June 2015

We Don’t Remember Playing with These Toys?

Silver Soldiers

In the “for the guy that has everything department”, army brats can break the piggy bank and shell out the big bucks for a set of sterling silver soldiers.  According to Defense News, “They’re like the classic green Army men toy figures. But for grown ups, grown ups with money.

For $235 each, or $2,585 for a full “squadron” of 12, you can buy sterling silver versions of the Vietnam-era Louis Marx & Co plastic Army men, from Good Art Hlywd, a Los Angeles jewelry maker. They come in “classic,” “skull face” and “doughboy” variants.” No word if the jewelry maker plans to up the ante by casting a squad of 14K gold enemy soldiers.

 
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The US Army Tests a Hoverbike

Hoverbike

Taking its’ cue from the fictionalized speeder bike seen in Star Wars: Revenge of the Jedi, the US Army, in conjunction with prime contractor Malloy Aeronautics, debuted a work-in-progress man-portable hoverbike at the Paris Air Show.

According to MSN News, “Malloy Aeronautics was testing hoverbike technology with a robot-carrying drone. A few months later, it’s partnering with a Maryland-based defense company to develop a hoverbike for the US military. Working with Survice Engineering Co., the UK aeronautics company will set up shop in Maryland as part of “an ongoing research and development contract.” The duo will also work with the US Army Research Laboratory on the project that aims to create “a new class of Tactical Reconnaissance Vehicle (TRV).

The goal is to replace some of the work a helicopter does with the hoverbikes, a vehicle that provides increased safety and costs significantly less. “With adducted rotors you immediately not only protect people and property if you were to bump into them, but if you ever were to bump into somebody or property it’s going to bring the aircraft out of the air,” Malloy’s marketing sales director Grant Stapleton told Reuters. Funds from a Kickstarter campaign for those compact UAVs was used to build scale models capable of carrying a human — one of which was on display at the Paris Air Show.”

No word as yet as to the carrying capacity, speed or altitude it can reach, and whether or not the vehicle can be weaponized with a lightweight anti-personnel or anti-armor combat system for close assault beyond its surveillance capabilities. Obviously, there are commercial applications implied by its development, as thrill seekers armed with the latest Go Pro modular filming device takes the vehicle through its paces off road in varying environments and conditions. Likewise, the vehicle can serve as a mobile search-and-rescue system, capable of crossing terrain that a surface-going vehicle might have trouble negotiating.

More information on the device can be found here: http://www.hover-bike.com/MA/news/

 
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Wings of the Great War Adds 3 More Fliers to its Roster

WW12002 Compilation

Relative newcomer Wings of the Great War announced three more single-engine fighters to their WWI lineup, which now includes a 1:72 scale take on the famous Sopwith Camel. Their first Camel, naturally enough, is based upon the craft that brought down the Red Baron, with Canadian Roy Brown credited for the kill (#WW18001). Other war winners include a Fokker Dr.I Triplane Fighter that was piloted by Oberleutnant Lothar von Richthofen, younger brother of Baron Manfred von Richthofen (#WW12002), and a reddened Pfalz D.IIIa Biplane Fighter flown by Hanns Muller (#WW11003). Look for all three aircraft to take to the skies over the Western Front some time in September.

 
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Army to Pick its Humvee Successor this Summer

AM General JLTV

Its called the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) and its designed to replace the venerable Humvee as the US Army’s vehicle of choice to move men and equipment over cross-country terrain in the early 21st Century. However, unlike the Humvee, the JLTV is well-protected against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDS) which plagued the military during its recent campaigns in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

Three designs are being submitted to the Pentagon: one each for AM General, Lockheed Martin, or Oshkosh (shown left to right in the accompanying images). According to Breaking Defense, “When you look at the three competitors’ vehicles, they all look pretty much like trucks. In fact, they look like smaller variations on the blocky theme of roadside-bomb-resistant wheeled vehicles — uparmored Humvees, Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, M-ATVs — that became as iconic of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq as the Jeep was of World War II.

Appearances, however, can deceive.

The first crucial difference is what the JLTV is meant to do: combine the protection of the bulky MRAPs with the off-road agility of the original unarmored Humvee, before layers of added armor weighed it down. Mobility matters both on the attack and on defense, because the best protection against a roadside bomb is to get off the road. Mining a key chokepoint along a predictable route is easy. Mining all possible cross-country approaches is not.

The second crucial difference is JLTV’s design. Squaring the circle of protection and mobility is impossible with traditional techniques. Even the lightest MRAP variant, the MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) specifically designed for the rough ground of Afghanistan, weighs almost twice the 14,000 pounds (sans cargo) that the military wants for JLTV. That weight, in turn, brings down its cross-country speed.”

According to current projections, the contract at stake in this year’s competition is for the first 17,000 vehicles, but the Army plans to buy 49,000 and the Marines another 5,500, thereby bringing the total to at least 55,000 vehicles including variants and task-oriented, purpose-built platforms. The Navy and National Guard will also likely take part in acquiring the new vehicles, driving per unit production costs down and total requirements up.

Update: The Pentagon has chosen the Oshkosh version as their future Humvee replacement. The program, estimated at $30 billion, will commence with a $6.7 billion low rate initial contract, a base contract with options to procure the first 16,901 vehicles for the Army and Marine Corps. All told, the Army-led program will provide 49,100 vehicles for the Army and 5,500 for the Marine Corps.

 

 
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Father’s Day Wishes and Caviar Dreams

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Some dad’s hope for an iPad, haberdashery, or a quiet day alone napping in a shade-covered hammock. For me, I have my own set of simple dreams for Father’s Day – perhaps a copy of Tom Clancy’s latest tome, but more importantly, loads of new diecast replicas that are oddly missing from the market.

To begin, there are a number of new navy ships from around the world that are now setting sail or coming to the fore, including the HMS Queen Elizabeth, USS Gerald R. Ford, the USS Independence (LCS-2), which is a bold trimaran littoral combat ship, USS Zumwalt – a stealthy guided missile destroyer, an all-new nuclear-powered People’s Liberation Army Navy cruiser, and a littany of other warships.

SR72a

In the air, there seems to be a dearth of 1:72 scale twin engine aircraft, including the Messerschmitt Me 410, the Pe-2 bomber, and all sorts of Japanese and Italian aircraft from WWII. As far as modern aircraft goes, there’s the new Lockheed SR-72 reconnaissance plane that comes to mind, as well as the USAF new long-range strategic bomber.

Armata Tankc

And then there are the ground systems, or lack thereof, now that several players have exited the market. Minichamps left the 1:35 scale military market several years ago, yet we still receive oodles of requests for new vehicles. Likewise, Forces of Valor’s departure in the 1:32 scale regime doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t a market for these vehicles – rather a marketing strategy that some where along the way went afoul. The Russians debuted their Armata tank, the Poles have an interesting new vehicle aimed at the export market and there are other vehicles soon-to-be deployed that would make for excellent replica subjects. C’mon guys, now’s a great time to test the waters and try something new before some one else beats you to the punch. Producing the same old same old, might work in the short run, but it gives your competition ample wiggle room to enter the fray with something new and fresh.

Happy Father’s Day!

 
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Corgi Takes on the Luftwaffe Over the Skies of England

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Its refreshing to see that the Battle of Britain is still a topic of heated conversation some 75 years hence, which many regard as the pivotal battle to defeat Nazi aggression. To mark the occasion, Corgi will be offering three different WWII bombers to the public this fall,  each a key player in the attempt by the Luftwaffe to subjugate the island fortress. Expected in November is a German Junkers Ju 88A-5 Medium-Bomber that was attached to 1./Kustenfliegergruppe 806, during August 1940 (#AA36710). Also up for consideration is a German Heinkel He-111P-2 5J+CN Medium Bomber which was attached to Kampfgeschwader 4, and deployed to Oslo, Norway, during 1940 (#AA33714). And, finally we have a German Dornier Do 17 Light Bomber that was attached to 7 Staffel, III Gruppe, Kampfgeschwader 3, during August 1940 (#AA38806)

 
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Move Over BMW, Mercedes and Lexus and Say Hello to the Ripsaw

Ripsaw-EV2

Originally developed for the military, the “Ripsaw Extreme Vehicle 2” (EV2), is described as a “handcrafted, limited run, high end luxury super tank” by its maker, Howe & Howe Technologies. Now, collectors, off-roaders and military buffs can own their very own tank sans gun, provided they have the cash to burn on such a high-end extravagance.

Ripsaw2

According to the maker, the “Ripsaw Extreme Vehicle 2 was “Originally designed and built for the military as a high speed super tank, its base platform the ‘Ripsaw’ proved to be the fastest dual tracked vehicle ever developed.” The civilian model is geared towards “extreme off-road recreation” enthusiasts.

“The EV2 model appears to be based on the demilitarized MS2 design, capable of accelerating to 60 mph in less than four seconds, with a maximum speed of 80 mph,” according to Russia Today.

“These vehicles take up to 6 months to fabricate and can cost well into the 100s of thousands depending on desired luxury and performance packages,” the company said.

A fully loaded MS2 can accelerate from 0-50 mph in 5.5 seconds, and has a top speed of 60 miles per hour. Able to traverse 50-degree gradients and 45-degree slopes, the military model of the MS2 had an estimated cost of $250,000 apiece. No word as to how much the Ripsaw will run you.

 
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The Motor Pool’s “4th of July” 15% Off Sale!

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For those of you who would rather pre-order some of the upcoming products at the best possible prices, we are announcing the start of our annual 4th of July 15% Off Sale. Unlike the Grand Re-Opening Sale, you can now apply a 15% off discount to any back order, pre-order or special order item shown in our product portfolio, as well as anything listed as being in stock. Please enter discount code ” TMP140” in the coupon box just prior to final checkout. Sale ends Sunday, July 5th, 2015. May not be combined with any other sales discount.

 

 
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Eaglemoss Hits the Ground Running in July

Eaglemoss Vehicle Compliation 2

With nineteen 1:43 scale military vehicles scheduled to begin shipping next week, Eaglemoss has a further ten vehicles comprising the second wave in July. The list of vehicles is varied, ranging in scope from a German Steyr RSO 0/1 raupenschlepper to a Chevrolet CBA transport in British markings. The entire range now sells for $21.99 apiece, again a real bargain considering their size, breadth of subjects, durability and collectability. Incidentally, the M3A1 scout car in New Zealand livery has been moved up to a June ship.

 
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Land Ho! Another Model Maker Christens its Fleet

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Great news for all you nautical buffs. We’ve learned that DeAgostini’s line of warships will be leaving port and making its way to our shipyard this September. Scaled at 1:1250 (which is slightly smaller than the Eaglemoss range), the DeAgostini collection examines some of the most iconic warships of the Second World War, with a little less emphasis on the Imperial Japanese Navy and more insight into some of the other ships and navies that sailed the high seas. Priced at just $21.99, these are going to make excellent stocking stuffers this holiday season!

The warships include US Navy Iowa Class Battleship – USS Missouri (BB-63) (#DGWS003), Imperial Japanese Navy Yamato Class Super Battleship – Yamato (#DGSW002), Royal Navy Ark Royal Class Aircraft Carrier – HMS Ark Royal (91) (#DGSW006), US Navy Pennsylvania Class Battleship – USS Arizona (BB-39) (#DGSW008), German Kriegsmarine Deutschland Class Heavy Cruiser – SMS Admiral Graf Spee (#DGSW007), German Kriegsmarine Scharnhorst Class Battleship – SMS Scharnhorst (#DGSW001), US Navy Yorktown Class Aircraft Carrier – USS Hornet (CV-8) (#DGSW004), Royal Navy Renown Class Battlecruiser – HMS Repulse (#DGSW005), German Kriegsmarine Admiral Hipper Class Heavy Cruiser – SMS Prinz Eugen (#DGSW010), and US Navy Lexington Class Aircraft Carrier – USS Lexington (CV-2) (@DGSW009).

Best of all, each replica comes with a full-color, multi-page magazine (written in English, no less!), with the proposed series covering some sixty subjects in total.

DeAgostini Ships

 
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