Defending the Fleet: When Does Redundancy Cause More Harm than Good?



Its Fleet Week here in New York City, an annual celebration where several US Navy warships sail into the harbor, drop anchor then permit the curious to board the ships and peek around. While the NYPD’s Harbor Patrol is tasked with protecting the ships from potential acts of terrorism, it seems as though several diecast model makers have taken it upon themselves to provide an extra layer of security by offering a growing pantheon of 1:72 scale F-14 Fleet Defense Fighters.



Earlier this week, we discussed how newcomer Calibre Wings is kicking things off by offering two 1:72 scale exemplars of the venerable F-14 Tomcat. Earlier today, we learned that longtime modelmaker, Hobby Master, will be building models based upon the exact same schemes – one portraying VF-1 “Wolfpack” and the other VF-103 “Jolly Roger” – which will likely make it to market before the Calibre Wings offerings are cleared for takeoff. Keep in mind, we already have a long list of F-14s produced by Century Wings, as well as a couple of birds from True Scale Models, who managed to nab the Top Gun license to help sell their wares.



Frankly, with so many other air frames to model, as well as loads of other squadrons to tap, the news that more of the same is falling on deaf ears, nothing more than a bid to steal the thunder from another modelmaking house. I’d like to think that somehow this type of one upsmanship should be left to the political scene, instead of muddying the waters in an increasingly crowded market where assets could be put to better use. Obviously, we wish them all well, and hope that every model produced sells like gangbusters, but all this duplication of effort does is create added inventory at the distributor and dealer level, and likely leads to discounted pricing to move inventory. The end user might like the temporary respite in pricing, but the distributor and dealer will have to think twice about bringing in new SKUs if this type of war for the collector’s wallet, continues unabated.

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