Shout Outs

Panzerkampf: Moving at a Turtle’s Pace?

Your guess is as good as ours when this handsome A39 Tortoise Heavy Assault Tank will hit the market in North America

Some times we’re left in a lurch, not knowing what or who to believe. Such is the case with Panzerkampf, a relatively new manufacturer of diecast military vehicles that’s been lurking in the shadows of obscurity for several months now, neither providing hard-and-fast release dates for its retail clientele nor clear about which vehicles will be released and in what order. According to information found elsewhere on the web, this could prove to be crucial, since they have a number of completed vehicles that will instantly get snapped up once they do find a willing stockist.

Merkava anyone? While the Mk. 3 Merkava has been available from numerous manufacturers, collectors have been after this Mk.5, with its saucer-shaped turret, for a very long time

The two most notable projects supposedly out before the close of 2017 are a WWII-era British A39 Tortoise heavy assault tank and a modern-day Israeli Merkava Mk.IV main battle tank. Other vehicles appear on the Panzerkampf Order of Battle, including the German Panther and Panzer III tanks, and Hummel tank destroyer, along with a Russian Amata main battle tank and MSTA self-propelled howitzer. For now, we’ll keep twirling our fingers waiting to hear from one of our distributors lucky enough to have locked up the line. For now, we’ll join you in ogling some of these tantalizing replicas and hope they become stocking stuffers instead of stuffs of legend.

 
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Aftermath of Hurricane Irma

We have received reports that many of the roads leading into and out of the southeast portion of the United States are now cleared of debris and that power should be restored to many affected customers by Monday September 18th. Furthermore, we have learned that the USPS, UPS and FedEx will be resuming shipments into and out of the southeastern US this coming Monday. So, we will be resuming shipments to the affected area beginning Monday although there could still be intermittent delays where service has not been fully restored or in instances where the Postal Service has decided to temporarily withhold shipments including the Florida Keys.

 
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Hurricane Irma

With Hurricane Irma due to make landfall in Florida some time this weekend, we may elect to hold any outbound shipments destined for the region for several days until such time that it is prudent to resume shipments. The same may hold true for the Carolinas and up along the eastern seaboard as we get a better sense of the hurricane’s impact on the entire region. We apologize for the decision but hope you understand that sometimes prudence is the better part of valor.

Note: On Friday, September 8th at 5PM EST, FedEx, UPS and the US Postal Service all announced that they have suspended service to the affected region for the next several days and will wait until the storm has passed before determining when they can resume service.

Needless to say, we wish everyone in the affected region the best of luck ahead of the storm. Stay safe and heed the warnings of the local authorities.

 
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Holiday Shipping Schedule

With summer all but a distant memory, we’ve updated our Calendar of Events page to reflect both domestic and international shipping deadlines for the upcoming holiday season. If you plan on sending a gift or want to know the drop dead dates to mail an item amidst the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, we strongly suggest you peruse the calendar to see how it fits within your shopping plans.

 
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When in Doubt, Count Them Out

Collecting diecast memorabilia can be a wonderful if daunting past time, particularly if your collection starts to get out-of-hand, is stored in multiple locations, or you just can’t remember what you have and the price you paid. Enter a web site called Collectorz.com, which just might have the answer in this grab-and-go economy. Geared more towards collectors of movies, books, comic books, games and music, the site, nevertheless, offers some interesting software solutions that could easily be re-purposed towards the miniatures business. Essentially, you enter all of the information about each new treasure into a database, which can then be viewed as a mobile app, web-based program or desktop software solution, depending upon which option suits your fancy. Given the relative value of the average diecast collection and the ease with which anyone can forget what they paid for each item, it makes sense to catalog each acquisition the moment they come in, particularly if one day you decide to put things up for sale or turn it over to someone that doesn’t have a clue as to the value of each item. Think of it as an insurance policy that could one day pay off as handsomely as each collectible you own.

 
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The King is Dead: Long Live the New King?

Modelcollect’s Rheintochter 1 surface-to-air missile may appear strange and unfamiliar, but serves as a testament to the lengths with which the Company is prepared to go to assume the diecast throne

For the better part of the 21st Century, most collectors of scale armor would agree that Dragon produces the best array of 1:72 scale armored fighting vehicles. Sure, there have been contenders for the crown as well as a few drop outs along the way, but Dragon, barring a few dry years in which models were promised but never delivered, was seen by many as the king of the diecast battlefield.

Despite its longstanding run on the throne, Dragon may have to hand over the crown shortly to Modelcollect, still a relative newcomer to the armored ranks, who has, nonetheless, quietly built a stable of high quality diecast replicas that have reignited passion in the hobby and moved the ball forward where others continually fumbled. Where Dragon seems content to churn out the usual diet of WWII vehicles, Modelcollect has dabbled in the more obtuse subjects, releasing a wondrous array of less familiar subjects that have garnered respect and admiration from the community. 

In recent months, they have offered all manner of mobile missile launchers and other transporters in model kit form, which will no doubt be ported over to the pre-assembled market. In the meantime, they have also cranked out a number of intricately detailed pre-assembled models, and stand ready to deliver more this summer. We’ve already posted information on their upcoming E-100 series of armor, and today we learned that they will also be offering a Rheintochter 1 surface-to-air mobile missile launcher set atop an E-100 chassis (AS72062). There’s a good bet that the Rheintochter will also be wedded to both their E-50 and E-75 chassis, making it available in three different forms. We are also awaiting news concerning their Landkreuzer P.1000 Ratte mega tank, something the German Waffenamt never seriously considered as a weapon of war due to its immense size.

Anyway, keep a careful eye on Modelcollect as it continues to build out its order-of-battle and looks to become the de facto king of diecast armor.

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This Ain’t Your Father’s Paintball Game Any More

Way back in the 90s, I gave paintball a go. Back then, I went to the effort of getting camouflage clothing, complete with insignia and name tag, and even toted a pair of miniature binoculars into battle, which, of course, I lost somewhere along the way, as I did my best trying to not get shot to pieces.

Nowadays, paintball has come a long way, employing high speed guns, elaborate battle maps, and get this, tanks. Apparently, its not enough to get a welt or two from a fast-firing machine gun aimed from the hip. Now, some guys have gone the extra mile and built miniature tanks, complete with rotating turrets, protective cages, and even paint-filled, shoot-n-scoot guns. Not to be outdone, there’s even heavy mini-guns and high-tech protective armor, as if the current outerwear wasn’t up to task and a bit too pase. I think I’ve seen it all.

 
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Forces of Valor Continues to Look to the Future and Beyond

Vincent Tsang, Walterson’s Managing Director for the Forces of Valor brand, has conceded, on several occasions, that tackling the entire product portfolio is some what a daunting task, considering the depth and breath of the entire range produced under the auspices of Unimax. Thus far, they have managed to re-introduce a core quartet of 1:24 scale radio controlled vehicles to the world market, updating the components to bring them in line with today’s technology and helping to set the stage for what will likely occur in the near future. They have also completed the task of revamping the 1:700 warship line, again adding a number of improvements and other refinements that should make them much appealing to collectors of maritime memorabilia.

Currently, they are working on their next project: reworking the 1:32 scale military vehicle to bring them up to today’s standards and make them even more collectible by changing around some of their features and appearances. Looking beyond that, the Company next plans to re-introduce their 1:72 scale aircraft and helicopter line, no small task considering some of the criticisms the range faced when they were first offered to the public as well as the competition at-large, who have come to dominate several sectors of the marketplace with their own hi-fidelity replicas. For instance, the venerable F-14 Tomcat has been replicated by no less than five different manufacturers over the last two years, so offering a compelling, like-minded product is going to prove to be a daunting task indeed. And, if that weren’t enough, the Company still has its sights set on releasing a brand new 1:16 scale Tiger I tank by year’s end, one which will reinvigorate their Extreme Metal brand and likely help to increase the value of all of the previous 1:16 scale vehicles Unimax previously released.

That said, we’re going to assume that the next wave of new 1:32 scale military vehicles may put in an appearance towards year’s end, depending upon the manufacturer’s work load and speed with which they can bring product to market. Their new web site is scheduled to go live shortly, which will also give collectors a better sense of what to expect from this new player in the diecast military space.

BTW, Vincent routinely fields collector questions on their Facebook page, so if you have any concerns, suggestions or questions, we strongly urge you to voice your opinion there. It might take him a day or two to respond, but thus far Vincent has been doing a yeoman’s job of explaining their plans for the forseeable future and showcasing their line to-date.

 
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The Fleet Is In!

 

USS Saratoga, one of the first US Navy ships to grapple with the Imperial Japanese Fleet

Ordinarily, Memorial Day Weekend signifies the start of Fleet Week here in New York City, but it looks as if the warships have entered port a bit early this year. This week, we received no less than eight new 1:1250 scale capital ships from DeAgostini’s Warships of the Second World War collection. Priced at just $21.99 apiece, these warships have been flying off of our warehouse shelves since they started arriving a few years ago and represent fitting tributes to the men and machines that prowled the high seas during World War II. The new ships include:

  • Royal Navy Vanguard Class Battleship – HMS Vanguard (23)
  • Imperial Japanese Navy Kongo Class Battleship – Kirishima
  • Royal Navy King George V Class Battleship – HMS King George V (41)
  • Royal Navy King George V Class Battleship – HMS Anson (79)
  • Royal Navy Renown Class Battlecruiser – HMS Renown (72)
  • US Navy Pennsylvania Class Battleship – USS Pennsylvania (BB-38)
  • Royal Navy Nelson Class Battleship – HMS Nelson (28)
  • US Navy Lexington Class Aircraft Carrier – USS Saratoga (CV-3)

 

 
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Forces of Valor Puts to Sea

As promised, Waltersons, the new owners of the Forces of Valor brand, has put the final touches on their revamped warships series and indicated the first shipment should be setting sail for their distributors this month.

 

This means we expect them to arrive around the middle of May, which coincides with our full-page advertisement in WWII History’s Band of Brothers special edition magazine. They are currently working on the first group of 1:32 scale vehicles, which, barring any unforeseen delays or problems, should make it to market in June.

 
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