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Why did 1/48 scale never take off for armor?


Phantome

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Got myself my first 1/35 kit today of a Leopard 2A6 and it's HUGE. I probably do about 10% of my modeling on armor and vehicle kits at best but I'm flabbergasted how people can have the space for these things!

 

Which made me think... why didn't 1/48 scale take off in this segment of the market? It seems like an almost natural fit: tanks tend to be smaller than aircraft size-wise so a small tank (like a Panzer I) is truly tiny in 1/72 scale. WW2 tanks are good sized in 1/35 but the modern stuff is too big, and expensive too. Meanwhile, 1/72 is ok for modern armor but WW2 stuff can be incredibly annoying to build due to tiny pieces.

 

Seems to me it would have made sense IMHO, for 1/72 scale to gradually disappear and be replaced by 1/48 but aside from Tamiya doesn't seem anyone else does it.

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24 minutes ago, Phantome said:

1/48 but aside from Tamiya doesn't seem anyone else does it.

Always appealed as the aircraft and armour scales match here,  though there is now a lot more 72nd rather than 76th.....  

35th only really happened by Mr Tamiya deciding on a common scale after a kit that turned out to be 1/35th.... 

 

There are other people who did 48th armour,  Aurora did a series in the 60's, and Bandai did an extensive range in the early 70's which had interiors as well,

Hobby Boss dipped their toe in with a family of KV tanks (decent, based upon the 1/35th Trumpeter kits) , T-34's,  full interiors based on 1/16th Trumpeter kits and various Shermans that vary in their accuracy.

The devotees call in TOTS, The One True Scale, 

this gives an idea of what has been done

https://www.perthmilitarymodelling.com/reviews/48/48reviews.htm

 

The place where it's bigger is France, there is a shop in Paris called Quarter Kit, which is an eye opener,  incredible range of obscure items.    

 

Airfix did try it out with their Operation Herrick range,  thought they cleared out the stocks of that in 2017,   they might have been better off filling in gaps in the Tamiya range that have  a specifically British bent - an M4A4,  and/or wide use, like a M3 halftrack, or Centurion family. 

 

Sorry, bit of a ramble, I have a pretty good collection of 1/48th armour stashed.... from when I was collecting everything I though I was going to build... and haven't...

 

So, it's a minority scale, but there is a decent range available already if you like it, and a lot more if you are dedicated enough to into resin....

 

@Bullbasket  regularly does 1/48 as well 1/35 and may have some input.

 

HTH

 

 

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In addition to Quarter Kit, BNA Model World in AU  is a great place to see what's available in 1/48 AFVs. I've bought a number of kits and accessories from both and highly recommend them if your LHS/LMS doesn't have stock.

I just bought a Verlinden T34 Calliope and Plus Models Cushman scooter from dragon-hobby, an ebay dealer here in the US that has a good selection of 1/48 AFVs.

 

Plus Model do a range of 1/48 vehicles that I quite enjoy.

Star Decal are now doing some 1/48 decals. I'd love for them to do their 761st Tank Battalion in 1/48.

 

Archer Fine Transfers closed down late last year. Very cool surface details. 😢

MP Originals started just before the pandemic, but sadly didn't survive. They had excellent conversion sets!

 

2 hours ago, Troy Smith said:

Airfix did try it out with their Operation Herrick range,  thought they cleared out the stocks of that in 2017,   they might have been better off filling in gaps in the Tamiya range that have  a specifically British bent - an M4A4,  and/or wide use, like a M3 halftrack, or Centurion family. 

Ooh, that would be wonderful!

Bandai did an M3A3 and an M13. Gaso.Line have M3s too. I do have their M12, M7, and  M1A1 155MM in the stash and built their DUKW in a recent GB.

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Quarter-scale has never had the necessary traction amongst armour modellers to reach the threshold to tip over into a mainstream armour scale. As Troy says, it's been around for a long time but never as a headline grabbing scale.

 

The Airfix vehicle kits (Op Herrick and Battle of Britain ranges) were never intended to be a stand-alone range. They were released to support ranges of new 1/48 aircraft (Lynx and Merlin helos plus the Hurricane and Spitfire kits). I'd be somewhat surprised if we ever see them re-released,

 

All of the above might sound like I'm being disparaging about the scale. I'm not. I am a dedicated 1/48 scale armour modeller and have been for the past 10 years after down-sizing from 1/35. There are a lot of kits out there - mostly Tamiya - but several other manufacturers too. RFM have recently released a stunning M-ATV. Kittyhawk (now defunct) released a pair of Ural trucks t go with their aircraft. Hobbyboss have started releasing new kits again (Pz IV and Panther so far) and promised more in their catalogue (no guarantee they will ever be released though!). There are quite a few resin kits available and the 3d printed market is ballooned in the past 2-3 years with a lot of small manufacturers designing and producing a huge variety of vehicles in 1/48.

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I often jump between 1/35th scale and1/48th scale armour as I like building models in both scales. I/72nd is too small for my aged eyes. 1/48th is certainly not a scale which is dead and buried as far as armour is concerned, otherwise Tamiya wouldn't have invested a large amount of money when they produced the M4A3E8 a few years ago (and an excellent kit is is too). Granted, there aren't the variety of subjects available in this scale, but if you are like me and are prepared to put some extra work into a model and scratch build, then there are many choices available. I've built a few Israeli Shermans, such as M1's and M50's, that are not available in kit form, by converting various Hobbyboss kits, and now that I've found a supplier of 1/48th scale main gun barrels, I can finish my M51.

I've also built various marks of Cromwell using the excellent Tamiya Mk.lV, and I also have one of the old Frog Valentines.

One definite plus for this scale is displaying them. Even sitting on bases, I can get five 48th models on a shelf in my display cabinets as opposed to just three 35th ones. I hope that the scale continues and that modellers will see the benefits of it.

 

John.

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I once read that way back when, it was Tamiya that 'invented' 1/35 scale as a standard for armour models. Previously there was a lot 1/32 and box scale stuff as well as those strange figure modeller's and train enthusiast's scales that I don't really understand. If Tamiya led the way in the sixties, perhaps they will do it for 1/48 if only we can all live long enough. 😆

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For me, 1:48 is a bit small, and I didn't like the fact that the range wasn't very wide.  It still isn't, and if you want to build something esoteric, you're going to be hard-pushed to find what you need.  1:35 just seems to be the de facto scale these days, although even MENG are branching out in 1:72, which is good news for the smaller modeller (the kits, not the people). :) 1:48?  Not so much.  I believe that Airfix's 1:48 modern British AFVs were VERY slow moving, and their PE upgrades even more so.  Ibulieve* it cost them a bit of money :shrug:

 

 

* Good for toothache too.

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14 hours ago, Troy Smith said:

35th only really happened by Mr Tamiya deciding on a common scale after a kit that turned out to be 1/35th....


I believe it also had something to do with motorising their kits. Space was needed for a DC motor, gear train and batteries, and 1/35th scale for armour gave plenty of empty space inside the hull.

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I don't know where the 1/35 guys put it all, I like 1/72 because I can have a large collection without it dominating my flat. Although if 1/48 had the choice that 1/72 did I may have gone that way.

 

I have a couple of Tamiya 1/48 kits and they are very nice, I never knew Airfix had dabbled in it with British subjects so I may try to pick them up. I do have a few 1/35 kits including some full interior miniart kits that scare the hell out of me :) . I am very happy to see the manufacturers like meng and other new players now release in 1/72 some excellent detail now, I also just got my hands on a 1/72 miniart stug and it looks like quality stuff. 

 

the scales are too entrenched due to existing ranges.

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I love 1/48 and think it is the ideal size.

 

U-Star models have started to release more 1/48 AFVs and the photoetch companies like Hauler keeping producing the extras so hopefully the scale will long continue!

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6 hours ago, Bertie McBoatface said:

I once read that way back when, it was Tamiya that 'invented' 1/35 scale as a standard for armour models. Previously there was a lot 1/32 and box scale stuff as well as those strange figure modeller's and train enthusiast's scales that I don't really understand.

 

6 hours ago, Heather Kay said:

I believe it also had something to do with motorising their kits. Space was needed for a DC motor, gear train and batteries, and 1/35th scale for armour gave plenty of empty space inside the hull

more the other way round.......

according to 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1:35_scale

 

"The roots of 1:35 as a military modelling scale lie in early motorized plastic tank kits. To accommodate electric motors and gearboxes, these models needed to be made in a larger scale. There were many companies making such tanks, but it was Tamiya's example that made 1:35 a de facto standard.

Company chairman Shunsaku Tamiya explains the origins of the scale in his book Master Modeler:[1]

After the success of the Panther, I thought it would be a good idea for us to produce other tanks from different countries in the same scale. I measured the Panther and it turned out to be about 1/35 of the size of the original. This size had been chosen simply because it would accommodate a couple of B-type batteries. Tamiya's 1/35 series tanks eventually got to be known around the world, but this is the slightly haphazard origin of their rather awkward scale."

 

HTH

 

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i don't know why but it's a real shame. I have quite a collection of 1/48 B vehicles based on Tamiya and Airfix ranges. I have seven Airfix Bedford MWD in my stash and five built converted into various CMP trucks. I also grab the Land Rover kits when they come up.  I wish Airfix would reissue their range.  

 

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19 minutes ago, Bozothenutter said:

I thought 1/48 was actually growing?

No its still only 1/48th scale 🤣 The following is growing but I think the kits are actually getting pretty rare.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I remember 1/48 taking off quite well in the gaming world.  Think it was the mid-90’s. 
HLB(Honorable Lead Boilersuit) released a huge line of 1/48 figures, ancient and modern, dinosaurs, and “Explorers” for gaming. 
Their figures matched well with the available vehicles. 
 

I stick to 1/35 because I can’t see 1/48th 😂👍

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  • 1 month later...
On 24/01/2024 at 21:42, Troy Smith said:

 

more the other way round.......

according to 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1:35_scale

 

"The roots of 1:35 as a military modelling scale lie in early motorized plastic tank kits. To accommodate electric motors and gearboxes, these models needed to be made in a larger scale. There were many companies making such tanks, but it was Tamiya's example that made 1:35 a de facto standard.

Company chairman Shunsaku Tamiya explains the origins of the scale in his book Master Modeler:[1]

After the success of the Panther, I thought it would be a good idea for us to produce other tanks from different countries in the same scale. I measured the Panther and it turned out to be about 1/35 of the size of the original. This size had been chosen simply because it would accommodate a couple of B-type batteries. Tamiya's 1/35 series tanks eventually got to be known around the world, but this is the slightly haphazard origin of their rather awkward scale."

 

HTH

 


It seems to me they did the one-off kit without any scale in mind at the planning stage which is unfortunate - 1/32 would have provided even more space. 

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I never understood why 1:35 was chosen.  It's neither a rational scale (1:100, 1:50, 1:20 etc), nor an imperial scale (1:144, 1:72, 1:48, etc).  I don't fully believe My Tamiya's history.  1:32 was already established for armour and would have given more space for motors and batteries, and a scale would have had to be chosen to do a mock-up of the hull and running gear.  It's not a cause of make something, and ooh, look it's ended up 1:35!

I've never been a fan of 1:48, it's always seemed to be neither one thing nor the other.  Too big to be convenient; too small to be impressive.  Perhaps I'm helped by being short-sighted.  My eyesight has deteriorated with age, but it's middle and long vision that's got worse.  I can take my glasses off and see perfectly at 150mm, so 1:72 is still viable for me.

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I remember a few years back when Tamiya started (re started?) their line of 1/48 kits, some of the reviewers were quite possitive about the scale as it made the subject smaller, but did not have detrimental effect on quality.

The new models were just not not enough to convince the established modelers to swap as the 1/35 range already offered such a high variaty of kits and other brands did not follow Tamiya.

 

The scale condundrum is a bit of a bugbear for me.

F1 cars are in 1/20 but other race cars are in 1/24

road cars and trucks are in either 1/24 or 1/25

Armour is in 1/35 but aircraft are in 1/32

Small armour can be in either 1/72 but also in 1/76

ships and space craft are in any random scale

the train guys in Europe think the O scale is 1/43.5 (what?) but the tracks for that scale are in 1/48

 

Its such an illogical mess its best not to think about it.

Edited by SprueMan
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'the train guys in Europe think the O scale is 1/43.5 (what?) but the tracks for that scale are in 1/48'.

 

It's actually worse than that. O scale can be 1/48 in the US, 1:43.5 in Britain and 1/45 in mainland Europe while the track gauge in all of those scales can vary.  One of my layouts is 1/48 scale using Peco HOm 12mm gauge track to represent 2ft gauge line used by the Imperial Japanese Navy in WW2.

 

50781789528_6b9b3a2eaa_z.jpg

 

So aircraft, vehicles and boats all available in the same scale. Whats not to like?

Edited by dcrfan
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