As some of the budget-minded partworks lines slowly fade into the sunset, comes word that Hobby Master is looking to get back into the 1:72 scale military vehicles arena in a big way. Earlier today, as part of their October product announcements, comes word that they will soon offer both a US-built M60A1 Patton main battle tank as well as a Russian-built ISU-152 self propelled gun. On a personal note, I find it interesting that this news comes just a day after we posted our opine that Modelcollect is making a bid to claim the armored crown, unseating Dragon from its longtime position as the dominant player in the vehicle game. Coincidence, perhaps, but the news concerning these two new entrants is certainly welcome, nonetheless, and could signal that other manufacturers are looking to dabble in the motor pool (sic) so long as inexpensive partworks lines have run their course and no longer pose a credible risk to their business model.
For the better part of the 21st Century, most collectors of scale armor would agree that Dragon produces the best array of 1:72 scale armored fighting vehicles. Sure, there have been contenders for the crown as well as a few drop outs along the way, but Dragon, barring a few dry years in which models were promised but never delivered, was seen by many as the king of the diecast battlefield.
Despite its longstanding run on the throne, Dragon may have to hand over the crown shortly to Modelcollect, still a relative newcomer to the armored ranks, who has, nonetheless, quietly built a stable of high quality diecast replicas that have reignited passion in the hobby and moved the ball forward where others continually fumbled. Where Dragon seems content to churn out the usual diet of WWII vehicles, Modelcollect has dabbled in the more obtuse subjects, releasing a wondrous array of less familiar subjects that have garnered respect and admiration from the community.
In recent months, they have offered all manner of mobile missile launchers and other transporters in model kit form, which will no doubt be ported over to the pre-assembled market. In the meantime, they have also cranked out a number of intricately detailed pre-assembled models, and stand ready to deliver more this summer. We’ve already posted information on their upcoming E-100 series of armor, and today we learned that they will also be offering a Rheintochter 1 surface-to-air mobile missile launcher set atop an E-100 chassis (AS72062). There’s a good bet that the Rheintochter will also be wedded to both their E-50 and E-75 chassis, making it available in three different forms. We are also awaiting news concerning their Landkreuzer P.1000 Ratte mega tank, something the German Waffenamt never seriously considered as a weapon of war due to its immense size.
Anyway, keep a careful eye on Modelcollect as it continues to build out its order-of-battle and looks to become the de facto king of diecast armor.
Every six months, we regularly review our costs of doing business, which continue to rise for all manner of reason. Beginning June 1st, we are increasing our flat rate shipping cost to $9.95 from $4.95 for net orders totaling at least $25 or more. While we regret having to make this change, the fact remains that shipping costs continue to escalate for all the major carriers, especially for shipments we must send across the country to the west coast. When taken in conjunction with other promotional offers we may be running, we oftentimes end up barely breaking even on such shipments. As always, it pays to consolidate orders to help defray such shipping costs, particularly for less expensive items.
In a bid to produce models based upon every conceivable version, variant and livery of the Russian-built T-72 and T-90 tanks, ModelCollect has announced three more examples of these ignominious vehicles. As far as the T-72 goes, they have announced a Syrian T-72BM Main Battle Tank with Kontakt-1 ERA which was deployed to Aleppo, Syria, in 2016 (AS72054). The T-90 gets two new flavors as well: the first is a Russian T-90MS Main Battle Tank – Nizhny Tagil Arms Expo, Russia, 2012 (AS72056) while the latter is a Russian T-90MS Main Battle Tank – Weapons Show, Desert Camouflage, 2014 (AS72060). This is now the 15th look at the T-72 from the eyes of ModelCollect, which means they have certainly gotten their money’s worth out of the tooling.
There seems to be a mad dash, of late, to see which manufacturer can lay claim to replicating some of the most iconic aircraft of the modern era. While Hobby Master is taking on the Su-35S Flanker-E and Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-25 Foxbat, Calibre Wings has set its stakes on other high profile aircraft, the most notable now being the General Dynamics F-16 Flying Falcon. According to several postings on their Facebook page, the Company is already hard at work putting the finishing touches on the CAD program for the F-16, rather than porting over model kits, which could contain their own anomalies. This permits the Company greater flexibility when attempting to model the intricacies of each Falcon variant, and shows the lengths with which this newcomer to the replica game is prepared to carve out its own niche in the marketplace.
If you’re an avid gamer like I am, and a huge fan of Company of Heroes like, well, I am, then you may find the accompanying news a bit on the incredible side. Fellow devotees of the real-time strategy game went so far as to model one of the featured maps of the game, right down to the buildings, terrain and road net. Modeled in 1:48 scale, the folks at B+B Models expressed their love for the game by breathing life into the Angoville Farms map, including adding troops and vehicles so they could portray a mock battle. You can see the fruits of their labor here:http://www.companyofheroes.com/blog/2017/05/25/coh-10th-anniversary-angoville-farms
Yesterday, actor Tom Cruise leaked word that he and director, Jerry Bruckheimer, were working on the sequel to Top Gun, the 1986 box office smash hit that helped propel Cruise to stardom and give US Navy recruiting a kick in the pants. Little is known about the plot for Top Gun 2 or where it will be set. However, since its now 30 years later, we can likely presume that Cruise’s character, Pete Mitchell, is a flying instructor at the Naval Flying School, and that a younger, fresher face will almost certainly sit in the cockpit this time around, defending the world from whatever is thrown our way. With territorial disputes around the world, and tension rising in a number of geo-political hot spots, it wouldn’t be difficult to presume the enemy could be Iranian, North Korean, Russian or Chinese, flying the latest stealth aircraft or perhaps piloting them remotely with the aid of UCAVs. And, with the Grumman F-14 Tomcat long since retired from the Navy’s active duty roster, and the new Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) aircraft carrier completing its testing and sea trials, its more than likely that whomever is taking on the central role this time around is doing so from the cockpit of a Joint Strike Fighter embarked upon our pride of the fleet. Whew! That’s a lot of speculating going on, but one not without its merits.
“[Hitler overestimated] the importance of [technology]. As a result, he would count on a mere handful of assault-gun detachments or the new Tiger tanks to restore situations where only large bodies of troops could have any prospect of success.”
– German Field Marshal Erich von Manstein
No stranger to offering scale WWII replicas, ModelCollect has quietly picked up the mantle that now defunct Panzerstahl threw down a few years back when they began modelling some of the proposed German vehicles still languishing on the drawing boards. Two intriguing models are expected this summer: the first is a humongous Flakpanzer E-100 Anti-Aircraft Gun (AS72057) while the second is a German E-100 heavy tank with a 128mm main gun (AS72063).
Priced at just $29.99 apiece, these are absolute steals, combining Modelcollect quality and incredible detail with affordable pricing.
Also pegged for a summer release is a 1:72 scale look at a German Kampgwagenvernichter Ausf. F (E-100) StuG Heavy Tank Destroyer as well as a Landkreuzer P. 1000 Ratte Super Heavy Tank. While we have set a price for the former vehicle, we are awaiting word on the latter, due largely to its colossal size and higher-than-average shipping costs.
We were pleasantly surprised to learn today that a cache of Eaglemoss 1:43 scale military vehicles was uncovered by one of our distributors. While several vehicles were already in stock and available for general sale, quite a few long out-of-stock vehicles were purportedly unearthed, and should be back in stock some time this summer. Vehicles of note that are returning to stock include:
EM010 – German Sd. Kfz. 141 PzKpfw III Ausf. L Medium Tank – 16.Infanterie Division (Motorized), Voronezh, Russia, 1942
EM014 – US Army Dodge WC 63 6×6 1-1/2 Ton Truck – 704th Tank Destroyer Battalion, Arracourt, France, 1944
EM031 – US Studebaker US6 (M16A) 6×6 2-1/2 Ton Truck – CIAB (Czechoslovak Independent Armoured Brigade), Northampton, England, April 1944
EM044 – German Sd. Kfz. 15 Horch Command Car – 4.Panzer Division, Radzymin, Poland, 1944
EM045 – US Army GMC CCKW 353 6×6 2-1/2 Ton Workshop Truck – Vehicle 3, 3886 Transport Company, Advance Section Communications Zone, Cherbourg, France, 1944
EM055 – German Sd. Kfz. 251/8 Krankenpanzerwagen Armored Ambulance – schwere Panzer Abteilung 501, Sidi Bou Zid, Tunisia, 1943
Also, soon-to-be-available are EM080 and EM081, a Sd.Ah.116 Tank Transporter and a Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf. G Medium Tank from the 14.Panzer Division respectively, which we believe were intended as gifts for subscribing to the partworks series. Neither vehicle comes with an acrylic case, but they do serve as nice supplements to the series, and an attractive set when paired together.
Every so often, I’m left scratching my head trying to figure out the hows and whys of a conundrum rather than the simple because. Earlier today, we stumbled upon what looks like an intriguing teaser trailer for a film entitled T-34, which is a Russian film that is apparently being ported over to the English-speaking world. Although the visuals look first-rate, we’re not quite clear about the story line other than to say it is based upon a “legendary story” that apparently pits a lone Russian T-34 tank against a swarm of German infantry and panzers, battling it out for control of a small town on the Eastern Front in the dead of winter. Have a look at the accompanying trailer and perhaps you can help us decide whether its a film that deserves everyone’s attention..