Word from Hollywood is that acclaimed director, Ridley Scott, has signed on to directing a new take on the pivotal Battle of Britain. Written by Matthew Orton, a British screenwriter, the film portrays the RAF’s desperate defense of the British Isles against the might of the Luftwaffe, thrown at the island bastion as a potential prelude to a sea and airborne invasion by the German Wehrmacht. The original feature length film of the same name aired way back in 1969 and used real aircraft from both sides of the battle to depict the air-to-air conflict, largely fought between June and September of 1940. Its not clear if the new film will make use of any aircraft still in flyable condition or more likely rely upon computer generated imagery (CGI) and mock ups for the aerial battles.
There was a time, not too long ago, when model makers seemed to steer clear of pre-assembled warships in favor of pumping out military vehicles, aircraft and helicopters. Now, it appears as if everyone is jumping on the maritime bandwagon, recognizing the success of some series, importance of replicating warships from a historical stand point, and perhaps taking a page from today’s headlines, as more and more nations are rearming, particularly on the high seas.
Amercom is the latest player in the diecast military warship space, offering a partworks series of World War II-themed ships from amongst all the world’s navies. Unlike the Eaglemoss series, which essentially offers 1:1250 scale Japanese-centric ships that are paired with full-color magazines written in Japanese, the all-new Polish-based Amercom series features a more proportional range of warships from around the world rendered in a slightly larger 1:1000 scale, and are accompanied with beautifully illustrated magazines written for the English-speaking market. Thus far, the series is available from news agents in both Australia/New Zealand and the United Kingdom, but it shouldn’t be too long before the collection makes its way over to the much larger North American market.
Note: As of this writing (May 1st, 2017), seventeen warships have been announced and we anticipate the series could grow to as many as 60 ships or more, depending upon the success of the series.
Four more warships have left their home port and are currently underway to us, expected early next week. The latest quartet of warships include:
- EMGC61 – Imperial Russian Navy Borodino Class Battleship – Borodino [With Collector Magazine] (1:1100 Scale)
- EMGC66 – Imperial Japanese Navy Mogami Class Heavy Cruiser – Suzuya [With Collector Magazine] (1:1100 Scale)
- EMGC68 – Imperial Japanese Navy Kuma Class Light Cruiser – Kuma [With Collector Magazine] (1:1100 Scale)
- EMGC74 – Imperial Japanese Navy Chitose Class Light Aircraft Carrier – Chitose [With Collector Magazine] (1:1100 Scale)
It was beginning to look as if Hobby Master had gotten out of the military vehicle game for good. Happily, that may have changed this week, with the announcement of a new 1:72 scale armored vehicle: a Soviet ISU-122S self propelled gun (HG7020). Drawn from the ISU-122 family of assault guns, the ISU-122S variant features the faster-firing D-25 gun. Interestingly, D-25S gun production was prioritized to be fitted to IS-2s, but as more became available in late 1944, they were fitted to the ISU hull. This variant passed trials in late 1944 and was referred to as the Object 249 or ISU-122-2. Its rate of fire was now 2-3 shots per minute, and even 4 shots per minute with experienced loaders.
The easiest way to spot this variant is by the double baffle muzzle brake or by the ball-shaped gun mantlet. The D-25S’ muzzle brake reduced the recoil force from firing the gun and made working conditions better for the crew, as well as allowing a smaller, lighter gun mantlet being mounted, but with the same effective armor protection due to its round shape. 675 ISU tanks were fitted with the D-25 gun, but because of the huge stocks of the A-19, both the ISU-122 and ISU-122S were produced until the end of 1945.
Look for the inaugural ISU-122 assault gun to reach the battlefield some time in October.
Way back in the 90s, I gave paintball a go. Back then, I went to the effort of getting camouflage clothing, complete with insignia and name tag, and even toted a pair of miniature binoculars into battle, which, of course, I lost somewhere along the way, as I did my best trying to not get shot to pieces.
Nowadays, paintball has come a long way, employing high speed guns, elaborate battle maps, and get this, tanks. Apparently, its not enough to get a welt or two from a fast-firing machine gun aimed from the hip. Now, some guys have gone the extra mile and built miniature tanks, complete with rotating turrets, protective cages, and even paint-filled, shoot-n-scoot guns. Not to be outdone, there’s even heavy mini-guns and high-tech protective armor, as if the current outerwear wasn’t up to task and a bit too pase. I think I’ve seen it all.
There’s no shortage of fascinating sites on the web, particular when it comes to military history. One such site is Military History Visualized, a free-to-view You Tube-based service that discusses various facets of warfare, from the age of antiquity to the modern times. Produced by an Austrian scholar with a strong background in the use of visual presentation software, the site has become a staple on the web, explaining virtually every type of warfare, tactics, and military forces that has stepped on to the battlefield. For more information, please visit this site
The more I look at these images, videos and sets, the more I get blown away. Earlier today, Lego posted a brand new video entitled Brickmania Gotterdammerung April 2017, in which several new sets were shown for the first time, all in animated form. Frankly, I’m not clear if I’m more amazed by the user-created videos or the sets themselves, a far cry from what I remember Lego sets to be from the 60s and 70s. I guess I’m dating myself, but these sets are super cool, and what’s been done to breathe new life into this genre is simply fantastic.
“Underestimation of non-conventional units or a guerilla enemy by regular forces is a cardinal military sin.”
– Howard R. Simpson, Dien Bien Phu: The Epic Battle America Forgot
Admittedly, french manufacturer Quarter Kit, makers of the Master Fighter line of 1:48 scale resin military vehicles, tends to lean heavily on the use of french equipment to retell some of the most important armored battles in military history. For instance, while one of their upcoming Chaffee light tanks is based upon a vehicle that served with the US 1st Armored Division during the latter stages of WWII (MF48602US), two are being created to portray french involvement in Indochina during the early 1950s. Due out in May, the first of these replicas portrays a vehicle that entered service in 1953, and comes decked out in a standard factory-fresh olive drab pattern that might have been better suited to Europe (MF48602FR). The second is designed to model a vehicle that helped to defend french interests at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, and comes painted in a more appropriate jungle motif (MF48602IN).
Master Fighter has announced several new vehicles that are also expected to put in an appearance in late Spring, so we are currently in the process of adding them to our product portfolio.
Vincent Tsang, Walterson’s Managing Director for the Forces of Valor brand, has conceded, on several occasions, that tackling the entire product portfolio is some what a daunting task, considering the depth and breath of the entire range produced under the auspices of Unimax. Thus far, they have managed to re-introduce a core quartet of 1:24 scale radio controlled vehicles to the world market, updating the components to bring them in line with today’s technology and helping to set the stage for what will likely occur in the near future. They have also completed the task of revamping the 1:700 warship line, again adding a number of improvements and other refinements that should make them much appealing to collectors of maritime memorabilia.
Currently, they are working on their next project: reworking the 1:32 scale military vehicle to bring them up to today’s standards and make them even more collectible by changing around some of their features and appearances. Looking beyond that, the Company next plans to re-introduce their 1:72 scale aircraft and helicopter line, no small task considering some of the criticisms the range faced when they were first offered to the public as well as the competition at-large, who have come to dominate several sectors of the marketplace with their own hi-fidelity replicas. For instance, the venerable F-14 Tomcat has been replicated by no less than five different manufacturers over the last two years, so offering a compelling, like-minded product is going to prove to be a daunting task indeed. And, if that weren’t enough, the Company still has its sights set on releasing a brand new 1:16 scale Tiger I tank by year’s end, one which will reinvigorate their Extreme Metal brand and likely help to increase the value of all of the previous 1:16 scale vehicles Unimax previously released.
That said, we’re going to assume that the next wave of new 1:32 scale military vehicles may put in an appearance towards year’s end, depending upon the manufacturer’s work load and speed with which they can bring product to market. Their new web site is scheduled to go live shortly, which will also give collectors a better sense of what to expect from this new player in the diecast military space.
BTW, Vincent routinely fields collector questions on their Facebook page, so if you have any concerns, suggestions or questions, we strongly urge you to voice your opinion there. It might take him a day or two to respond, but thus far Vincent has been doing a yeoman’s job of explaining their plans for the forseeable future and showcasing their line to-date.
Ordinarily, Memorial Day Weekend signifies the start of Fleet Week here in New York City, but it looks as if the warships have entered port a bit early this year. This week, we received no less than eight new 1:1250 scale capital ships from DeAgostini’s Warships of the Second World War collection. Priced at just $21.99 apiece, these warships have been flying off of our warehouse shelves since they started arriving a few years ago and represent fitting tributes to the men and machines that prowled the high seas during World War II. The new ships include:
- Royal Navy Vanguard Class Battleship – HMS Vanguard (23)
- Imperial Japanese Navy Kongo Class Battleship – Kirishima
- Royal Navy King George V Class Battleship – HMS King George V (41)
- Royal Navy King George V Class Battleship – HMS Anson (79)
- Royal Navy Renown Class Battlecruiser – HMS Renown (72)
- US Navy Pennsylvania Class Battleship – USS Pennsylvania (BB-38)
- Royal Navy Nelson Class Battleship – HMS Nelson (28)
- US Navy Lexington Class Aircraft Carrier – USS Saratoga (CV-3)