Even though we seem to be waiting an eternity for the latest wave of War Master products, that hasn’t stopped the manufacturer from announcing their next set of vehicles due out in July. While three of the four vehicles have been replicated by other model makers, there is a fourth vehicle that should stir some interest amongst the armor crowd. Expected is a 1:72 scale representation of a Russian 2S6 Tunguska self-propelled anti-aircraft gun, a nice addition to any armored arsenal. Also touted is a Russian T-40 light tank, Russian KV-1 heavy tank, and a Japanese Ground Self-Defense Forces Type 61 main battle tank. Prices remain at $19.99 and each comes with a numbered box and handsome acrylic case.
Late last week, we found out that Wings of the Great War plans on adding three more planes to their WWI aerial armada, each based upon a legendary flier. The trio will include an Albatros D.Va fighter that was flown by First Class Iron Cross Recipient Lt. Kurt Monnington (#WW15002), while the second is a Nieuport 28C.1 that was piloted by 2nd Lt. Quentin Roosevelt, youngest son of President Theodore Roosevelt (#WW13002). Finally, there’s a Spad XIII that served as the mount for Medal of Honor Recipient 2nd Lt. Frank Luke. All three warbirds are expected to ship in July and are available for pre-order as we speak.
Eaglemoss has officially announced that the 58th warship in their Warships of the World series will be SMS Derfflinger, a WWI-era battlecruiser that served with the German Kaiserliche Marine (#EMGC58). This marks the first warship to be replicated for the German Navy prior to the ascent of the Third Reich and the second vessel in the range to have saw service in the First World War.
Dozens of additional vessels are in the offing (we wish we could read Japanese), and we can only hope that soon the series will turn its attention to post-WWII era warships, an era that sorely needs to be addressed beyond the handful of ships that have already made it to market.
Sometimes I get a chuckle when I read the packaging for some of the diecast products we sell. A couple of years ago, Unimax released a 1:32 scale 88mm Flak Gun”z”, an obvious typo that detracted markedly from the finished goods appearance since it was located front and center on the package. More recently, Air Force 1 put out a 1:72 USNC F-35C Joint Strike Fighter, forgetting to strike the “C” from the abbreviation when it was employed on a similar USMC F-35B product. Likewise they’ve used the same packaging for multiple P-61s and Ospreys, creating havoc for the average retailer when they check their inventory or pick an item for packing.
Now I don’t know about the average collector, but these types of obvious misspellings and oversights should have been caught early on, long before the packaging was sent to the manufacturer for replication. I ought to know, Early on in my career, I was so tired that I approved an ad for a local newspaper that said “Her”-Man figures instead of He-Man figures. Boy, did I ever hear it from my boss the next day.
Anyway, I fully understand there can be some localization issues, translating English to Chinese and back again, but c’mon guys. with so much effort going into the production of an item, niggling points like these can leave a sour taste in the mouths of some collectors, causing them to shy away from an item or manufacturer when they needn’t worry. Manufacturers, please take the time to review your packaging from top to bottom, thereby ensuring that your product meets or exceeds the expectations of your collecting audience. You’d be surprised by the reception your products will receive, and the likelihood someone will continue to purchase your products when every dollar, Euro, Yen, Yuan, Ruble, Peso, etc. counts.
For several months running, we were receiving a steady diet of 1:43 scale military vehicles from Eaglemoss. Big and beefy, not-to-mention priced competitively at only $19.99 apiece, these vehicles have continuously been flying off our shelves since making it to our shores and proves that the market for 1:43 scale vehicles is still alive and well. While their web site has been overhauled in recent weeks (https://shop.eaglemoss.com/military-vehicles-of-the-second-world-war), they still aren’t showing any new vehicles for sale, even though several dozen new items have been announced and released in Europe and elsewhere. We know a great many of you are waiting with baited breath to lay your hands on the next vehicles in the series, so we’ll certainly keep you abreast should anything change in the not-too-distant future. For now, I guess we just have to jealously ogle these vehicles from afar, or suggest you try and pick some up on eBay.
We’ve been grappling with rising wholesale costs for some time, watching how it has slowly had a detrimental effect on the hobby we know and love. We had thought that with the drop in the price of oil over the last six months, together with worldwide economic stagnation, that product prices would remain level or, heaven forbid, actually decline a tad. It hasn’t.
Recently we decided to drop one line that we’ve carried from the very start simply because we no longer think that the consumer is willing to pay their MAP price. Now, we’re faced with a similar problem with another longtime vendor, and may have to drop them as well for much the same reason. We’re not going to name names, or poke a company in the eye when we understand that they are faced with increasing manufacturing costs and finding a way to make ends meet, but the fact remains that at some point someone has to blink. Well, we’re blinking.
Our job as a retailer is to regularly curate our product portfolio, ensuring that our customers get the very best product available at the lowest possible price while we make a residual margin that keeps us in business. We bring in new lines that we think the consumer will enjoy, try to stay current on market trends, and drop under-performing lines that are no longer holding their own. We’ve been doing this for fifteen years and know the business well enough to keep the lights on and the bill collectors away. But when someone says you now have to sell a loaf of bread for $5 that once upon a time not too long ago sold for $1, then compare it to loaves of bread from other vendors available for a fraction of the price, then it no longer makes sense for us to peddle their wares despite our sentiments or history.
We’re not sure where this vent will lead or if if will have any effect on the hobby at large. We will, however, be closely monitoring this situation and take the necessary steps to keep our inventory in line with consumer demands.
When you consider the horrible winter we’ve experienced in the northeast region, we’re sheepishly announcing that we’re getting out of Dodge this April for warmer climes. We will be closed from Saturday April 25th until Sunday May 3rd. During that time frame, no one will be available to respond to inquiries or ship out orders, but our web site is set up to accept orders, and lots of ’em.
Speaking at an investor meeting, Disney chairman, Bob Iger, announced two more feature-length Star Wars films are on the near-term horizon. An unnamed Episode VIII has been pencilled in for a May 2017 opening, while Rogue One, the first stand-alone film set in the Star Wars universe, is scheduled to debut in December 2016. More information concerning the announcements can be found here: http://www.starwars.com/
In what appears to be an overt plan to compete with the current dominant modelmaker, Air Force 1 announced plans to build two new 1:72 scale aircraft, as well as a second pair of aircraft that puts them on a direct war footing with Hobby Master. Expected later this year are a 1:72 scale Sukhoi Su-35S multi-role fighter along with a Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopter, two aircraft that should score well with aviation enthusiasts.
Interestingly, they also plan to offer a 1:72 scale rendition of the Northrop-Grumman E-2C Hawkeye AEW aircraft, although no firm price and release date has been declared. Also expected is a Lockheed-Martin F-22 Air Dominance Fighter, which makes them the third house to focus on this fifth generation aircraft. Frankly, we are not sure where this strategy will lead in the face of rising production costs, a tepid collector market and an economy still teetering on recovery. We’d prefer to see them tackle other subjects yet to be replicated, so this shot across the bow, if one can call it that, will inevitably lead to other instances where multiple models will be available per subject matter and hopefully create better scale models at the lowest possible prices.