November 2017

Boldly Adventure on the Aventine!

Eaglemoss’ Star Trek Federation Vesta Class Starship – USS Aventine NCC-82602

As promised, we now have a cache of the convention exclusive Star Trek starship, the USS Aventine. For those unfamiliar with the starship, the USS Aventine is a first generation Vesta-class starship that was commissioned in 2380 and was the second starship of her class to be completed. Originally commanded by Captain Dexar, command of the Aventine was given to Lieutenant Commander – and subsequently promoted to Captain – Ezri Dax after Captain Dexar and his First Officer, Commander Tovak were killed in combat with a Borg Sphere near Acamar. The Second Officer took command of the ship and was able to get it to safety. Two weeks later, Lieutenant Commander Dax was promoted to Captain and given permanent command.

The ship comes bundled with a full-color collector magazine, and has been eagerly sought after ever since it surfaced at the recent Comic-Con convention in New York. This one will likely sell out fast, so place your orders as soon as possible to guarantee delivery before the holidays.

 
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Dragon’s Fire Tamed: 3.SS and the Campaign in the Donbas

Dragon’s 1:72 scale German Sd. Kfz. 161 PzKpfw IV Ausf. G Medium Tank – 7.Panzer Regiment “Totenkopf”, 3.SS Panzer Grenadier Division “Totenkopf”, Kharkov, Russia, 1943

Maybe its appropriate that Dragon’s newest pair of 1:72 scale armored releases make it to market during the winter time frame. Just in time for the holidays and available for immediate shipping are two flocked Panzer IVs – the first, a German Sd. Kfz. 161 PzKpfw IV Ausf. G Medium Tank – 7.Panzer Regiment “Totenkopf”, 3.SS Panzer Grenadier Division “Totenkopf”, Kharkov, Russia, 1943 (DRR60699), the second, a restock of a German Sd. Kfz. 161 PzKpfw IV Ausf. G Medium Tank – 7.Panzer Regiment “Totenkopf”, 3.SS Panzer Grenadier Division “Totenkopf”, Kharkov, Russia, 1943 (DRR60700).The second tank has been out-of-stock for several months, so we’re excited to have it back in our armored stable for the holiday rush.

Dragon’s 1:72 scale German Sd. Kfz. 161 PzKpfw IV Ausf. G Medium Tank – 7.Panzer Regiment “Totenkopf”, 3.SS Panzer Grenadier Division “Totenkopf”, Kharkov, Russia, 1943

All things being equal, both items are beautiful pieces, perhaps some of the nicest tracked warriors to come out of the Dragon factory in some time.

 
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The Fleet’s In!

Forces of Valor’s 1:700 scale German Kriegsmarine Bismarck Class Battleship – DKM Tirpitz, Norwegian Fjords, 1944

Admittedly, the second wave of warships from Forces of Valor took a bit of time languishing at sea before reaching our port of call. Now that they are in, however, we’re sure you’ll be delighted by the finished product. Four warships make up the second task force including the German battleship Tirpitz (FOV861005A), the British battleship HMS Hood (FOV861002A), the Japanese super battleship Yamato (FOV861004A) and, of course, the US battleship USS Missouri (FOV861003A), where the peace treaty between the Empire of Japan and the Allies was signed in Tokyo Bay. Like the first set of warships received earlier, each of these fine replicas are seated within a faux sea wave blister and come packaged in an attractive five-panel outer display box that explains the features of each ship. Best of all, each warship comes bundled with a handsome display plinth that features the name of the ship etched on a metallic name plate along side the ship’s crest. Get them while you can for the holidays!

Forces of Valor’s 1:700 US Navy Iowa Class Battleship – USS Missouri (BB-63), Signing of the Japanese Surrender, Tokyo Bay, 1945
 
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The Motor Pool’s 20% Off Cyber Week Sale!

Its our biggest and best sale ever! From now until Sunday, December 5th, you can take a whopping 20% 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. Please enter discount code “TMP172” in the coupon box just prior to final checkout. Note: The following lines are excluded from this promotional offer: Air Force 1, Calibre Wings, Hobby Master, Luft-X and Wings of the Great War. Sale ends midnight, Sunday, December 3rd, 2017. May not be combined with any other sales discount.

 
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Hollywood, Here We Come!

New inductees into the world of diecast military vehicles often times ask us how they are meant to be displayed. Standard answers include curio cabinets, atop credenzas or, if you so desire, used for miniature wargaming. Of course, should you have the wherewithal at film making, there’s always stop motion video, thereby enabling you to depict your very own battles.

One resourceful if budding film maker did just that, creating a nearly four minute take on how the Battle of the Bulge was fought. Its not clear where he obtained all of the vehicles shown in the film (hopefully some from us), but his creation boasts all sorts of slugfests, complete with pyrotechnics and even a couple of stand-ins thrown in for good measure. Enjoy!

 
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Calibre Wings Looks Ahead to 2018 with their Fencer

Ordinarily, with the holiday rush in full swing, we tend to add blog posts that have something to do with products currently available. This year we are making an exception, largely to help newcomer Calibre Wings get some traction as we enter the new year and put them on a more equal footing with some of the more entrenched players.

Earlier today, the Company release several first test shots for their upcoming 1:72 scale Sukhoi Su-24 “Fencer” attack aircraft. While unpainted and still showing areas where plastic is being used as opposed to metal, the imagery does give collectors an idea as to how far along they are with this project as well as their commitment to quality and craftsmanship. Noel Lee, managing director for Calibre Wings, also had this to say about their newest tooling:

1) There will be air intake covers and nozzle covers, these will be made from soft PVC.

2) The pitot tube looks bent because the PVC used during this test shot was too soft. We may change the pitot tube to a hard plastic if the subsequent harder PVC still proves to be unsatisfactory.
Due to the length of the pitot tube, it may not hold the shape very well if it was not a straight forward hard plastic. But I am trying to have it PVC, to prevent any accidental breakage.

3) The ordnance will be shown later since at this point of the test shot, the “giove vane” (if I got the term right) pylon is not yet adhered due to the lack of mounting holes on the underside of the model.

4) You can see clearly the differential between the M & MR versions on our test shot, which was previously not visible during the Nuremberg prototype.

5) The wings are sagging at the moment, again, due to the 1st test shot, there are areas that supports the wing that is not yet enough filled with material.

6) The ejection seat is wrongly sized and will be re-done to be made taller to fit the seated pilot

7) We are considering the use of magnets to adhere the landing gear “cartridges” (gear down and gear up) instead of using press fit.

8) The removal of the air intake covers requires the removal of the entire front section of the air intake piece.

9) The canopy will be provided as separate pieces for open position and closed position. This is due to constraint for having a more uni-body front fuselage and hence there is no space for assembly of a movable canopy.

 
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Time to Bomb the Reich this Holiday Season

Corgi’s 1:72 scale USAAF Boeing B-17G-35-VE Flying Fortress Heavy Bomber – “Little Miss Mischief”, 324th Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group “Ragged Irregulars”, Bassingbourn, England, 1944

In year’s past, we would have given our eye teeth for a cache of B-17 Flying Fortresses to sell during the Christmas rush. Easily one of the most popular warbirds of the Second World War, B-17s seem to hold a special place in the hearts of aviation enthusiasts, so long as the replica is accurate, affordable and available when the holidays roll around. This year, it appears as if Santa has answered our prayers with no less than three 1:72 scale Boeing B-17 bombers, all ready to be nestled under the Christmas tree with some room to spare.

Earlier today, we were informed by Corgi that “Little Miss Mischief” (AA33316), their latest and greatest rendition of the Flying Fortress, was being shipped out to us and is scheduled to arrive at our base of operations the last week of November.

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

Of course, we’ve also been selling the heck out of Air Force 1’s second rendition of the B-17, “Nine O Nine” (AF10110A), a more affordable version of the B-17 that does it justice from any number of vantage points. Happily, the Company also managed to scrounge up some of the first B-17s they released earlier in the year, “A Bit ‘O Lace” (AF10110). So while we would ordinarily be content to hawk at least one B-17 during the holidays, this year we have a trio ready for shipping, making 2017 a bumper year for the illustrious Flying Fortress.

Air Force 1’s 1:72 scale USAAF Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress Heavy Bomber – “A Bit O’ Lace”, 709th Bombardment Squadron, 447th Bombardment Group, Rattlesden, Norfolk, April 1945
 
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The Holidays are Upon Us – Plan Accordingly

As we head into the extended Thanksgiving Day weekend, we thought it prudent to point out a few things that might make your online shopping experience a bit easier and more enjoyable. First, make sure to keep an eye on our Calendar of Events page, which denotes the cut off dates for both domestic as well as international shipping. Second, sales velocity has already accelerated dramatically over the past week and we haven’t even neared the extended Thanksgiving Day weekend. That means we presently have the best selection available, which will start to diminish as we continue into the holiday rush. So, we strongly recommend making your purchases early, particularly if you are interested in hard-to-find items and/or merchandise we have just recently received. Happy holidays and plan accordingly.

 
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Product Spotlight: Altitude not Attitude

Hobby Master’s 1:72 scale USAF Lockheed F-104C Starfighter Interceptor – “World Altitude Record”, Capt Joe Jordan, Edwards Air Force Base, California, Dec. 14th, 1959

Fifty-eight years ago, USAF Captain Joe B. Jordan zoomed a modified USAF/Lockheed F-104C Starfighter to a world altitude record of 103,395.5 feet above mean sea level. The flight originated from and recovered at the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC) at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

On Tuesday, July 14th, 1959, the USSR established a world altitude record for turbojet-powered aircraft when Soviet test pilot Vladimir S. Ilyushin zoomed the Sukhoi T-43-1 (a prototype of the Su-9) to an absolute altitude of 94,661 feet. By year’s end, the Soviet achievement would be topped by several American aircraft.


FAI rules stipulate that an existing absolute altitude record be surpassed by at least 3 percent for a new mark to be established. In the case of the Soviet’s 1959 altitude record, this meant that an altitude of at least 97,501 feet would need to be achieved in a record attempt.

On Sunday, December 6th, 1959, USN Commander Lawrence E. Flint wrested the months-old absolute altitude record from the Soviets by zooming to 98,561 feet. Flint piloted the second USN/McDonnell Douglas YF4H-1 (F4 Phantom II prototype) in accomplishing the feat. In a show of inter-service cooperation, the record flight was made from the AFFTC at Edwards Air Force Base.

Meanwhile, USAF was feverishly working on its own record attempt. The aircraft of choice was the Lockheed F-104C Starfighter. However, with the record now held by the Navy, the Starfighter would have to achieve an absolute altitude of at least 101,518 feet to set a new mark. (Per the FAI 3 percent rule.)

On Tuesday, November 24th, 1959, the AFFTC accepted delivery of the record attempt aircraft, F-104C (S/N 56-0885), from the Air Force Special Weapons Center at Kirtland AFB in New Mexico. This aircraft was configured with a J79-GE-7 turbojet capable of generating nearly 18,000 pounds of sea level thrust in afterburner.

Modifications were made to the J79 to maximize the aircraft’s zoom kinematic performance. The primary enhancements included increasing afterburner fuel flow rate by 10 percent and maximum RPM from 100 to 103.5 percent. Top reset RPM was rated at 104.5 percent. Both the ‘A’ and ‘B’ engine flow bypass flaps were operated in the open position as well. These changes provided for increased thrust and stall margin.

An additional engine mod involved reducing the minimum engine fuel flow rate from 500 to 250 pounds per hour. Doing so increased the altitude at which the engine needed to be shut down to prevent over-speed or over-temperature conditions. Another change included increasing the maximum allowable compressor face temperature from 250 F to 390 F.

The F-104C external airframe was modified for the maximum altitude mission as well. The compression cones were lengthened on the bifurcated inlets to allow optimal pressure recovery at the higher Mach number expected during the record attempt. High Mach number directional stability was improved by swapping out the F-104C empannage with the larger F-104B tail assembly.

USAF Captain Joe B. Jordan was assigned as the altitude record attempt Project Pilot. USAF 1st Lt and future AFFTC icon Johnny G. Armstrong was assigned as the Project Engineer. Following an 8-flight test series to shake out the bugs on the modified aircraft, the record attempt proper started on Thursday, December 10th, 1959.

On Monday, December 14th, 1959, F-104C (S/N 56-0885) broke the existing absolute altitude record for turbojet-powered aircraft on its 5th attempt. Jordan did so by accelerating the aircraft to Mach 2.36 at 39,600 feet. He then executed a 3.15-g pull to an inertial climb angle of 49.5 degrees. Jordan came out of afterburner at 70,000 feet and stop-cocked the J79 turbojet at 81,700 feet.

Roughly 105 seconds from initiation of the pull-up, Joe Jordan reached the top of the zoom. The official altitude achieved was 103,395.5 feet above mean sea level based on range radar and Askania camera tracking. True airspeed over the top was on the order of 455 knots. Jordan started the pull-up to level flight at 60,000 feet; completing the recovery at 25,000 feet. Landing was entirely uneventful.

Jordan’s piloting achievement in setting the new altitude record was truly remarkable. His conversion of kinetic energy to altitude (potential energy) during the zoom was extremely efficient; realizing only a 2.5 percent energy loss from pull-up to apex. Jordan also exhibited exceptional piloting skill in controlling the aircraft over the top of the zoom where the dynamic pressure was a mere 14 psf. He did so using aerodynamic controls only. The aircraft did not have a reaction control system ala the X-15.

The F-104C external airframe was modified for the maximum altitude mission as well. The compression cones were lengthened on the bifurcated inlets to allow optimal pressure recovery at the higher Mach number expected during the record attempt. High Mach number directional stability was improved by swapping out the F-104C empannage with the larger F-104B tail assembly.

USAF Captain Joe B. Jordan was assigned as the altitude record attempt Project Pilot. USAF 1st Lt and future AFFTC icon Johnny G. Armstrong was assigned as the Project Engineer. Following an 8-flight test series to shake out the bugs on the modified aircraft, the record attempt proper started on Thursday, December 10th, 1959.

On Monday, December 14th, 1959, F-104C (S/N 56-0885) broke the existing absolute altitude record for turbojet-powered aircraft on its 5th attempt. Jordan did so by accelerating the aircraft to Mach 2.36 at 39,600 feet. He then executed a 3.15-g pull to an inertial climb angle of 49.5 degrees. Jordan came out of afterburner at 70,000 feet and stop-cocked the J79 turbojet at 81,700 feet.

Roughly 105 seconds from initiation of the pull-up, Joe Jordan reached the top of the zoom. The official altitude achieved was 103,395.5 feet above mean sea level based on range radar and Askania camera tracking. True airspeed over the top was on the order of 455 knots. Jordan started the pull-up to level flight at 60,000 feet; completing the recovery at 25,000 feet. Landing was entirely uneventful.

Jordan’s piloting achievement in setting the new altitude record was truly remarkable. His conversion of kinetic energy to altitude (potential energy) during the zoom was extremely efficient; realizing only a 2.5 percent energy loss from pull-up to apex. Jordan also exhibited exceptional piloting skill in controlling the aircraft over the top of the zoom where the dynamic pressure was a mere 14 psf. He did so using aerodynamic controls only. The aircraft did not have a reaction control system ala the X-15.

Look for Hobby Master’s rendition of Captain Joe B. Jordan’s zoom-climbing F-104C (HA1038) to charge the heavens this coming April.

 

 
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Time to Check the Weight Limits of Your Curio Cabinet

We’re getting closer folks. Modelcollect’s 1:72 scale Ratte could become a reality by mid 2018.

Admittedly, Modelcollect has been hinting at doing a 1:72 scale interpretation of the German P.1000 super heavy tank for some time, even if the concept is nothing more than a fanciful whim that couldn’t possibly have rolled onto the WWII battlefield no matter its sponsor. So, even though its been languishing on the development back burners for what seems like an eternity, it now appears as if this prolific model maker has once again picked up the gauntlet in an effort to get this monster off the drawing board and into collectors hands world over.

According to their most recent Facebook posting, the Ratte is “back on track” and, at least from a model kit standpoint, is tentatively penciled in for a Jan/Feb 2018 release. It still isn’t clear if the Company will offer up this beast in pre-assembled form and, if so, when and for how much. We’re betting that with all of the time, energy and resources sunk into this project that it will be unleashed in a finalized state a few months later, likely offered in multiple configurations to fit the occasion. We’re not going to even speculate how much a finished Ratte might fetch, its weight or overall features. Right now, we’ll drool along with the rest of you as we ogle this marketing billboard and keep a careful eye on upcoming bulletins to gauge its status.

 
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