The Japanese Stuff in 1/72: 1976 to Now


  • I say “1/72” but my total collection of Japanese military miniatures does include some 1/76 scale. I am one of those people who sees the two scales as comfortably compatible.
  • Unlike many modelers who eschew special effects in their photography as “smoke and mirrors”–understandably (and rightly) showcasing instead the pure craft and detail of the models themselves–I enjoy making the photos “neat to look at” in their own right, even if that means turning the model itself into something more impressionistic. My goal is not to mask the shortcomings of my models (they’re definitely there); I just like the pictures.
  • The oldest of these models date from the mid-70s, when I was 11 and 12 years old, pitting my collection against my friends’ collections in one of our back yards. The dilapidated (but dear) old Airfix Chi-Ha, for instance, has survived from that glorious era. You can probably guess which other ones are of a similar vintage.
  • One of these miniatures, the Ha-Go tank, by Dragon Armor, is a piece I photographed and like a lot, but I did not build it. (I reckon it looks better than any of the ones I did build, in this set, anyway!)


  • When is a collection, or a sub-category within a collection, complete?
  • Do you have just one version of each machine, or a uniform platoon?
  • When certain models start to feel old, or when your modeling skills have improved, do you duplicate or re-do older builds, or do you say to yourself, “Nope, not gonna spend the money or  time on another one of those. I already have one!”

For me, the finish line seems to recede every time I think I might have built my last Japanese model. Recently a lot of new, cool kits have come out, for one thing, and anyway, I don’t yet have “one of everything.” (The “Betty” is one important plane I have never had, to name just one!)

With all this talk of “finish lines” and “last Japanese models,” I must sound like I have a terminal illness. I don’t–other than being a collector. But I bet most types of collectors would understand what it feels like to wonder if the collection will ever feel “complete.” It’s almost as if we’re looking for the satisfaction of “bagging” at least one goal in life. “Well, now that that’s done, I can move on to something else…” Maybe some folks have had their moment to make that statement. I have not, and I must say it sounds like it would be comforting to reach a finite end point like that, but then again, I don’t think I really want to be done until I’m… DONE.

One response to “The Japanese Stuff in 1/72: 1976 to Now

  1. Pingback: Some Favorite WW2 German Tank Photos | Schopenhauer's Workshop·

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