At last, the trip diary that I have been writing for IPMS “Omaha By The Sea” has come to its final installment. I have come to feel as if everything happened just yesterday, while at the same time feeling as if everything happened a very long time ago, and as such am filled with so much nostalgia.
Compared to the boiling heat outdoors, the interior of the event site was suffused with a pleasantly cool and comfortable atmosphere, and once again, a world of dreams opened up for airplane model fans.
There were only 2 days left of IPMS “Omaha By The Sea.”
We want to give kits like jewels to the scale model world. All of you gave Zoukei-mura a truly warm welcome, we who had come all the way from Japan to attend, holding that fighting spirit in our hearts.
I wonder exactly how far “We want to make real airplanes out of plastic” will spread?
“What if, due to some terrible circumstance, you were forced to keep only 10 kits out of your plastic airplane model collection, and had to dispose of the rest?”
If such a thing were to occur, would the SWS truly be among the kits you would keep?
Even though I may be a manufacturer now, when it comes down to it, the SWS are kits that have unexpectedly spilled out of the dreams that I have had for 50 years.
I want this, and I want that, and I definitely want that, no matter what!!
When I become like this, I endlessly trouble the staff of the planning department: I want that part to be like this, and this part absolutely has to be like this! and so on and so forth.
What kind of assessments and impressions would we receive in Omaha for the SWS kits, which were born out of such circumstances?
Veritably filled with trepidation, we attended the event feeling like fish lying upon a cutting board.
And then! The results were!?? ....Just what we imagined, actually!
We came to the obvious conclusion of, “Recognition of quality is the same the world over. The wishes of fans and maniacs everywhere are the same!!”
I cannot count how many times I got clapped on the shoulder. It made me very happy.
We want to be pioneers for a new age of scale modeling! Our enthusiasm for SWS was warmly received. In fact, many encouraging voices spoke up pleasantly, with comments of, I want this place to be more like this, or if it were me I would do it like this, etc.
After all, although I say “SWS kits,” with the Skyraider we are still only at #3. But even so........
It was truly impressive, the way that each and every face shone so brightly.
And we only had 2 days left at the event site!! Time just flew by until it was time for a reluctant farewell.
We received many questions about the Skyraider from SWS fans as they compared the final test shot sprues with the finished model. Shipping will begin very soon, so please look forward to it as you wait.
Many people in the publishing industry also came to visit, such as writers for Tamiya Model Magazine International! The first test shot for SWS No. 4, the Mustang, was also very popular.
The Zoukei-mura SWS booth was constantly crowded! The Commander-in-Chief smiled while posing with the display models in his hands. While there may be a language barrier, love for airplanes can still be conveyed.
Most of the airplane maniacs that descended one after the other were older men. *laugh* But every now and then someone younger would also be very interested! Excellent! You have very good taste.
Happily, for today as well, the Zoukei-mura booth was busy starting from the beginning of the morni—....what's this?! If I look closely, approaching us with smiles from all directions are many of the SWS fans that have become regular customers here at the event site. Come to think of it, they're all people who always come to our booth first thing every morning. One might think they were different because the clothes they were wearing changed, but not so – the moment they smile, each and every one of them feels like an old friend.
Moreover, 100% of them are old guys like me! I don't know if it's magnificent, or if I've had enough!
And then lunchtime....... For some reason, this is the only time when the booth receives a moment of peace. But without even a second to think, “Haha~~, everyone's gone to eat~~,” the smiling hordes gather once again. And once again, SWS time begins.
Eh? What did we all talk about, you ask? We talked about that which defies national boundaries.
“Will you also be releasing the Skyraider A-1E?”
“No, the fuselage structure is fundamentally different, so I'm afraid it's impossible at the moment.”
“Eh? Any other maker would just tweak the externals a bit and release it.”
“No, no – that's where the SWS is different.”
“How is it different? I really want to get the E soon.”
“Because the fuselage structure..... Although when it comes to just wanting, I really want it, too. *laugh*”
When will the Mustang be finished? How much will the final price be? Can it be pre-ordered now? How many parts will it have?
When I tried to order the Shinden from Volks USA, it was already sold out – what should I do? And the postage is really expensive!
W-well, that's out of our......
Which reminds me, what's happening with the Raiden? Will you be making the Suisei? What about the Ryusei? Will you be releasing the Kate or the Tony?
“Umm, the Kate... I can't remember the Japanese name right at the moment!”
“And the Tony is the Hien, if I recall correctly....”
We received many requests on the whiteboard that we had prepared. Among them, there was even a wish for a 1/32 B-24!
A 1/32 B-24, you say!? “Yes, at the very least, I would buy it!” W-well, yes, but what do you think would happen after that? Once it was built, that B-24 would take up an entire armful!.....
Although, personally speaking, I rather do want it myself..... But I'd rather do the 17 over the 24.....
Ah, but please make no mistake – these are purely my own personal dreams.
Such painful – no, enjoyable conversations continued on and on for many hours. It was a place in which there were no women or children. We grew thirsty and hungry. At any rate, it's not something I boast about, but as far as I'm concerned, my conversational skills are proudly limited to Japanese only. I have lived my entire life refusing all other languages, so, yes. Can't teach this old dog any new tricks.
After all, senpai (senior). All those guys that came to our booth were talking on and on in English.... oh, yeah, that reminds me, we were smack in the middle of the state of Nebraska! Too bad! English is the official language there.
In any case, if only I could speak the language, we could have been even better and closer friends. With thoughts such as that constantly haunting me, each day was rather frustrating. Everyone, if you should ever go to IPMS, it's English you need, OK, English! If you can't speak it yourself, please make sure to take an excellent translator with you. I guarantee that you'll have fun at the event.
To everyone who gathered at the Zoukei-mura booth, and shared such pleasant conversation and good ideas with us, thank you so very much. We reaped a great harvest from everyone that will surely make itself known in future SWS kits.
Now, speaking of the IPMS USA National Convention. Where will the event site be for the much-anticipated 2012 event!? Yes! It's going to be at Disney's Contemporary Resort in Florida! All right~! Zoukei-mura will most definitely be there!!
Everyone, I'll see you next year at IPMS in Florida!!
Thank you so much to our first on-site Shinden purchaser!
You pre-ordered four?! Now that's some spirit～. Way to go!
Sold out – our last Shinden getting purchased! Thank you so much for your support.
We are currently accepting pre-orders for the Skyraider at Volks USA.
An unexpected number of people already owned SWS kits, via one method or another.
Mutual love for airplanes causes the feeling of already being “true friends”? *laugh*
Yes, Zoukei-mura will be there, for the two days of November 12th and 13th. It's been decided that we will be attending the 2011 exhibition held by IPMS UK in Telford (England, UK).
I'm so happy~~!!
Over land, sea, and air, not just hobby manufacturers from around the globe, but modelers of amazing skill the world over will be bringing their masterpieces to be displayed at the world's largest model show.
Everyone who is scheduled to be there in Telford, please do make sure to drop by the Zoukei-mura booth, OK?
I may not be able to speak English, but my smile won't lose to anyone's!! Furthermore, I carry all of the SWS' development secrets inside my head, so if you can understand Japanese, who knows what kinds of classified info may escape me!! Now! Won't you go start studying Japanese right away!??
Ah, yes – the much-anticipated SWS.
We will be bringing the following finished models, kits, and materials to the Telford event site, where we will await everyone's visits from the bottoms of our hearts. However, the quantities will be limited to whatever the staff will be able to carry with them from Japan, so I recommend that you please come by early if possible.
At any rate, at the Omaha, Nebraska event site, everything sold out before the event even opened. As far as we are able, we intend to carry on together this time, so as to avoid another such blunder happening again.
However, don't be careless!! The SWS will be making its British – no, its European debut, and who knows what kind of people will have their eyes on us. After admission, walk a straight line to the Zoukei-mura booth!! I urge you to make all haste.
This is a chance for you to evaluate the SWS kits with your own eyes!! We will be waiting for you at the Zoukei-mura booth.
[IPMS(UK) - The Society for Scale Modellers]
The Skyraider really is the coolest when it's fully loaded with bombs! The “US Aircraft Weapons” set will be offered separately at the same time the Skyraider goes on sale.
Were you aware that this powerful body is actually configured into surprisingly delicate lines? Since the SWS kits are founded on research into the actual aircraft, they're packed full of striking new discoveries!
Please have a look at the landing gear assemblies, which firmly support a Skyraider fully loaded with armament! The heavily depressed shapes really convey the deep weight upon them, even transmitting the air of tension aboard an aircraft carrier!
The Skyraider from a quite unusual angle. Please bring your attention to the detail of the connections between the pylons and the bombs, and the interiors of the storage bays for the landing gear assemblies! It is the precise recreation that is characteristic of the SWS.
For some reason, I only have to know that something is an airplane to feel unconditionally that it is “beautiful.”
The same logic applies to propellers. Their beauty is filled with such presence that other peripherals fade in comparison. Staring at a propeller, I always wonder things like, what kinds of thoughts and hopes did the designer have when they created this?
And not just the propeller, but the tires and pitot tubes, a single screw or rivet – for some reason, just hearing that they were used for an airplane makes them instantly beloved.
That is why my workshop is completely filled with what my wife calls “strange things.”
Just the other day, the canopy of a North American T-6 reclined in state on my meeting table. It was a purchase I made last year at the Oshkosh air show, which was finally delivered just recently.
It's a secret, but the truth is, the engine should also arrive soon...!!!
So, to all my juniors, although it may be useless resistance, I'm currently in the state where I am earnestly wracking my brains for which excuse would be best to use when it gets here. *sweat*
To begin with, the machine known as the airplane has only existed in this world for a little over 100 years.
A huge variety of airplanes have been made ever since, with no two of them using the exact same design.
Perhaps I should say that they're all individual, with each and every one emitting its own sense of presence. They were all restricted by resources and funding, and limited to the technology and manufacturing capability of their time, but make no mistake, each one was designed to the best of the creator's ability. Which is why I cannot help but fall in love with each and every one.
Each of the SWS is one such plane, all of them born of the “Zoukei-mura planning sessions” that I host.
One day, she who doesn't often make useless statements, my master – or rather, my most perfect and ideal wife, unusually spoke out, “It would be great if the next SWS were the Mustang! It's the most beautiful one, after all!”
I, and the planning department members who were with me, could only blink widely at her in surprise as we took her knockout hit.
Please have a look at the stunning internal structure, suitable for what is commonly called WWII's strongest reciprocating engine fighter plane! Depending on your method of construction, it is also possible to build the body and the main wings separately, just like the real aircraft. It's surprising that what's shown above is only the first test shot, isn't it?
It's a very sharp finish that definitely doesn't feel like a test shot, but it will take an additional 6 months to refine it to such a state that it can appropriately be called “your Mustang,” so please look forward to it!
What's there to hide, in my company, her words are the veritable “Voice of Heaven.” I myself can only prostrate myself and obey that voice!! The fact that I have been able to live peacefully for 40 years, the fact that I have finally managed to begin the SWS, is all due to my great efforts in this direction, everyone!!
Well, setting that aside. The fact remains that she was able to sense something beyond the machine for this plane.
As the guardian deity of the hobby shop known as Volks, and also as my master, or rather as my wife, or rather as my right arm, it was a moment in which the full weight of her support over the last 40 years bore down on me.
After all, she bears a supernatural power such that when she stands behind the counter at a Volks hobby shop, no matter what the merchandise, she is able to make the customer say, “I'll buy it!” There's no way that the likes of me could stand against it.
Having come to this point, well. There was nothing for it except to fully investigate exactly why the P-51 is so beautiful, bringing to bear all the techniques of the SWS.
The words of one's master are truly a serious thing.
After all, everyone, my entire daily life from this point on is riding on this!!
In my next entry for this blog, I'll be taking a more intensive look at the SWS P-51D on the path to development.
Please do look forward to it!!!
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.