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.

New Blog

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Third Party Payment Options



We recently resolved a problem we encountered accepting payments through Amazon (Checkout with Amazon) so all systems are green for go this holiday season. Likewise, PayPal has been operating smoothly of late, although payment notifications were slow to be sent out this past weekend as the Company worked to resolve some latency issues they were facing as well as a Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDOS) by a malfeasant operator yet to be identified.

The benefits of using either payment method in lieu of a credit card to complete an online transaction are clear cut. First, neither company provides the merchant with the customer’s credit card or banking information and instead stores it through their own secure and encrypted payment system. So, there is no need for the merchant to contact the customer and review their billing information with them should an order need to be processed outside the customary 30-day payment window. Likewise, there is no need for the merchant to require that the billing and shipping address match, since both payment systems provide the merchant with payment protection in case the situation warrants. The downside is that the customer is remitting funds to the merchant ahead of the transaction being completed. Ordinarily, this isn’t a problem if the item(s) in question on the order are all in stock and can be shipped out immediately. It can cause some consternation for the customer if the order cannot be shipped out for whatever reason (the order contains either back ordered or pre-ordered merchandise), so it can appear as if the merchant has accepted the funds without showing anything for it. Please keep all of this in mind when determining which payment option you wish to use when placing an online order.

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Product Spotlight: The Hornet Gets Super





– VF-103 radio callsign

Announced several months ago, Hobby Master’s first ever F/A-18E/F Super Hornet strike fighter has slowly edged its way from the drawing board to the production line in an effort to get the first bird out the door by year’s end. Their inaugural offering is based upon a US Navy Boeing F/A-18F that served with VFA-103 “Jolly Rogers,” then embarked upon the USS Eisenhower (CVN-69) in 2012 (HA5102). While general product images are still hard to come by, and this one may appear a bit grainy since we increased its size, we were able to locate this lone picture showing the Super Hornet with its canopy in the open position and featuring two seated crewmen within the cockpit. By all accounts, collectors are quite happy with the way the first model looks, particularly since it bears the insignia of the illustrious “Jolly Rogers”, one of the most sought after squadrons among aviation enthusiasts. Hobby Master has pegged this model with a tentative release date of December, so we are hoping, perhaps against all hope, that it may still make it in time to be nestled under the Christmas tree, if Santa busts a move. We will post further information, along with additional imagery, as soon as it reaches us.

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Film in Focus: USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage


Occasionally, a movie slips by us that we never expected, and USS Indianapolis is just that flick. Based upon the real-life exploits of the US Navy cruiser USS Indianapolis, the film traces the final voyage of the ship towards the end of WWII, from its successful mission to take components for the atomic bomb to a forward operating base, to its sinking at the hands of a Japanese sub, and the ignominious fate thereafter. Starring Nicholas Cage as Captain McVay, the commander of the USS Indianapolis, look for the film to reach theaters around the middle of November.

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Product Spotlight: Spock’s Jellyfish




“Live long and prosper.”

– Science Officer Spock, USS Enterprise NCC1701

The Jellyfish was a late-24th century starship commissioned by the Vulcan Science Academy for the transport of red matter. It was described as being “our fastest ship” and featured a rotating tail section.

After the ship’s commissioning in 2387, Ambassador Spock piloted the Jellyfish during his attempt to save the Milky Way Galaxy from destruction by a massive supernova before it destroyed the planet Romulus. Spock used the Jellyfish to inject red matter into the supernova, resulting in the creation of a black hole that absorbed the nova. While the plan succeeded, Spock was unfortunately too late to stop the nova from destroying Romulus.


As Spock was attempting to depart, he was intercepted by the Romulan mining vessel Narada, and both ships were pulled into the black hole. The Narada emerged from the tunnel through space-time in 2233 and was the catalyst for the alternate reality, whereas the Jellyfish exited the black hole twenty-five years later. Upon capture by Nero, the ship was stored inside the Narada. Nero later ordered the use of the red matter aboard the seized ship to destroy the planet Vulcan.


The ship was destroyed when the younger Commander Spock of the alternate reality was able to retrieve the ship and piloted it on a collision course with the Narada, igniting the red matter inside. Spock survived the collision and was beamed aboard the USS Enterprise at the last moment.

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Product Spotlight: The Junkers D.1 – Unseating the Biplane



“The important thing in aeroplanes is that they shall be speedy.”

– Baron Manfred Von Richthofen

Most people tend to equate WWI aerial combat with biplanes, zeppelins or even balloons, never truly considering the low wing monoplane as a viable candidate for dogfighting until years later. Well, several manufacturers, such as Junkers, would dispel that myth toward the end of the war, as airplane design advanced from the flimsy double or even triple wing design to a more durable single wing type.

The Junkers D.I (factory designation J 9) was a monoplane fighter aircraft produced in Germany late in World War I, significant for becoming the first all-metal fighter to enter service. The prototype, a private venture by Junkers designated the J 7, first flew on September 17th, 1917, going through nearly a half-dozen detail changes in its design during its tests. When it was demonstrated to the Idflieg early the following year it proved impressive enough to result in an order for three additional aircraft for trials. However, the changes made by Junkers were significant enough for the firm to redesignate the next example the J 9, which was supplied to the Idflieg instead of the three J 7s ordered.

Look for Wings of the Great War’s rendition of the German Junkers D.I Monoplane Fighter (WW11701) this coming December.

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Armor Aplenty for Today and the Future



I remember several years ago when analysts the world over began decrying the tank, citing its vulnerabilities on the modern battlefield from both Man-Portable (MANPAD) and Air-to-Ground ordnance. If that’s true, then someone better tell all the world’s military forces since they still seem to be cranking them out in anticipation of a potential cataclysmic engagement somewhere in Europe.

Recently, Turkey unveiled its first indigenously-built main battle tank dubbed the Altay. Not be confused with the Altaya brand of diecast collectibles, the Altay is a 3+ generation main battle tank (part of the MİTÜP (Milli Tank Üretimi Projesi, English: National Tank Production Project)) designed and developed by Otokar of Turkey for the Turkish Army and export markets. It is named in honor of Army General Fahrettin Altay (1880–1974) who commanded the 5th Cavalry Corps in the final stage of the Turkish War of Independence. In fact this naming is just a diversion that is indeed causing from the name of the race of turkic nations,Altay.

Meanwhile, Italy debuted its newest tank destroyer, the Centuaro II, at this year’s Eurosatory exhibition. Resembling its previous incarnation, the Centauro, the latest Centauro armored vehicle represents a new stage in the evolution of the storied Centauro 105 and 120mm armored vehicle, the first 8×8 wheeled antitank vehicle in the world with a high-pressure gun.

As regards mobility in particular, the power-to-weight ratio, increased to 24 HP/tonne, provides unequalled performance in terms of speed and acceleration thanks to the new-generation IVECO engine, offering more than 720 HP, and to the associated modernization of the transmission, braking system and control electronics.

The digital tyre pressure control (CTIS), allied with run-flat systems, the new suspension and the low nominal ground pressure allow the new Centauro armored vehicle to extricate itself from any type of terrain.

We reported last year how Poland is also developing a main battle tank, which bears a futuristic appearance that seems more at home on the battlefield of Call of Duty than it does against some of the latest weaponry it could face.

The idea of the PL-01 is to try and eliminate the infrared, radar and visual signature of the traditional tank to a large degree, while also relying on guile to take identity masking a step further. In addition, the PL-01 concept aims at bringing to market a tank packed with relevant modern features, many of which already exist off the shelf, while others are still on the developmental horizon.

The vast majority of targeting sensors on the battlefield today rely on the infrared band of the electromagnetic spectrum to do their bidding. The PL-01 attempts its almost magical infrared signature reduction via the installation of temperature controlled wafers that blanket its exterior. This chameleon’s skin of sorts, allows the tank’s skin to match the infra-red signature of its surroundings. It does this by processing what small infrared sensors mounted around the tank detect, and then displays a pattern on the tank’s honeycomb-like covering that best matches the infrared data collected.

As a result, the tank all but disappears to infrared sensors. Even more outstanding, these wafers can also be used like pixels, as each can be manipulated in temperature. This allows for the tank to use active infrared camouflage, such as tiger striping its infrared signature in the jungle, or making it flat like the sand in the desert. The PL-01 also lowers its infrared signature through cooling and dispersing the exhaust from its 940 hp diesel engine.

Hopefully, each of these new weapons of war will be replicated for the diecast military market.

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Product Spotlight: “The Santa Tracker”




“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”

– Editorial that appeared in the New York Sun, September 1897

Norad Tracks Santa is an annual Christmas themed entertainment program, which has existed since 1955, produced under the auspices of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). Every year on Christmas Eve, “NORAD Tracks Santa” purports to track Santa Claus as he leaves the North Pole and delivers presents to children around the world. The program is the tradition of the September 1897 editorial “Yes, Virginia, thee is a Santa Claus” in the New York Sun.


Today, NORAD relies on volunteers to make the program possible. Each volunteer handles about forty telephone calls per hour, and the team typically handles more than 12,000 e-mails and more than 70,000 telephone calls from more than two hundred countries and territories. Most of these contacts happen during the twenty-five hours from 2 a.m. on December 24 until 3 a.m.MST on December 25th. A website called was established to allow project access for Internet users.


Google Analytics has been in use since December 2007 to analyze traffic website traffic. As a result of this analysis information, the program can project and scale volunteer staffing, telephone equipment, and computer equipment needs for Christmas Eve. Volunteers include NORAD military and civilian personnel.

In 2014, NORAD answered more than 100,000 phone calls. In 2015, more than 1,200 U.S. and Canadian military personnel volunteered to staff the phone lines.

Presently, the Hobby Master S-3 Viking “Santa Tracker” (HA4904), which plays on the program’s activities and features a caricature of Santa’s back as if he had collided with the aircraft, is scheduled to arrive some time in December, although its unclear if it will make it in time for Christmas delivery. Should things change, we will update our web site accordingly and indicate whether or not collectors can count on it as a Christmas present. If you are not keen to have Jolly St. Nick slathered across your warbirds, then a similar plane can be purchased in the form of HA4905.

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Minichamps Bikes Slowly Begin to Reappear





We were beginning to give up hope that we would ever see another Minichamps motorcycle make it to market. The pair of 1:12 scale Vincent motorcycles announced by the Company some eight years are still, for all intents and purposes, “motorcycle ware”, with nary an image shown nor a release date specified. Happily, however, we learned that their 1975 Benelli in silver is still expected without delay, with a firm street date of around the end of November.


We look forward to resuming shipments of Minichamps classic bikes and hope lots more items are in store in the near future.

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Wings of the Great War Goes Off-Roading this November




“More valuable than rubies. I should like my own Rolls Royce car with enough tyres and petrol to last all my life.”

– Thomas Edward Lawrence CB DSO FAS, A.K.A. “Lawrence of Arabia” discussing his squadron of nine Rolls Royce Armoured Car used in his operations against the Turkish forces

If you thought Wings of the Great War was content to build replicas of tanks and aircraft, you’d better think again. This November, the Company plans to introduce their first ever armored car, a heavily modified Rolls Royce that was used by the Royal Naval Armoured Car Section during WWI (WW10301). Based on a vehicle that served with the Light Armoured Motor Batteries of the Machine Gun Corps, on the Western Front in 1916, their first effort at offering a non-traditional battle wagon is welcome news for any number of reasons. Foremost among them, it means they can begin to branch out a bit and tackle some more exotic locales and subjects, and, in particular, one of Lawrence of Arabia’s famed weapons when he took the war to the Ottoman Empire.

Six RNAS Rolls-Royce squadrons were formed of 12 vehicles each: one went to France; one to Africa to fight in the German colonies and in April 1915 two went to Gallipoli. From August 1915 onwards these were all disbanded and the materiel handed over to the Army which used them in the Light Armoured Motor Batteries of the Machine Gun Corps. The armoured cars were poorly suited to the muddy trench filled battlefields of the Western Front, but were able to operate in the Near East, so the squadron from France went to Egypt.

Lawrence of Arabia used a squadron in his operations against the Turkish forces. He called the unit of nine armoured Rolls-Royces “more valuable than rubies” in helping win his Revolt in the Desert. This impression would last with him the rest of his life; when asked by a journalist what he thought would be the thing he would most value he said “I should like my own Rolls-Royce car with enough tyres and petrol to last me all my life”.


In the Irish Civil War (1922-1923), 13 Rolls-Royce armoured cars were given to the Irish Free State government by the British government to fight the Irish Republican Army. They were a major advantage to the Free State in street fighting and in protecting convoys against guerrilla attacks and played a vital role part in the retaking of Cork and Waterford. Incredibly, despite continued maintenance problems and poor reaction to Irish weather, they continued in service until 1944, being withdrawn once new tyres became unobtainable. Twelve of the Irish Army examples were stripped and sold in 1954.

At the outbreak of World War II, 76 vehicles were in service. They were used in operations in the Western Desert, in Iraq, and in Syria. By the end of 1941, they were withdrawn from the front line service as modern armoured car designs became available. Some Indian Pattern cars saw use in the Indian subcontinent and Burma.

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Precision Model Art Takes the High Road this Winter



Precision Model Art (PMA) has undergone some changes of late, but that doesn’t mean their quality has suffered or their lineup has been affected. As several new items arrive this month, we’ve also learned that a bunch of other products are in the wings, proving they are in it for the long haul against some of the more entrenched players with wider assortments.


Expected in January are two new renditions of the 88mm FLaK gun – one painted in a desert camouflage pattern (P0311) and the other in a winter livery (P0313). Also on the docket are two 5-man WWII era figure sets containing German soldiers in varying poses (P0401 and P0402). While the PMA products are a bit pricier than their competition, its important to keep in mind that they offer far more detail and craftsmanship, thereby warranting the higher coinage. For instance, the 88mm guns come with ammo crates and the gun itself can be configured to either a towed or firing position. Look for these and other new items to roll in this January.


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