November 2018

The Forces of Valor Update: We’ve Got Good News As Well As Bad

As we close out the month of November, we’ve finally received an update from our distributor regarding Forces of Valor. After months of waiting and little to show for it, the Company acknowledged today that Walterson’s re-engineered 1:32 scale 88mm FLaK gun, which is clad in a desert scheme, is now pegged for a February release. Originally, we were told that two 88mm guns were to be expected at the same time — the second in the familiar, early war, dark grey scheme that was previously included in the original FOV line up. Now, the dark grey version is being delayed further and its not clear when it is to be expected.

So, that’s the good news, if you don’t mind viewing the FOV glass as being half full. The bad is that the range will now be MAP enforced, meaning that we and other retailers must sell the line at a specific retail price point and cannot deviate from that pricing for a fixed period of time. The MAP, or minimum advertised price as it is known in the industry, has been set at $79.99, $10 more than what we thought was a marketable price given the length of time FOV has been out of the diecast game. To be fair, the manufacturer has re-engineered the vehicles so that they now come with a removable engine and opening engine compartment, more metal content, reworked superstructures and smoother rolling tracks. As a result, its not as if they are simply re-releasing older product but asking for a king’s ransom to boot.

Because of the price hike for the 88mm gun, we are assuming that all of the other 1:32 scale military vehicles that had been previously announced will likely carry the same price tag, although at this date, we still do not have hard-and-fast release dates for either the re-engineered vehicles or any of the new products announced way back in 2016.

Keep in mind that several international Toy Fairs are right around the corner, so we will likely get a better understanding of what to expect for the coming year once the shows have drawn back their curtains and solid product information has been passed along. So, while we hate to be the bearer of bad news as we head into the holiday season, keep in mind that at least some progress is being made and that the long drought will soon be over now that the pumps have been primed.

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Anatomy of War: When Stealth Takes a Back Seat to Firepower

Boeing’s F-15X, which many consider to be an F-15 on steroids, features updates avionics, greater range, and most importantly, a greater payload, picking up where the F-22 or F-35 left off

In a monumental move that could have a telling effect on the USAF’s own procurement-making process for acquiring new aircraft, Israel has selected the F-15X (F-15IA) to complement its growing fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. According to the National Interest, “… the F-15X is a new variant of the venerable jet [that] offers more modern flight controls, cockpit displays, and radar,” Weisgerber wrote, citing military and industry sources. He added that it would also pack more firepower, including two dozen air-to-air missiles.”

By doing so, Israeli war planners feel confident that once the F-35’s have carried out their mission of clearing the skies of enemy aircraft, the F-15IS could then be used to either defeat any remaining adversarial targets the F-35s were incapable of engaging or begin the arduous process of eliminating any ground-based threats that could hinder or impede their progress both in the air or on the ground.  For more information on the announcement, visit Defence Blog.

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Star Trek for a Starry Night

Eaglemoss Star Trek Federation Cardenas Class Starship – USS Buran NCC-1412

Now that our Eaglemoss shipments have resumed, we’re starting to receive updates concerning their many Star Trek lines almost on a daily basis. Currently, a number of long out-of-stock standard sized starships are warping their way to us, all expected to make port around the end of November.

Beyond that, there are a multitude of new ships slated for a December release, covering everything from their Discovery series to their over-sized XL line. We cannot say for certain if all of the ships will make it in time for the holidays but at least its refreshing to know that product is back in the pipeline with even more new items scheduled for a January and February roll out.

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The Motor Pool: Operation Drumbeat 2018

The tempo of operations has taken a marked increase over the past week now that we’re headed into the all-important holiday season. We’re getting a lot more visitors to our web site, added product/order inquiries both online and via phone, and a general surge in sales for various product that cuts across all categories. As a reminder, our phone support line is now being manned to cover additional hours and we’ve updated our Calendar of Events page to reflect the cut off dates for both domestic and international shipments if you are hoping to receive your packages before Christmas. Keep in mind that this is expected to be an exceptionally busy holiday season due to the pick up in business across America, so its entirely possible we could sell out of a number of items earlier rather than later. Add in weather-related delays, a Canadian postal worker strike, forest fires out west and the odd asteroid strike and you can see why we continually urge everyone to submit their orders as early as possible to avoid disappointment. Happy holidays!

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WWI Tugs at Our Heart Strings and Our Wallets

Wings of the Great War’s 1:72 scale French Saint Chamond Heavy Tank – “Chantecoq,” As31, Laffaux, France, 1917

Apparently, last week’s 100-year commemoration marking the end of World War I has had a profound impact on both marketing strategies and sales for several manufacturers. Take, for instance, the 1:72 scale Saint Chamond tank (WW10207) from Wings of the Great War, which is currently en route to us just in time for the holiday season. According to our distributor, it is already sold out at both the factory and distributor level, meaning we will only have a handful of pieces available for general sale once we have filled all of our existing pre-orders. Frankly, once people read this blog post, we may not even have any pieces available for general sale either.

Corgi’s 1:48 scale German Fokker D VII Fighter – 4649/18 “Seven Swabians” Wilhelm Scheutzel, Jasta 65, September 1918

In the air, Corgi has launched a new sub brand dubbed World War I 1914-1918 Centenary Series, which includes several of their soon-to-be-released 1:48 scale WWI-era fliers. We’ve grouped the recently released cherry-red Dridecker flown by Manfred von Richtofen in with these aircraft for obvious reasons but the first true Centenary warbird is called “Seven Swabians”, another Dridecker piloted by Wilhelm Scheutzel, who was attached to Jasta 65 during September 1918 (AA38906). While his mount laid claim to only two enemy aircraft in its brief tenure over the Western Front, the “Seven Swabians” is perhaps better remembered for its intricate artwork adorning both sides of its fuselage. For the uninitiated, “Seven Swabians” draws its title from a famous Brothers Grimm German Fairy Tale. Brandishing an oversized spear, which required all seven of the Swabians to carry, the story tells the farcical tale of this hapless group and their futile attempts to achieve greatness through performing great deeds. Look for the “Seven Swabians” to rise high over the diecast trenches some time before the end of the holiday season.

Corgi’s 1:48 scale RNAS Sopwith Camel Fighter – Flight Lieutenant Lloyd S Breadner, No.3 Squadron, Bray Dunes Aerodrome, France, 1918

Likely expected in league with the Dridecker is a Royal Naval Air Service Sopwith Camel fighter, which was flown by Flight Lieutenant Lloyd S Breadner (AA38109)

Canadian ace Lloyd Samuel Breadner can surely claim to have flown one of the most distinctive Sopwith Camels on the Western Front. Featuring two large circles on the top wing, his aircraft also included King of Diamonds playing cards on the top of the lower wings, the badge of the Canadian Expeditionary Force carried behind the cockpit and a striking red and white ‘rising sun’ on the tail and elevators – there can be no doubting that Flight Lieutenant Breadner wanted his German opponents to see him coming.

Corgi’s all-new WWI 1914-1918 Centenary Series banner

Joining No.3 Squadron RNAS in 1917, Breadner initially flew the Sopwith Pup scout, in which he managed to score seven aerial victories, one of which was a mighty German Gotha bomber on April 23rd, 1917, the first time a British fighter had brought down one of these behemoth’s over the Western Front.

When his unit converted to the new Sopwith Camel, he went on to score a further three victories during September 1917, all of which were against Luftstreitkrafte Albatros D.V fighters. Surviving the war, Breadner became Air Officer Commanding-in Chief RCAF Overseas during WWII and on his retirement, was promoted to Air Chief Marshal – the first Canadian to hold this rank.


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It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

While much of the snow that fell on the Northeast yesterday has since melted or washed away, that doesn’t mean its starting to look and feel more and more like Christmas at The Motor Pool compound. Earlier this month, we expanded our customer support hotline to cover more hours, updated our web site and generally received much of the product we expected to take delivery on, all in an effort to get ready for the final holiday push. Some key product will still arrive after the Thanksgiving weekend, meaning we will do everything in our power to fill as many orders as possible before the holidays arrive. Again, we ask for your patience in this matter and hope you refrain from contacting us unless you feel you absolutely have to to check on your order. We update our web site hourly, so its still the best means of judging when an item will likely arrive during the hectic hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

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More Sukhois for the New Year

Prototype image of the Hobby Master 1:72 scale Suhkoi Su-33 Air Superiority Fighter

It didn’t take a course in predictive analysis to guess that Hobby Master would eventually get around to replicating the mighty Russian Sukhoi Su-33 air superiority fighter. They’ve already covered just about every other aircraft in Sukhoi’s family of modern aircraft, so adding the Flanker-D was, as they famously say, “a no-brainer” from a model maker’s stand point.

For now, only prototype images are being shown on the Hobby Master Collector web site, although its a safe bet that the first model will be announced shortly, no doubt ahead of the upcoming Chinese New Year in February, a time when most companies go on hiatus for a couple of weeks. We’re willing to bet that once the Su-33 starts to see the light of day that Hobby Master will begin eyeing the MiG 29 as its next adversarial subject.

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Product Spotlight: On the Wings of Icarus

AF-X 1:72 scale US North American X-15A Hypersonic Rocket-Powered Aircraft – X-15 Flight 191, Michael J. Adams, Delamar Dry Lake, NV, November 15th, 1967

Earlier this month we discussed how newcomer AF-X intended to kick off its new line of high-flying aircraft with a 1:72 scale rendition of the X-15 hypersonic rocket-powered aircraft (AFXP001). Due out shortly, we decided to delve a little deeper into this project by shedding some light on the history of this particular aircraft.

X-15 Flight 3-65-97, also known as X-15 Flight 191, was a test flight of the North American X-15 experimental aircraft. It took place on November 15th, 1967, and was piloted by Michael J. Adams. It ended in tragedy when the aircraft broke apart minutes after launch due to technical difficulties, killing the pilot and destroying the plane.

Adams’ seventh X-15 flight took place on November 15, 1967, in the number three aircraft. At 10:30 in the morning on November 15, the X-15-3 dropped away from underneath the wing of NB-52B mothership at 45,000 ft (14,000 m) over Delamar Dry Lake.

While in powered flight, an electrical disturbance distracted Adams and slightly degraded the control of the aircraft; having adequate backup controls, Adams continued. At 10:33 he reached a peak altitude of 266,000 ft (81,000 m). In the NASA 1 control room, mission controller Pete Knight monitored the mission with a team of engineers.

As the X-15 climbed, Adams began a planned wing-rocking (rolling) maneuver so an on-board camera could scan the horizon. At the conclusion of the wing-rocking portion of the climb, the X-15 had begun a slow drift in heading; 40 seconds later, when the aircraft had reached its maximum altitude, it was off heading by 15 degrees to the left. As Adams came over the top, the drift briefly halted as the aircraft’s nose yawed 15 degrees back to the correct attitude. Then the drift to the left began again; within 30 seconds, Adams’ descending flight path was at right angles to the attitude of the aircraft. At 230,000 ft (70,000 m), while descending into the rapidly increasing density of the atmosphere, the X-15 entered a Mach 5 spin.

In the NASA 1 control room, there was no way to monitor the heading of the aircraft, so the situation was unknown to the engineers monitoring the flight. Normal conversation continued between Knight and Adams, with Knight advising Adams that he was “a little bit high,” but in “real good shape.” Adams radioed that the aircraft “[seemed] squirrelly,” and moments later repeatedly told Knight that he had entered a spin. The ground controllers sought to get the X-15 straightened out, but there was no recommended spin recovery technique for the X-15, and engineers knew nothing about the aircraft’s supersonic spin tendencies. The chase pilots, realizing that the X-15 would never make Rogers Dry Lake, headed for the emergency lakes, Ballarat and Cuddeback, in case Adams attempted an emergency landing.

Adams held the X-15’s controls against the spin, using both the flight controls and the reaction control jets in the nose and wings. He managed to recover from the spin at 118,000 feet and went into an inverted Mach 4.7 dive at an angle between 40 and 45 degrees. In theory, Adams was in a good position to roll upright, pull out of the dive and set up a landing. However, due to high gain in the adaptive control system, the X-15 went into a limit-cycle with rapid pitching motion of increasing severity, still in a dive at 160,000 feet per minute. As the X-15 neared 65,000 ft (20,000 m), it was diving at Mach 3.93 and experiencing more than 15 g vertically, and 8g laterally.

The aircraft broke up northeast of the town of Johannesburg 10 minutes and 35 seconds after launch. An Air Force pilot, who was filling in for another chase pilot, spotted the main wreckage northwest of Cuddeback Lake. The aircraft was destroyed, and Adams was killed.


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Anatomy of War: When the US Army War Games

Every so often we get blown away by an interesting read. One such article surfaced earlier today that we thought we’d share with everyone since it could have a major impact on the hobby we enjoy.

According to FoxNews, the US Army is currently looking to develop a line of table top miniatures designed to emulate current and potentially near-future conflicts between Red and Blue forces from across the globe. Its not clear which systems they plan to portray, although its a good bet that the current Order of Battle (OOB) for the US, Russian and ChiCom forces will serve as the basis for teaching commanders how to deal with the vagaries of combat on today’s battlefields. It is also likely they will add-on systems destined for operational deployment within the next several years in an effort to stay current with developments both on and off the battlefield.

Its not clear at what scale they plan to model the table top battlefield and whether or not a commercial off-shoot will be created to potentially defray some of the development costs associated with portraying so many different land, air and sea combat systems currently in use around the world. Still, this could be exciting news for military collectors, many of whom have been asking for certain types of models not hitherto available as pre-assembled models.

For more information regarding this development, visit this FoXNews link.

For more information, visit this link:

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Atlas Returns to the Fold

Atlas Editions 1:43 scale German BMW R75 Motorcycle with Sidecar – Deutsches Afrika Korps

Atlas Editions is one of those manufacturers that has quietly established itself as a respectable maker of scale military replicas. While they aren’t always available in depth and breadth of line like several of the other lines we carry, there are occasions when their on-hand availability rises to a level where both new and older releases are in stock at the same time.

Atlas Editions 1:43 scale German LIV (SO) Special Ops Light Armored Utility Vehicle

November seems to be one of those months when many of their older, more popular releases have been sufficiently replenished to a level where we can order in quantity and some of their newer products are also available for general sale. Late yesterday, we learned that their best-selling US T-19 Howitzer Motor Carriage (ATL7123110) is back in stock, as are a number of other items that have been hobbled by inconsistent stocking for several months running. Simultaneously, two new 1:43 scale products were announced – a German BMW R75 motorcycles with sidecar (ATL7895001) and a modern era LIV (SO) Special Ops Light Armored Utility Vehicle (ATL7121001), the German equivalent of our Humvee tactical utility vehicle. Interestingly, both items are expected shortly, meaning they made the voyage over to the New World at the same time as some of the restocks, thus making them execellent gifts for the holidays.   

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