John F. Moscato wrote:I really don't understand this fascination with Tani's models.
I've owned both his Kaiyodo 1/220 Jagd L, 1/72 KOG AT, and have seen the Yen Xing in parts. The two former models are ok, not WOW, but ok. KOG AT had nice proportions, but was really sloppily-sculpted in some areas, and the fit on quite a few parts was very half-assed. Strangely, he seems to enjoy sculpting in odd scales.
I would say it's not quite fair to judge the fellow based on such a limited sampling of his works. In addition to the original (large) 1/220 Jagd, 1/72 KOG AT, and Yen Xing... I also have Tani's 1/144 Scritti, 1/100 Blood Temple, and 1/100 Speed Mirage. I am really pretty impressed with all of them... I guess I'm mostly in love with the size of the 1/72 KOG AT, but in terms of the other kits... they really do have great form, proportion, and detail. I don't have his 1/100 Terror Mirage yet, but I'd like to get one, one day. There's also his various other 1/144s... (Empress, LED Mirage, and Last Junchoon I think?)
I think there's a few reasons for his well-deserved reputation:
1) packing a good amount of intricate detail into the smaller kits. This is really true of his 1/144 stuff. I can only speak of the Scritti from firsthand experience, but the detail on that thing is GREAT. A lot of 1/144 MH are very OBVIOUSLY 1/144. Crappy proportions, weak detail... you can look at the kit and just KNOW it's 1/144, without need for size comparison. But if you look at Tani's Scritti... I would swear it's 1/100 if I were seeing it for the first time and had no knowledge of its scale. Best 1/144 I've ever owned, for sure. And from all I hear, the other 1/144s are excellent as well. And then of course there's the KOG v3 as you mentioned...
2) tackling subjects that other sculptors might be unwilling to attempt. Remember... Tani was the first to tackle the Jagd Mirage. A daunting challenge for anyone... And there are still some who think that Tani's Jagd looks better than either the Volks or WSC offerings, in terms of overall proportion and impression. And despite the smaller scale, Tani still packs in all of the detail found on the larger versions. And from what I hear, Tani's second (true 1/144) Jagd Mirage is even more impressive, since the proportions are even more refined despite the small overall size. And then there's the Yen Xing, which still hasn't been attempted by ANYONE else. I think it's a testament to the quality of this kit that no one else has even bothered to try to compete with it. Even though it's a wonderfully unique and beautiful design.
3) sculpting style... Tani's style is definitely closer to the new Volks style than the WSC style. Tani definitely goes with the 'organic' style of detail, as opposed to WSC's more mechanical style. But Tani takes it even further than Volks I think... working in even more detail in terms of hands, soles of feet, neck areas, and all those other little hidden areas that really make BUILDING a kit fun. Tani even makes a simple design like Blood Temple look good... And the pose of his Speed Mirage is MUCH more dynamic and 'alive' than that of WSC.
The "jewel" in his proverbial crown would be without doubt the 1/144 KOG V3. From what I've seen in pics, he really poured his heart into sculpting this model into a veritable plethora of intricate parts... Too bad so much of that intricate detail will be hidden once built. Hidden by the assembled model's excessively bottom-heavy proportions, I might add. Worse yet, most people will probably never get to see either due to the kit's prohibitive price tag... Too much effort honed into the WRONG places and the WRONG scale.
I can only speak for myself but... I really build kits more for myself than for showing to others... and for that reason, I really don't mind if detail gets hidden away when a kit is finished. I'll always know it's there. And it just makes working on the kit MUCH more interesting. When I go back to old AF series kits with zero detail around the neck and other hidden bits... I really feel the loss. I really REALLY want to work on a Tani KOG V3... just because it seems like so much fun to actually BUILD it. The price did bother me for a while... until I learned that the kit is practically 1/100 in size. I love 1/100, so I don't mind paying good money for a good kit, as long as it isn't tiny. And this one doesn't sound like its tiny.
But it's true, Tani does like to work in odd scales... I'd like him to do more 1/100 just as much as anyone else. That's why i really treasure his 1/100 Speed Mirage, Blood Temple, and Yen Xing... they are far and away some of the best kits I own. And trust me, I own a lot of them...
But as with all of the modeling stuff, taste is bound to be subjective... and if someone likes the chunky mechanical style of WSC better, that's cool...