Its been said that when training for the next military conflict, generals typically do so by fighting the last war, taking lessons learned from the most recent conflict and then attempting to apply them to the battlefield of the future. While its certainly important to dissect why a particular campaign succeeded and how it was carried out, military planners must nevertheless keep a wary eye on what’s to come using the latest technological breakthroughs, thinking outside the box to come up with new ways, platforms and doctrine to take on even the most determined of foes.
For some reason, this very same allegory seems to apply to today’s diecast manufacturers. Rather than modelling many of the latest weapons destined to be used by today’s warfighter, the current crop of modelmakers seem more content to offer an array of replicas tied to former conflicts instead of following today’s headlines. Thus far, there have only been a smattering of replicas aimed at today’s air forces, the most notable coming in the form of the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, largely due to their connection to the voracious US/UK markets. However, there are other aircraft types now setting foot on the world stage that are screaming to be modeled too, most notably the Russian PAK-FA as well as the PLAAF’s pair of J-31 and J-20 stealth fighters. Yes, Air Force 1 did a credible job of recreating a prototype PAK-FA several years ago that is no longer available, but with Russia scheduled to deploy upwards of 100 PAK-FAs to its front line aviation units later this year, I would think that collectors would be equally happy to add one or even several updated operational schemes to their collections.
The same holds true for the newest Chinese aircraft nearly ready for operational use, which will likely be sent to defend their interests in the South China Sea. Bear in mind that I’m not advocating for a military conflict to settle geographic disputes, particularly with the change of administration in Washington DC taking place today, however, I do think its important that military enthusiasts, collectors, analysts and even those people that could care less about a regional confrontation have some sort of point of reference to look upon, as we enter, what many believe to be a Second Cold War.