February 2020

Mattel Trips Up the Red Light Cameras with its “Need for Speed”

No stranger to the diecast market thanks to their longstanding Hot Wheels and Matchbox sub brands, Mattel unveiled the first look at their upcoming line of Top Gun merchandise at the American International Toy Fair. Based upon the upcoming film Top Gun: Maverick, CNN’s article showcases some of the product destined to come out under the Matchbox moniker, which includes, among other things, an aircraft carrier playset and a handful of aircraft. Presently, we do not believe that the expose represents the entire Top Gun lineup, since none of the higher end aircraft models alluded to previously were on display. As a result, we hope to have more information in the days and weeks ahead. In the meantime, stop on by the CNN web site to see what has been discussed.

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Eaglemoss Snags Another Sci-Fi License

Its beginning to look as if Eaglemoss wants to sew up the entire sci-fi category. At the American International Toy Fair held this week in New York City, Eaglemoss announced their intent to model many of the ships portrayed in the original sci-fi series, Space: 1999. Space: 1999 is a British and Italian science fiction television program that ran for two seasons from 1975 to 1977. Space: 1999 was the last production by the partnership of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson and was the most expensive series produced for British television up to that time.

In February 2012, a new series, to be called Space: 2099, was announced as a reboot of the original series, Space: 1999, and was planned to be made by ITV Studio America in conjunction with HD Films. On August 15th, 2018, Brian Johnson, special effects director for the original series, announced that the reboot was on track for production in the UK, pending “confirmation of the deal.” We’re willing to bet that at some point the new series will be rolled into the line, thus expanding its depth and breadth and possibly bringing in new blood to the series and hobby.

We hope to have product information shortly for the Space: 1999 line as well as program information for the series reboot.

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Hobby Master Readies the Fireworks for a July Ship

Hobby Master’s 1:72 scale German Panavia GR. Mk. 1 Tornado IDS All-Weather Bomber – 44+43, JaBoG 34, Allgau, Germany, 1980s (1:72 Scale)

Even as other manufacturers struggle with the repercussions caused by the Coronavirus, Hobby Master remains undeterred seemingly intent upon sticking to their production schedule come hell or high water. Interestingly, Hobby Master intends to offer a 1:72 scale rendition of the Panaxia Tornado IDS fighter-bomber, another aircraft Corgi has already produced for several years running and has three examples coming out in 2020. Here’s what’s on tap when the fireworks go off:

On the ground…

HG7055 – Soviet ISU-152 Self-Propelled Gun – Unidentified Unit, Berlin, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

HG7056 – Soviet ISU-122 Self-Propelled Gun – 3rd Belorussian Front, Konigsberg, Germany, March 1945 (1:72 Scale)

...and in the air:

HA7745 – USAAF North American P-51K Mustang Fighter – “Tall In the Saddle”, 99th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, Italy, 1945 (1:48 Scale)

HA5311 – Czech Air Force Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23ML “Flogger-G” Fighter – 4644, CIAF 99, Czech Republic, 1999 (1:72 Scale)

HA19015 – US Navy McDonnell F-4J Phantom II Fighter-Bomber – VF-103 “Sluggers”, USS Saratoga (CV-60), 1971 (1:72 Scale)

HA4421 – USAF Lockheed-Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter – 134th Fighter Squadron, 158th Fighter Wing, Burlington International Airport, Vermont Air Guard, September 2019 [Low-Vis Scheme] (1:72 Scale)

HA4422 – Israeli Air Force Lockheed-Martin F-35A “Adir” Joint Strike Fighter – No.902, 140 Squadron “Golden Eagle Squadron”, Nevatim Airbase, Israel, August 2016 [Low-Vis Scheme] (1:72 Scale)

HA5807 – USAF Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk Stealth Attack Aircraft – 412th Test Wing, 410th Flight Test Squadron, Edwards AFB, California, 1990 (1:72 Scale)

HA6701 – German Panavia GR. Mk. 1 Tornado IDS All-Weather Bomber – 44+43, JaBoG 34, Allgau, Germany, 1980s (1:72 Scale)

HA6304 – Russian Sukhoi Su-34 “Fullback” Strike Fighter – “Blue 43”, Second Prototype, Akhtubinsk, Russia, December 1993 (1:72 Scale)

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Marketplace International Delivery Programs

On February 7th, eBay formally launched its eBay International Standard Delivery program. Billed as a more efficient means of getting product into the hands of the international customer it is also designed to save the seller some money, thereby making it a more economical choice than the standard means of delivery used in the past. Here’s what eBay had to say about its functionality:

“Beginning in February, eBay international standard delivery will be available to all sellers. This new program supports shipments to over 210 countries, offers better tracking visibility and includes late delivery protections for standards, service metrics, and feedback.  

If you ship to international buyers directly (not using eBay’s Global Shipping Program), you can select the eBay international standard delivery option as an economical choice to deliver your product. eBay international standard delivery is a Delivered Duties Unpaid (DDU) shipping solution—buyers won’t pay duties and tax at checkout on eBay, but may have to pay the carrier for duties and tax on delivery. 

It’s easy for sellers to save an average of 9% using eBay international standard delivery, as there is no change to the current process.  

This new option is available in the listing flow, under Shipping Details. You have the option of selecting Calculated or Flat international shipping cost listings. For either of these options, select “eBay international standard delivery” shipping service from the drop down menu. 

After your item sells, select the “eBay international standard delivery” option when you print a shipping label with eBay Labels for buyers in destinations outside of the US. Drop off your package at any US post office or schedule a pick up. Tracking will be automatically uploaded on eBay and tracked to its final destination. 

Each purchase of the eBay international standard delivery service includes a shipping protection plan to help in case of lost or damaged items. eBay will also protect you by removing negative and neutral feedback and defects when things happen that are outside your control (like late deliveries due to weather or carrier delays.)”

As a result, we have begun using this shipping program for most international deliveries. In some instances, it could be possible that this new service is more costly than the traditional method of handing off to the USPS. So, we will compare the rates offered, and choose which is the most economical for us while still ensuring our customers get the very best service possible.

On a different subject, we will soon be rolling out additional marketplace options on Amazon, beginning with the United Kingdom. Essentially, we will be able to sell our products on the Amazon.UK web site just as we do on the US Amazon site, although Amazon Prime will not come into play. More on this subject later as we get up to speed.

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Shipping Delays Likely Due to Coronavirus

In case you haven’t been paying attention to the news, over 780 million Chinese people are now subject to lock down mandated by their government, which is roughly half of the Chinese population. As a result, many of the manufacturers that make diecast-related products are not expected to re-open for business within the foreseeable future until the virus has been contained and/or eradicated and the general population can once again go out in public.

Because of this, we are anticipating lengthy delays in the production pipeline and cannot predict when these manufacturers will be up and running again. Some companies, such as Hobby Master, moved their production facilities outside of China to southern Asia several years ago. That said, they oftentimes still maintain staff in China and are just as likely affected by the pandemic as those individuals living within the affected regions.

We will do our best to monitor the situation and update our release schedule as news is passed along to us. We hope you understand that this is an issue beyond our control and affects a great many industries in the manufacturing sector.

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Eaglemoss Boldly Goes Again

Looking to wrap up their standard-sized Star Strek starships line in the next few months, Eaglemoss announced plans to launch a new line of replicas based upon some of the starships found in the massively multiplayer game, Star Trek Online.

Eaglemoss’ Star Trek Online Gagarin-Class Miracle Worker Battlecruiser [With Collector Magazine]

Due out some time this Spring, the first two ships were debuted to the public yesterday as part of a larger starship reveal. Kicking off the range is a Gagarin-Class Miracle Worker Battlecruiser (#EMSTO01) while the second entrant is based upon a Federation Chimera-Class Heavy Destroyer (#EMSTO02)Both ships have been listed to our web site and we have begun to accept pre-orders for them.

Eaglemoss’ Star Trek Online Federation Chimera-Class Heavy Destroyer [With Collector Magazine]
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DeAgostini Reinforces its Aerial Campaign

Six more warbirds are set to join the DeAgostini 1:72 scale aerial armada this month, thereby bringing our ever-expanding squadron up to 11 releases from the original 12. We elected to drop the P-51 Mustang from the mix because it did not come in the bookcase format packaging, something we believe adds to the value of the product. The six newest include:

DAWF01 – Imperial Japanese Navy Kawanishi N1K2-J Shiden-kai “George” Fighter – Lt. Naoshi Kanno, 343 Kokutai, 304 Hikotai “Shinsen-Gumi,” 1945 [With Collector Magazine] (1:72 Scale)

DAWF08 – Imperial Japanese Army Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien “Tony” Fighter – Capt. Teruhiko Kobayashi, 244th Sentai, Chofu Air Base, 1945 [With Collector Magazine] (1:72 Scale)

DAWF10 – Imperial Japanese Navy Aichi B7A2 Ryusei “Grace” Dive-Bomber – Kougeki 5th Hikotai, 752nd Kokutai, 1945 [With Collector Magazine] (1:72 Scale)

DAWF11 – Imperial Japanese Navy Mitsubishi A6M2B “Zero” Model 21 Fighter – Lt(jg) Shigehisa Yamamoto, Akagi, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, December 7th, 1941 [With Collector Magazine] (1:72 Scale)

DAWF13 – USN Grumman F6F Hellcat Fighter – VF-24, USS Santee (CVE-29), 1945 [With Collector Magazine] (1:72 Scale)

DAWF15 – German Focke-Wulf Fw 190D-9 Fighter – IV./Jagdgeschwader 3 “Udet,” Prenzlau, Germany, 1945 [With Collector Magazine] (1:72 Scale)

Each warplane comes packed in its own slick bookcase format case which includes a fully illustrated color magazine written in Japanese. Bear in mind that there are 100 entrants in this series so if you plan to collect them all make sure you have the necessary space allotted to display each of these fabulous collectibles.

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Forces of Valor Pulls into Port Bristling with Armament

Forces of Valor’s 1:32 scale German Sd. Kfz. 173 Jagdpanther Ausf. G1 Tank Destroyer with Zimmerit – “234”, schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 654, Normandy, August 1944 [Bonus Maybach HL230 P30 Engine]

So, we finally have some good news to report on the Forces of Valor front. Our distributor claims they have received their latest shipment of merchandise, which includes restocks of several back ordered items as well as a handful of new products. The new items include their 1:32 scale Jagdpanther tank destroyer as well as their Jagdtiger heavy tank destroyer. As mentioned previously, these are largely upgraded vehicles from the Unimax line that now feature removable engines, a decorative display base, more metal to give them greater heft and better paint schemes that includes weathering and pitting where applicable. We invite you to check out some of the images we’ve posted for both vehicles to get a better sense of what they now look like.

Forces of Valor’s 1:700 People’s Liberation Army Navy Surface Force Liaoning Class Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier – Liaoning (CV-16), Hong Kong Visit, 2017

Waltersons first new warship is also on its way to us, the PLAAN Liaoning aircraft carrier (CV-16). Two versions are being offered – one having participated in live fire military drills in the South China Sea in 2016 and the other portraying the ship as it pulled into Hong Kong harbor in 2017. Both have working elevators, a full complement of aircraft, and turning defensive armament as well as a vacuu-formed sea wave blister that can be used to display the ship as if it were at sea. If not, both warships comes with stands so they can be displayed atop a credenza.

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Robin Olds and “Scat XXVII”

Air Commander’s 1:72 scale USAF McDonnell F-4C Phantom II Fighter-Bomber – Robin Olds, “Scat XXVII”, 433rd Fighter Interceptor Squadron “Satan’s Angels”, 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, Ubon Royal Thai Air Base, 1967

Few pilots have become more synonymous with the Vietnam War than Robin Olds. A veteran of WWII, Olds took command of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing on September 30th, 1966, which was based at Ubon Royal Thais Air Force Base, Thailand, a hub of activity for bombing North Vietnam and interdicting supplies running down the Ho Chi Minh trail. A lack of aggressiveness and sense of purpose in the wing had led to the change in command (Olds’ predecessor had flown only 12 missions during the 10 months the wing had been in combat). The 44-year-old colonel also set the tone for his command stint by immediately placing himself on the flight schedule as a rookie pilot under officers junior to himself, then challenging them to train him properly because he would soon be leading them.

Olds’ vice commander was Col. Vermont Garrison, an ace in both World War II and Korea, and in December Olds brought in Daniel James Jr. to replace an ineffective deputy commander for operations, creating arguably the strongest and most effective tactical command triumvirate of the Vietnam War. The Olds-James combination became popularly nicknamed “Blackman and Robin”. Olds took to the air war over North Vietnam in an F-4C Phantom he nicknamed “Scat XXVII”, in keeping with his previous combat aircraft that all carried the “Scat” name.

Air Commander, no stranger to collectors for modeling a wide array of Phantom fighter-bombers, has now selected “Scat XXVII” as the subject for its next F-4. Expected in June, “Scat XXVII” will undoubtedly become the centerpiece in Air Commander’s range of F-4 Phantoms and will almost certainly take center stage for many Vietnam War aviation enthusiasts not only due to who flew the plane but because of their painstaking attention to detail and craftsmanship.

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Product Spotlight: The Jagdtiger Gallery

Forces of Valor’s 1:32 scale German Sd. Kfz. 186 Jagdpanzer VI Jagdtiger Heavy Tank Destroyer with Henschel Suspension – Kampfgruppe Goggler, 3/schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 653, Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, Germany, 1945 [Bonus Maybach V-12 HL 230 P30 Engine]

Back in December, we did a write up on the upcoming Jagdtiger from Forces of Valor, which is largely an upgrade to the Unimax Jagdtiger released several years ago but now comes with a detailed engine compartment complete with a bonus engine. At the time, there weren’t many images of the new vehicle available, so the article was somewhat text heavy and ended up discussing the reasons for building and fielding a Jagdtiger (hunting tiger) tank destroyer even when the Reich’s late-war resources were scarce and likely should have been diverted to other less costly projects.

Well, the manufacturer was kind enough to provide us with an avalanche of images for their soon-to-be-released Jagdtiger, which show off the upgrades made to the existing mold as well as the weathered ambush paint scheme it now bears.

According to our distributor, both the Jagdtiger and Jagdpanther (hunting Panther) are expected to arrive this month, along with a restock of their Sherman Firefly and other items. We anticipate brisk sales for all three vehicles and hope to share some additional information we’ve gleaned from the manufacturer in the days ahead. Stay tuned.

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