August 2016

Variants? We’ve Got a Few


While researching some of the latest models coming to market, we thought it fascinating to see the multitude of other “what-if” aircraft that either entered service with all the world’s air forces or were left languishing on the drawing board in favor of other designs. For instance, while most collectors and historians are eminently familiar with the iconic shape of the North American P-51 Mustang fighter, we are willing to bet that many never heard of the A-36 Apache. The North American A-36 Apache (listed in some sources as “Invader”, but also called Mustang) was the ground-attack/dive bomber version of the North American P-51 Mustang, from which it could be distinguished by the presence of rectangular, slatted dive brakes above and below the wings. A total of 500 A-36 dive bombers served in North Africa, the Mediterranean, Italy and the China-Burma-India theater during World War II before being withdrawn from operational use in 1944.

Single Fin F-14

Fast forward to the late 60s, and Grumman even contemplated a single fin F-14 Tomcat as its entrant in a new naval fleet defense fighter fly-off, as opposed to the twin fin version settled upon by the designers. Apparently, during the design process, some 9,000 hours of wind-tunnel testing were performed on some 2,000 different configurations and nearly 400 combinations of air inlets and exhaust nozzles. In 1968, the design studies of the Grumman engineers concentrated on 8 layouts before the E version became the winning design (See table below). Thoughts during the design process incorporated the behavior during high speed (supersonic) flight, supersonic combat ceiling performance, trouble-free engine performance, engine growth potential and subsonic longitudinal stability. The fixed-wing version was rejected because of its weight, carrier suitability and because of its low-altitude performance. Some of the basic design background for the F-14 (and also for the F-111) was gathered using a German x-plane which was built during 1944.

In summation, it would be nice to see the model makers take a long and hard look at some of the other aircraft designs that saw combat, requiring, in some instances, minor modifications to their existing tooling to properly pull off. When every one else is producing loads of standard fare F-14s to go against one another, perhaps the answer lies in living life on the edge and doing something a bit out of the ordinary.

Share This:

Product Spotlight: The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force


“Skyhigh Is My Place”
– Motto of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force

When Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein, ordered his forces to attack neighboring Iran in the early 1980s, he bit off more than he could chew. Although the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force was no longer able to procure parts for its largely US-built air force following the coup, they were, nevertheless, more than a match for the Iraqi Air Force, time and again turning back aerial assaults even when outnumbered and outgunned.

One of the principal reasons why they were able to hold their own against the Iraqis was because they has been equipped with the Grumman F-14 Fleet Defense Fighter, a versatile swing-wing aircraft intended for naval operations yet was equally at home flying from land-based airfields.


After the Iran-Iraq War, IRIAF`s experts modernized this particular warbird during its overhaul. The modernization program was designed to cover certain structural life-extensions, avionics and armament upgrade. Hundreds of hours were spent on upgrading this 37 years old interceptor. It was painted in a edged three-tone Asian Minor II camo pattern. Two new AA missiles has been  adapted with its fire control system, R-73E, AIM-54A+ “Fakkur”, AIM-54A, AIM-7E-4 and AIM-9J.

Share This:

Forces of Valor: Out with the Old, In with the New


As the new owners of the Forces of Valor brand move closer to announcing their initial product offerings, we have decided to make some changes to the way in which we present the brand to the public. Because the new owners will likely reintroduce some of the older items in updated packaging or with different accessories and features, we will be distinguishing old inventory from new with some minor SKU modifications to lessen confusion yet extend the brand.

Any of the products remaining in inventory that were offered by Unimax, the original makers of the line, will have a product code that begins with UNI. Any new items being offered by the new manufacturer, Waltersons (Walter & Sons), will sport a FOV product identifier. So, a Unimax-built 1:32 scale Tiger I tank will carry the code UNI80003, while a similar Waltersons release will be identified as FOV80003, unless, of course, the new owners decide to introduce a completely different set of product codes.


Speaking of new, Forces of Valor has released details concerning their first new static model. According to their Facebook page, the Company plans to reintroduce a 1:700 scale replica of the USS Enterprise (CVN-65), which is reportedly set for production some time in September. We’ve posted CAD images showing the new warship and some of its embarked aircraft atop the flight deck.


Note that the manufacturer has elected to go with a more elegant wooden base and machined metal supporting pillars over the previous plastic design, as well as an etched metal name plate. Nice improvements meant to make the diorama look even more attractive.

Share This:

Product Spotlight: Russia’s “Black Eagle”


“Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you.

Russian President Nikita Kruschev, in a 1961 speech at the Institute of Marxism-Leninism in Moscow

Nothing causes more consternation among western military planners, strategists and theorists than the knowledge that a new Russian main battle tank could be on the drawing board. Conjuring up images of vast armadas of Russian tanks rolling through the Fulda Gap and fanning our across NATO’s heartland, the western nations always sit up and take notice of a new Russian tank supposedly in development and let out a collective sigh of relief when rumors and warmongering talk are put to rest.

Such was the case in the 1980s, when news was circulating that the Russians were at it again and planning an all-new tank that incorporated some of the latest improvements and technologies learned from the battlefield. The Black Eagle tank (Object 640), was a presumed prototype main battle tank produced in the Russian Federation. It was thought to have been developed by the KBTM design bureau in Omsk in the late 1990s. A production version of this tank has never been publicly demonstrated. The Black Eagle has been cancelled, with all production and development halted.

The company that was developing the tank, Omsk Transmash, has gone bankrupt, and its designs and projects have been absorbed into Uralvagonzavod and state owned services. Uralvagonzavod was developing the T-95 in competition to the Black Eagle, and now owns the rights to both projects, but the Russian government has withdrawn all support and funding for the project.

Development started during the 1980s, when the design bureau of the Leningrad Kirov Plant (LKZ) developed a new design based on the stretched T-80U chassis. Later, when the bureau closed, the documentation was transferred to KBTM in Omsk.

A mock-up of the Black Eagle was first demonstrated at the VTTV arms exposition in Omsk, in September 1997, making a single brief pass, far from the reviewing stands. The tank appeared to be a standard T-80U hull, topped by a very large turret and gun, obscured by camouflage netting and canvas. The turret later turned out to be a crude mock-up.

An early prototype was shown at an arms exposition in Siberia, in June 1999. This tank had an elongated hull with seven pairs of road wheels instead of the T-80’s six, and a turret still mostly obscured by camouflage netting.

The tank was based on a lengthened T-80U hull, with an extra pair of road wheels and a brand new turret. It appeared to have had very thick front armour and new-generation Kaktus explosive reactive armour on the hull and turret. The turret had a very large, box-shaped turret bustle instead of the traditional dome shape of previous Soviet and Russian main battle tanks. According to Russian reports, the Black Eagle design had abandoned the carousel-style autoloader in the fighting compartment for an autoloader mounted in the large western-style turret bustle, which incorporates a blow-out armoured ammunition compartment for crew safety, like the U.S. M1 Abrams, the German Leopard 2, British Challenger 2, French Leclerc and several other modern western tanks. The prototype had a 125 mm tank gun, but it was stated that it may have accommodated a larger 152 mm gun (compared to the 120 and 125 mm-calibre guns of main battle tanks in service). There was debate about whether the Black Eagle would incorporate the Drozd or Arena Active Protection System.

Modelcollect’s 1:72 scale look at the infamous Black Eagle tank (AS72043) is now in stock and ready for shipping.


Share This:

Product Spotlight: Harcourt Fenton Mudd and “Stella”


Harcourt Fenton Mudd. Thief –”
“Come now.”
“Swindler and con man…”
“Liar and rogue.”
“Did I leave you with that impression?
– James T. Kirk and Harcourt Mudd, 2268 (“I, Mudd“)
Perhaps one of the most memorable characters ever to appear in Star Trek The Original Series was Harcourt Fenton Mudd. Mudd was a male Human civilian in the 23rd century. He was a notorious con artist encountered several times by the crew of the USS Enterprise. Essentially more of a lovable rogue than a true villain, he lived by his wits on the other side of the law.
While it would have been nice to physically portray his actual personna, Eaglemoss will, nevertheless, be paying him tribute by modeling his ship – a somewhat cocoon-like transport named after his drone-like wife, “Stella”, that enabled him to travel the galaxy and trade his wares with all manner of culture, species and civilization (EMST0079). Look for it this November.
Share This:

Product Spotlight: “Dolfo”



“As England, in spite of her hopeless situation, still shows no sign of willingness to come to terms, I have decided to prepare, and if necessary to carry out, a landing operation against her. The aim of this operation os to eliminate the English Motherland as a base from which the war against Germany can be continued, and, if necessary, to occupy the country completely.”

– Fuhrer Directive No. 16, announcing Unternehmen Seelowe (Operation Sea Lion), the invasion of England, July 16th, 1940

Hobby Master’s second 1:48 scale look at the Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter is nearing its operational readiness date, and this one is ever-so-important to historians and collectors alike. HA8702 portrays Oberstleutnant Adolf Galland’s Bf-109E fighter, when he was attached to Jagdgeschwader 26 “Schlageter”, then deployed to Audembert, France, June 1940.


Undoubtedly one of the best known Bf 109Es of them all, Galland’s famous E-4/N was marked with Kommodore markings, 57 victory bars on the rudder and the familiar black and white mouse personal emblem. But the writing was on the wall for this aircraft by December 1940. Having scored an additional three kills with it, Galland then received a new Bf 109E-0, and proceeded to fly both types from Brest in early 1941. The Bf 109Es scope protuding from the windscreen was not a telescopic sight, but just a straightforward telescope, which enabled Galland to identify between friend and foe at a greater range.

Share This:

Forces of Valor Lays Out Their R/C Plans


Since their success lies in the radio controlled business, Waltersons, the new owners of the Forces of Valor marque, recently addressed how they plan to resurrect and improve upon the radio controlled military vehicles that once formed the cornerstone of the Forces of Valor brand.

“Forces of Valor (Unimax) first introduced the 1/24 scale radio controlled tank line back in early 2010, unfortunately this R/c line had been discontinued 36 months later due to electronic supplier issue. Ever since then, these 8 tank models have been sleeping quietly in their warehouse. And once the buyout of Forces of Valor had finally been completed, the first thing Waltersons did, was to bring the 1/24 scale R/c tanks back to life.

And after nearly 6 years since the introduction of this R/c line, are you thinking that Waltersons is just simply re-cooking the same dish? still 27MHz control system, complicated drive system, simple sound effect, average paint job and regular Infrared battle system?

Not at all!!!! We are about to re-define the standard of 1/24 scale R/c tanks, and check the following features list to see if there is anything you like 🙂

– CNC machined aluminum gun barrel
– Hobby grade painting
– Weathering effect
– Zimmerit pattern on Tiger I tank
– Natural casting surface effect on Sherman tank

– Coils suspension system
– Individual track links (Clipping type)
– Turret rotates 320 degrees
– Gun barrel elevates 25 degrees
– Drives forward, backward, left and right (Check our demo video later to see how good the handling is)
– Infrared shooting target board (Standard equipment)

– New 2.4GHz FHSS radio system with a minimum coverage of 60 meters
– ARM Based MCU architecture
– Remote control volume adjustment
– Remote control headlight
– Left & Right hand throttle interchangeable
– 12 steps throttle responsiveness control
– Auxiliary control mode -> can rotate turret, elevates gun barrel, fire machine guns and main gun
– Engine running mode -> drive tank forward, backward, left, right, battle with other tanks plus everything you can do in auxiliary power mode (** This feature was unseen in 1/24 scale R/c tanks in the past, and now we have brought this to you as a standard feature)

– REAL sound recorded from museums + private tank collectors
– Maybach 231 engine sound for Tiger I, Continental V8 for Sherman M4A3 and V-2-34 for Soviet T34/85… every type of tank produce its unique engine note just like the real machine
– Class D amplifier
– 1W output speaker
– 4 Channels sound chip, can play up to 4 sound effects simultaneously
– 14 sound effect profiles
1. Engine ignition
2. Engine shut off
3. Engine idling
4. Acceleration
5. Maximum acceleration
6. Deceleration
7. Machine gun (recorded from real weapons)
8. Main gun – obtained from sound library, unfortunately many vehicles at the museum has disarmed the main gun feature 🙁
9. Turret rotation
10. Turret braking
11. Gun barrel elevation
12. Tank explosion (when you get hit by enemies)
13. Caught fire (after you are defeated)
14. Headlight switch on

– 4 x 1.5V Alkaline battery (Transmitter)
– 6 x 1.5V Alkaline battery (Tank on board)
– Optional Ni-MH rechargeable battery (Tank on board)

Battle system:
– Team A & B battle system, now support up to 16 players. You can form a team up to 15 players against 1 opponent player. Team combination can be 8:8, 7:5, 4:3 etc…
– Team N battle mode: last man standing (Fight everyone, no team)

– Tank shut off reminder system
– Automatic power cut off after 4 minutes of idling


We are working with our distributors now on packaging, we should be able to offer “Tank only” pack or complete Ready to run package. We have received a lot of emails from collectors saying that there is no need for them to keep 5 transmitters because they want to collect 5 tank models.”

Share This:

Product Spotlight: Celebrate General Chuck Yeager’s Upcoming 94th Birthday in Style



“You do what you can for as long as you can, and when you finally can’t, you do the next best thing. You back up but you don’t give up.”

– Chuck Yeager

As legendary ace, Brigadier General Chuck Yeager, nears his 94th birthday this February, Hobby Master decided to pay him hommage with a replica of his P-51D Mustang, “Glamorous Glen III.”

Stationed in the United Kingdom at RAF Leiston, Yeager flew P-51 Mustangs in combat with the 363d Fighter Squadron. He named his aircraft Glamorous Glen after his girlfriend, Glennis Faye Dickhouse, who became his wife in February 1945. Yeager had gained one victory before he was shot down over France in his first aircraft (P-51B-5-NA s/n 43-6763) on March 5th, 1944, during his eighth mission. He escaped to Spain on March 30th with the help of the Maquis (French Resistance) and returned to England on May 15th, 1944. During his stay with the Maquis, Yeager assisted the guerrillas in duties that did not involve direct combat, although he did help to construct bombs for the group, a skill that he had learned from his father. He was awarded the Bronze Star for helping another airman, who had lost part of his leg during the escape attempt, to cross the Pyrenees.


Despite a regulation prohibiting “evaders” (escaped pilots) from flying over enemy territory again, the purpose of which was to prevent a second capture from compromising resistance groups, Yeager was reinstated to flying combat. He had joined another evader, bomber pilot Captain Fred Glover, in speaking directly to the Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, on June 12th, 1944. With Glover pleading their case, they argued that because the Allies had invaded France and the Maquis were by then openly fighting the Nazis alongside Allied troops, if Yeager or Glover were shot down again, there was little about those who had previously helped them evade capture that could be revealed to the enemy.

Eisenhower, after gaining permission from the War Department to decide the requests, concurred with Yeager and Glover. Yeager later credited his postwar success in the Air Force to this decision, saying that his test pilot career followed naturally from his having been a decorated combat pilot, along with having been an aircraft mechanic before attending pilot school. In part, because of his maintenance background, he also frequently served as a maintenance officer in his flying units.


Share This:

When War Becomes a Conversation Piece

War and Peace

Our friends across the pond have announced the publication of a beautifully illustrated, coffee table-sized book based upon the world’s largest military vehicle show. According to the publisher, the “War and Peace Show Remembered: A Celebration of the World’s Largest Military Vehicle Show.” is a 400­-page hardback book with over 500 illustrations, that captures the essence of the event through hundreds of photographs, plus images of show programmes, posters and vintage adverts that date as far back as the early 1980s, when the show was only a tiny gathering of Invicta Military ­vehicle Preservation Society (IMPS) members with about 100 vehicles.

A Kickstarter campaign has been launched, complete with several stretch goals, all aimed at raising funds to help produce the book and get the word out about their archives and future events. You can find other related information on their web page:


Share This:

Modelcollect Hints at Grander Things to Come


During a recent visit to their website, Modelcollect has not only revamped the look and feel of their store, but also added some intriguing morsels of information. Under their “Model” link, they have two new pre-assembled categories being shown: one for warships and a second for aircraft. A 1:72 scale B-52 Stratofortress heavy bomber is shown under their “Kits” link, so its entirely possible that a pre-assembled version could be in the offing. Obviously, an aircraft of this size will come with a matching price tag, and require a great deal of bookshelf real estate to properly display. Thus far, the “Kits” link does not show any warships available for pre-order, so its anyone’s guess where they will focus their energies, efforts and overall design goals going forward.

Share This: