Back in a day, when you open a Heller or Airfix catalogue, 72nd scale was all over it. Catalogues were small leaflets, not fancy too. Later on, Italeri and Revell started expanding their 48th line and slowly, the pages were equalized in numbers and content count. Rater quickly same happened with 32nd scale and at some point, 72nd scale became slightly obscured.
Reasons for that are many. Modelers prefer to work on larger pieces with age, more detail options embedded in 48th and larger scales and relatively acceptable size even for larger models. Then Trumpeter appeared and they tested the boundaries of 72nd scale. Unsuccessfully at their first attempt.
Nowadays things started to shift back. Not because modelers that are devoted 72nd scale builders are a huge crowd, nor that they are very vocal. But because of several scale models in 72nd scale that appeared and proved a point. A point that was debated for a long time – are 72nd scale kits sufficient to satisfy the detail demand of the experienced builders.
There were several hits from Trumpeter and AMK, Great Wall Hobby as well. But the company that made the real difference was Eduard. They released brilliant 72nd scale MiG-15, Fw-190 and MiG-21, which are extremely detailed. They are high-quality in terms of plastic, fit and decals. Accuracy is flawless. Very competitive to best 48th scale kits. Better then some too. So there the magic happened.
A lot of modelers that are devoted to the bigger scale bought some of those. Just for the sake of having such kit in their collection. I was one of them too. And once they opened the box, they were immediately hooked. I know at least couple of guys that built their kits putting aside everything else on the bench, simply because they looked so tempting.
So, is the market slowly shifting backwards?
Maybe, maybe not. But it’s a start. 72nd scale has a lot of advantages. Mostly – size-wise, the kits are very attractive. You can build ton of these and still have room for more. They are /or at least most of them/ cheaper. Compared to 48th and 32nd of course. Less plastic, smaller photo-etch and decal sheets and there you go. That cannot be said for all of the companies though. For example, G.W.H. F-15E or Trumpeter MiG-29 are very good, but expensive in 72nd scale. With that point, Eduard again smashes the competition. They produce the best 72nd scale kits nowadays and at the most affordable prices too.
Why that happened? Maybe, because Czechs have their history with 72nd scale. Maybe because 72nd scale was what we all grew with. Or maybe, because the scale offers extremely interesting way of approaching the hobby. Detail-wise and collection-wise.
True, there are kits that are limited to that scale. Like the Dora railway gun that Hobby Boss offers. Or Tupolev bombers from Trumpeter. Well, the latter ones are not limited to that scale per se, but the truth is that there are many versions and if you want them all, you either buy them in 72nd scale or you buy yourself another home and turn it into a scale modeling museum. Maybe that’s why Modelcollect offered their B-1B, B-2 and B-52s in 72nd, don’t you think?
But all things considered, Eduard did the breakthrough here. No doubt about it. Their MiG-15 and Fw-190 started it and MiG-21 nailed it. For good I believe. Why would anyone want to be limited to something? Do you stop watch your old favorite sitcoms because they are in 4:3 and now everything is 16:9? No. You just enjoy a different perspective.
Same with modeling. What’s wrong in being back into the smaller scale? Nothing of course. You just sit back, relax and enjoy the hobby to its fullest. Just like in the old days.