Recent increase in 1/16 models? Perception or reality?

Hi. Having lurked here for a while before joining, I’ve had some time to devour everything posted here. Recently I’ve noticed (or at least I think I’ve noticed!) an increase in offerings of new 1/16 scale models from various suppliers. This is not just vehicles but also figures. Always curious though, I asked myself if this is my misperception, a real increase in such offerings or just increased/more effective marketing of this scale?
Question is; if 1/16 models are increasing in popularity, is there a reason? Obviously it’s customer driven to a large part as with any model released, but is the attraction that the larger scale enables higher levels of detailing or is 1/16 kinder on the eyes than some of the smaller scales where the photo etch/smaller parts can only be seen with an electron microscope? Are larger models easier to produce for manufacturers? Interested in views as I’ve not yet considered 1/16.

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There will be a variety of responses to this, but my take on it is; I am only interested in 1/35. To me thats the perfect scale for building, cost considerations, storage/display etc. I personally find the 1/16 scale more toy like, especially when figures are introduced to a vehicle, buts thats just me. Also, big drivers for me are the negatives of the 1/35 argument. More cost, loss of display space/storage, paints etc …

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If you cannot see so well anymore the bigger scale is possibly more convenient…but everything about them is more expensive.

P

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The popularity is increasing with Andy and Das Werks putting out new kits. The reason why is probably a mixture, in some ways cause it’s the newest thing. If your used to 1/35 and feel your skill has plateaued or gotten stale it’s a new frontier practice the craft. Because it’s new, old methods of scratch building have to be used as there isn’t much aftermarket to a certain extent. It does have the ability to show more detail, so most folks I know getting older go down in scale to 1/48-1/72. A case of bigger isn’t always better.

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I think three aspects of 1/16 which would prevent me from heading that way would be 1. cost, 2. size needed for display and, 3. the corner of the kitchen table which will be my work bench for a fair while and will only support up to 1/35 builds.
Everyone will have a preferred scale and all are part of this fantastic hobby we all enjoy of scale modelling, it’s just interesting to see more of the bigger kits and options on offer.

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Where the majority of model AFV kit demand occurs, the demographics show very large groups of older adults and much smaller groups of younger folks. So a new market niche for older modelers developed and more 1/16 kits are available as a result.

This sort of population curve occurs in the Pacific Rim, the key area that drives the majority of demand for model kits.

Seems no one in the big cities wants to have a lot of expensive children to raise so many counties will have their populations implode over the next ~50 years.

I’m far to invested in 1/35 (kit stash, lack of space, lack of display space & excessive cost) to get into 1/16.

JMO

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The vast majority of armor modelers seem to be middle aged men with adequate disposable income and a dedicated room / space for building models. They also build 1/35 scale models. I think the 1/16 scale kits are sort of a novelty purchase for 1/35 scale modelers, a “someday” project to throw in the stash and examine every once in a while, then one day clear the bench and break it out as a specialty build. I myself have purchased 5 1/16 kits, but I am done buying them now. I haven’t built any yet and the novelty has kind of worn off, I have enough of them. I have a good variety of them, a Tiger, a Sherman, a Jeep, a Stuart, and a Luchs. They are interesting to me as a builder; they offer a whole new parameter of detailing and weathering style. These issues must be approached from a completely new perspective so as not to make the model look toy - like. A lot of scratchbuilding will be involved as there are not PE sets for these kits and the details at this scale need to be done right everywhere to get a great model.
As I stated in the beginning, a majority of modelers are middle aged, so 1/16 scale will and does appeal to those with age related failing eyesight. But I think 1/16 scale appeals to a broad range of modelers just for the BIG factor. The WOW factor. Everybody will buy at least one just for that.

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I have Andy’s Tiger and I’m building it now,I got one because I wanted to try one out.Its not going to be a regular thing,probably just a one off,because of price and size.

But yes,I think there are a lot more offerings lately,and some really impressive builds

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I actually think a lot of the popularity is price driven. Before AAHQ, Das Werk and Gecko came along, 1/16 scale kits were price prohibitive for many, especially those who just wanted to dabble in 1/16 scale while still focusing on 1/35, 1/48, etc. The cost of 1/16 static Tamiya and Trumpeter kits is/was considerable, well over $200-300 or more (granted, some have full interiors). Now you can purchase Shermans and StuGs for less then $150. This makes it much more conducive to dabbling! And for many modelers, the detail in these kits is enough to satisfy them (unfortunately, I’m not one of them, having just dropped AFV Modeller $500 for some updates).

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Um, not everybody - I have absolutely no desire to expand above 1:35…

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I have been very picky on my 1/16 kit selection focusing only on Marine equipment.
FT-17 (M1917), Ontos, Stuart, Jeep, WW2 Sherman (haven’t figured a Marine version yet - kit was barely started and free so there is that), Greyhound. Will get the M113 but mostly likely done for a bit. Not sure I would get a larger medium/heavy Marine tank as that might be a bridge too far for me.

They are bigger kits but those listed above are not much more of a footprint than some 1/35 kits. Box storage is a different animal.

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From my point of view, it’s cyclic, during the mid of 90, 1/16 was a major scale with 1/35, verlinden, kirin and other makes great figures and set, now with the 3D and the news molding technologies, the interrests are back ( sorry for my average english)

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From a figure perspective, I normally gravitate towards 1/16 figures because I now find 1/35 figures too small.

1/24 or larger figures contain more detail and make for some striking presentations when mounted on a pedestal or a base.

Here is my 120mm (1/16) 3D printed Ukrainian NLAW gunner that I bought from an online shop in Sweden. While the NLAW isn’t entirely accurate, the size of the figure makes painting and showing the different kinds of camouflage much easier than a 1/35 figure.

Wise 3D printed figure sellers now offer the same figure in 3D printed scales from 1/48 to 1/9, and those variety of 3D scale buying choices makes for a wise business marketing decision.

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Those of us with elephantine memories will recall the same thing happened 50 years ago when the first wave of 1:35 scale kits invaded the 1:72 scale universe of armour/figures. I’m not sure that’ll happen with 1:16 vs. 1:35, it’ll partly depend on variables such as cost of plastic/kit design vs. disposable income of older males in future years.

I’m still processing random personal thoughts such as;

  1. Once most worthwhile 1:35 kits broke through the 3 figure (in Aust $) barrier, the extra cost of 1:16 doesn’t bother me much.

  2. I’m kinda done with 1:35, there very little left I want to build and very few new productions are in my scope of interest. It’ll likely take 5 or 10 years before manufacturers consistently produce 1:16 kits that aren’t standard Tigers, Stugs, Panthers, Shermans & T34s etc., and that’s assuming there will even be a market for more unusual kits. As we baby-boomers die off the subject matter must surely focus on more modern armour.

  3. The level of detailing required for 1:16 is both an interesting and a daunting challenge - tiny aspects which could be approximated or ignored in 1:35 can’t.

  4. Dioramas in 1:16 are fairly impractical for display/storage reasons.

  5. Screw 1:16, if I’m ever going big it’ll be all the way to 1:8 scale.

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Personally, I think the majority of the attraction of 1/16 scale is its novelty and “wow-factor.” More of a niche kind of thing than “mainstream.”

It kind of made sense to me when some of the first kits were released, like the FT-17. In 1/35 scale with a full interior, it was miniscule, but even at 1/16 scale, the actual model was really only about “average” size when compared to most 1/35 scale kits. So, the finished display size of the full interior 1/16 scale FT-17 was OK. All in all, it kind of made sense to take advantage of CAD and “upscale” the 1/35 version into something easier to build and see. So, subjects like the Luchs, the Ontos, the FT-17, the Universal Carrier or the Wiesel AWC make sense to me in 1/16 scale. But really how many good subjects fall into this category? Kubel and Schwimmwagon, Jeeps, Kettenkrads, etc… There’s still room for some of these smaller subjects to be released in 1/16 scale so that kits of them are easier to build and the detail is easier to see. Display space for them remains about the same as for 1/35 scale models. Main battle tanks, though, maybe not so much, IMO.

(This is sort of like the opposite side of the coin with really large subjects being kitted in 1/72 scale. The size of the prototype subject drives the logic of the scale of the kit made of it.)

The ease of computer scaling CAD is also a factor, I think. Manufacturers can do the design work for their bread-and-butter 1/35 scale and then easily scale that design up to 1/16 scale with no loss of detail (but scaling down is not so easy since many more parts would have to be re-designed and re-dimensioned so as to even manufacture the smaller scale kit. Maximizing investment of your 1/35 scale design work by turning some of the kits into 1/16 might be worth the additional money to cut the new, larger molds.

I could be wrong, but for cost alone, I just don’t see 1/16 scale really going very much farther (except with smaller subjects that benefit from the larger kit scale). Modelers already cry and moan over the costs of new kits now. 1/16 scale Tigers and Shermans are certainly not cheaper than their 1/35 scale counterparts. Once the top-10 or so AFV tank subjects have been done, I can’t see any manufacturer kitting something like a 1/16 scale Crusader or Cromwell. Main battle tank subjects in 1/16 will run their course and new releases of those will fall off, I think.

Still, I’ve been wrong before, so who knows?

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I think you’re right on the money, Mike.

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Thought about that for a little while and have to agree, if a Vomag Pz IV G (early June 1943) shows up in 1/16 scale, I’ll almost certainly buy one if the box art is killer like on the Mini-Art’s 1/35 kit.

1000030645

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Glad to see I’m not the only one that’s a sucker for box art. None of that 1/16 scale for me though. :package: :paintbrush::smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

—mike :grin:

PS: Speaking of which, this is truly a work of shipping “box art!” :package:

Magnifique! :man_artist:

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For now, I will stick with 1/35 scale. My small collection is 1/35 scale. Almost all the models in my closet are 1/35 scale. The biggest selection of models is in 1/35 scale. Aircraft and science fiction subjects now regularly appear in 1/35 scale. Dioramas are feasible in 1/35 scale. I like having everything in the same scale.

If asked to build a model for permanent public display, barring some major problem, I would go with the biggest scale model available.

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Simply no space.

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