Looks as if we are ringing in the new year in grand fashioned with loads of hot new products for January. We’ve already taken delivery of the Solido 1:72 scale military vehicles and aircraft that are produced by War Master and now we’ve cleared the landing pad for the Luft-X Haunebu flying saucers. Our distributors report that they will soon be flush with a number of other important deliveries, including the January shipment of Hobby Master products, a bevy of new Modelcollect and Precision Model Art military vehicles and vengeance weapons, a pair of Corgi WWII era aircraft, and a follow-on cache of Eaglemoss sci-fi replicas that include a wide assortment of new Star Trek products. We could also see the first ship in the Alien and Predator line, and get a glimpse of what’s in store from Forces of Valor and Dragon.
As part of their annual rate assessment, the United States Postal Service (USPS) announced increases to shipping costs effective January 21st, 2018. On average, First Class Mail and Priority Mail rates are expected to rise by approximately 24%, as the Service continues to grapple with huge financial losses and the crippling effects of lower letter volume.
As a result, we may have to increase our flat rate shipping rate later this month once we get a better sense of how these rate hikes will affect our own costs, particularly for larger parcels that need to be shipped to the Midwest, Northwest, Southwest and West Coast regions. As you know, many of the soon-to-be-released Forces of Valor 1:32 scale military vehicles will be heavier than their counterparts from years ago, due to the fact that they will incorporate more metal as well as contain a bonus engine and stronger packaging. This means that we may need to change their shipping costs, particularly if an order calls for multiple vehicles. We are sorry to have to implement these changes and hope that you understand that increased shipping costs have a serious effect on our business model.
There is a “bomb cyclone” bearing down on the east coast that may or may not affect pickup and delivery of packages in the New York metropolitan region. Frankly, I’ve heard of Nor Easters, blizzards and snow storms before, but I’ve never heard of this ominous-sounding meteorological term which apparently arises when a storm moving north along the east coast from the Bahamas crashes into a cold front moving south out of Canada. Current forecasts call for an accumulation of up to 9 inches of snow where we are located and perhaps more in the outlying areas, with sustained wind gusts in excess of 45 mph and temperatures in the single digits. So, if the USPS does not attempt to pick up from us around noon today, expect to add at least a 24-48 hour delay to any packages that were earmarked for shipment over the past day or so.
Update: At 1pm, no attempt was made by the USPS to pick up our packages and, based on the conditions we are witnessing outside, we do not believe they will attempt to resume service until Saturday. That said, we are suspending outbound shipments for both Thursday and Friday, and hope to resume shipments on Saturday. Please take this into account when placing orders or anticipating the receipt of orders already in our queue.
You’ve spent hundreds, perhaps even thousands on your priceless possessions, putting together a vast, irreplaceable collection that has become the envy of enthusiasts world over. Why not shell out a few more bucks and take out some insurance should something happen to them?
That’s where Sure comes in. Sure offers collectibles insurance that will protect your investment against all sorts of hazards, and let’s face it, who couldn’t use a bit of added protection in this chaos-filled world. If you’re the least bit curious about their policies, we suggest you pay a visit to their web site: Sure.com. Consider it money well spent.
A couple of months ago, we created a blog post explaining why Waltersons, the new owners of the Forces of Valor brand, was running behind schedule getting a number of eagerly-awaited projects out the door. To recap, they were confronted by three critical issues: the first was reinventing the brand by offering revamped tooling that boasted more metal, removable engines and opening compartments previously overlooked in the original models. The second was obtaining new replicating machinery to create the molds for the new products as well as the training of new workers to operate the machinery. Third, and the most vexing problem they encountered,was that the manufacturer ran into an issue with the property owner who promised to turn over the keys to a new manufacturing facility, which ended up in court so that they could resolve the situation. Back in October, the manufacturer said as much on their Facebook page, apologizing for the delays and asking everyone to be patient a bit longer.
It is now mid-December, and we are just weeks away from the opening of the 2018 Hong Kong Toy Show, which throws open its doors to the public on January 8th. We are willing to bet that the manufacturer has remained mum of late so that they could use this venue to display their latest wares, new and re-imagined product that cuts across a great many categories and sub brands. So, hang in there a few more weeks and we’re sure there’s loads of incredible new products just waiting for a happy new home.
Admittedly, the second wave of warships from Forces of Valor took a bit of time languishing at sea before reaching our port of call. Now that they are in, however, we’re sure you’ll be delighted by the finished product. Four warships make up the second task force including the German battleship Tirpitz (FOV861005A), the British battleship HMS Hood (FOV861002A), the Japanese super battleship Yamato (FOV861004A) and, of course, the US battleship USS Missouri (FOV861003A), where the peace treaty between the Empire of Japan and the Allies was signed in Tokyo Bay. Like the first set of warships received earlier, each of these fine replicas are seated within a faux sea wave blister and come packaged in an attractive five-panel outer display box that explains the features of each ship. Best of all, each warship comes bundled with a handsome display plinth that features the name of the ship etched on a metallic name plate along side the ship’s crest. Get them while you can for the holidays!
New inductees into the world of diecast military vehicles often times ask us how they are meant to be displayed. Standard answers include curio cabinets, atop credenzas or, if you so desire, used for miniature wargaming. Of course, should you have the wherewithal at film making, there’s always stop motion video, thereby enabling you to depict your very own battles.
One resourceful if budding film maker did just that, creating a nearly four minute take on how the Battle of the Bulge was fought. Its not clear where he obtained all of the vehicles shown in the film (hopefully some from us), but his creation boasts all sorts of slugfests, complete with pyrotechnics and even a couple of stand-ins thrown in for good measure. Enjoy!
Ordinarily, with the holiday rush in full swing, we tend to add blog posts that have something to do with products currently available. This year we are making an exception, largely to help newcomer Calibre Wings get some traction as we enter the new year and put them on a more equal footing with some of the more entrenched players.
Earlier today, the Company release several first test shots for their upcoming 1:72 scale Sukhoi Su-24 “Fencer” attack aircraft. While unpainted and still showing areas where plastic is being used as opposed to metal, the imagery does give collectors an idea as to how far along they are with this project as well as their commitment to quality and craftsmanship. Noel Lee, managing director for Calibre Wings, also had this to say about their newest tooling:
1) There will be air intake covers and nozzle covers, these will be made from soft PVC.
2) The pitot tube looks bent because the PVC used during this test shot was too soft. We may change the pitot tube to a hard plastic if the subsequent harder PVC still proves to be unsatisfactory.
Due to the length of the pitot tube, it may not hold the shape very well if it was not a straight forward hard plastic. But I am trying to have it PVC, to prevent any accidental breakage.
3) The ordnance will be shown later since at this point of the test shot, the “giove vane” (if I got the term right) pylon is not yet adhered due to the lack of mounting holes on the underside of the model.
4) You can see clearly the differential between the M & MR versions on our test shot, which was previously not visible during the Nuremberg prototype.
5) The wings are sagging at the moment, again, due to the 1st test shot, there are areas that supports the wing that is not yet enough filled with material.
6) The ejection seat is wrongly sized and will be re-done to be made taller to fit the seated pilot
7) We are considering the use of magnets to adhere the landing gear “cartridges” (gear down and gear up) instead of using press fit.
8) The removal of the air intake covers requires the removal of the entire front section of the air intake piece.
9) The canopy will be provided as separate pieces for open position and closed position. This is due to constraint for having a more uni-body front fuselage and hence there is no space for assembly of a movable canopy.
Admittedly, Modelcollect has been hinting at doing a 1:72 scale interpretation of the German P.1000 super heavy tank for some time, even if the concept is nothing more than a fanciful whim that couldn’t possibly have rolled onto the WWII battlefield no matter its sponsor. So, even though its been languishing on the development back burners for what seems like an eternity, it now appears as if this prolific model maker has once again picked up the gauntlet in an effort to get this monster off the drawing board and into collectors hands world over.
According to their most recent Facebook posting, the Ratte is “back on track” and, at least from a model kit standpoint, is tentatively penciled in for a Jan/Feb 2018 release. It still isn’t clear if the Company will offer up this beast in pre-assembled form and, if so, when and for how much. We’re betting that with all of the time, energy and resources sunk into this project that it will be unleashed in a finalized state a few months later, likely offered in multiple configurations to fit the occasion. We’re not going to even speculate how much a finished Ratte might fetch, its weight or overall features. Right now, we’ll drool along with the rest of you as we ogle this marketing billboard and keep a careful eye on upcoming bulletins to gauge its status.
We learned today that our distributor received their October shipment of Hobby Master products. Ordinarily, with a week’s vacation looming, we would ask them to hold our shipment until we return from our hiatus. But, since so many people are waiting for many of these items, particularly the Su-35, A-10 and last batch of B-26 Counter Invaders, we decided to release the shipment, with the hope that it arrives before the weekend. This would enable us to process and ship out orders before we head off for the wild blue yonder, thereby making everyone happy. So, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that the shipment doesn’t get diverted or delayed and will do our best to turn around orders connected with this shipment the moment it arrives.