It's easy to forget, especially in this echo chamber, that scale ship modelling is a tiny fraction of the scale modelling hobby, which is itself tiny when compared to the hobby industry as a whole. When I visit the bookstore, I see lots of magazines about stamp and coin collecting, dollhouses, radio control vehicles, etc. There are also a number of magazines about scale autos, airplanes, and railroads. But apparently scale ship modelling is not big enough to support an English-language magazine! Am I wrong?
After the Golden Age of plastic modelling, when every boy (and many girls) would build models of every type, the dark ages of Atari caused model companies to regard ships as a poor investment, complex and expensive to tool, and likely to take years to turn a profit. There was in recent years a boom in ship modelling,
but now that Happy Time has ended. So "sure thing" subjects keep the lights on, the workers paid, and the next release financed, which might just be a bit more offbeat...
As a note about Japanese manufacturers, I think most are privately owned, often by the founder or his family, so they don't have to answer to the shareholders of some corporation which acquired a model company almost as an afterthought ("Why isn't the model division as profitable as the video game division? Shut it down!"). That said, any company with too many unprofitable products is in trouble--case in point, Nichimo used to be the biggest Japanese model company, with a very wide range of products and regarded at the time
as superior to Tamiya; but after a series of missteps it went under.
: ...and your points are well put, as well as
: As to whether it is " a deliberate
: policy or just some underlying cultural or
: historical bias? ..." it may be that
: these issues are interwoven. I'm sure there
: is jingoism here, of course. I don't think
: we'll see other Counties than Cornwall and
: Dorsetshire out of Aoshima for these
: reasons but, at least, we wind up with two
: variants...which is a help. Whether they
: scale out properly is another issue, of
: As I've mentioned earlier it simply can't be
: an issue of what sells, given that several
: Japanese manufacturers are modeling rather
: obtuse auxiliaries, ie. tankers, submarine
: tenders and so forth. That puts paid to the
: killjoys who argue that only what sells is
: made...and who, ironically--if not
: stupidly--buttress those manufacturers who
: choose not to cut molds on anything but a
: sure, if shortsighted, move. It would seem
: that the Japanese (and other Asian)
: manufacturers are looking at the long haul
: rather than the next quarter.
: I agree with you: it would be interesting
: to see how the decisions are arrived at;
: incidentally, I'm simply ecstatic that the
: Swift was finally modeled (aside from the
: old Hawk kit).
: Randy Stone