Available Kit Summary by Doug Chaltry
1 November 1999 email: doug(at)ontheway.us
Which, exactly, is the most popular nationality of all presently and previously marketed 1/72nd armor kits? There are, or have been, many kits made available, both in plastic and in resin (I include metal kits with resin). When one looks at a breakdown of all kits by nationality, there is an obvious preference. Manufacturers have emphasized WW II German vehicles over all others by a substantial margin. From what I understand, this is a common trend in all genres of military modeling, including 1/35th scale armor and also aircraft of all scales. I recall a past discussion of this topic on the rec.models.scale newsgroup, and the general consensus was that worldwide, German hardware simply sells more units than any other nationality. There's no hidden political or prejudicial agenda behind this phenomenon, it's just a simple matter of numbers. There are likely regional differences in sales, and I think that the smaller, regional manufacturers are taking advantage of this fact.

Thankfully, there has been a model-making boom in recent years from Eastern Europe, where it seems that the regional desire is to see more representation of ex-USSR and former Warsaw Pact hardware. This is a good thing, and the trend can be seen in the rising numbers of Soviet vehicles, both WW II and modern.


In plastic, WW II still dominates. Post-WW II lags behind by a considerable margin, and WW I is even further behind, barely represented at all.

For WW II, the highest number is German, thanks to extensive lines by Hasegawa and the now-defunct ESCI. Likewise, the majority of the American and British vehicles are also by these two largest manufacturers. The second highest is Soviet, due to the large number of recent releases by PST and the AER series of kits. If we were to look only at kits currently in production, I think that the Soviets would outnumber the Germans by quite a bit.

For Post-WW II, the Soviets lead, followed by American, and then German vehicles. The Soviet vehicles actually come from quite a number of sources, but the US and German vehicles are mostly from ESCI (and also Revell, for the German kits).

World War I
British 2
Polish 1
World War II
German 67
Soviet 45
American 21
British 12
Italian 2
Japanese 2
French 1
Post-World War II
Soviet 22
American 18
German 10
French 5
Israeli 5
British 2
Chinese 1
Japanese 1



Resin manufacturers have been filling in the gaps left by plastic companies. Once again, however, WW II German subjects are by far the most popular. But now, Post-WW II kits take a back seat to WW I.

The relatively large number of WW I kits are primarily from Retromodels and Riversco, and to a lesser extent, Fine Scale Factory. Few of them are tanks; most of them are armored cars of various nationalities.

In the WW II category, the Germans again dominate the scene. Most of the large numbers in the German, American, Soviet and French categories are from the large selection by Al.By. There is a surprisingly large number of Polish and Italian selections, due mostly to Modelkrak for the Poles, and NRC for the Italians (but with several others as well).

In Post-WW II, the Soviets are again in the top position, almost exclusively due to ARMO (which is also responsible for the Czech and Polish kits). The second highest is French, thanks entirely to ADV.

World War I
French 28
German 21
British 13
American 11
Russian 5
Austrian 1
World War II
German 239
French 113
Soviet 104
American 60
British 27
Polish 22
Italian 20
Dutch 3
Canadian 2
Belgian 1
Finnish 1
Hungarian 1
Japanese 1
Romanian 1
Post-World War II
Soviet 34
French 17
Polish 6
American 3
Czech 2
Israeli 1
Swiss 1

It must be kept in mind that these numbers reflect all kits ever made available. If the lists were restricted only to kits currently marketed, the numbers would be quite different. Also, distribution is not taken into account. Some plastic manufacturers are not widely distributed, such as Eastern Express, Attack and even Revell. The situation is even more extreme for resin kits. Many of the resin lines are no longer in production, and those that are currently produced, are quite often very difficult, if not impossible, to obtain. I, for one, am very happy that resin manufacturers continue to provide us with rare or unusual kits, but eventually, if we want these models to see widespread availability, they will have to be released in plastic. It's curious that I once thought that modern Soviet hardware was under-represented in the small scale community, but I now see that is not the case at all. I think this perception of mine was perhaps related to the lack of distribution I mentioned above. It seems that the most prevalent modern vehicle on the hobby shop shelves is the M1 Abrams, but that is because this vehicle is made available by several companies, some with wider distributions for their wares than others.

A note about the lists: I only counted vehicles, cannons and conversions as of 1 November 1999. Figures and accessory sets were not included in the counts, and I even questioned the inclusion of conversions. If I had left out conversions, the numbers would be very different (because of the many resin conversion sets). Also, I did not count the kits that were marketed under several different labels (such as ESCI, AER and Revell). In these situations, I only counted each kit once.

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