■Package design has reached its final stage!!

Hello, all SWS fans.

Thank you for taking the time to send so many heart-warming messages of concern and sympathy to Volks and Zoukei-mura regarding the huge earthquake in Eastern Japan. Thank you also to Mr. Joe Seibold from the US and to the many other people who sent relief money. We made sure to send your wonderful thoughtfulness to the sufferers there, through the Red Cross. Thank you so much, from the bottoms of our hearts.

In addition, both Zoukei-mura and Volks are about 600km away from the Fukushima nuclear power plant and we were not at all affected, so please rest assured.

In this blog post, I will report that the SWS 1/32 Skyraider’s package has reached its final stage and on the progress of the SWS #4 P-51D. Then, let me introduce again our enthusiasm for the future of the SWS scale model series and its basic concept. Please stay with us to share this most exciting time, just before the Skyraider’s release.

By the way, my blog gets a lot of hits everyday, which makes me happy. I’m not sure of the reason, but recently hits from European and American model fans have increased daily. Is it maybe because famous airplanes like the Ta152 or the Skyraider have been released or will be released in the SWS series? I’m glad and I appreciate it. I found that a lot of people are much younger than I am and each worldwide modeler has their own obsession, as each country is unique. I feel confident because it seems to implicate something about the future of scale models.

Also, our “Friend Shops” who carry our SWS kits are now spreading to Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and the US. It has been getting easier to offer our items to the fans, little by little. Still, the “Zoukei-mura SWS Series”is a new comer in this industry, but please look forward to its progress and growth.

The package of the Skyraider is finalized at last. The actual airplane was made by Douglas, an American company. So we wanted to ask an American artist for the illustration. We found a young, talented artist, Mr. Mark Winter, to draw the wonderful Skyraider.

Even if it is huge, this great package will stand out among your 1/32 scale airplane model kit collection. If you have already pre-ordered the Skyraider, it will arrive in this package, so please look forward to it and wait for just a little while longer.

We will ship out the pre-orders according to the date of pre-order. Because of transportation from the factory, we will start off with deliveries inside Japan around the end of August. Then, we will ship them by sea to Europe, America and other areas.

We’re planning for most of the pre-order deliveries to be finished by October or November of this year. But please understand ahead of time that delivery times may vary because of typhoon, earthquake, customs in some countries, etc.

Under our concept, “we want to offer more chances in the hobby world for more people”, and our wish to have an American artist draw an American airplane, this collaboration with an American artist was achieved!

I believe that the encounter of two newcomers, Zoukei-mura, a new scale model kit manufacturer and a young artist who loves airplanes, can add a new light and momentum to the scale model world.

Of course, the package was designed by the Volks design team. For an American airplane, there was no other choice than a flashy and cool design based on the Stars and Stripes flag! It emphasizes the “dependableness” of the Skyraider.

The Things That I Desired for the SWS as a Scale Modeler

With this Skyraider release, it is already the third from the SWS 1/32 series.

Now that I recall, it has been several decades since I dreamed of developing scale model kits. It was twenty years ago, we released a few 1/48 resin kits under the Volks brand. We had a “Spitfire Mk22”, a “He163 Salamander”, a “Heinkel He-100” and an “I-16”. But sadly there were difficulties with accuracy, which is important for me because resin kits use soft mold made with silicone, instead of metal molds. 。

Moreover, resin hates humidity and temperature changes. The all-important factor, productivity, was extremely bad. So the items couldn’t match up with my expectations. I patiently worked hard to improve them, but I gave it up in the end.

Some of you may remember those days, thank you very much for your help at that point.

Now, four years has passed since I started a new development of plastic model kits, this time injection kits made with metal molds, the SWS series. (My plan itself is much older than this, though...)

After I started to work with metal molds, I realized that the progress and nature of the material confused me so much. Even though I had collected tons of plastic model kits, the size of my collection was actually almost such that I could run a store, I was an amateur when it came to development.

It’s clearly obvious, but the design, wooden molds, mock-ups, processing techniques for metal molds, development regulations, etc. are completely different between resin and plastic model kits. The thing which I was trying to do, make an airplane model kit; was the same. But, it was like playing a completely different sport. My past experience was completely useless.

I can still recall vividly how happy I was when the first Shinden was completed after such struggles.

Then this Skyraider, already our third work. These first three can be called our SWS’ first generation.

The “US Aircraft Weapons” enhance the appeal of the Skyraider, which proudly has the biggest payload of any reciprocated engine fighter.
Its manual includes loading examples which we inspected and studied, so don’t worry.

Details of the included bombs are explained, they were used from late WWII to around the Vietnam War, by the US Navy.
It is another possible way to enjoy scale model kit, researching which bombs were used by which airplanes, etc.

 

This is What I Thought about the SWS Development as a Scale Modeler

“The kits which scale modelers want are not the plastic model kits which the manufacturers offer as merchandise. We want scale models which recreate the actual airplane accurately and can be assembled as closely as possible in the same way as the actual airplanes, don’t we?”

So, a scale model airplane isn’t a simple plastic model kit. It’s a precise miniature model of a specific airplane. It recreates its components thoroughly. It reflects the figure of the actual airplane, doesn’t it?

Then the kits which are below this standard are of no value to modelers. They are too worthless to even be treated as problems. That is what I thought.

After collecting several thousands of plastic model kits which were available on the market, I learned the real value of model kits.

A model is an expressive work which recreates the actual object. But, this should be expected.

I really went a long way around, I think I really did. It also cost a lot. I spent almost as much as I could to build a house on my model kit collection. But I think I got something big that money can’t buy, because it ushered me into the SWS scale model development.

I also learned “To make something valuable naturally requires time, investment and enthusiasm to match that value.”

Frankly saying, making a kit cheaper, or making it with an easier process is possible with today’s technology if I want. But I noticed, in that way, in the end, it will clearly be more expensive. I might have gone too far, mightn’t I?

The investment for the metal mold can be minimized if I cut the number of parts and spurs. The development costs can be incredibly cut down if I avoid as many complicated parts as possible and stop the metal mold polishing and adjustments at some level. Most of all, it also makes the items’ price amazingly cheap.

But can a model kit which is developed in such an easy manner arouse the modeler’s interest and grab their hearts? My answer for this has been “No.”

Of course, if we are talking about plastic model kits for children from the old days, it is also possible. But those can’t get the satisfaction of world-wide authentic modelers now.

Anyone can enjoy model kits and toys easily. That idea was originally behind the beginning of the plastic model kit.

It has been thought that this is the biggest merit and unique point of plastic models.

On the surface, it seems to be quite understandable, but is it true?

Many pylons achieve various patterns of armaments. I can’t stop myself from using them all to fully arm my Skyraider, am I still a little boy?
Please enjoy yours with the “US Aircraft Weapons”. (The two additional tanks in the picture are included.)

 

I’d feel a little bit sad if plastic model kits are still manufactured for only that purpose. I think that it is just instant gratification to shorten the development time or underestimate the possibilities which plastic has.

I think that this underestimation is the worst misunderstanding, or a false belief about plastic.

This material shows its amazingly universal potential if you put your time, enthusiasm and your creative ideas into it. That is the real attractiveness of plastic, isn’t it? Is there any other material that can recreate the incredible details according to the time you invest in it? Plastic is too convenient to notice how magical it is. Am I the only person who realized this?

It is time to shift our understanding about plastic from a material which can make model kits easily and cheaply, to a material which is “universal and magical”

I think that SWS model kits, which had so much time and ideas invested into them throughout their production fully embody this point.

I want to learn about the actual airplane through the model. An authentic model recreates accurate details and construction through proper study, so that we can understand the actual airplane.

Now is the time when our modeler’s basic and natural demands are satisfied. I can clearly see how much relief and joy this has.

Instant scale model kits like children’s toys have their own unique and basic value. But in a different dimension from that, real requirements for scale models and their standards exist, I think.

A Superb Line from the Engine Cowling to the Intake and Bubble Canopy
The unique lines of this airplane are appealing, though its fuselage looks like a tough and reliable body. The sculptors of Zoukei-mura dedicate their full sensitivity to the design of the SWS.

I think that the real scale model’s quality and value depend on how accurately it recreates this standard. It needs to be something that satisfies me as a modeler and a collector.

SWS will keep following this basic concept to satisfy you, like me.

So, regarding the next SWS #4 “P-51D”, the most excellent and strongest fighter in WWII, it’s finally in its last stage of design and we can reveal it to you soon.

Just as with the former entries to the SWS series, SWS’s P-51 will be finished like an avatar of its power and will shock you!

It’s a scale model kit, but you can learn about the actual airplane through it and enjoy feeling as if you are in the actual factory’s assembly line and going through the manufacturing process to its completion.

Additionally, it includes an indescribable recreation of the actual airplane’s construction as well as accurate mold details of each area’s design. It contains the reality of the P-51.

You will literally be able to get a taste of the best with our SWS P-51D.

The markings which come with the kit are the VA-176, aka “MiG Killer”.
This flashy marking will goes well with the dynamic fuselage of the SWS Skyraider, recreated in detail. It will be worth seeing it to the finish because of its convincing size, 1/32.

The Best Part of the SWS P-51D

It is the true figure of scale model that I dreamed of for 50 years. I will complete my authentic P-51D with my own hands.

It will be soon when I give my OK to the finalization of the SWS P-51D!

The work continues on until the moment when I, one of the airplane maniacs who have been waiting for this over 50 years, give the OK.

 

Hideyuki Shigeta
The Old Man of Zoukei-mura


If you have any opinions, questions, or requests regarding the SWS, please don't hesitate to let us know.

 

 

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