January 2016

Minichamps Re-enlists in the Military, Sort Of

MIN400016100

At the Nuremberg Toy Fair, Minichamps announced two new military vehicles for release later this year. Before everyone gets excited, we just wanted to point out that both vehicles are being offered in 1:18 scale and secondly both are based upon post-World War II vehicles. The first is a Bundeswehr 1957 Jagdwagen while the second is an upscaled version of their previously released 1955-1968 DKW Munga.

Porsche-597-Jagdwagn

Thus far we don’t know their cost and given their history, it could be quite some time before they actually materialize. So, we’re on the fence about bringing in these soft-skinned vehicles, when we recognize our clientele would prefer 1:35 scale tanks from WWII. Anyway, we’d appreciate whatever feedback you could provide us concerning interest before we take the next step and consider adding them to our product portfolio..

 
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Oxford Diecast Shows Off Their Figure(s)

Oxford Figurines Logo

At the London Toy Fair, Oxford Diecast peeled back the curtains on some of their upcoming products for 2016. Later this year, they plan to launch a brand new line of pre-painted figures, which will come in multiple scales and ranges. The first series will be in 1:32 scale and showcase three of the most iconic symbols of British culture – a Beefeater, a soldier from the Coldstream Guards, and a member of the Life Guards. All have been listed on our web site, and we hope to have clear images for all three figures shortly.

 
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Adverse Weather Could Impact Shipments

Larry Bartle shovels new snow from around his cars in Lafayette, Colo., on Friday, Jan. 5, 2007, where an overnight winter storm left a foot of snow. This is the third snowstorm to hit the Colorado front range in three weeks. (AP Photo/Peter M. Fredin)

A blizzard watch has now been posted for the New York City region where we are located, which will take effect early Saturday and into Sunday. As a result, we will not be making any outbound shipments on Saturday, and, depending upon the weather conditions, may hamper further operations into Monday. Currently we are expecting a minimum of 6-12 inches of snow, with greater accumulations possible depending upon the track of the storm. So, we will conclude any outbound shipments this Friday and ride out the storm, hopefully resuming normal operations on Monday.

Aftermath: Well, we got socked pretty hard here in New York City. In fact, news reports are indicating this was the second snowiest storm on record for NYC. Unofficially, I’m guessing we got around 28 inches of snow, so its going to take us some time to dig out and get things up to speed. Likewise, its going to take other businesses, such as the Post Office, some time before they too can resume operations. We’re hoping that by Monday everything is back on track, otherwise we’re looking at Tuesday to resume accepting inbound and making outbound shipments.

 
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The USA’s FVL Begins to Take Shape

V280

As 2016 dawns, so does the look and feel of the the US Army’s FVL (Future Vertical Lift) program. Intended to replace the aging AH-64 Apache and UH-60 Black Hawk in the not-too-distant future, the FVL looks to incorporate advances in technology that will help keep the aircraft flying well into the mid 21st Century. Two competing designs are beginning to take shape; one by Bell, dubbed the V-280 Valor, and the other by Sikorsky-Boeing, and known as the SB-1 Defiant.

 

S1Defiant

The Valor resembles the V-22 Osprey, in that it makes use of a tilt-rotor wing for added lift and range, while the Sikorsky design makes use of a pair of contra-rotating overhead blades for improved performance.

According to Flightglobal, “No funding has been allocated for FVL thus far, but the army expects to firm its performance requirements once the demonstrators fly. FVL might not surface in the army’s upcoming fiscal year 2017 budget submission, but Bell hopes funding will be made available in 2018 or 2019 to get things moving.”

 
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Odds and Ends for the New Year

 

usps-logo

Well, we’re back from vacation and thought we’d kick off the new year with a few odds and ends that typically come up at this time of year. First off, the USPS is expected to increase rates by 9% beginning Wednesday, January 20th. For now, we’re going to hold the line on the $4.99 flat rate shipping model, but may have to raise this price should shipping costs start to get out of hand, particularly for packages that need to be mailed to the western portion of the country.

Secondly, Chinese New Year begins on February 8th, which creates a bit of a lull from a manufacturing perspective for about two weeks. So, expect shipments to slow down for the latter half of February into March until the manufacturers start to ramp things up after their return.

Lastly, a number of important Toy Shows are held at this time of year around the globe, with the most important being the Nuremberg Spielwarenmesse held in Germany beginning January 27th. We’ve posted an update to our Calendar of Events page which delineates when each show is held. Obviously, we’ll share any important product announcements with our clientele the minute we hear about them. Hopefully, there’s lots of new products on the horizons and perhaps a few new players in the diecast military space.

 
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Parting Shots

DRR61020

Before we head off on vacation, I just wanted to share an interesting bit of news with you that you may find fascinating. While the global stock markets may be off to one of their rockiest starts in recent history, its nice to see that it hasn’t had a material impact on certain segments of the collectible industry, particularly highly desirable diecast items. Take, for instance, the Dragon Cyber Hobby Otto Carius Tiger tank that is packed in a metal tin with a collector card (DRR60120) and is no longer available through normal sales channels. Released way back in 2004 for a paltry $49.99, this item has steadily risen in value, far exceeding all expectations even we placed on this item when we started to hike its asking price. Recently on eBay, an example of this item, admittedly with the now deceased panzer ace’s signature emblazoned on the packaging, fetched a whopping $700 overseas, or more precisely 14 times what it originally sold for in just eleven years. Not bad when things seem topsy turvy on the financial scene…

Ottos Carius Auction

 
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