Four more aircraft were added to the Air Force1 Smithsonian series late last week, representing something for everyone no matter the war nor epoch. The quartet includes a 1:72 scale P-51D Mustang (AF10149), 1:200 scale B-17G Flying Fortress heavy bomber (AF10147), 1:144 scale A-10 Warthog (AF10144) and 1:144 F-4C Phantom II (AF10148). Priced at just $24.99 apiece, each are great ways to introduce younger collectors to the hobby and make great stocking stuffers for the upcoming holiday season. Look for them to fly-in during the August-October tome frame.
Air Force 1 Model Company
It’s comforting to see a model company draw its inspiration from one of the most heroic deeds a soldier could make. Back in 1969, Specialist Fourth Class Joseph G. LaPointe, Jr., a member of the 2nd Air Cavalry Squadron, 17th Cavalry, 101st Airborne Division, was awarded the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in Quang Tin Province on June 2nd, 1969.
SP4 LaPointe distinguished himself while serving as a medical aidman during a combat helicopter assault mission. SP4 LaPointe’s patrol was advancing from the landing zone through an adjoining valley when it suddenly encountered heavy automatic weapons fire from a large enemy force entrenched in well fortified bunker positions. In the initial burst of fire, two soldiers in the formation vanguard were seriously wounded. Hearing a call for aid from one of the wounded, SP4 LaPointe ran forward through heavy fire to assist his fallen comrades. To reach the wounded men, he was forced to crawl directly in view of an enemy bunker. As members of his unit attempted to provide covering fire, he administered first aid to one man, shielding the other with his body. SP4 LaPointe continued his lifesaving duties until he was again wounded and knocked to the ground. Making strenuous efforts he moved back again into a shielding position to continue administering first aid. An exploding enemy grenade mortally wounded all three men. SP4 LaPointe’s courageous actions at the cost of his life were an inspiration to his comrades. His gallantry and selflessness are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
To commemorate his valor, Air Force 1 will be offering a 1:48 scale UH-1H Huey helicopter on which he served (AF10151). Expected this August, this venerable chopper will come with the usual heavy display stand and detail everyone has come to expect from this up-and-coming model maker.
“Why, it’s a flying fortress.”
– Richard Williams, reporter for the Seattle Times, upon seeing a B-17 heavy bomber for the first time
The Boeing B-17 is one of those iconic aircraft of the Second World War that instantly conjures up images of the Allied powers fighting back against Nazi aggression. Swarms of B-17s were used to take the war back to the Axis powers, striking their targets deep inside enemy territory under a campaign known as daylight precision bombing. As a result, many collectors can’t seem to get enough of the venerable “Flying Fortress”, despite their huge footprint on a typical desk, shelf or ceiling tie off.
That said, Air Force 1’s second look at the B-17 is due to arrive in late February, and is decked out in an olive drab exterior that seems to be more familiar to aviation buffs than their first reproduction, which was a cacophony of polished silver, yellow and burnished parts that made it look more at home in a salvage yard than as a front line bomber. Indeed part number AF10110A portrays a USAAF Boeing B-17G-30-BO Flying Fortress heavy bomber known as “Nine-O-Nine”, which was attached to the 323rd Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group, then deployed to Bassingbourn, England, during 1944.
For those unfamiliar with this craft, “Nine-O-Nine” completed 140 combat missions during World War II, believed to be the Eighth Air Force record for most missions, without loss to the crews that flew it.
The original aircraft, a block 30 B-17G manufactured by Boeing, was nicknamed after the last three digits of her serial number: 42-31909. Nine-0-Nine was added to the USAAF inventory on December 15th, 1943, and flown overseas on February 5th, 1944. After depot modifications, she was delivered to the 91st BG at RAF Bassingbourn, England, on February 24th, 1944, as a replacement aircraft, one of the last B-17s received in factory-applied camouflage paint.
A former navigator of the 91st BG, Marion Havelaar, reported in his history of the group that Nine-O-Nine completed either 126 or 132 consecutive missions without aborting for mechanical reasons, also believed to be a record. M/Sgt. Rollin L. Davis, maintenance line chief of the bomber, received the Bronze Star for his role in achieving the record.
Her first bombing raid was on Augsburg, Germany, on February 25th, 1944. She made 18 bombing raids on Berlin. In all she flew 1,129 hours and dropped 562,000 pounds of bombs. She had 21 engine changes, four wing panel changes, 15 main gas tank changes, and 18 changes of Tokyo tanks (long-range fuel tanks).
After the hostilities ceased in Europe, Nine-O-Nine was returned to the United States on June 8th, 1945, and was consigned to the RFC facility at Kingman, Arizona on December 7th, 1945, and eventually scrapped.
“Nine-O-Nine” is now en route to us and expected the last week of February..
It started with their suite of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and now its moved on to other aircraft types and even some ground vehicles. Our distributor has acknowledged that they have reduced the pricing on many Air Force 1 SKUs, no doubt to clear out some inventory, many of which are the Chinese aircraft, helicopters and tanks they still have in stock. Here’s a list of what’s being reduced in price:
SKU Description Old Price New Price
AF100034 1:72 J-8B Fighter $52.99 $49.99
AF100036 1:48 J-5 Fighter $67.99 $49.99
AF100037 1:48 J-6 Fighter $113.99 $89.99
AF100039 1:1444 H-6K Bomber $66.99 $49.99
AF100040 1:72 J10A Fighter $39.99 $34.99
AF100044 1:48 J-10Fighter $99.99 $79.99
AF100045 1:72 J-11B Fighter $62.99 $49.99
AF100048 1:72 J-15 Fighter $52.99 $49.99
AF100053 1:72 J-16 Fighter $62.99 $49.99
AF100066 1:72 JH-7 Bomber $79.99 $59.99
AF100069 1:48 Z-9 Helicopter $89.99 $69.99
AF100072 1:48 Z-10 Helicopter $89.99 $69.99
AF100080 1:48 Z-19 Helicopter $99.99 $69.99
AF100081 1:48 AC313 Helicopter $99.99 $69.99
AF100109 1:35 ZTZ-98 Tank $99.99 $69.99
AF100110 1:35 ZTZ-99 Tank $99.99 $69.99
AF100113 1:72 Helicopter $62.99 $49.99
In some instances the savings are rather substantial, making them excellent value for the money, particularly with several important holidays coming up. As before, these items are offered on a first come first served basis and when inventory is depleted we do not expect them to return to stock.
If you like ’em fast, like ’em high, and even like ’em signed then you better sit up and take notice because Air Force 1 may have the goods for you. Earlier today, we learned that they plan on coming out with a new take on the SR-71 Blackbird, this time around available in both an unsigned (“clean”) and signed (“dirty”) configuration (AF10088A and B). Their newest surveillance plane is based upon a mount flown by Major Terry Pappas and Captain John Manzi, which was operated over the Persian Gulf in 1987. The “dirty” version features Major Terry Pappas signature on the display base and is a paltry $10 more than the unsigned version. Look for both fliers some time in December.
With its eyes set on the skies, Air Force 1 Model Company announced plans to offer a 1:72 scale replica of the war-winning Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber. Their first effort will be a USAAF Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress Heavy Bomber, nicknamed “A Bit O’ Lace”, which flew with the 447th Bombardment Group, and was deployed to Rattlesden, Norfolk, England, during 1945 (#AF10110). Priced at just $99.99, this is quite a steal, considering the workmanship. detail, amount of diecast metal and price of other similar 1:72 scale aircraft. It even comes with a heavy metal display stand. Look for “A Bit O’ Lace” to take to the skies this August.
Ordinarily that tag line might be a tad offensive but in the case of Air Force 1, it hits the nail right on the head since they just announced their latest take on the P-61B Black Widow night fighter (AF10090B). Crewed by Lt. Stan Logan and Radio Operator Lt. George Kamajian, this all new look at the coveted Black Widow will come unsigned, and therefore retail for only $89.99.
One of the eight squadrons flying over the islands of the South Pacific, the 418th Night Fighter Squadron also has the distinction of being the top scoring unit against the Japanese and also had the only nightfighter ace in the Pacific/CBI theater. Logan’s plane “Black Panther” didn’t achieve any kills but it is a nice example of a P-61B flown by the 418th. The name and the panther outline are yellow, with white and red details on the panther. Due in January, this likely won’t be the last time we see the P-61 piercing the night.
Late word from our distributor concerning Air Force 1 is quite positive – about a dozen or so new aircraft are expected to take wing in early 2015, including their first forays into the 1:144 and 1:48 scale markets. Pictured above is a 1:144 scale replica of a Xian H-6 strategic bomber (AF100039), a licensed copy of the Russian Tupolev Tu-16 twin engine bomber. Price at only $52.99, this aircraft is simply a steal and we hope that they produce a Russian version some time soon.
All of their other new aircraft introductions are now up on our site. Enjoy!
While most diecast manufacturers do their utmost to keep their products in the spotlight, Air Force 1 is trying a different approach. Their latest entrant in the 1:72 scale diecast military space is based upon a Sukhoi PAK FA T-50 stealth fighter, the long anticipated Russian response to the US F-22 and F-35 fifth-generation air superiority fighters that are now seeing service. Still undergoing rigorous testing before full scale deployment, the current T-50 looks very much like the F-22 design, featuring planoform wings, internal weapons bays and likely radar absorbent material to defeat radar signals. What’s different, however, are the exposed engine nacelles at the rear of the aircraft, which is a dead giveaway to most search and tracking equipment. Supposedly, Sukhoi is working on a masking technique to dissipate the hot engine exhaust, particularly if it is capable of supercruise flight, although why it hasn’t been incorporated on the initial run of testbed fighters is a bit of a mystery to many western analysts.
Looking to give several heavily entrenched manufacturers a run for the money, newcomer Air Force 1 Model Company announced plans to release four new 1:72 scale warbirds in September.
All four new aircraft are part of their Shenyang Collection, which includes a Peoples Liberation Army Air Force J-8B fighter (#AF100034), J-11B fighter (#AF100045), J-15 fighter (#AF100048), and J-16 strike aircraft (#AF100053).
Priced between $53 and $63, these highly detailed aircraft come with a heavy display stand and loads of features offering value and subject matter no one has yet to match.