who couldn't wait for sales to start, the line had begun to form spontaneously.  Even here in the UK -- or rather, no matter where in the world you are -- geezer hobbyists always have wonderful manners.  Don't you agree?!  My comrades!!

 Finally, it was opening time, 10am!

The Zoukei-mura booth, and many other booths here and there, were all finally able to begin sales!

All at once, the area in front of the register became a battlefield!
As the line progressed and each person came to the front of the line, one after the other they pointed at their reserved items in an endless barrage of smiles and English.

This was it in the flesh, IPMS' famous hand-to-hand combat -- er, sales combat, rather.

By the way, everyone!  Our Zoukei-mura booth only has three people who can speak English!  Developers T and N, and first and foremost, I, am entering this battlefield completely defenseless~~!
Although we may have six staff members, three of us only have the equivalent of mere sticks and stones with which to fight back, much less the proper machine guns~!

It was an onrush of smiling hobby geezers, all of them tucking SWS kits under their arms and then aiming straight for us!!!

"Look!  I bought it~!!"
"It's the SWS, the SWS!  Do you know it?!"
I know it, I know.  After all, I'm the one in charge of producing it, you know.
"Not just this, but I also bought that, and that, and that~!"
So many old guys speaking of such happy things.
I am an old guy myself, and a Japanese old guy at that -- can it be that British old guys can be so similar to me?!  Way to go for old guys everywhere~!!

Moreover, if I listened ve~ery closely, it seemed to me that their language differs subtly from everyone else's.

Yes, even though this is the UK, there were people from all over -- Germany and France, the Czech Republic and Italy, even faraway places like Ukraine and Spain.

For the three of us who were defenseless against even English, German and Spanish were, well .... comple~~~~etely incomprehensible.

However, everyone shared a passion for scale models.
Even if you couldn't understand someone's words, as long as you had a smile to go with a kit, finished model, or photo, you could still somehow communicate.

Now!  It's finally time for the event to open for general admission!
Those who had made reservations and those who had not all descended upon the booth at once, so as you can see, things became congested very quickly.

People who knew the SWS, people who didn't, and people who were seeing the SWS for the first time all came to see the Zoukei-mura booth with enthusiasm.  Moreover, they all said they were scale model fans, which filled my heart with happiness!

Oho!  Among our visitors were some fans still in boyhood!!
They examined the SWS finished display models just as earnestly as the adults.
I remember being that age.  I really wanted a scale model kit back then~!

The customers came one after the other!  Everyone was very open to making conversation.
I could feel everyone's anticipation of the SWS from their sincere expressions, and before I knew it, I could feel my own enthusiasm rising.  Thank you, everyone!

Oh~!  I see you bought the Skyraider right away!
It will add magnificence and strength to your collection.
Enjoy building your Skyraider this winter, and thank you!!

This customer acquired the SWS Mustang!
The person smiling on the left in the photo is Developer T, who was also responsible for editing the Mustang Concept Note.  That's why his happiness at making this sale is double!  Sincerely, thank you so much for your purchase!

"I decided on the Skyraider, this time."
It was truly an honor for us to be able to deliver this kit to you, who smiles so happily.  Please continue to look forward to future SWS kit development!

"I also chose the Skyraider, of course."  That makes us very happy~!!
You will be able to complete an A-1H appropriate to your imagination and expectation!!
Please take your time and enjoy it.  Thank you very much.

"Look, I got Tank's Ta 152."  Your calm and composed choice was very good.  After all, you will be able to recreate a splendidly authentic Ta 152.
Please look forward to both the overall form as well as the details!

Is the boy standing next to you your grandson?  How nice~!
I also have a dream of enjoying the SWS with my grandchild.
Please show him the wonderful part of having a grandfather.

"I was finally able to buy it."  Great feeling, isn't it?  I can feel your good mood just from the photo.  To say the least, the super-long wings, beautiful fuselage and powerful exterior are all part of the Ta 152's appeal.  The internal structure is amazing, too!

"I also decided on the Ta 152."  Why, thank you so much~!!
I'm sure that this aircraft will take you captive, keeping you occupied during the coming winter and into the spring.  German planes really are cool, aren't they?

Oh~ I see that you've chosen some optional parts for the P-51D.
With this part, I guarantee that your kit will be finished at an even greater level of perfection.
There are many, many other optional parts also available for the P-51, so please be sure to check them out!!

Oh~!!  I see you took the plunge~!!  I do believe that's the A-1J Skyraider, yes?
I have a ton of confidence behind the development of this kit, so I'm sure that you will be able to finish a perfect Spad.  I hope that you enjoy every nook and cranny of the build.

The Ta 152 that you just bought was designed by Developer N (left).
I'm sure that this kit will stand out even in your large collection.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for choosing this kit.

Oh!  You'd like to purchase the Ta 152 and the Kettenkrad as a set, yes?
It seems that maybe you're planning to make a wonderful diorama.
When you're finished, please send us a picture.  I will be very happy to see it!!

Oh~!!  Why, it's Allan!  Thank you for coming to see us at IPMS Florida as well.  Also, thank you for purchasing so many items here in Telford!  It really boosts our confidence!

What's this~ we have another person who purchased many items!!
As the Development Team's representative, I extend my gratitude from the bottom of my heart!  Truly, the SWS was developed for the sake of people like you.  Thank you so much!

The happy smile on your face as you hold the A-1J tells the whole story.
Welcome to the world of SWS kits!  That kit contains many elements that are sure to surprise you.  Please look forward to it!!

I see you came seeking the Shinden, which has become a valuable find.
I brought the kit you're holding from my own personal collection, and there's nearly none left even there.  But I'm glad that I was able to deliver this one to you.

Your relaxed expression as you hold the A-1J makes up a large part of what makes us able to confidently bring the proper kits to you from Zoukei-mura.  You will be able to savor the feeling of building a kit just like the actual aircraft.  Please enjoy it to the fullest.

I see you've chosen the SWS Mustang.  You have very good taste!!  You will be able to truly enjoy building this Mustang, from the expression of the beautiful exterior to the recreation of the fuselage structure, engine mount, and cockpit!

Oh~ I see that you've selected the Mustang as well!  You have my thanks!  We spared no detail when creating the kit for WWII's top fighter plane.  Please take your time and fully enjoy the complete kit.

This is the best Ta 152 there is.  That was our intention while developing this kit.  Fully savor the presence and beauty of the last German reciprocating engine fighter plane.  Also, please enjoy shaping the propeller during the build process.

Thanks to you as well for purchasing the A-1H.  I'm sure you will enjoy the kit.  Just building the engine can provide as much satisfaction as entire kits of the past.  The world of scale models has progressed very far.

I applaud you, who are purchasing both the SWS Mustang and its Concept Note all at once!!
Yes.  Reading the book prior to building the kit will boost your enjoyment an entirely different level than if you hadn't read it.
Please enjoy both the book and the kit.

Uh-oh~ I'm sorry!!  From this picture, I'm afraid that I can't make out which kit it was that you bought.  From the size, I'm going to guess it was the Mustang, or perhaps the Shinden.  Regardless, welcome to the Zoukei-mura booth, and thank you for your purchase!!

I see you're buying both the A-1J and the US Aircraft Weapons 2 set!!
Seeing your happy face makes me happy, as well.  Please take the utmost of care and fully enjoy your A-1J.  I'm sure it will surprise you~~!!

I see you also chose the A-1J and the US Aircraft Weapons 2 set!  A very smart choice!  I'm very happy, and honored, for you to be able to enjoy my dream Skyraider.  Its powerful and beautiful sculpt is amazing!

Oh~another vote for the A-1H and the US Aircraft Weapons set!!  Thank you very much.  The long history and military record contained within its fuselage never cease to attract fans.  I am fascinated by this amazingly attractive aircraft.

Do you like the US Aircraft Weapons 2 set?  It can be used for many 1/32 scale planes from the A-1J's era.  In order to recreate the armed state of a proper warplane, you really do need the appropriate weapons.

The A-1H continues to fly off the shelves.  Everyone looks very happy with it.  Meanwhile, the mountain of reserved items continues to shrink.  Oh, no~!  I do hope that we prepared enough items to last until tomorrow.  I'm starting to get worried.

"I want the A-1H, too."  Perhaps I should just give up worrying.  Yes~ thank you ever so very much.  I will give up.  However, let me say that your eye for kits is very good.  If you have the skill, the magnificence of this kit, will shine through in the final build.  Please work hard to complete it!

The Mustang for you, I see.  This plane's amazing aspect is the tremendous power hidden within its handsome stylings.  Of course, you can recreate every detail of its distinctive design with this SWS kit!  Enjoy it to your heart's content!

Not just the A-1J and A-1H, but also the Skyraider Concept Note, and even some optional parts!  With this, you're set to be fully entertained this winter!  Also, I feel that these kits will add great value to your collection!  Please enjoy them!

The A-1J suits you and your wonderful smile perfectly!
Once you begin building this kit, you will find it so interesting as to be held captive by it.
After all, you will be able to fully enjoy the experience just like building the actual aircraft.

You who are smiling with the Ta 152 in your hands -- the image of the finished model is already going through your mind, isn't it?  I assure you, the perfect recreation of the super-long wings, including the surfaces, airfoils, anhedral angles, and even the kinked trailing edges, is simply superb.

Another person grinning with the Ta 152 in their hands.  If you finish your final build just as you hope, please do show it to all of your friends.  I'm sure they will be overwhelmed by the impact of a 1/32 German warplane!

Oh~!  With the Shinden in your hands, I can feel your dignified determination.  Yes, the Shinden is filled with the spirit of Japanese Imperial Navy's final fighter aircraft.  Please enjoy it!

What's this!!  You have the Ta 152 in your young hands!
As expected, the British hobby fanbase runs deep into all age groups.  Please use your hands to carefully craft Luftwaffe's final fighter into something that is truly yours.

"Hi~i!  I've decided on the Ta 152."  You made the right choice, you whose face is covered by that very smart beard!  If nothing else, this kit seems to possess a pretty high value at the moment.  You're very lucky!

This gentleman picked up the A-1J, and spontaneously started grinning.
I am also happy that you can to finally add this plane to your collection.  A toast to your happy hobby life!

Your happiness transmits itself so powerfully from my monitor, I almost feel like giving it the V-sign.  I feel pride and gratitude that we were able to bring the SWS A-1J to you.  Thank you very much.

To you who had to good fortune to be able to obtain the SWS Shinden, I send these words: I'm very happy for you~  From the recreation of the skeleton structure to the engine and the cockpit, I feel that your view of scale models will change drastically for the better.

"Look!  It's the P-51D.  I've been looking for this kit."
Yes.  The SWS Mustang is very suitable for building your P-51D.
After all, it represents a new generation of scale model.

The oft-remembered SWS No. 1.  I entrust the Shinden to your hands.
Now, this is where you show your skill.  Please recreate the form of the Japanese Imperial Navy's final fighter aircraft.

No~ow, what's that in your hands...?
Its contents are obscured by the shine, but I can see that you've also prepared optional parts for it, so I'm guessing you've already entered build mode in your mind.  I hope that good things happen in your hobby life.

The great Ta 152 will leave a great mark on your great collection.
What Ta 152 fans around the world have wished for even in their dreams has finally been granted.  Now, please go and enjoy it!
It will be a magnificent finished model.

Your choice of the US Aircraft Weapons set for the A-1H/J is truly wonderful!
After all, just by mounting these weapons, the Skyraider is transformed into a huge warplane.  Please recreate the transcendence of the big Spad.

Can it be that you enjoy models together, as a couple!  I'm so happy~~!
To tell the truth, my beloved wife also has a particular trust and affinity for scale model kits.  Please continue to enjoy the hobby together forevermore.

Thank you so much for purchasing the ultimate set of the Mustang and its Concept Note.  Will you read before you build, or build as you read?  It will double and redouble your enjoyment!
We will be releasing more decal sets soon, so please look forward it.

Oh~!  Do we have a father/son pair of scale model fans?  How nice~!
Actually, both of my sons are currently working hard for my company.  The joy of being able to touch real scale model kits from when you're young must have a great impact.  Do your best!!

Finally able to get the SWS Mustang!  This kit was born for you and your discerning taste.
It's a new scale model for a new age, packed full of ideas unique to Zoukei-mura!

When you start to build the SWS Shinden, you will clearly understand the reason why the kit currently bears such a high value.
Please freely enjoy its advanced internal structure as well as its mysteriously balanced but excellent design.

I applaud your judgment, you who have obtained both the Shinden and its Concept Note all at once.
The Concept Note contains research data from the aircraft in the Smithsonian, as well as thorough build diaries as well as detailed diagrams to whet your build appetite.

Oh~ I see you've selected the Kettenkrad.
Because it's 1/32 scale, you will be enjoy using it with various German planes for your dioramas.  Because it's part of the SWS, even the engine and internal structure have been properly recreated.

Thank you very much, you who are holding the Ta 152 and smiling with K from the SWS Development Team.  By the time you finish this kit, I'm sure you will be an SWS supporter.  Please continue to support us moving forward.

Who is the beautiful lady standing with you and T from the SWS Development Team?
With a beautiful Mustang for your beautiful self, you have brightened the Zoukei-mura booth with your presence.  Thank you.  Please come again next year.

“I’m looking forward He219 Uhu! Way to go!”
Thank you! We’ll do our best!
“I already bought your Raiden!”
Huh? Um, it’s not ours!
“1/48 is good, but how about 1/72?”
Yes, I want to do it eventually!
“OK, do it quickly. I’m specialized in 1/48 only. What? This? This is an exception! EXCEPTION!”
He firmly held a 1/32 P-51D under his arm! That’s the way old hobby guys are!
“SWS is expensive!”
No, no. Its content and value are three times more than others! No, it’s actually five times! In addition, it's also limited!
“I know, I know”
“I can’t accept molding in three colors.”
OK. OK. It will be all in gray from the Uhu on.
“Wait. I liked the three colored sprues.”
See! See! That’s right!

Sharp questions that are signature of the event site came one after another. The request board that we prepared was flooded over by many airplane names. We repeatedly took its picture to save the names and started over again and again.

Thank you so much to all of you who gave us your requests!

We’ll definitely realize your dream!

The realization of an airplane from the UK is especially close! Of course, there's also a German airplane and Japanese one as  well!
Oh- and the American one is now on the quiz. Two of them are now under development with amazing quality!
As for a 1/32 B-29 and B-1 that someone requested- these are not possible!
I immediately turn down what I cannot have in my house.

”The quiz. Isn’t it a training airplane?”
He told me the correct answer with a smile.
I knew you would be able to answer! You should submit your answer then!
“Did B-29 have B type?”
”Do you want to clean it up till it shines and fly it with your wife?”
“In that case, you have to pick T-6 as well!”
My thoughts seem completely transparent. I’ll do these airplanes!!
“The next SWS should be this!”
Our thanks to you who showed us your finished Hs129! Someday! Absolutely!
“Don’t forget Blenheim as well as Mosquito!”
Yes, yes. Of course!
“How about active aircraft? Jet planes?”
Of course, we’ll do them! We will make kits that you have never seen before, so please buy them!

Enjoyable conversations, questions, difficult requests, good ideas were raining down from the sky upon the event venue.

Two hours since the show's start! Wow, how quick! The mountain of SWS kits in our booth were almost gone!!!!

The few kits remaining on the tables had reserve notes attached for the customers who would come back later to pick them up.

Yet more and more people who hadn't anticipated such kept visiting us.

“What!? Already sold out!? I was going to buy some for Christmas presents~!! What should I do!?”

I’m so sorry! Forgive me~~! They left us, wistfully staring at the reserved kits.

We still had another day, so it was such a pity to turn out like that.

To everyone who visited our Zoukei-Mura booth yet couldn’t get what they wanted because of sold out, I'm so sorry!!

I'll definitely buy it if you make a kit for this plane!
Many requests were written on the board, as many as people wished to write.  Even I was caught up in everyone's enthusiasm, and their expression of it.  Thank you!

Because it was still early in the morning, there was still a pile of reserved items at the Zoukei-mura booth!
About two hours after this photo was taken, all of our merchandise had gone into the hands of our fans.  Thank you so much, everyone.  Please enjoy the SWS.

All of the modelers' passionate gazes were focused on our new items corner!
The 1/32 Uhu and the 1/32 Raiden, as well as the new Shinden and Ta 152 in our 1/48 series!
We want to bring you the essence of the SWS, which only those who have built it can understand.

Receiving a question from a beautiful lady instinctively increases my energy!!  Can it be that she enjoys scale models?  There may need to be an air raid scheduled!  Which would you choose, a beautiful lady or the SWS?!  Which?!

Is this your son, perhaps?  Together, they examined a prototype for the "Shinden" Japanese Imperial Navy fighter plane -- clearly a reliable father!  How nice~  When extorting models from your father, make sure to clearly state that you want the SWS!  Okay?

I painted this Uhu that you're taking pictures of -- it's been a long time for me.  Is this angle good for you?  Look!  The angle of the main wings and the recreation of the fuselage are both right on the mark, aren't they?  I think it's turning out to be a wonderful kit.

* Meanwhile, it's almost time for my "Meet the Maker" address.

Yes, my lecture was added to the program in this IPM event in Telford.

I was given a precious hour and asked to give my account about the background of SWS kits and how they were born.

How lucky I was to get a chance to talk about SWS in front of many modelers and hobby fans who gathered in Telford!

I'm posting the entire content of my presentation here for those who couldn't come to Telford or were too busy flitting between booths to come by and listen to the old man of Zoukei-Mura tell his story.  It’s exclusive for my blog readers.

You can’t talk about SWS without knowing this.

Reading it will surely make you want an SWS kit.

If you have an understanding of it, you can enter a new world of scale models!

You can skip the other parts of my blog, but don’t miss this lecture, please.

I guarantee that your eyes will surely be opened.

Everyone who attended Meet the Maker, thank you so very much for spending this time with me.
Why, you all appear to be very clever gentlemen.
I was able to convey the start of SWS development and the history of Zoukei-mura, as well as my passion for scale models.

My son K was the lead interpreter.  It was a rapid-fire interpretation to go with my rapid-fire Japanese,
After all, if we didn't speak quickly, the hour that we were given would have been over before we knew it.  But I'm sure it was difficult for those listening!

Oh~ Look at all these raised hands during the Q&A!
Everyone had many questions regarding the kits currently in development.  I got a little carried away, and gave quite a bit of detail in my answers!  You heard some quite unexpected things, didn't you?

Wow~~!!  British scale model fans sure are enthusiastic!
Before we knew it, both I and my staff were caught up in the good mood and overflowing with smiles.
Typical of the home of humor, they were wonderful listeners with great responsiveness.

Meet the Maker Address
"I want to blow the New Wind through the Scale Model World!!"

① Greetings

  • Hello to all Scale Model Fans!
  • My name is Hideyuki Shigeta. I am the president of Zoukei-mura Incorporated. We, a manufacturer from Japan, have come to participate in this historic IPMS Telford show.
  • Thank you very much for inviting me as a speaker at this significant IPMS Telford Scale Model World "Meet the Maker" lecture. Being here today is a great pleasure and an honor for me and all of our staff.
  • Thank you very much.
  • We cannot even imagine a better place to deliver a lecture about the development of Zoukei-mura SWS kits. I would like to express my deepest gratitude, from the bottom of my heart, to everyone involved in this IPMS Telford show, who gave us this valuable opportunity.
  • Though it is only one short hour, we would be very happy if we can make you understand our concepts, aim and spirit regarding Zoukei-Mura SWS development. Our aim is to blow the New Wind through the scale modelling world.
  • Before I begin my lecture, I, as a citizen of Japan, would also like to thank all of the European countries, starting with Great Britain, for your huge support and sincere encouragement on the immense disaster of the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11th, 2011.
  • Thanks to your warm support, Japan is recovering day by day.
  • Thank you very much, with all my heart.

② Special SWS Event Questionnaire

  • And now, I would like to ask you some questions about the 1/32 scale SWS airplane model kits that are now getting very popular throughout the world.
  • To support me and our SWS kits, please happily raise your hand in reply to my questions.
  • All right.
  • Please raise your hand if you know about the SWS kit brand.
  • Now please raise your hand if you have ever bought an SWS kit before.
  • Nice! Please raise your hand if you have already built an SWS kit.
  • Ok. Now please raise your hand if you are planning to buy an SWS kit.
  • Good. Please raise your hand if you don't know anything about SWS kits.
  • Thank you very much for your cooperation.
  • All right, I will continue my speech concentrating on those people who are thinking of purchasing an SWS kit (pointing in the direction of the people who raised their hands).
  • First of all, you will never know how wonderful and different the SWS kits are until you buy one.
    Our concepts of SWS are designed to give the modeler a total experience. From first examining the kit, to building and completing the kit. You will feel the high quality of our SWS kits during the whole process of assembly.
  • Please think about adding an SWS kit to your airplane model collection.
    It will definitely make you realize that a whole new scale model world is available to you. The scale model world you have never seen before.

③ The Birth of Zoukei-mura as the Master Sculpting Division of a Hobby Specialized Manufacturer, VOLKS Group

  • A hobby shop called Volks was born 40 years ago in December, 1972 in Kyoto, Japan.
    It was the foundation of today's Volks Group.
  • The city of Kyoto is famous as an ancient capital where successive Japanese Emperors lived for more than 1200 years. It is a historical place with ancient temples and about 1.5 million people live there now.
  • By the way, Japan consists of 4 main islands.
    It is a small country covering only about 3% of the world's land territory with a population of about 120 million people.
  • And in that city of Kyoto, we established a model kit retail shop. It was only the two of us, my wife and me. I was 24 years old and she was only 21 at that point.
  • This was the beginning of all that we call VOLKS Group today.
    It was a very small shop. When we started, the size of my store was only 20 m2.
  • It was so tiny and narrow that you could only barely fit a car in that space.
    Moreover, it was quite a strange shop. We solely carried airplane plastic models there, because it was my hobby.
  • The store was strange, but honestly I didn't know anything other than airplane model kits at that time.
    Later on, I heard that other people in the same business were looking at us and wondering: "When will they go out of business?"
  • We had nothing. No experience, no knowledge, no credit and no money. A young hobby shop was born, and all we had was our enthusiasm.
  • Though the shop was small, it was fully packed with my dream. My dream was to open my own hobby shop with my own hands.
  • However, that dream didn't last so long.
    There were several established hobby shops in the same neighborhood, so it was natural that not so many customers would come into a shop which only carried airplane models.
  • I still remember how we cleaned our small shop day after day.
    Maybe the fact that I still can't match with my wife is because of the influence from those days.
  • Of course, I spent a lot of time making models to display there, but if there were no customers coming to your shop, that only means wasted expense.
  • Before we realized, our hobby shop reached a critical state. It was far away from anything we could call management.
  • Then, after some years in business, I decided to start manufacturing resin kits known as "garage kits".
    We named this series "Orient Hero". We released figure kits of monster and heroes from cartoons, and comics.
  • We started to produce anime robots, 1/48 scale resin airplane kits, and tank models. We produced an amazing numbers of products during that time, and the fans were happy.
  • It improved our shop's business situation.
    I think we produced and sold more than 4,000 kinds of garage kits during those 20 years.
  • Through the experience of that time, we learned how important it was to do all of the work on our own, from planning, master model sculpting, production and sales, to holding our own events. Now our VOLKS Group consists of 4 companies and there are almost 300 young people working for all of them all together.
  • And even now, the main business of VOLKS Group is still creating and selling our own original products.
  • Of course, the master models are sculpted at "Zoukei-mura", which is a separate workshop company in our group.
    There is also the manufacturing factory producing the items from those masters and the stores selling them. We run the entire process by ourselves.
  • We hold related events and offer after purchase services as well. Everything is done within the company, which increases its development speed and assures absolute quality and absolute control.
  • VOLKS Group is now a business operation producing hobby products, which consists of 20 stores in Japan and 2 overseas.
  • Our main products for the male hobby world include: plastic kits, anime figures, robot kits, railroad models and SWS kits.
  • For the female side, we have our original doll brand called "Super Dollfie®".
    We produce and sell dolls and many related products, like tools, parts, and other materials.
  • To be honest, I was able to realize my dream of developing the SWS kits because we had positive results in other fields of the Volks Group to support me.
  • Of course, the one who has supported me the most is my beloved wife. She is my lifetime partner and I can never imagine life without her.
    Unfortunately, she was not able to come here today, but I feel that she is with me now, here in my heart.

④ The motivation for developing the SWS kits

     
  • Let me tell you my childhood dream. My dream was that "someday I will produce an airplane plastic model of my very own".
    I was a child who could only think of airplanes and had no time for study.
  • If I heard the roar of an airplane flying in the sky, I often froze and stood in amazement until I lost sight of the airplane.
  • I was 10 years old and a primary school student, when they started importing airplane plastic models from the United States.
    I still remember quite clearly the impact and excitement I felt on the day when I first saw an airplane scale model. One of my well-off friends received it as a present.
  • When I started working part time and earning my own pocket money, my hobby grew and I could not think of anything else except airplanes from day and night.
  • Even when I got married and became a model shop owner, one of my greatest intentions was to realize my dream of releasing a model kit.
  • What is the airplane plastic model kit of my dreams?
    I wanted to build a scale model kit that would have the same structure as a real airplane from a "magical material" called plastic.
  • That's right.
    It has the same fuselage structures and mechanisms of an actual plane. Yes, it is made of plastic, but the modeler who builds it will feel as if he is building a real airplane. I wondered how happy I
    would be if I could build such an airplane model.
  • If you think on it, airplane plastic models appeared in this world about 50 years ago.
    From that time, there were countless airplane model kits released by manufacturers form all over the world.
  • However, I wanted to introduce a completely new model kit concept to this world, with absolutely new inspiration and ideas, the airplanes of my choice and in the way that I like.
  • Though it is really a plastic model kit, I wanted to get the impression and feeling like: "the airplane that I have finished building was just like a real one." instead of: "I have completed a plastic model kit." I wanted the vivid happiness that an engineer feels when he builds a real airplane, which I had never experienced from working on existing kits.
  • In the first place, why are there so many different designs for airplanes? It is mysterious.
  • I wanted to include a basic analysis, such as what allows the airplane to fly freely in the sky, the intent behind its development, its purpose, deployment details, evaluations, and the ideas of each country, in the kit, so that it can even be used as study or research materials.
  • Reproduce all the internal structures which make the airplane fly and an engine as the source of power. Moreover, the way these parts are attached to the airplane to give it propulsive force.
  • Then, how can they get the lifting power to take off and freely achieve maneuvers in the sky?
    Can you imagine how fun it would be if you could learn and confirm all of these curious things while building your kit with your own hands?
  • I want to blow the New Wind that we call SWS through the Scale Model World.
    It enables everyone to easily learn about the structure and manufacturing process of a real airplane.
    You can finish your scale model and enjoy the building process just like that of a real airplane.
    This was the dream I wanted to realize through the SWS.
  • Furthermore, in the unpredictable war situation, what kinds of development intentions were had for these airplanes, which appeared on the battlefield where a nation's fate and future was decided? Such an extreme situation as war includes strategies, tactics and battles.
    Airplanes have been the new weapons developed in order to seize the initiative on the battlefield.
  • The first thing you need to do in order to recreate an airplane is to recreate the precise shape of its exterior.
  • Then you recreate the correct structure, precise mechanisms and accurate equipment. All of them have to be done using precise measurements. And only then you will have something worth calling a scale model.
  • The development of the SWS kits begins with questioning the data's accuracy.
  • We carefully gather information about the actual airplanes, take so many photos and ensure as precise measurements as possible.
  • Then, based on the gathered information, we create blueprints and hand-make a mock-up model in the same scale as the future kit.
  • After that we continue checking the model until we are sure that it has achieved the shape as our plan, and only then we start working on the injection tooling.
    The kits are then produced from the injection mold under strict manufacturing control.
    Instructions and decals are decided and made. All of this is packed in a special box and delivered to you.
  • If we experience difficulties, or don't have a chance to research the actual airplane, we search for photos and technical drawings in magazines and specialized books and consult with many airplane experts and researchers.
    We try to gather as precise information as possible to draw plans, and make the mock-ups and injection tooling.
  • In addition, when we undertake our SWS development work, we include an experiment of "seeking the beauty of hand-made model kits" based on the view-points and wishes of other modelers and aviation fans, which is the original point of model kit development.
  • We reflect the data gathered from intense research on the actual aircraft on our detailed blueprint.
  • Then we always make multiple mock-up models in the chosen scale.
  • Before we start working on the final design and include parts, we consider and revise the external shape until all of us agree with it and we get an approvement from partners outside of our company, who have keen eyes.
  • I want you to experience the advantages of the SWS kits with your own eyes.
  • In the accurately shaped fuselage, the very attractively detailed engine is firmly mounted in the same manner as the actual airplane.
  • All of the small details of the cockpit are designed so precisely that if you were a pilot you would understand the use of each detail.
    You also can't overlook the different shapes of the landing gear depending on the purpose of each airplane type and on the development period.
  • In addition, you can't miss the expression of the beauty of the propeller shape and its pitch angles, which are the signature of reciprocating engine airplanes.
  • Other armaments and equipment are also important for us to recreate.
    Each of the SWS kits is a precise reproduction of a real airplane. You may be amazed by its degree of perfection.
  • Most of them may not be visible when the kit is completed, but you will definitely feel a satisfaction which only the person who has finished the kit can get, deep within his heart. Beyond that, the sense of accomplishment and contentment will vividly stay in your heart like a treasure.
  • If you know about the product development of a company, you may notice that we have been ignoring limitations and restrictions which usually occur in the course of business for our SWS.
  • Yes, it's correct.
    You may not believe it, but the SWS kits are not made for sale in the conventional sense. They are truly made to fulfill the dreams of mine as a modeler. I am sharing this dream with you.
  • I want to fully express the true attraction of scale models without being caught by the limitations of product development.
  • My employees understand very well that SWS development is their president's dream.
    This is why they can concentrate on just turning a beautiful airplane into a scale model with a quality that they can be happy with, rather than on making a successful merchandise.
  • What does it mean to enjoy the beautiful mechanisms hidden in the beautiful fuselage?
  • It is to hear the sounds and smell the scent of the working airplane parts.
    It is to feel the weight of the aircraft when it takes off into the sky against the air friction.
    Truly, your dream is my dream.
  • SWS kits are available not only in Japan but also in European countries such as Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland and other countries. There are a lot of stores called Zoukei-mura Friend Shops all around Europe which carry our products.
  • If you don't find the SWS kits at your local hobby shop, please definitely suggest the owner to carry the SWS kits.
  • We are currently accepting Friend Shop requests. Please feel free to let us know your interest. You can also do it during this IPMS show. The procedure to become an SWS Friend Shop is simpler than you may think.

⑤ What about the future of scale models?

  • Our dream is also the modelers' dream.
  • After your everyday study or work, when you sit at your working desk, the precious time that you can spend working on your scale models is waiting for you.
  • Following your curiosity by assembling scale models is more exciting and enjoyable than anything, isn't it?
  • Zoukei-Mura SWS kits support you to increase the value of yourself as a modeler and your entire collection, by continuing the improvement of quality and development concepts that the world has never seen before.
  • Zoukei-mura SWS kits support the modelers to solve their problems in various ways.
  • Zoukei-mura SWS kits protect modelers' honor and pride, and at the same time, offer deeper joy of this hobby as a supreme and unique happiness.
  • Some people express themselves via sports.
    Other people achieve it through playing music, singing, traveling, or going to the theatre.
  • And how should I explain this beautiful scene appearing right before my eyes? What a joy!
  • We, everyone gathered together here in Telford, express ourselves via our hobby. What a wonderful world in which to express ourselves!
  • Now I can feel the luck and happiness of being able to live in this world.
  • I deeply respect all of the IPMS members who host such a wonderful event and dedicate all my words of gratitude for them.
  • I wish that the hobby life of everyone gathered in this hall lasts forever in the joyful, happy and exciting world.
    Thank you very much for your attention.

Now! The Q and A session that everyone had been waiting for begins. Everyone throws sharp questions. If there was a little more time, I would be in danger of leaking information. But the development of “X-2XB” and “X-6” are going well.

I went to silence the person whose question was too sharp! Everyone looked forward to our new German airplanes. We’ll do not only this one but that one, too! Please look forward Zoukei-Mura!

Giveaway gifts that we brought from Japan were enough for almost everyone who attended the lecture. If I have the chance, I want to talk about the secrets of Zoukei-Mura and SWS in the future as well. Of course, gifts, too!

I was asked to sign the gifts. My autograph was of course in Japanese. I know that people who can understand Japanese can understand what I wrote, but still they were happy for some reason, so, I’m happy, too.

What do you think?

Could you feel how serious we are?

Can you understand the SWS’s development basic concept for new scale models?

We will keep concentrating on sensitivity, content and detailed expression to blow a new wind through the scale model world and offer you new kits that you have never seen before.

Please expect more from new SWS kits and their contents!!
In my next post here, I’ll post about our research at the museum and such.
It might be a clue to guess the future SWS kits?

Of course, I’m planning to show you the newest test sprues of 1/32 Uhu and Raiden, too.

 

Please look forward to the next post!!!

Hideyuki Shigeta
Representative of Zoukei-mura, Inc.

 

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