December 2018

Tales of Transparency: Wrapping Up 2018 and Looking Ahead to the New Year

We’re just a handful of days away from saying farewell to 2018 so we thought it a good time to look back at the past twelve months as well as gaze ahead at the coming year.

For starters, we’ve moved the current shipment of Corgi and Dragon Armor products from our Product in Transit section to the New Arrivals area so that we can close out the books at our end and get ready for our end-of-year inventory. These last two shipments are still scheduled to arrive during the first week of January barring any unforeseen shipping issues brought on by the holidays and/or the weather, so we appreciate your patience should you look forward to receiving them sooner rather than later.

2019 is stacking up to be quite a year for us. In the first quarter, we plan to spin up our new Walmart and marketplace stores, bringing our marketplace tally to five (Ebay, Amazon and Facebook being the others) in addition to our main site. There are some other irons in the fire, so-to-speak, which will require a bit of fine tuning on our part to get them completely aligned with our present marketing strategy. More on that later.

We don’t foresee any issues with the current crop of product lines we stock — in fact, as Forces of Valor finally comes on line in a meaningful way, we anticipate things will get hectic early on without the added pressure of the holiday season bearing down on us. Again, this all depends upon Waltersons, the new caretakers of the brand, sticking to and maintaining a reliable release schedule all the while expanding their product portfolio to cover all of its previous ranges as well as those still expected to be bolted on.

Naturally, there are the old stalwarts to consider too, which include Hobby Master, Corgi, Eaglemoss and a few other longtime brands, who continue to improve and expand upon their own core ranges and synergies to round out our selection and those of our customers. Several manufacturers have made quite a name for themselves and will likely continue to carve out respectable niches in the marketplace that few can ignore.

We will have more to say about 2019 shortly, which could include a relocation for us should we decide to move forward with the change. As always, we wish all of our patrons a happy and healthy new year and continue to say thank you for your patronage as we embark upon our nineteenth year of operation.

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Better Late than Never

Dragon’s 1:72 German Sd. Kfz. 182 PzKpfw VI King Tiger Ausf. B Heavy Tank – “313”, schwere Panzer Abteilung 501, Ardennes, 1944

As we hinted at earlier this month, there seems to be no shortage of new arrivals looking to pry open the 2018 door in an effort to still make it under the tree this holiday season. This weekend, Dragon announced that both of their long delayed 1:72 scale King Tigers are finally in the US and are now making their way to us as we speak (DRR60399 and DRR60400). With the holidays looming and shipping issues likely to kick in, look for both vehicles to become available the first week of January.

Corgi’s 1:72 German Dornier Do17Z-10 Kauz Light Bomber – Erich Jung, R4+AK, I/Nachtjagdgeschwader 2, Gilze-Rijen Airfield, Holland, October 1940

Corgi also announced that a flock of latecomers made port and are winging their way to us tout de suite. The haul includes:

AA38109 – RNAS Sopwith Camel Fighter – Flight Lieutenant Lloyd S Breadner, No.3 Squadron, Bray Dunes Aerodrome, France, 1918

AA38906 – German Fokker D VII Fighter – 4649/18 “Seven Swabians” Wilhelm Scheutzel, Jasta 65, September 1918 (1:48 Scale)

AA32820 – RAF De Havilland Mosquito Mk. VI Night Fighter – Flt. Lt. D A G “George” Parry, No. 105 Squadron [100 Years of the RAF] (1:72 Scale)

AA38808 – German Dornier Do17Z-10 Kauz Light Bomber – Erich Jung, R4+AK, I/Nachtjagdgeschwader 2, Gilze-Rijen Airfield, Holland, October 1940 (1:72 Scale)

AA36111 – RAF Consolidated Catalina Mk.IVA Flying Boat – JV928 ‘Y’ Flight Officer Alexander Cruickshank, VC 210 Squadron, July 1944 [100 Years of the RAF] (1:72 Scale)

The December Hobby Master shipment is reportedly on the high seas and could likely hit the streets in early January. While not exactly containing any stocking stuffers, the December shipment nevertheless includes a number of notable releases so don’t spend all of your gift card money just yet if you’re looking to nab some of these favorites.

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PMA Ushers in the Heavy Hitters

PMA’s 1:72 German Karl-Gerat Super Heavy Self-Propelled 60cm Mortar – “Adam”

A wee bit pricier than the average 1:72 scale military vehicle, PMA has, nonetheless, carved out a respectable niche in the hobby by offering an ever-widening array of WWII era subjects. Late yesterday we learned that they plan on going one step further by building a replica of a German Karl Gerat super heavy self-propelled mortar — a beast if ever there was one — that was used principally to lay siege to heavily fortified fixed positions. Several years ago, Dragon did much the same by releasing a collection of four Karl Gerats although they were created for the 1:144 scale market along with several larger 1:35 scale versions. PMA’s rendition bounces off of the middle of the diecast racket at 1:72 scale and will even come with an optional set of figures designed to crew the gun.

A set of five figures will come separately, all posed in differing positions.

Since several guns were built for the German Heer during WWII we’re willing to bet that PMA will do likewise, some sporting a narrower 54cm gun while others mount the larger 60cm cannon. Our distributor doesn’t have official pricing just yet so we’re going to hold off on accepting pre-orders until we lock down this and some other preliminary information. So, in the meantime, we suggest clearing away some space in your 1:72 scale collection for this brute and keep in mind that others will likely follow.

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Hobby Master Learns to Speak French All Over Again

Hobby Master’s 1:72 Mirage 2000-5F Fighter – 2-EB, E.C. 1/003, SPA 3/103, Cigognes, Dijon, France, 2010

Its been years since Hobby Master, the most prolific maker of diecast aircraft models, offered up a rendition of a french-built Dassault Mirage aircraft. As it turns out, it wasn’t because of poor sales figures that resulted in the Company putting the sleek Mirage on the back burner. Rather, it was, as some have long speculated, a result of a licensing dispute with the aircraft maker, which prevented them from making any more models without the expressed written approval of Dassault Aviation. Happily, it would appear as if the dispute has been settled because earlier today we learned that Hobby Master is bringing back the Mirage 2000 for an encore appearance. According to Hobbymastercollector,com, the first model slated to rise like a Phoenix from the ashes is based upon a Mirage 2000-5F jet fighter that was flown by France’s Armée de l’Air and deployed to Dijon, France in 2010.

Now that they have the go-ahead from Dassault, its entirely possible that Hobby Master will be replicating some of the other aircraft Dassault has made famous over the years, including the Super Étendard, Rafale, and Mystere, to name but a few. Interestingly, the Mirage 2000-5F is expected this Spring, meaning Hobby Master must have put their spat with Dassault to bed earlier this year to be this far along in the production process.

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We’re Headed into The Final Stretch

Hobby Master’s 1:72 USN Lockheed-Martin F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter – VFA-101 “Grim Reapers”, CAG Bird, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, 2013

Apart from some rather smallish shipments about to hit our receiving bay, it would appear as if there are no further deliveries expected for the balance of 2018. The December shipment of Hobby Master products will likely arrive after the New Year, as shippers and other components in the supply chain typically wind down their activities just after the holidays. Likewise, Modelcollect has been delayed until February and the next major Eaglemoss load will probably hit the North American market in early to mid January. As a result, we have updated our web site accordingly but will certainly keep an eye on things and make any adjustments to the shipping schedule should anything change from here on out.

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Save Some Room Under the Christmas Tree for Several Last-Minute Gifts

Hobby Master’s 1:48 USN Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat Fighter – Lt. Commander John Thach, “White 23”, VF-3, USS Yorktown (CV-5), June 4th-6th, 1942

The final two weeks of December is shaping up to be a real humdinger for us (do people even use that term anymore?) According to our distributor, several major shipments are still scheduled to arrive before the year is out, including the December Hobby Master cache, a large Eaglemoss order and a lone Forces of Valor Chinook that never seems to want to show up according to the battle plan. Its possible we could be getting a Modelcollect delivery as well, so keep your powder dry and remember several important products could still end up under the Christmas tree this year or at the very least make it onto the hors d’oeuvre platter for New Years. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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Of Pattons and Growlers and MiGs, Oh My!

Ordinarily we try to post important product announcements to our blog the day we receive the information. During the hectic holiday season, however, this routine often gets sidetracked, as we do our best to get orders out the door in a timely manner then post preliminary product information once the dust has settled and we get a chance to catch our breath.

That said, Hobby Master provided information yesterday concerning their May releases, which includes some notable introductions. Besides the George Bush Avenger we discussed in an earlier blog post, there are some intriguing new offerings in the hopper that should delight ground pounders and air warriors alike.

On the ground, Hobby Master plans to offer the first pairing of M60A3 Patton medium tanks, both clad in a MERD-C camouflage pattern (HG5608 and HG5609) suited for summer time warfare. While they have offered several versions of its precursor, the A1, this marks the first time Hobby Master will be examining the much more robust A3 version, which is still in service with several units and nations around the globe.

In the air, the Company has decided to extend its family of Boeing F/A-18s Hornet with the relatively new E/A-18G Growler (HA5150). The Growler is an Electronic Warfare platform intended to disrupt enemy tracking systems so that other aircraft in the “package” can perform their mission. As such, the Growler replica likely won’t carry any significant ordnance and instead will be loaded down with sensor pods, fuel tanks and other equipment intended to support the other aircraft it must shepherd into battle.

There are several other warbirds that caught our eye, among them a second rendition of the Navy’s F-35C Joint Strike Fighter (HA6102) and Albert Ulrich Houle’s Supermarine Spitfire (HA7851), but what really stood out was a Soviet MiG-21MT, clad in a sumptuous brownish-green camouflage pattern (HA0194). Any way, all of the new introductions have been posted to our web site and, if that weren’t enough, we’re happy to report that the Hobby Master December shipment is winging its way to us as we speak.

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Hobby Master Pays Tribute to Our 41st President and His Illustrious Aircraft

Last week, our nation paid homage to President George H. W. Bush, who passed away at the ripe old age of 94. While he will no doubt be remembered for his many accomplishments, he may, perhaps, be best thought of for his role as a pilot of an Avenger low-level bomber, who, in September 1944, accomplished his daunting mission despite suffering grievous damage to his aircraft and the loss of his fellow crew mates.

Hobby Master’s 1:72 USN Grumman Avenger TBM-1C Torpedo-Bomber – “Barbara III”, Lt. George H. W. Bush, VT-51, USS San Jacinto (CVL-30), September 1944

As we had hoped, Hobby Master will be paying tribute to the man and his machine by offering a new replica of his Grumman Avenger, this time around bearing the words, “Barbara III”, the third aircraft of his to bear the name of his future wife, Barbara Pearce (HA1221). According to our sales literature, this all-new warbird is expected in May and will come in a specially designed commemorative packaging and come bundled with a handsome display stand complete with a metal name plate. We anticipate this aircraft will sell briskly once news of its impending release spreads, so we strongly suggest placing a pre-order for it if you are indeed interested in obtaining one of these incredible replicas.

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Bad Santa

According to our principal distributor, port congestion along the West Coast has led to the delay of a number of important shipments that were scheduled to arrive in early December. Fortunately, most have now cleared customs and are headed to our supplier, including Forces of Valor, Eaglemoss and Hobby Master, before they are then earmarked for our own warehouse. Other shipments, from such stalwarts as Corgi and Modelcollect, could be delayed as well, so we’re carefully monitoring the situation on a daily basis and will continue to provide updates as they are warranted. As a result, we strongly suggest ordering only those products marked as being in stock if you are looking to give them as a gift or need them to arrive before the holidays.

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George H. W. Bush: The Man and His Machine

George H. W. Bush, behind the controls of “Barbara III” after he was assigned as a naval aviator in a new torpedo squadron, VT-153, based at Naval Air Station Grosse Ilse, Michigan. Each of his three aircraft were named after his future wife, Barbara

On Friday evening, the nation witnessed the passing of our 41st President, George H. W. Bush. As has been pointed out by the press and elsewhere, Bush enlisted in the US Navy when war with Japan broke out in 1941. After graduating from naval flight school, Bush was acknowledged to be the youngest US naval aviator of the war at only 18 years of age and would later go on to become a war hero, receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions near Chichi Jima.

Bush piloted a Grumman Avenger TBM-1C torpedo-bomber, a 3-man aircraft designed for low-level attacks against enemy naval vessels. Because of this, many were shot down, forced to evade anti-aircraft fire from virtually every type of gun the Imperial Japanese Navy possessed. While flying a TBM with VT-51 (from the USS San Jacinto (CVL-30)), Bush’s plane was shot down on September 2nd, 1944 over the Pacific island of Chichi Jima. Both of his crewmates died; however, because he released his payload and hit the target before being forced to bail out, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Bush, seated behind the controls of his TBM Avenger aboard the USS San Jacinto (CVL-30)

After being rescued at sea by the submarine USS Finback, Bush subsequently returned to San Jacinto in November 1944 and participated in operations in the Philippines until his squadron was replaced and sent home to the United States. Through 1944, he flew 58 combat missions for which he received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation awarded to San Jacinto.

Because of his valuable combat experience, Bush was reassigned to Norfolk Navy Base and put in a training wing for new torpedo pilots. He was later assigned as a naval aviator in a new torpedo squadron, VT-153, based at Naval Air Station Grosse Ilse, Michigan. Upon the Japanese surrender in 1945, Bush was honorably discharged in September of that year.

Several years ago, Hobby Master produced a 1:72 scale replica of his earliest mount “Barbara”, which has long since sold out and will likely appreciate in value now that he has passed away. We are therefore hoping that the manufacturer will re-release a model of his aircraft and, if at all possible, consider offering a 1:32 scale tribute too as a means of kicking off their 1:32 scale run of the Avenger and as a tribute to the man and his machine.

George Bush after bailing out of his stricken aircraft and rescued by the US submarine USS Finback

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