July 2015

Eaglemoss Orders General Quarters for the HMS Hermes

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At the outset of the War in the Pacific in 1941, the Allies were woefully unprepared to take on the Imperial Japanese Navy operating in the Indian Ocean and western Pacific waters. One of the victims of the Japanese centrifugal offensive was the British aircraft carrier, HMS Hermes (95), which was sunk by Japanese dive-bombers on April 9th, 1942, after setting sail without its complement of aircraft on board.

Happily, Eaglemoss rendition of this venerable warship will feature some of its warplanes deployed on its flight deck, with the ship resplendent in a tropical tri-color camouflage pattern. Look for their newest entry in the Warships of the World Collection some time later this year.

On a related nautical note, four warships are expected to drop anchor at our port in early August. The list includes IJN battleship Musashi (EMGC04), IJN heavy cruiser Furutaka (EMGC27), IJN destroyer Fubuki (EMGC39), and the Marine Nationale battleship Dunkerque (EMGC43), the first French warship in the series.

 
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Luft-X Heads Back to the Drawing Board

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The fundamental mission behind the creation of Luft-X is to offer up several of the more exotic aircraft that was under development by the Luftwaffe at the closing stages of WWII. It is therefore a tad ironic that their upcoming Horten Ho 229 fighter-bomber is being wheeled back to its hangar for a new coat of paint, one that is more in keeping with its historic roots and color plates. The new scheme has an earthy look to it (see above), likely treated so it could blend in with trees and other fauna if it was to operate from roadways and rural areas, while its original scheme had a more dazzling look to it (see below).

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Their next pair of aircraft are expected in mid August.

 
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Russia Hosts an Armored Olympics

Just when you think you’ve heard it all comes news that Russia is in the midst of hosting a military biathalon – an Olympics for tankers – complete with gold covered combat vehicles for the winners. More information can be found here:

http://www.rt.com/news/169084-tank-biathlon-winners-gold/

2453016 06/25/2014 BMD-4M armored infantry fighting vehicles and T-72B tanks during Tank Biathlon 2014 competition held at the shooting range of the 2nd Guards Motor Rifle Tamanskaya Division in Alabino village. Kirill Kallinikov/RIA Novosti
2453016 06/25/2014 BMD-4M armored infantry fighting vehicles and T-72B tanks during Tank Biathlon 2014 competition held at the shooting range of the 2nd Guards Motor Rifle Tamanskaya Division in Alabino village. Kirill Kallinikov/RIA Novosti

Thirteen nations are competing including the Chinese, who are using their own vehicles to participate.

 
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Corgi Gets Swept Away by a Typhoon

AA36407
Long asked for but never truly addressed, Corgi finally has a pair of Eurofighter Typhoons scheduled to attack the diecast community.

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Two versions of the multirole fighter are expected later this year – one paying tribute to a warbird that participated in “Operation Ellamy” to bring down the Lybian regime in 2011 (AA36406) and the other paying homage to the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain (AA36407). Both look quite handsome and make great additions to anyone’s aviation collection.

 
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PMA Gets Comfortable in Its Own Skin

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Long serving as the manufacturing arm for Blitz 72, PMA has stepped out of the shadows and is now producing its own line of 1:72 scale military hardware. Expected in September is this Sd. Kfz. 8 DB9 prime mover which mounts a FlaK 18 88mm anti-aircraft gun on the rear bed. Painted in a whitewashed camouflage scheme and bearing loads of incredible detail, this main stay of the Wehrmacht fills a niche long neglected by the other model makers.

 
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Eaglemoss Gives Us a Head Fake Then Heads for the Hoop

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We’ve been waiting patiently for the July shipment of Eaglemoss 1:43 scale products to arrive, which was expected earlier this month. However, we’ve just learned that the nineteen vehicles have been delayed a bit, although hopefully not for too long. Conversely, several vehicles that were slated to arrive in August were apparently pushed up and received by our distributor, which are now en route to us as we speak. Likewise, some of the Fabrri 1:72 scale vehicles are also being sent to us, although a handful of others have been shunted to the August window. We apologize for these “mid-course corrections” and will do our utmost to get these out the door the moment they arrive.

 
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Fight’s On: Hobby Master Puts On its Boxing Gloves

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With 15 years in this business, we ordinarily take any news we come across with a grain of salt, particularly when new products are announced, since they sometimes end up as no more than pipe dreams or chest-beating rants by boastful manufacturers. However, when Hobby Master announced their intent to offer a 1:72 scale replica of the Grumman F-14 Fleet Defense Fighter, we sat up and took notice. Hobby Master has been one of the most reliable model makers in business today, while one of their rivals, Century Wings, is equally well-respected, largely confining its efforts towards producing a narrow gaggle of aircraft. The F-14 has always been one of Century Wings most passionate projects, with something on the order of 35 different aircraft released to date. Some command a small fortune in the after market, prized for their accuracy and limited runs.

Hobby Master’s first effort will be based upon a bird that was used by the commanding officer of VF-211 “Fighting Checkmates”, which was embarked upon the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) during 2004 (#HA5201). Moreover, the model will feature variable-geometry wings, thereby permitting them to be displayed in launch or in-flight configuration. Barring any licensing issues, a good subject for replication might be the F-14s depicted in the feature film, Top Gun, seeing as how the movie’s sequel is about to enter production.

Anyway, we thought it a bid odd that Hobby Master would devote precious resources towards producing a model that has become the bastion for another model maker, when loads of other untouched subjects could have made better choices. We wish them well in their endeavors and hope there’s enough market to go around for both companies to remain satisfied.

 
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SkyMax Models Returns From the Dead

SM8006
Long thought to have been laid to rest, it looks as if SkyMax Models has risen from the dead and is giving us an encore performance. According to HobbyMaster Collector, the Company plans to reintroduce us to the Douglas Devastator this fall, by offering us a plane that was attached VS-42, then embarked upon the USS Ranger (CV-4), just prior to the start of hostilities in the Pacific during May 1941 (#SM8006). While its refreshing to see them make a come back, it would be nice to hear it from the manufacturer by providing its collectors and merchants a web site they can visit. Welcome back SkyMax!

 
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Turning Lemons into Lemonade

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While several manufacturers have been accused of not including enough information with their models it looks as if one went a tad too far in the other direction, and with unhappy results. Hobby Master originally included some text on the top of the radome for their inaugural E-2C Hawkeye Airborne Early Warning Aircraft (as shown in this image), an oversight that may never be fully explained. Anyway, as some have pointed out, the text never appeared on the actual aircraft (as shown in the second image), as several online photographs clearly show, meaning their first foray could have been headed to the bargain bin.

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ATLANTIC OCEAN (Dec. 17, 2007) An E-2C Hawkeye, attached to the “Screwtops” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 123, performs a fly-by for family and friends of crew members during an air power demonstration held by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) during a three-day Tiger Cruise. Enterprise and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 are on a scheduled six-month deployment. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class George R. Kusner (Released)

To fix the error, Hobby Master has dutifully returned this bird to their hangar and is removing any and all text they inadvertently included, leaving just the “blue swirl” intact to signify it belongs to VAW-123 “Screwtops”. While other manufacturers may have declined the notion of recalling a model to fix such a glaring error, its refreshing to see that at least one model maker is willing to go the extra mile to make their replicas as true-to-life as possible, even if it costs them resources, time and energy to bring their product to market. No one likes a black eye, but the take away here is that the Company recognizes its responsibility to their clientele and is working towards rectifying the issue to everyone’s satisfaction. Well done!

 
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Should Our Armour Be Better Protected?

T14 Drawing

Much is made about the US Army’s M1 Abrams tank’s ability to defeat anti-armour projectiles fired from ground-based platforms thanks to its highly-secretive Chobham composite skin, but little is mentioned concerning an active protective system designed to defeat munitions fired from low-flying attack helicopters or man-portable systems. Conversely, Russia’s new T-14 Armata tank features two levels of protection against these threats, as detailed in Wikipedia:

“In addition to dual-reactive armour Malachit the T-14 features an active protection system Afghanit (Russian: Афганит). This system includes a millimeter-wavelength radar to detect, track and intercept incoming anti-tank munitions, both kinetic energy penetrators and tandem-charges. Currently, the maximum speed of the interceptable target is 1,700 m/s, with projected future increases of up to 3,000 m/s. According to the news sources it protects the tank from all sides.

Defense Update released their analysis of the tank, where they speculate that Afghanit main sensors are the four panels mounted on a turret’s sides, which are probably the AESA radar panes spread out for the 360° view, and possible one more on top of the turret. In their opinion, the active part of the system it consists of both a hard kill and a soft kill elements, first of which actively destroys the incoming projectile (such as a dumb rocket or artillery shell), while the second confuses the guidance mechanism of ATGMs and such, causing it to lose the target lock. They believe that it would be effective against most modern ATGMs, including Hellfire, TOW, Javelin, Spike, Brimstone, JAGM, etc.

Afghanit hard-kill launchers are the long tubes mounted in groups of five between the turret’s front sides and the chassis. These send out an electronically activated charge that shoots an Explosively Formed Penetrator towards the target (in all directions). Aside from that, the tank is also equipped by the NII Stali’s Upper Hemisphere Protection Complex, which consists of two steerable cartridges with 12 smaller charges each, and a turret-top VLS with two more similar cartridges. It probably corresponds to the Defense Update soft-kill system. Additionally, using AESA radar and anti-aircraft machine gun it is possible to destroy incoming missiles and slow-flying shells (except hypersonic kinetic energy penetrators).”

As I understand it, the US Army is loathe to adding this type of “active” protection to its fleet of main battle tanks because it will likely cause collateral damage amongst any accompanying troops travelling on foot, putting them in harm’s way should the tanks have to defend themselves. As a result, more effort has been placed into providing units with accompanying anti-aircraft weaponry, both tracked and on foot, as a means of protecting its armored forces, as well as less lethal countermeasures against other threats. However, as we move further into the 21st Century, should the brass reexamine and reevaluate this strategy if its armour can no longer compete with its adversaries?

 
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