April 2018

Forces of Valor Opens Up About its Future

Forces of Valor looks to add the Russian Navy Kuznetsov Class Aircraft Carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov, to its growing fleet of naval replicas

At long last, Waltersons, the new owners of the Forces of Valor brand, has shed light on its production schedule for the balance of 2018. You can see firsthand which items are in the pipeline as well as their anticipated release dates by visiting their Facebook page. Frankly, we are going to add sixty days to the dates listed, thereby giving them a fair bit of leeway as they look to get each item into the marketplace given the sheer number of items they are looking to undertake, as well as the logistical issues they will likely face in the summer and autumn months.

Of note, the Company has announced plans to reproduce the Russian aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetnov, and their 1:16 scale Tiger I tank is still slated for a late 2018 release. Beginning with their 1:32 scale Sturmtiger, they also plan to offer model kits for much of their 1:32 scale line, so modellers can build, mod and paint them up any way they see fit. Several of their modern era 1:72 scale aircraft have been postponed, according to Waltersons, in order to add more metal content where needed and make other refinements to bring them up to current standards. In their place, the Company has resurrected several 1:72 scale twin-engine bombers, a number of 1:48 scale helicopters and even a few of their long out-of-stock 1:32 scale WWII era fighters, hopefully making some changes to each mold to address some of the shortcomings collectors have pointed out over the years. It would appear as if the Company plans to delve ever deeper into the model making business, by relaunching their 1:72 scale model kit line and, as pointed out earlier, creating a parallel business model whereby their 1:32 scale vehicles will be offered as pre-assembled replicas and un-built and unpainted models.

Over the next few days, we plan to digest and review the information just announced and make the necessary changes to our web site where applicable. The Japanese Shizuoka Hobby Show is just a week or so away, so we’re confident Waltersons will be making further product announcements and uploading imagery for many of their upcoming projects. Note: We are also updating our semi-regular newsletter to reflect those items expected in 2018, including any new additions gleaned from their recent update. Please do not get overly concerned if you do not see some items listed. They were likely pushed back into 2019 and therefore may wrongfully give our customers the impression that they are due out shortly.

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Hobby Master Ponders, “If Looks Could Kill”

Hobby Master’s 1:72 scale USAF Fairchild A-10C Thunderbolt II Ground Attack Aircraft – 107th Fighter Squadron “Red Devils”, 127th Wing, Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan, August 2017 [D-Day Commemorative Scheme]
As the saying goes, “if looks could kill” then this menacing A-10 “Warthog” should be interred at a Maximum Security Facility instead of operating from a cold mid western air force base. Hobby Master’s latest A-10 ground attack aircraft (HA1326) is a blast from the past, paying tribute to the hundred year anniversary of the establishment of the 107th Fighter Squadron “Red Devils” back in August 2017. And, unlike some of its predecessors who typically wear a low-vis greyish scheme to blend in with the sky, this plane would prefer to hide at treetop level, thanks to its partially adorned olive drab exterior. Its also clad in bi-colored, striped identification markings, which was used by many elements of the USAAF during the WWII-era invasion of Normandy to lessen the chance of it being misidentified by AA gunners. Boasting a robust array of ordnance, and the over-sized “Red Devil” insignia of the 107th, look for this hellish warplane to take wing some time in September.

Face-to-face with Hobby Master’s latest and greatest A-10 Thunderbolt II ground attack aircraft
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Battlestar Galactica: Under a Pagan Sun

Battlestar Galactica Cylon Basestar – 1978 Series [With Collector Magazine]
Two more products have emerged from the Eaglemoss’ Battlestar Galactica group, both having to do with Cylon Basestars drawn from both the 1978 as well as the reimagined 2004 series. Obviously, neither is created to scale since they would each dwarf some of the smaller ships portrayed in the series. Still, both are designed to give collectors an idea as to their respective detail and painstaking research going into every ship in the series.

Battlestar Galactica Cylon Basestar – 2004 Series [With Collector Magazine]
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Air Force 1 Returns to the Fold this Summer

Air Force 1’s 1:72 scale USAF Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird Reconnaissance Aircraft – 61-7962, “R.I.P. Detachment 1”

Most collectors need no introduction to the SR-71 Blackbird. During the Cold War, the US Air Force’s fleet of super-sleek, high altitude reconnaissance aircraft gave the Soviets fits, as the planes routinely rocketed high above the USSR’s air defense network to keep a careful eye on their adversary. As better and more efficient satellites came online, however, the SR-71s were eventually retired, turned out to pasture to become the stuff of legend no one seems willing to forget.

From a collectible stand point, the SR-71 is also one of the most popular warbirds we’ve ever stocked, regularly snapped up by aviation buffs no matter who seems to make them and at what price. Air Force 1 has been out of this iconic plane for several months now, although they are finally bringing it back and at a MAP slightly lower than past releases (AF10088C). Scheduled for a June over flight, we highly recommend including this stalwart member of aviation history to your collection before it too becomes the stuff of legend.

Air Force 1’s 1:72 scale US Army Sikorsky MH-60 Night Hawk Helicopter – HSC-2 “Fleet Angels”, NAS Norfolk, VA, 2008

Two other models were also announced as part of Air Force 1’s summer roll out. Another USMC F-35B Joint Strike Fighter will be added to the AF1 foot locker (AF100009B), along with a Sikorsky MH-60 Night Hawk, clad in the markings of HSC-2 “Fleet Angels”, who are based out of NAS Norfolk in Virginia (AF10099A).

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Anatomy of War: Japan Seeks the Latest and Greatest Fighter

It’s no secret that when Japanese President Shinzo Abe met with US President Donald Trump last week, one of the talking points was obtaining a stealth fighter that could parry anything the Chinese PLAAF or Russian Air Force could throw at it. Years ago, they had sought to obtain the F-22 Air Superiority Fighter but Congress nixed the deal, refusing to allow the F-22 to fly for anyone but the US Air Force.

With conceptual work already underway on a sixth generation fighter, however, and Lockheed-Martin’s desire to restart the F-22 assembly line, talk has surfaced that Japan wants — and may get — a 5th generation stealth fighter that combines the best attributes of both the F-22 and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Essentially, such a design, when combined with indigenous work already laid down by Japanese designers, could be fielded by the 2030s and remain a staple of the JASDF for the foreseeable future, at least until a sixth generation fighter could gain traction and financing in Japanese circles.

It’s anyone’s guess as to what a hybrid F-22/F-35 might look like, no doubt boasting a pair of high performance engines for long endurance flights while incorporating the latest in RAM coating for low observable maneuvering and advanced avionics to give it a “first look, first kill” capability, particularly important if they are faced with a more numerous adversary. Recently, the USAF created and released a video depicting what a US sixth generation fighter might look like as well as some of its capabilities, a far cry from what currently exists in their inventory. As work progresses on such an aircraft, both Congress and Lockheed-Martin are more inclined to aid the Japanese effort, while keeping the best technology still at home under the government’s scrutiny.  

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The Great Motor Pool Give Away

Extreme Metal 1:16 scale German Mid Production Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Ausf. E Heavy Tank

In years past, we would often times run a promotion where we ended up giving away a freebie as a token of our appreciation. For 2018, we decided to resurrect this give away, this time with a bit of a twist. Beginning May 1st and ending December 31st, 2018, whom ever purchases the most product from us, measured in terms of net dollars, will receive Forces of Valor’s upcoming Extreme Metal 1:16 scale Tiger I heavy tank. Obviously, said merchandise must have been purchased and shipped within this time frame, and any returns will be counted against this total. Pre-orders for merchandise expected to ship after January 1st, 2019, will not count towards this promotion. Moreover, purchases made on eBay or any other online marketplace will not count towards the total amount spent.

So what makes this promotion so special? Well, if you go on eBay, some of the earliest Extreme Metal products are commanding well in excess of $2,000 US, a five-fold increase in its original asking price. As a result, many people have made quite a killing by buying and storing these items, often times purchasing multiples of these tanks with the notion of selling them down-the-road at a huge profit. Others have kept their prized possession, passing up loads of money so they can say they own one of these beasts.

Keep in mind that whoever wins this promotion will be responsible for covering the shipping cost and may, if they so choose, decline accepting this item. In such case, we will contact the customer that placed the second largest total amount with us to gauge their interest. Lastly, when last we spoke with the manufacturer, the latest vehicle in the series was slated to be a mid-production Tiger I tank. This may have changed since last we spoke with them, so we will post information and pictures of the vehicle as soon as they formally announce it.

Note: Please do not contact us asking how much you have spent during the promotion period. You can determine how much you have spent by simply logging in to your account then clicking on the Review Orders/Track Packages link under the My Orders section. Any requests will be referred back to this message. No exceptions.

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Calibre Does the F-16 Justice But will others Follow Suit?

Calibre Wings adds the F-16 to its ever-expanding line up of 1:72 scale aircraft. Look for several of the more advanced F-16s to be modeled first ahead of the legacy aircraft

Never one to sit on their laurels, Calibre Wings has officially gone on record to indicate plans for modelling the venerable F-16 Falcon. As you can see from the accompanying CAD diagram, plans initially call for modelling several of the more advanced F-16s, beginning with the Block 50/52 Plus which features bulbous Conformal Fuel Tanks (CFT) attached to the center line of the aircraft. CFTs are external, pod-like fuel reservoirs that are attached to the upper surface of the F-16’s fuselage, with the tank’s lower surface conforming to the aircraft’s shape. Further, the Block 50/52 sports a dorsal spine compartment for electronics, the APG-68(V9) radar, an On-Board Oxygen Generation System (OBOGS), and a JHMCS helmet.

According to research, “Poland took delivery of its first F-16C Block 52+ aircraft on September 15th, 2006. The “Poland Peace Sky program” includes 36 F-16Cs and 12 F-16Ds. All 48 aircraft were delivered in 2008. The Hellenic Air Force took delivery of its first F-16C Block 52+ aircraft on May 2nd, 2003. The Hellenic Air Force is the first Air Force in the world to operate this F-16 type. The total Greek order was 60 F-16C/D. The Israeli F-16I and its Singapore equivalent variant are based on the block 52+ aircraft. In March 2010, it was announced that the Egyptian Air Force would purchase 20 Block 52 aircraft (16 F-16Cs and 4 F-16Ds), the first of which arrived for testing in April 2012.” Therefore, its not clear which livery will be covered first and how many other variants will be included in their ambitious modelling program.

The Lockheed Martin F-16V configuration provides relevant combat capabilities in a scalable and affordable package. The core of the F-16V configuration is an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, a modern commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)-based avionics subsystem, a large-format, high-resolution display; and a high-volume, high-speed data bus.

What makes this development so coincidental is that, according to The National Interest, earlier this month “the Slovak Republic has requested the sale of 14 advanced Lockheed Martin F-16V Block 70/72 Fighting Falcon fighters to replace its increasingly obsolete fleet of Soviet-built Mikoyan MiG-29 Fulcrums. The new jets would give the Slovak air force a huge boost in capability with the addition of advanced new sensors such as an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and other capabilities that are not found onboard the Cold War-era Fulcrums.”

“The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Slovakia of F-16 Block 70/72 V configuration aircraft for an estimated cost of $2.91 billion,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement. “The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on April 3, 2018.”

Of all of the operators of the F-16 — and there are indeed many — it would be interesting if this tiny, former East Block nation would be the first to add this advanced aircraft to their inventory and do so at a time when many nations are looking towards obtaining low observable stealth aircraft as a means of guaranteeing their safety should an air war erupt.

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Calibre Wings Catches a Wave

Never one to shy away from the more intimidating projects, Calibre Wings unveiled their first-ever purpose-built display base designed to accommodate any of their F-14 Tomcats.The diorama is aimed at giving the model a sea-skimming appearance, kicking up a pair of waves as it rockets to its destination. According to the manufacturer, the twin supports shown in these photos will actually come in a transparent acrylic, which preserves the illusion of near-the-deck flying. No word on pricing or a release date just yet so keep your eyes peeled for further announcements if you’re interested in nabbing this cool-looking accessory. Ordering information should be passed along towards the end of April.

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Eaglemoss Adds Six New Exclusives to their Star Trek Stable

Six new Eaglemoss exclusives were announced on Facebook, meaning you’ll need a bigger curio cabinet to hold them all, and a fatter wallet.

In a rather surprising move, Eaglemoss is priming the pumps by coming out with six more exclusive ships in their rapidly expanding standard-sized Star Trek starships series. The six new bonus (chase) exclusives include:

Rick Sternbach’s Federation USS Voyager Concept

Klingon Bird-of-Prey configured in a landing position

Federation Odyssey Class Starship – USS Enterprise NCC-1701-F

Federation Bonaventure Class Starship – USS Bonaventure (10281NCC)

Doug Drexler’s Federation Voyager Concept – USS Altair

Federation Assimilated USS Voyager

We’re of the opinion that they will most likely get released in staggered fashion over the course of the summer and fall, thereby giving people enough time to recharge their wallets if they are looking to collect all six ships. Naturally, each will come with a full-color collector magazine and will likely be sought after by Trekies world over.

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Anatomy of War: Future Fight

If there was a clash between the superpowers, it would likely occur within a three-dimensional battle space that would include, among other things, a struggle for near space. Such a war could be catastrophic for either side, since it would likely mean the denial of communication and reconnaissance satellites to gather intelligence about the enemy’s capabilities.

Heather Wilson, the US Air Force Secretary, has long advocated for the build up of forces to defend our heavenly frontiers as well as potentially taking the war to the enemy should the opportunity present itself. Earlier this morning, she conducted an interview with CNBC at the Space Symposium held in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in which she laid out plans for defending our assets given the current geopolitical threats around the world. 

While many books, articles and videos have been produced concerning the importance of space as the next battlefield, I have continued to wonder why diecast manufacturers seem loathe to replicating some of the weaponry that will likely be called upon to protect our interests. Seems a shame no one is taking the bull by the horns and boldly going where no company has gone before.

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