The Motor Pool: Building a Better Shopping Experience

 

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As you may have noticed, our redesigned web site has gone live and now works in a more robust manner on both mobile devices as well as tablets, scaling in size to fit each system’s dimensions. Our blog has been cosmetically changed as well and offers full integration within our main site, and finally our newsletter mailings have been retrofitted to look like our web site. Essentially, everything you see will now have one unified look and take advantage of several enhancements now available to us. We hope you enjoy your shopping experience.

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Forces of Valor Raises the Arizona

 

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Perhaps as a fitting tribute to the 75th Anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor, Waltersons posted images of their resurrected USS Arizona battleship, an integral part of their reinvigorated Forces of Valor warships range (FOV86013). As you can see, Waltersons has been making adjustments to each of the former models where deemed necessary, all designed to bring them up today’s standards. In the Arizona’s case, Waltersons states that “the colour scheme had been revised to the 1941 Pearl Harbour version, with bright red turret roof and medium blue colour on the hull body.” The model sits atop a wood-like display plinth with metallic rods and, when completed, will boast a metallic nameplate featuring the name of the warship. Look for the first warships to set sail some time in early 2017.

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Pearl Harbor: 75 Years and Counting

 

 

 

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Its not difficult for me to remember my eldest daughter’s birthday since it falls on December 7th, the anniversary of the Japanese Empire’s attack on Pearl Harbor in Oahu, Hawaii, way back in 1941. Several years ago, to celebrate her graduation from medical school, we were fortunate enough to take a family trip to the Hawaiian Islands, where I dutifully attempted to explain how the attack went down while standing at the mouth of the harbor, just in sight of the Arizona Memorial. I’m not sure if my family understood the gravity of the attack or how it took place that fateful day, as I pointed towards the low mountains in the distance which were used by the Japanese aviators to mask their approach as they began their aerial assaults.

Anyway, 75 years have passed since the surprise attack, which drew our nation into World War II, easily the greatest conflict in human history. On a personal level, I also remember showing my family where the surrender documents were signed by all parties concerned on board the USS Missouri, which is berthed, rather fittingly, just behind the USS Arizona, signifying both the start and end of the Second World War in the Pacific. So, while we celebrate this day as a means of honoring our daughter and her vast achievements, we also take a moment to reflect on what the attack meant to the greatest generation in American history, their role in safeguarding our way of life, and price paid so that my daughter, and others like her, could celebrate their lives as free and productive members of society.

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TSM Model Wings: They Finally Feel the Need for Speed

 

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“I feel the need — the need for speed.”

– Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, Top Gun

Announced over a year and a half ago, TSM Model Wings has confirmed that they are finally in receipt of a pair of 1:72 scale F-14 Tomcats that pay tribute to the feature film, Top Gun. One aircraft pays homage to the aircraft flown by “Maverick” and “Goose” (TSMWTP001) while the other models the one flown by “Iceman” and “Slider” (TSMWTP002). Both are now on allocation basis by the manufacturer/distributor, who has indicated the next batch aren’t expected until mid-2017. As a result, we won’t list them on eBay, Walmart or Amazon, and will simply sell off the remaining allocated quantities on our web site. All of the accessories and figure packs are still expected in early 2017.

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Waltersons Adds More Punch to its R/C Lineup

 

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Over the weekend, Waltersons, the new owners of the Forces of Valor brand, uploaded an intriguing post which disclosed how the Company is supporting the curious if successful Girls und Panzer brand within Japan by offering a wide array of licensed 1:24 scale military vehicles. Four of the new Forces of Valor vehicles have obviously been repainted to fit the Girls und Panzer theme, however, what really caught our attention are some of the vehicles included in the brochure that are designed to widen the license’s appeal in 2017. Some of the vehicles featured in the Girls und Panzer handbook include a US M3 Lee medium tank, German Hetzer tank destroyer, German Sturmgeschutz assault gun, Russian IS-2 heavy tank, Russian T-34/76 medium tank, Russian KV-2 heavy tank, French B1bis heavy tank, German VK4501(P) heavy tank, Japanese Chi-Nu heavy tank, Japanese Chi-Ha medium tank, US T-28 super heavy tank, German Morser Karl self-propelled gun, British A41 main battle tank, variants of the M4 Sherman tank, British Churchill infantry tank, Italian CV33 light tank, Russian BT-42 light tank, and Japanese Ha-Go medium tank. Whew! Quite a proposed lineup. These same vehicles will more than likely be included in the Forces of Valor R/C lineup going forward with more to follow, if intuition serves as any guide.

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When Will the Caissons Go Rolling Along?

 

Back in September, we learned that radio-controlled vehicle manufacturer, Waltersons, had acquired the entire Forces of Valor product portfolio from the previous owner, Unimax. Since then, word has been sketchy about when the first products will hit the street so we thought it prudent to share what we know about the proposed line now before the year closes out. Best you play the accompanying musical video as you read what follows:

The first quartet of 1:24 scale radio controlled vehicles are now expected some time in early January 2017, barring any issues with customs, inventories, the Mad Hatter, and so on. The first four vehicles include the Tiger I heavy tank, PzKpfw IV medium tank, M4A3 Sherman tank and T-34/85 medium tank, each boasting new features which make them incompatible with the previously released vehicles offered by Unimax. The remaining four vehicles in the line (M26 Pershing tank, M1A1 Abrams tank, MLRS and King Tiger heavy tank) are already being re-developed and will likely come to market some time in the Spring. A 1:16 scale tank has been hinted at, which could be the T-72 tank shown in our Waltersons R/C section or it could be an entirely new vehicle. Figure packs are also being created.

The first batch of 1:32 scale static vehicles and 1:700 scale warships, based upon previously released models by Unimax, are being crafted with updated packaging and some minor improvements where applicable, such as new road wheels for the Tiger I tank and an improved display plinth for the warships, all of which will likely be released in early 2017. Our guess is that a formal announcement will be made at the Nuremberg Toy Fair held in Germany in February. At that time, we should also get a better idea as to which new products are being worked on for the rest of the year, even though several have already been hinted at by the manufacturer on Facebook. Moreover, expect several other retreads to be launched later in the year, modified, where deemed appropriate, to bring them up to today’s standards.

So, that’s it in a nutshell. Everything currently is still in a state of flux and we ask for everyone’s patience during this transitional period. Good things are in store for 2017, including a new 1:16 scale Tiger I heavy tank, we just need everyone to relax and remain focused as they once again build out their Forces of Valor collection. Enjoy!

Follow Up: We’ve been in touch with the principals at Unimax who inform us that they will be attending the upcoming American International Toy Fair held each year at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City in February. At that time, we’ll have a better idea as to where they are headed in both the short- and long term, and hopefully take photos of anything on display. Additionally, the Company provided some details concerning their expanding warship series, which will boast the following 1:700 aircraft carriers: PLAAN LiaoNing aircraft carrier, British HMS Invincible and USN Kitty Hawk (CV-63). All three are pretty far along in their production, so they will likely be released in early 2017.

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The Motor Pool’s Free Shipping for the Holidays Special!

 

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We are happy to announce that we are offering free ground shipping for qualifying orders from now until Sunday, December 11th. Minimum order is $10 US. Pre-orders, back orders and special orders do not qualify for this discount and must be placed on a separate order. Orders are shipped via the cheapest means of delivery with the US Postal Service.This offer only applies to shipping destinations within the Continental US. We choose the method of delivery. If you need a parcel shipped to you faster, then the free shipping offer will be waived and normal shipping costs apply. This limited time offer ends midnight, Sunday, December 11th, 2016

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Product Spotlight: Chasing Astronauts

 

sts-3_landing“First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space, and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.”

– Excerpted from President John F. Kennedy’s speech delivered before a joint session of Congress, May 25th, 1961

STS-3 was NASA’s third Space Shuttle mission, and was the third mission for the Space Shuttle Columbia. It launched on March 22nd, 1982, and landed eight days later on March 30th. The mission involved extensive orbital endurance testing of the Columbia itself, as well as numerous scientific experiments. STS-3 was the first shuttle launch with an unpainted external tank, and the only mission to land at the White Sands Space Harbor near Las Cruces, New Mexico. The shuttle was forced to land at White Sands due to flooding at its originally planned landing site, Edwards Air Force Base.

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Before landing, Northrop T-38 Talon chase planes flew alongside the shuttle, helping to guide the unpowered craft down and onto the flat desert floor. To commemorate this momentous occasion, and to kick off their latest aircraft tooling, Hobby Master has announced plans to model the Northrop T-38 trainer, and, in particular, the lead chase plane used at the conclusion of STS-3 (HA5401). Look for this sleek replica to streak across the hot desert sands some time in April.

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Product Spotlight: “The Mighty One”

 

 

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“The F-35 is the fighter plane of the future that will allow Israel to maintain its aerial superiority and its technological advantage in the region… The F-35 will give the IAF better capabilities, both near and far, to help strengthen Israel’s national security.”

– Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak

On December 12th, the Israeli Air Force will take delivery of its first pair of Lockheed-Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters, which will then be operated from the Nevatim Airbase, near Beershba, in Israel’s Negev Desert. The Israeli version will be a modified “A” variant and, as customary with the IAF, will carry its own name to distinguish it from the same aircraft flown by other air forces. The “Adir” or “Mighty One” represents a significant departure for the IAF, who will, for the first time, possess a low-observable fighter/attack aircraft that can penetrate enemy air defense networks with little fear of retaliation.

Thus far, 50 aircraft have been ordered by Israel, and perhaps more will be necessary since they are replacing 326 aging F-16 fighters flown by the IAF, as well as several dozen F-15 Eagles.

Unique adaptations have been made to facilitate the integration of Adir with the IAF operational fleet. One of the most critical elements was the introduction of command, control and communications applications necessary to operate the new fighter within the IAF indigenous Command and Control environment. The development of this application has been completed at IAI’s labs and is now in production for the aircraft destined for Israel.

A first batch of 19 aircraft Israel is expected to receive will be the standard model operated by the US Air Force and other partner nations, it is expected to carry a limited weapon’s load comprising of two Boeing GBU-31s (JDAM) and two Lockheed Martin GBU-12s (Paveway laser guided bombs) or two Raytheon AMRAAM beyond visual range (BVR) air/air missiles. All will be carried internally.

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Further adaptations expected to mature for the second batch will include the integration of certain ordnance types operated by the IAF, such as the Rafael Spice 1000 guided weapons. The more complex task is the integration of weapons carried in the internal weapon bay, thus maintaining full stealth capability of the aircraft. Other types can be taken as external stores, must also go through the lengthy integration process.

Hobby Master’s upcoming look at the IAF F-35A “Adir” Joint Strike Fighter (HA4410) is expected in May 2017, and we will post pictures of it just as soon as they are made available.

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The Motor Pool’s “Happy Holidays” 15% Off Sale!

 

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Why fight for parking, stand on long lines or deal with rude store clerks this crazy week when you can just as easily save time, energy, money and your sanity with The Motor Pool’s “Happy Holidays” 15% Off Sale! This discount may only be applied to any in-stock item listed on our web site and may not be applied to the following lines: Hobby Master, Wings of the Great War, Air Force 1, Luft-X and Aviation 72. Please enter discount code ” TMP162” in the coupon box just prior to final checkout. Sale ends midnight, Tuesday, December 20th, 2016. May not be combined with any other sales discount.

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The US Marine Corps Keeps on Truckin’

 

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As Detroit looks towards producing fully-autonomous tractor trailers for the nation’s highways, and the US Navy puts unmanned surface and submersible vessels to sea around the globe, it was perhaps just a matter of time before drones were taken seriously as a means of moving assets from Point A to Point B. The venerable Stars and Stripes reports that the US Marine Corps is looking to field an unmanned tilt-rotor drone which can carry cargo and carry out other vital missions by 2023. Dubbed the V-247 Vigilant, the new Bell Helicopter proposal is slightly smaller than a manned V-22 Osprey, enabling it to take off and land on somewhat smaller sea-based platforms with limited space.

“Through plug-and-play mission packages, the Vigilant will be able to carry a significant payload and execute electronic-warfare, intelligence, surveillance-and-reconnaissance, escort, command-and-control, communications and fire missions,” says Stars and Stripes.

“The advantage that the Bell V-247 Vigilant provides is that it does not need a runway or other airfield resources,” said Vince Tobin, vice president of Advanced Tiltrotor Systems for Bell Helicopter. “It can, therefore, be co-located with the units on a ship or in the field that will make use of the asset. This reduces the issues associated with link-up at the proper place and time for the unit prosecuting military operations and the fixed-wing [Unmanned Aerial Vehicle] that may be taking off from a runway hundreds of miles away.”

There are many instances in which a vertical-takeoff-and-landing platform is more advantageous than a fixed-wing, runway-launched platform, Tobin said.

“In those cases, the Bell V-247 Vigilant provides the speed, range, payload and flexibility to meet mission requirements,” he said.

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