How lovely the weather has been this autumn?
This is what I wish I could say but what is up with this heat!!
It's already mid-October and yet we're still getting days with over 30 degrees Celsius.
Japan is being pounded by the 26th typhoon of this season as I currently write this blog. The fierce rain and wind, raging since last night, is on a scale that hasn't been seen for a decade now; and reports of disaster are coming in from all over the country.
I pray for the safety and well-being of those who live along the typhoon's path. Please do your best to protect yourselves.
On another note, as I have been reporting for the past 2 blogs, my report about IPMS Colorado is finally coming to an end.
Furthermore as mentioned in the table of contents, in this blog I would like to also report about the contest and our research experiences at the Smithsonian as well.
In addition, I would also like to mention a thing or two about IPMS Telford which will take place in England in November.
Amidst this season of hobby, please enjoy.
Denis Davison is the package art illustrator for the upcoming SWS kit release, and he invited us to visit his home. Of course I'd love to go! It's not an everyday thing where you get a chance to see the workplace of a master illustrator.
We abandoned all prior plans.
And made a detour to his house. It only took about an hour from the venue by car. In what kind of working environment, he draws illustrations for SWS kit package? I was very curious.
The next day after the grand finale of the event, six of us from the development team made out on a journey to Denis' place.
His beautiful house was located in a quite suburb, with a Nissan and Mercedes parked in his garage. We took a group photo by the pine tree near the entrance. We at Zoukei-mura were overwhelmed with gratitude for their kindness.
This is Denis' collection room. Just look at all these Luftwaffe memorabilia! And they're all authentic! Please Denis, you have to tell me how you were able to get all these! There are even Luftwaffe pilot caps and a Me109 tires on display.
This is where Denis performs his craft! Numerous illustrations for package art and research books were born from this desk. Denis has really set himself up a wonderful atmosphere to work in!
One after another he shows me marvelous illustrations from his collection in his desk. I honestly want them all. Delicate yet bold and full of strength; the day Denis' work decorates a SWS kit package is not too far ahead. I hope you're looking forward to it as much as I am!!
It was during IPMS Colorado when Denis had suddenly said to me "I'd like to introduce you to Daryl, he owns a company that restores aircraft and puts them back into the skies".
I was amazed to learn that his company had successfully restored many WWII planes and managed to make them fly again.
What a wonderful job, unimaginable in Japan. Not to mention he ran the company! I couldn't be any more envious.
Hearing about us from Denis, Daryl and his wife had traveled all the way to the venue, bringing with him documents about his company and their works.
First contact was made amidst a crowd of people, but this man's awesomeness was unmistakable just from looking at his documents. Starting with famous ones like P-51A、D、P-38、T-6, he's even worked with Japanese planes! In fact, he had successfully restored the Zero type-32 and returned her to the skies as well.
The photo documents of the process of restoring the Zero.
Which he found the remains of it on Japanese military airport on a small island in the Pacific was amazing to say the least. He had hand crafted each and every missing part, and made it fly again.
Telling us that he had much more to show at home, he asked if we would like to come.
Of course I'd love to go! It's not every day that you can hear about the works of an owner of a company that restores WWII aircrafts.
He tells me that he lives about an hour away from Denis' house. Eager to collect information about planes, the six members once again ventured out to Daryl's house.
Another group photo in front of Daryl's house. What a beautiful American home! I'm eager to find out what lies inside.
Here we are in Daryl's living room. What an avant-garde living-room it is!
WOW! We were lead into his workplace-collection room at the back of the house, it was jam packed with goodies. Photos and other documents, parts and propellers, there was barely any empty space in the room. Everything was so well ordered too!
Daryl seems to be quite the famous man in this industry; he appears in numerous books and videos that he showed us. Our experiences here will definitely be put to work in our future SWS projects. We couldn't thank you enough for your help Daryl.
The shelves are packed with books, manuals, and pictures of aircraft. There was much more than you can see from this picture. However, we were short on time; and unfortunately we had to depart. We look forward to working with you in the future.
Meet Cyber-Modeler Mike, he regularly displays his SWS kits on his website. Today he has come to join us at the Zoukei-mura booth! He was so friendly that it was hard to believe that we had just met one another for the first time! I thank you for your continued support of the SWS kits!
Mike's car is that which Developer N loves so dearly; the Jeep! Mr. N takes seat in the driver's position and declares "One day I swear I will own this car!" Good luck Mr. N, but before that you must complete your mission of making SWS into something even more impressive!
How wonderful! This gentleman had purchased a Super Detail Series resin kit from me 30 years ago! He came to pay me a visit and he brought along with him the old order forms. I couldn't thank you enough Edward!
A close look at the 30 year old order form… Holy cow He219, He162, Arado Blitz, He 100, Spitfire, and even a Mk22!! Actually I used to carry resin kits of the I-15 IJN submarine, Me262, and F-7UCutlass as well. They were all 1/48 scale and loved by numerous collectors.
「Oooh how rare! Phillip had brought with him a homemade knife holder. These tools will be available from Volks in the near future. However each and every one is handcrafted so please understand if they are sold out.
From this point on I shall report about the main event of IPMS Colorado, the contest.
The massive venue was packed with over 2000 modelers and 3000 entrees. Needless to say, each and every one of them was superb!
The impressiveness of the contest was beyond belief! Seriously, one has to see it to believe it.
There were realistic models based on army, navy, and air force aircraft, and even ones based on science fiction and anime. The place was packed with all those wonderful works.
However, to be absolutely honest, I was overwhelmed by the number of visitors to the Zoukei-mura booth and didn't have the time to take a good look around at the entrees. It was my initial intent to take a picture of each and every one of them and upload the pictures here. But given the space limitations for this blog, I can post only a fraction of them.
I strongly urge the reader to take a trip to visit an American IPMS event.
The experience is certain to be a precious one and one that you can't forget!
Wonderful! My eyes are glued to this F-4 phantom from the get-go! The beautiful paintjob and detailed decorations do a superb job in highlighting the presence of the F4. Truly magnificent, I really want one for the SWS.
This one is a diorama of the Me110! It wonderfully captures a scene from the daily workings of the Luftwaffe. I wonder if this plane is receiving pre or post mission maintenance.
Here we have Shane in front of his entry. I actually bumped into him by accident! This A-1H went on to win the first prize. Next time I hope you enter with the Mustang! With your skills, you can't lose!
Well if it isn't the SWS Shinden! It's beautifully painted in the original dark green colors of the IJN. Very impressive! I applaud you and offer you my gratitude for choosing our Shinden!
And here we have a SWS Ta 152! What do you think!? Isn't it handsome!? With its rigid wing structure that juts out to the side there is no mistaking the plane even from a distance. I also applaud the artist responsible for this beauty.
An "I-400 Submarine", complete with the deck top catapult with a Seiran that's just about to take off! It really shows the amount of homework this person had done when planning for this project. I couldn't help but ask around looking for the master who was responsible for this beauty.
Here we have Denis with his Gotha! Needless to say, Denis himself is a master modeler. I hope your next project will be a SWS kit! I look forward to seeing it. In any case this Gotha is wonderful!!
I flew back to Japan before the rest of the team because they still had some work to do.
That's right, their mission was to do thorough research on that particular aircraft.
Thanks again to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, we were able to do exhaustive research on that plane we so desired to see.
The plane we all have been waiting for. How close can we get the SWS kit to the real thing? It's all up to the effort and skills of every member of the team; they gave it their all without a doubt.
It's pretty obvious what plane we were researching from looking at these pictures, but as they say, "life is like a box of chocolates"! You might be in for a surprise.
These aircraft are all truly priceless historical relics of mankind's innovations. I wonder how the SWS kit will do in delivering the magic.
Please wait patiently as we finish up this project, as it is without a doubt going to be a game-changer for the world of hobbies!
Can't wait? ME NEITHER!!!!
As usual the team changes into their "research gear" so as to make sure they don't damage anything. They even change into their deck shoes!
First came the landing gears of the ◯ w-◯ 9◯ . The plan is to go on straight through the day from open till close. You're imagining things if you think the team looks like they're having fun. I hear it's as tiring as running a marathon! GO TEAM!
Next they focus on the propeller spinner and its surroundings. This baby is a small single engine plane so the team can reach the nose with only a small ladder. If this were that other baby we would need to have our ladder supersized! The team sees this procedure through with determination.
Here they research the curves of the propellers, with special permission of course. They apply masking tape at a specific pattern to determine the dimensions. After this, this baby was practically covered in masking tape. Please be at ease for we thoroughly cleaned up after the research was done.
Lead by Developer N, the team uses gauged tape to accurately calculate every dimension to analyze. The seriousness in their expressions reminds me of the samurai of old. This is how the charms of each and every SWS kit was created.
Mr. N proceeds to collect data on the external structure of the spinner. The data used in development was based on the detailed diagrams done by an English gentleman by the name of Mr. Bentley. However our pride and confidence in the quality of our kits comes from this process of gathering extra data by performing research on the actual planes.
Here we measure the circumference, cross-section, and diameter of the tire. This process is always full of surprises as the tires often turn out to be larger or smaller than what was initially suspected. Needless to say, thorough hands on research always provide the data on the diagrams with a boost; although it is definitely painstaking.
This baby is that famous twin-engine aircraft. The team had to begin by taking photos on our back as she was fairly large. This scene depicts the research methodology that the SWS team is known for. From here we thoroughly analyze the aircraft's internal and external structures, and various mechanisms in accordance with the research plans. If one wants to succeed at something, one must give it their all.
We begin research of the rear engine. Of course we had received permission to access all the various hatches as well. Little by little, the heart of the aircraft becomes exposed. More pictures will be available in the Concept Note, so I ask you to please look forward to its release!
This is the team exposing the frontal engine. Performing research on the last remaining aircraft of its species is truly priceless; regardless of it being a restored aircraft. We shall accurately recreate everything from the aircraft's shape to how the engines are mounted in the SWS kit. As I have always been saying, we do not make our models like typical plastic models, but adhere to our ideal of making the assembly process as similar to the real deal as possible. Please look forward to it!
What do you think? We researched the propellers, which differ in shape from front and rear, exhaustively. The team performs thorough research as I have requested. From here we work to recreate all of this in our kits. Images of this plane were engraved in the minds of the members, and no matter where or what they looked at they would see the plane's parts. I'm sure the reader could understand what I mean.
Being impressed by the passion shown by the team members, could it be that the employees of the museum couldn't help but lend a hand? Or are they kind enough to warn us not to miss an important thing?
Mr. K, who's responsibility was to keep records, couldn't help but take a picture of the radiator. This baby is full of mechanisms that are unbelievably advanced for being over 70 years old. The Luftwaffe, nay the German aviation industry was truly advanced. I'm astonished at the skill level of those corporations.
Did everyone enjoy the report about our research at the Smithsonian? The place was full of aircraft that I would one day hope to recreate as an SWS kit. I truly respect the tenacity and love everyone at the museum has for preserving these relics of human innovation for future generations.
Once again I would like to express my gratitude. Thank you very very much.
I know what you mean. Tremendous amounts of data are crammed into scale models of the SWS kit series. It has always been my dream to realize and deliver kits of such quality.
There still lie many obstacles for SWS developers down the road. I hope to keep challenging these as much as I can. My dream is to have as many people enjoy the SWS experience as possible. Until the day I feel I have realized this, I shall not rest.
So, what did you think? That was the gist of our research mission. Did you guess correctly as for what plane we were going to develop next? Or did it turn out to be a complete surprise? In my opinion, they're all ones that I want in my collection.
Does it make sense when I say that "your dream is my dream"? For those of you who still couldn't tell what plane will be coming next, we will reveal the package art for the next kit at our booth (Zoukei-mura booth) at IPMS Telford this coming November 9th and 10th.
What's that? You already know you say? Well of course! But you can still come and enjoy seeing the beautiful cover art that we have prepared!
Please pay us a visit and check it out!
We shipped various kits and extra parts to England ahead of time so as to avoid chaos on D-day; but to my astonishment several items have been reported to already be sold out! I apologize profusely to those who may not be able to purchase what they were looking for.
We had to ship these items in September, 2 months prior to the actual event taking place. We thought we had carefully calculated the amount of items we need to bring but we received a surprising amount of pre-sale orders.
However, in England and Europe, there are numerous "Friend Shops" who handle Zoukei-mura products. For those of you who couldn't get the items you wanted, I kindly ask you to check these shops out.
I have been reporting on IPMS Colorado over three consecutive Old Man Blog episodes now, but it has finally come to an end. From the next episode, I plan to introduce some tips about the assembly of the SWS 1/32 Raiden.
The Raiden was the guardian of the skies over the imperial capital – Tokyo. It was described as being demonic by those who saw it taking off on interception missions. This unique aircraft will come back to life through the SWS.
Please look forward to the next blog.
What aircraft will be the new awaited SWS kit??
With your imagination and your sharped intuition, please make a guess what will be the next SWS kit No. VIII.
Please write the name of the aircraft inside the ◯ sign.
What do you think? I'm sure it's pretty obvious by now.
The day this unique aircraft becomes a part of your collection as an SWS kit is just an arm's reach away!
For those of you who have never owned a SWS kit, I strongly suggest you try this one even if it will be the only SWS kit you ever own.
What's that? "What about the other twin-engine plane!", you say?
Of course, plans for that one are underway as well.
Actually many of you guessed that the answer to the quiz was "this one"; but with this plane THAT engine is mounted on the front and rear. We're currently developing it in conjunction with the trainer type.
That's right it's the one that has a nickname based on a mammal due to its unique figure.
What's that? You know now you say? That's right, it's THAT one.
Please send Kansei-Hagaki (Japan Post's pre-paid postcard) to the VOLKS Headquarters, making sure to include your name and address as well.Address:
Please send an email to the address below, making sure include your name and address as well.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org *This email address is to be used only for this quiz.
We are looking forward to receiving a lot of entries from you.
You can read it after you make the kit, or you can read it before you make it. In fact you can read it without even owning the kit but it will still be worthwhile. The editing process of the Raiden Concept Note is finally in its last stages.
As per usual, the book is full of tips, hints, and reviews written by master modelers. It's full of great material based on the Raiden. It's surely of a quality that can only be delivered by the Zoukei-mura team.
Let's have you take a sneak peak at the brilliant works of these three masters of modeling.