Old Man Blog No. 39 : Uhu Edition, Episode 2

- Contents -
  • * We went this year, as well!! The Nürnberg Toy Fair in Germany!!
  • * Now, it's only a prototype, but let's have a look at the assembly of the SWS Uhu, shall we?

*We went this year, as well!! The Nürnberg Toy Fair in Germany!!

To all of our fans who live in the Northern Hemisphere, the chilly weather is continuing day after day, so I hope that you are all doing well.

And to all of our fans who live in the Southern Hemisphere, you're currently experiencing hot weather every day, yes? Please take care of your health, and enjoy the scale model hobby.

Now, just recently for one week, from January 31 to February 4, the six of us on the Zoukei-mura Development Team attended the world's largest toy show, the Nürnberg Toy Fair that is held in Germany, as a scale model manufacturer and booth exhibitor.

On top of our list of items to be displayed at our booth was the finished display model for the 1/32 Uhu, followed by a lineup of the Raiden, Shinden, Ta 152, A-1H, and P-51D.

Also displayed were the Shinden and Ta 152 from our long-awaited 1/48 series, which has finally entered the final prototype stage.
In addition, we had Concept Notes and Extra Parts, as well as our complete lineup of SWS kits.

This year, there was no assault of snow as we had feared; rather, we had very peaceful weather with some signs of rain. From all around the world, there were toys, games, educational toys, train models, scale models, etc., etc., all gathered together in an enormous event hall.

Day after day, we continued to have passionate business discussions with many different buyers.

Our Zoukei-mura booth was visited by many different kinds of callers, from retail shops and wholesale stores, to accessory part manufacturers and companies hoping to collaborate, as well as journalists covering the event and individual fans of the SWS kits.

Every day, and all day, we were surrounded by the passion that Zoukei-mura inspires.

However, perhaps because Europe is currently suffering from the effects of a recession, every buyer showed great caution with regard to purchasing.

Of course, even under such circumstances, everyone was very proactive when it came to gathering information about Zoukei-mura's signature products, such as the release date for the Uhu, the next new SWS release.
As for our long-awaited Japanese fighter kit, the Raiden, every day there were many cameras pointed its way, from morning until just before closing time.

To everyone who visited the Zoukei-mura booth during the event, I extend my gratitude from the bottom of my heart.
Thank you so much.

And also, to all of our business partners who decided at the event to start carrying SWS kits, as the representative of all of my employees, I extend my sincerest thanks.

Thank you all so very much. We will make sure to continue delivering wonderful products, so please do continue to support the SWS kits.

*We flew KLM into Nürnberg Airport by way of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in the Netherlands. Look. As you can see in the photo, we were blessed with weather that included a glimpse of blue skies.......
By the way, the only time we saw blue sky was this one day. After this, the weather was constantly threatening rain. But luckily, there wasn't any snow.

*The trip from the airport to the hotel took 20 minutes by non-stop subway. How convenient!! The cars, which ran at a considerable speed, felt sturdy, and many seats were empty. It was very pleasant.
When compared to the crowds on Japanese subways and suburban trains, it was so unexpectedly pleasant as to be anticlimactic.

*Look, look, you can see the German townscape from the train car window. Scenery utterly unlike that of Japan continued to fly by. For one thing, there were no pedestrians. There also weren't any minibike or bicycle riders, or the convenience stores that can be found everywhere in Japan. Perhaps the winter weather kept everyone inside? It was also rather difficult to find a place to buy small items.

*Now! From Japan, the gong to mark the start of our battle has been struck! This is a commemorative photo that we took in front of the venue. Although it was cold outside, the heating was on full blast inside the venue!! As a result, I had problems with my throat becoming painfully dry.

*Look! This was the Zoukei-mura booth at this year's Nürnberg Toy Fair!
The finished display models and piles of merchandise that we brought all the way from Japan, enough to shock the scale model world! Hmm, I wonder if everyone will be surprised when the event opens tomorrow.

*The gallant 1/32 Uhu. Because we are very close to the release date, many people took pictures of our finished display model.
Many people also asked us about the release date, but when we told them that it was delayed due to remaking the canopy, was everyone disappointed...? No, rather unexpectedly, we were surprised to find that many people approved.

*This is our next Japanese fighter, the "Raiden." Although it was fresh in its skeleton state, there were many photos taken of it. There were many people who stood and took in the recreation of its delicate and meticulous details in silence.
To all of our Japanese aircraft fans, please look forward to it as you wait.

*This is a view of our hotel. It was 20 minutes away from the venue by subway, so it was located very conveniently. Although the exterior had a very traditional appearance, the interior facilities were very modern.
For breakfast, there was an amazing German buffet. There was meat in quantities that would be unthinkable in Japan, as well as all-you-can-eat bread. We were very thankful for the clean rooms and good service.

Look at this all-you-can-eat ham, sausage, and cheese! Every morning, we prepared ourselves by partaking of this bounty, then departed for the venue!
But this kind of breakfast is impossible for Japanese herbivores to eat every day!! By the time we reached our fifth morning, we became more and more unable to eat it. Whew~! It's impossible to eat every day, I tell you.

*Over here as well, several different types of meat were laid out every morning!
Our thanks to the hotel staff who always greeted us with smiles. We were also grateful for the delicious ham and bread. After we returned to Japan, around this time of day, I always hear things like, "Ah~, I should have eaten more when we were in Germany~," from all of my staff.

*As usual, a big Zoukei-mura team dinner.
It seems that tonight will be meat, potatoes, and more meat! At this point, my determination to stick to my diet could be said to be in a very precarious state, or rather, splintered into pieces -- even while holding my full belly, my hands kept moving my knife and fork. Boohoohoohoo.

*The last day. All of a sudden, there were somehow fireworks in the venue courtyard!
But as we watched the fireworks, the thought came welling up, "Ah~, we came all the way to Nürnberg this year as well." It was a very peaceful feeling.
Now! We have to make better and better items~~!! We'll do our best with the Zoukei-mura SWS!

*Now, it's only a prototype, but let's have a look at the assembly of the SWS Uhu, shall we?

*DB603 Engine Parts
Upon first glance, it appears rather complex, but not to worry! As long as you assemble everything according to the assembly manual, it easily comes together entirely too quickly.
Even though parts such as the cowl flaps and armor plate have been recreated separately, the final engine build is irresistibly appealing.

Now, regarding the SWS Uhu that you've all been waiting so long for, the unexpected canopy rebuild pushed out our timeline so that we ended up delaying the release date, for which I sincerely apologize.

While we're delayed, I thought I would use this extra time to give you a special glimpse of the prototype build that I always do prior to the release of an SWS kit.

I'm sure that everyone wants to obtain the SWS Uhu as quickly as possible, which is a feeling that I share to a painful degree, but in order to make this kit as magnificent as possible, please continue to be patient just a little while longer. During this short time, please enjoy this prototype test assembly with me.

Eh, what if you end up having to redo other parts, so that it's delayed even more?

Good question. Yes, your concerns are accurate -- often, the SWS kit release dates are delayed due to things that come up during these test assemblies of mine.

If you should hear of the release date getting pushed out any further, well -- I'm afraid that you all should probably just resign yourselves to delays that ultimately occur due to my test assemblies.

But it's alright. Look, no matter how much it's delayed, the price will remain the same, so not only do you end up getting a better kit for less, but we always throw in extra bonuses as well. Learn to say that you love delays!

....there's no way that's possible for anyone, is it.

However, please do believe that the kit is getting better and better during this short while, and enjoy this test assembly with me.

I digress, but regarding the "canopy improvement" that I went over in my previous entry for this blog -- contrary to our expectations, we did not receive any scoldings, but rather, words of support and encouragement, from readers around the world.

Among them, we even received emails praising the SWS spirit.

Although we confidently said, "It will be delayed, but the end result will be even better," the truth is that deep down, we were filled with regret.
However, after hearing everyone's voices of support, we feel that we went down the correct path, and are filled with fresh courage.

To everyone who sent us email, thank you so very much.

Now, on to the test assembly.

First, let's start with the assembly for the Daimler-Benz DB603 engine.

Confirm all of the parts, as shown in the picture.

At this time, please make sure that parts are not caught on your sleeves or anything else in your work area, or accidentally dropped or crushed out of carelessness. Make sure to carefully handle delicate parts which are easily damaged. As for the assembly itself, as long as you proceed according to the assembly manual, it should be simple.

Also, these test assembly parts were cast in "silver sprues" for prototype purposes, but the parts for the final production kit will be cast uniformly in gray.

Now, time to finally go in with the nippers.
At this point, don't just suddenly cut the parts directly free from the injected plastic, rather, cut the sprue a suitable distance away from the actual parts, so that you end up with parts surrounded by a halo of sprue plastic. Then, be very gentle when cutting out the parts themselves, and you will be able to achieve a very clean cutting job.

It is necessary to take particular care with slender parts such as the spark plug cord.

The SWS kits are cast using a soft, flexible plastic, so it's easy to work with the nippers, and breakage is difficult, which makes cutting the parts out, and then assembling, unbelievably simple and clear.

At this point, if you use reference photos of the actual aircraft to perform some additional detail work on the pipes, etc., for each part, you will be able to finish a DB603 engine so detailed that there is nothing more that can be desired of a 1/32 scale kit.

If you put the finished engine in the palm of your hand and examine it, you will be able to feel the engine's power exuding from the detailed molding and excellent parts composition.

At any rate, all of the German engines are just so cool~ they truly bear an irresistible appeal. I personally enjoy many such moments such as this one.

As usual, with this DB603 engine being no exception, we have molded all of the pistons, so that they can serve as accurate guides as to which side is left or right when assembling.

Even though these parts will not be visible when the kit is built, they end up as kind of the builder's own little secret, acting as only one aspect of the true enjoyment that can be found in building an SWS kit.

Up to this point, my total build length is two days.
Around three hours each day in the evening, for an approximate total of seven hours.

If I were simply building straight through, I would have finished in less time, but I took my time to enjoy each part, the result being a slow assembly process.
If I were painting the kit as well, then I would need to add additional painting time to my assembly process, but in the case of this engine, the more time you spend on it, the better the end result, so feel free to expend as much time and effort and creativity as you want.

Now, how will you prepare your DB603?

My impression so far: in a word, this kit is fun.

*Cylinder Block & Pistons
In order to accurately assemble this section, the pistons and cylinder block have been molded for this engine, as well.
Although they will be hidden, secret delight for the true scale modeler is condensed into the design.
"I want them to move!" Oh! Will you challenge yourself that way?!

*The colored wingtip navigation light parts have been finished!
Small parts in red, green, and yellow.
These resin parts will be given as a "pre-order bonus" to everyone who pre-ordered the SWS Uhu before the end of February.
Although they are very small parts, they can help you finish your He 219 in an even more realistic manner. To everyone who pre-ordered before the deadline, please look forward to them!!

*Have a look at the gallant Uhu (skeleton)!
Not much longer until the release date! This special He 219 was finished by the hands of the magician of metalwork, "Mr. Kobayashi."
This model is scheduled to be featured in the "He 219 Concept Note," which is expected to be released at the same time as the kit, so I thought I'd give you all a special advance glimpse. Please direct your attention to the beautiful tricyle configuration! Of course, the kit includes all necessary weights, or if you prefer, metal landing gear parts that can bear the weight are also included.
Please look forward to the next installment of our popular Concept Note series, in which some of the world's most preeminent modelers will comment on the Uhu's assembly process!!

In my next entry, I will finally be going over the cockpit assembly.

Until then, to everyone in the Northern Hemisphere, please stay warm and take the utmost of care with your health, so as not to catch cold.

And to everyone in the Southern Hemisphere, please stay cool, and let your hobbies enrich your life.

I'll see you next time, here on the blog.


Hideyuki Shigeta
President, Zoukei-Mura


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