February 2017

Just How Funny Were Hobart’s Funnies?

British Churchill Mk. III Infantry Tank with Deep Wading Devices – 14th Canadian Army Tank Regiment, Calgary Regiment, Dieppe, 1942 (1:48 Scale)

As part of the run-up to the D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy, General Percy Hobart was tasked with creating an unusual array of engineering oddities that could breach the German obstacles that lay in the way of a successful landing. Through trial and error, he came up with a startling array of heavily modified tanks that were designed, among other things, to clear mines, breach obstacles, and wade ashore to provide fire support.

This spring, french manufacturer, Quarter Kit, will pay homage to many of the concoctions he came up with by offering several engineering vehicles derived from the Churchill tank. First off is a British Churchill Mk. III Infantry Tank with a Deep Wading Device (MF48605) that was employed by the 14th Canadian Army Tank Regiment, Calgary Regiment, at Dieppe, in 1942, a dress rehearsal of sorts prior to the larger D-Day landings in 1944.

British Churchill Mk. III Infantry Tank with AVRE Mat Layer (Carpet-layer) with Bobbin – 79th Armoured Division, Gold Beach, Normandy, 1944 (1:48 Scale)

Also expected is a British Churchill Mk. III AVRE Tank with 290mm Howitzer used by the highly decorated 79th Armoured Division, at Juno Beach, Normandy, during 1944 (MF48608), which was used to ferry specially trained engineers to the beaches so they could help clear obstacles.

British Churchill Mk. III Infantry Tank with AVRE Fascine Carrier – 79th Armoured Division, Gold Beach, Normandy, 1944 (1:48 Scale)

The 79th also used the British Churchill Mk. III Infantry Tank with AVRE Mat Layer (Carpet-layer) with Bobbin (MF48606) as a means of traversing areas of the beach deemed to unstable for ordinary transport.

British Churchill Mk. III Assault Vehicle Royal Engineers (AVRE) Tank with 290mm Howitzer – 79th Armoured Division, Juno Beach, Normandy, 1944 (1:48 Scale)

Lastly, the 79th also brought along a British Churchill Mk. III Infantry Tank with AVRE Fascine Carrier (MF48607) which could drive up to a ravine then deposit a bundle of fascine in its yaw that would effectively fill in the open space. Look for all four 1:48 scale curiosities to become available in time for the 73rd anniversary of D-Day.  We will post actual vehicles for each replica once they become available.

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Eaglemoss Fires Up the Star Trek Conveyor Belt


Eaglemoss Star Trek Federation Nova Class Starship – USS Rhode Island NCC-72701. Comes with a collector magazine

Now that Chinese New Year has slipped into the intergalactic rear view mirror, Eaglemoss Collections has shed light on some of their Star Trek standard issue releases slated for a mid year release. Six starships are pegged to get underway this summer, among them the following:

#EMST0093 – ECS Horizon J-Class Freighter (Shipping May)

#EMST0094 – Suliban Cell Ship (Shipping May)

#EMST0095 – Federation New Orleans Class Starship – USS Kyushu (NCC-65491) (Shipping June)

#EMST0096 – Orion Scout Ship (Shipping June)

#EMST0097 – Federation Academy Flight Trainer (Shipping July)

#EMST0098 – Federation  Nova Class Starship – USS Rhode Island (NCC-72701) (Shipping July)

In related news, we’ve reduced the selling price for each standard sized starship from $24.99 to $21.99, making them even more affordable, particularly when purchasing them en masse.

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Chinese Naval Ambitions Get Another Shot in the Arm with Their Newest Carrier

China’s Type 001A aircraft carrier nears completion and will begin its testing phase shortly.

While many naval experts still ponder the role of the People’s Liberation Army Navy Surface Force’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, a rebuilt carrier sold to them by Russia and originally laid down as the Admiral Kuznetsov-class multirole aircraft carrier, Riga, for the Soviet Navy, Globalsecurity.org reports that the PRC’s first home-built carrier, the Type 001A, is nearing completion and will likely undergo testing shortly, a process that typically takes upwards of two years to finish. Like the Liaoning, the as yet unnamed Type 001A will boast a ski-jump forward as its principal means of launching aircraft. Several years ago, China had purchased four different types of catapult launch systems from Russia for evaluation and further testing on its mainland proving grounds, but it appears as if none of these systems are being integrated into the new carrier. Nonetheless, reports have surfaced that indicate their second home-built carrier, the Type 002, which is already underway, will feature an Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) that is similar to the type employed on the soon-to-be-ready USS Gerald Ford aircraft carrier (CVN-78). Both designs are larger than the Liaoning, and through some clever workarounds, are intended to carry more aircraft, thereby improving their sortie rate. For more information on the Type 001A, click on this link: http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/china/2017/china-170221-pdo01.htm?_m=3n%2e002a%2e1946%2efw0ao07oom%2e1sf9


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Films in Focus: Want the Real Thing? Well, You May Have to Settle for Diecast

Its common knowledge among military historians, that many allied tanks produced during WWII were no match for their German counterparts, even though many tank crews were told they were issued the finest vehicles available from the “Arsenal of Democracy.” The truth proved to be anything but that, as they soon learned firsthand when facing off against the cream of the panzerwaffe. As a result, many of the earliest Allied tanks never survived the war, most having been destroyed in battle, stripped for parts or simply abandoned to the ravages of time.

Fox News Auto recently posted an interesting article discussing this sad epitaph, then going on to discuss how Hollywood’s film makers skirted this issue when producing some of the most recent films, among them the epic “Fury”. For more information, click on this link: http://www.foxnews.com/auto/2017/02/20/in-military-collectibles-supply-often-falls-short-demand.html

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This Ain’t Your Father’s Radio Controlled Cessna!

Every so often, while perusing Facebook or the ‘net, I stare slack-jawed at some of the awesome radio controlled aircraft I see being demoed. As a wannabee R/C pilot that never took the plunge, I get goose bumps every time I see some of these creations take to the sky, particularly in the age of augmented and virtual reality, where grounded pilots can don specially designed goggles and actually see and experience what their aircraft are doing.

Earlier today, while scrolling through some recent threads, I came across this video, which portrays a scale model of  a US Air Force MH-53 Pave Low helicopter. Featuring a retractable undercarriage, fully-operating rear ramp and incredible detail, I was simply flabbergasted that someone scratch-built this model, even getting it to fly and operate like the real thing. This beast must have cost thousands to build, so it takes a stout heart and nerves of steel to want to take it out for a spin. Anyway, check out the video!

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Air Force 1 Returns With a War Winner



Air Force 1’s 1:72 scale USAAF Boeing B-17G-30-BO Flying Fortress Heavy Bomber – “Nine-O-Nine”, 323rd Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group, Bassingbourn, England, 1944
“Why, it’s a flying fortress.”
– Richard Williams, reporter for the Seattle Times, upon seeing a B-17 heavy bomber for the first time

The Boeing B-17 is one of those iconic aircraft of the Second World War that instantly conjures up images of the Allied powers fighting back against Nazi aggression. Swarms of B-17s were used to take the war back to the Axis powers, striking their targets deep inside enemy territory under a campaign known as daylight precision bombing. As a result, many collectors can’t seem to get enough of the venerable “Flying Fortress”, despite their huge footprint on a typical desk, shelf or ceiling tie off.

That said, Air Force 1’s second look at the B-17 is due to arrive in late February, and is decked out in an olive drab exterior that seems to be more familiar to aviation buffs than their first reproduction, which was a cacophony of polished silver, yellow and burnished parts that made it look more at home in a salvage yard than as a front line bomber. Indeed part number AF10110A portrays a USAAF Boeing B-17G-30-BO Flying Fortress heavy bomber known as “Nine-O-Nine”, which was attached to the 323rd Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group, then deployed to Bassingbourn, England, during 1944.

For those unfamiliar with this craft,  “Nine-O-Nine” completed 140 combat missions during World War II, believed to be the Eighth Air Force record for most missions, without loss to the crews that flew it.

The original aircraft, a block 30 B-17G manufactured by Boeing, was nicknamed after the last three digits of her serial number: 42-31909. Nine-0-Nine was added to the USAAF inventory on December 15th, 1943, and flown overseas on February 5th, 1944. After depot modifications, she was delivered to the 91st BG at RAF Bassingbourn, England, on February 24th, 1944, as a replacement aircraft, one of the last B-17s received in factory-applied camouflage paint.

A former navigator of the 91st BG, Marion Havelaar, reported in his history of the group that Nine-O-Nine completed either 126 or 132 consecutive missions without aborting for mechanical reasons, also believed to be a record. M/Sgt. Rollin L. Davis, maintenance line chief of the bomber, received the Bronze Star for his role in achieving the record.

Her first bombing raid was on Augsburg, Germany, on February 25th, 1944. She made 18 bombing raids on Berlin. In all she flew 1,129 hours and dropped 562,000 pounds of bombs. She had 21 engine changes, four wing panel changes, 15 main gas tank changes, and 18 changes of Tokyo tanks (long-range fuel tanks).

After the hostilities ceased in Europe, Nine-O-Nine was returned to the United States on June 8th, 1945, and was consigned to the RFC facility at Kingman, Arizona on December 7th, 1945, and eventually scrapped.

“Nine-O-Nine” is now en route to us and expected the last week of February..


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Everything Turns Out Ship Shape for DeAgostini

DeAgostini’s 1:1250 scale Warships of the World Collection grows by leaps and bounds this May

These days, there aren’t all that many companies making pre-assembled warships, so when we get news that more scale models are ready to put to sea, we get goose bumps and maybe some scurvy. Eight new 1:1250 WWII-era warships are setting sail this May, including the IJN battleship Kirishima, USS battleship Pennsylvania and USS Saratoga aircraft carrier, along with the Royal Navy’s HMS Anson, HMS King George V, HMS Vanguard, HMS Nelson and HMS Renown. We are currently awaiting photos for each of the replicas but have gone ahead and added them to our product portfolio so you can get your pre-orders submitted ahead of their arrival.

USS Saratoga, one of the earliest aircraft carriers to join the US Navy, makes an encore performance as a member of the DeAgostini navy
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The Motor Pool’s Happy Father’s Day 15% Off Sale!

The Motor Pool’s Happy Father’s Day 15% Off Sale Starts Now!

Remember the guy that put you on his knee and told you about his military experience? That same man that taught you how to ride a bike, drive a car and gave you a few extra bucks for date night? Well, now its time to celebrate his legacy and pay him back for his generosity, courtesy of The Motor Pool. From now until Father’s Day, you can take 15% off of any item we have in stock simply by entering our latest coupon code at the bottom of your shopping cart just prior to final checkout. This discount may be applied to any item listed on our web site except for the following lines: Hobby Master, Wings of the Great War, Air Force 1, Luft-X and Aviation 72. Please enter discount code ” TMP165” in the coupon box just prior to final checkout. Sale ends midnight, Sunday, June 18th, 2017. May not be combined with any other sales discount.

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Dissecting Diecast: Keeping a Web Site Current

One of my biggest pet peeves as both a retailer and collector is when a diecast manufacturer neglects to update their web site. Don’t even get me started why some companies fail to have an Internet presence at all. That, in 2017, is highly inexcusable and inexplicable, something that can be built for possibly a few hundred dollars by a professional if they don’t have the expertise in-house. When new tooling costs upwards of $250,000 or more to create, that’s a drop in the fiscal bucket, no matter how you slice it

No, what bothers me to no end is when a manufacturer goes the extra mile and obviously plunks down big bucks to create their virtual storefront, only to let it languish in Internet purgatory for months on end with a nary a word said. If we had to break it down, web sites are, without question, the cheapest form of communicating with one’s audience, able to put a public face on their merchandise and direction for all the world to see at any time of day. Its easier to update than sending out monthly mailings, and its cheaper than having someone call a vendor to keep them informed about what’s going on. Yet several key model makers seem to overlook this vehicle on a regular basis, either not realizing how important the site is to existing and new viewers, not caring, or perhaps lacking the technical expertise to update it themselves without calling in a professional. Trust me, it isn’t that hard, and once you learn the nuances, can be refreshingly simple and enjoyable to maintain. C’mon guys. Some of you are missing the boat by not keeping your web site current, and its something that could be addressed and fixed in the blink of an eye.

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The American International Toy Fair

The American International Toy Fair is scheduled to throw open its doors this weekend and we will be attending the Show on Sunday. Frankly, the Show is a but pale glimmer compared to previous years, with few pertinent manufacturers exhibiting and little to crow about in terms of new items. Many manufacturers either cannot afford to exhibit or have nothing to display, so it doesn’t make sense for them to spend precious resources away from home where they can just as easily do business on the web or through a phone call. Still, we hold out hope, because new manufacturers occasionally do pop up making the day trip worthwhile. If anything of note does cross our path, we will certainly share the information with everyone concerned.

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