Earlier today, Corgi indicated that their long awaited 1:72 scale Avro Vulcan bomber (AA27203) had reached the US and was ready for shipment. Several months ago, collectors on the other side of the pond reported that the Vulcans they had received had decals instead of the usual tampo printed markings. Furthermore, some claimed that the decals were already peeling or cracking right out of the box. While we cannot comment on the issue and what steps were taken to rectify the matter, we did ask our US supplier to inspect the shipment they received to determine if they too suffered from the same type of issues. Upon inspection, our rep said that the Vulcans in their possession featured tampo printed markings and insignia not decals, and that they looked fine to even a trained eye. So, we agreed to accept our order, and now expect our allotment to arrive the first of week of August.
Its the first day of June and we’ve already been bombarded with loads of new product announcements and updates. Besides getting word that the first Solido shipment is on its way to us, we’ve learned that Hobby Master has quite a spate of new products expected for the holiday season, covering everything from a Su-35S Flanker to new MiG-23s Floggers, and best of all their intent to climb back into the armored vehicle turret. Even Corgi provided us with an updated schedule, which looks pretty promising this summer, and Oxford announced their wares for the coming year.
We’ve posted everything new to our web site, along with the most current shipping schedule, which could still fluctuate based on changes to the manufacturers’ release calendar.
“The worst journey in the world.”
– British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in his remarks about the lend-lease convoys transiting the Arctic to reach the Russian ports of Archangel and Murmansk
Among its many roles, the He 111 served as a torpedo bomber in the Battle of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea. In the Atlantic campaign the Luftwaffe created Fliegerführer Atlantik for this purpose. In the spring 1941, the Luftwaffe had been using conventional bombs to attack shipping more often than not. Such a method resulted in heavy losses to He 111 units in aircraft and crew as the 111s attack point was too close. III./Kampfgeschwader 40 had only eight of 32 crews remaining by April 1941 and had to be withdrawn. Most He 111 units were replaced by the faster Junkers Ju 88 and Dornier Do 217 which also suffered losses, but not to the extent of the He 111.
A proper aerial torpedo could have prevented such losses. The German Navy had purchased Horton naval torpedo patents from Norway in 1933 and the Whitehead Fiume patent from Italy in 1938. But air-launched torpedo development was slow. In 1939 trials with Heinkel He 59 and Heinkel He 115 had revealed a 49 percent failure rate owing to aerodynamic difficulties and depth control and fusing difficulties. Until 1941 the Luftwaffe obtained poor results in this field. When in 1941 the Luftwaffe took an active interest, the Kriegsmarine resisted Luftwaffe involvement and collaboration and direct requests by the Luftwaffe to take over development was refused. With the Atlantic campaign in full swing, the Luftwaffe needed a torpedo bomber to allow its aircraft to avoid increased shipboard anti-aircraft armament. It set up a number of schools devoted to torpedo attack at Gossenbrode, Germany and Athens, Greece. It was found that the He 111 was highly suited to such operations. In December 1941 the Luftwaffe was granted the lead in torpedo development. Trials at Grossenbrode enabled the He 111 to carry two torpedoes, while the Ju 88 could also manage the same number and remain faster in flight. KG 26 was equipped with both the He 111 and Ju 88. Some 42 He 111s served with I./KG 26 flying out of Norway.
The He 111’s ordnance was the Italian Whitehead Fiume 850 kg (1,870 lb) torpedo and the German F5 50 kg (110 lb) light torpedo. Both functioned over a distance of 3 km (1.9 mi) at a speed of 40 km/h (25 mph) The Whitedhead armament weighed over 200 kg (440 lb). To make an attack the He 111 pilot had to drop to 40 m (130 ft) and reduce air speed to 190 km/h (120 mph). The water depth had to a minimum of 15 m (49 ft). In comparison to the Italian and German-designed ordnance, the Imperial Japanese Navy‘s Type 91 torpedo — the ordnance which proved so devastating to the U.S. Navy‘s warships during the Attack on Pearl Harbor — would end up being considered for German production as the Luftorpedo LT 850, after its plans were taken to Germany nine months later by IJN submarine I-30 on August 2, 1942.
The He 111 was committed to operations in the Arctic Ocean against the Arctic convoys traveling to the Soviet Union from North America and the United Kingdom. One notable action involved I./KG 26 attacking Convoy PQ 17 in June 1942. I./KG 26 and its He 111s sank three ships and damaged three more. Later, III./KG 26 helped Ju 88s of III./KG 30 based at Banak sink several more ships. Some 25 out of 35 merchant ships were sunk altogether. Convoy PQ 16 was also successfully intercepted by KG 26, who claimed four vessels, but lost six crews in return. Convoy PQ 18 was also intercepted during 13 15 September 1942. In total some 13 out of 40 ships were sunk. However it cost the Luftwaffe 40 aircraft, of which 20 were KG 26 He 111s. Of the 20 crews, 14 were missing.
He 111 torpedo units continued to operate with success elsewhere. Anti-shipping operations in the Black Sea against the Soviet Navy were also carried out. The Soviets mainly sailed at night and singly, making interception very difficult. The Soviets also heavily protected their shipping at sea and in port. Anti-aircraft defensive fire was severe in daylight and at night was supported by searchlights, though these measures did not stop the He 111 completely. Geschwader continued to press home their attacks with some success.
In the Mediterranean theatre the Allies had won air superiority by 1943 but the torpedo Geschwader, KG 26, continued to operate He 111s in shipping attack units. The He 111s attacked Allied shipping along the African coast flying from bases in Sicily and Sardinia both in daylight and darkness. In spite of nightfighers and anti-aircraft defences the He 111s continued to get through to their targets. Losses meant a gradual decline in experienced crews and standards of attack methods. Such missions were largely abandoned in the spring owing to shortages in aircraft and crews. By April, KG 26 could only scrape together some 13 Ju 88 and He 111 torpedo bombers. With the exception of I./KG 26 all other groups converted onto the Ju 88.
Look for Corgi’s recently announced Heinkel He-111H-6 torpedo bomber some time this summer (AA33715).
These days, it isn’t often when Corgi decides to take a gamble and invest in new tooling, particularly when they seem more comfortable taking a safer route with their older molds. However, with the debut of the 2017 catalog, it would appear as if they are doing just that by upscaling their English Electric Lightning jet fighter that’s been a hit with collectors for several years running. According to their web site, a 1:48 scale F.6 Lightning fighter is currently under development, although details concerning its feature list are still rather sketchy (AA28401). Since no image was posted on their web site or in their catalog, we are led to believe its still a ways off, likely expected towards the end of 2017. In any event, this could be a watershed moment in Corgi’s history, as they look to explore the feasibility of offering larger versions of previously released warbirds.
“The Mustang was a good fighter and the best escort due to its incredible range, make no mistake about it. It was also the best American dogfighter. But the laminar flow wing fitted to the Mustang could be a little tricky. It could not by any means out-turn a Spitfire. No way. It had a good rate-of-roll, better than the Spitfire, so I would say the pluses to the Spitfire and the Mustang just about equate. If I were in a dogfight, I’d prefer to be flying the Spitfire. The problem was I wouldn’t like to be in a dogfight near Berlin, because I could never get home to Britain in a Spitfire!”
– RAF Chief Naval Test Pilot and C.O. Captured Enemy Aircraft Flight Capt. Eric Brown, CBE, DSC, AFC, RN, after testing the Mustang at RAE Farnborough in March 1944
In the face of mounting competition and constant calls for keeping up on their game, Corgi has begun to offer several re-tooled 1:72 scale North American P-51 Mustangs that are aimed at recapturing the imagination of their collector base. Their latest venture, an RAF North American Mustang Mk. IV Fighter was piloted by Werner Christie of No. 150 Wing during the Spring of 1945 (AA27703).
The final victory for a WWII RAF Mustang belonged to Norwegian ace, Werner Christie, who was flying his personal machine KH790. Following the conclusion of a successful bomber escort mission over Germany, Christie led his Mustangs in search of Luftwaffe fighters. Flying above Finow airfield, he noticed a flight of Fw 190s and immediately dived to attack. His first burst of fire caught the wing of an unsuspecting Focke Wulf, blowing half of the wing off and sending the fighter spiralling into the ground. This would be Christie’s eleventh and final victory of the war.
As part of their retooling program, Corgi’s latest squadron of Mustangs (AA27701-AA27703) now feature interchangeable wing flaps that allow the collector to choose between up and down positions.
Corgi plans to commemorate the upcoming 75th Anniversary of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in grandiose style with specially crafted packaging designed to evoke the spirit of each combatant. According to the Corgi Diecast Diaries, “[Corgi is] proud to announce the launch of the July – December 2016 Corgi model range. Amongst this fantastic array of die-cast delights, collectors will have noticed a trio of models that have been produced to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the infamous Japanese raid against Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, which saw America enter the Second World War. All three of the models to be produced mark aircraft that were in service at the time of the attack and will surely be popular additions to the Aviation Archive range as this Anniversary approaches. Die-cast Diaries is pleased to be bringing you the news that all three of these models will benefit from specially produced commemorative box artwork, which will certainly further enhance these beautiful models and give them a distinctive appearance. We are still working on some of the details relating to the Curtiss P-40B release, so for this edition, we will concentrate on the Zero and Catalina, with the P-40 to follow.
As one of the most advanced and capable aircraft in the early years of the Second World War, the Mitsubishi Zero proved to be the ideal carrier-based fighter aircraft to support Japanese naval actions in the Pacific region. Possessing exceptional levels of speed and manoeuvrability, the Zero was capable of operating over long distances and during early combat operations, Zero pilots were to enjoy spectacular successes over their adversaries. Posting an almost unbelievable kill ratio of 12:1, the diminutive Mitsubishi Zero proved to be the ultimate dogfighter during the early months of WWII, but this dominance was to be short lived, as America entered the war and pilots learned how best to tackle Japan’s best fighter.”
“As a base for air warfare against Great Britain in the Eastern Mediterranean we must prepare to occupy the island of Crete (Operation Merkur). For the purpose of planning, it will be assumed that the whole Greek mainland including the Peloponnese is in the hands of the Axis Powers. Command of this operation is entrusted to Commander-in-Chief Air Force who will employ for the purpose, primarily, the airborne forces and the air forces stationed in the Mediterranean area.”
– Fuhrer Directive 28, announcing Unternehmen Merkur (Operation Mercury), Fuhrer Headquarters, April 25th, 1941
Corgi seems to be experiencing greater success of late getting some of their delayed products to market, which, among other things, includes this Junkers Ju-52 tri-motor tranpsort, Bearing the insignia of 4U+NH 2/Kampfgeschwader zur besonderen Verwendung 1, an air transport unit responsible for ferrying German Fallschirmjager during Unternehmen Merkur (Operation Mercury), the airborne seizure of the all-important Mediterranean island of Crete during mid 1941.
According to Wikipedia, The Battle of Crete (German: Luftlandeschlacht um Kreta, Greek: Μάχη της Κρήτης, also Unternehmen Merkur, Operation Mercury) was fought during World War II on the Greek island of Crete. It began on the morning of 20 May 1941, when Nazi Germany began an airborne invasion of Crete. Greek forces and other Allied forces, along with Cretan civilians, defended the island. After one day of fighting, the Germans had suffered heavy casualties and the Allied troops were confident that they would defeat the invasion. The next day, through communication failures, Allied tactical hesitation and German offensive operations, Maleme airfield in western Crete fell, enabling the Germans to land reinforcements and overwhelm the defensive positions on the north of the island. Allied forces withdrew to the south coast. Over half were evacuated by the British Royal Navy; the remainder surrendered or joined the Cretan resistance.
The Battle of Crete was the first battle where Fallschirmjäger (German paratroops) were used en masse, the first mainly airborne invasion in military history, the first time the Allies made significant use of intelligence from the decrypted German messages from the Enigma machine, and the first time German troops encountered mass resistance from a civilian population. Due to the heavy casualties suffered by the paratroopers, Adolf Hitler, the German leader, forbade further large-scale airborne operations. In contrast, the Allies were impressed by the potential of paratroopers and started to form both airborne-assault and airfield-defence regiments.
Images are figuratively as well as literally surfacing concerning Corgi’s all-new 1:72 scale Short Sunderland flying boat. Expected some time in 2015, this beast of an aircraft looks to carry on the tradition left in the wake of their recently released 1:72 Avro Vulcan strategic bomber, perhaps taking on the role of signature centerpiece for the new year.
Surprisingly, their inaugural Sunderland will not be based upon the flying boat recently raised from the ocean depths off the coast of England but will instead depict a craft attached to the RAAF’s No. 461 Squadron.
Normally, around this time of year, Corgi takes the wraps off of their latest lineup of Aviation Archive aircraft. Thus far, they’ve been mum, perhaps because they would like to include the latest “heavy” in their full-color catalog. Earlier today, the manufacturer released a work-in-progress shot of their upcoming 1:72 scale Short Sunderland Flying Boat, bereft of its final coat of paint, insignia and other accessories. Still, its does give collectors some idea as to the size of this beast, which comes hot-on-the-heels of the release of their first ever 1:72 scale Avro Vulcan bomber. Our guess? Expect the catalog some time in November and the Flying Boat towards the latter half of 2015.
According to the folks at Corgi, their latest 1:32 scale de Havilland Mosquito is scheduled to buzz our airfield in early April. Based on a Royal Australian Air Force Mk. VI fighter-bomber, #AA34606 was attached to 464 Squadron, which took part in support of the D-Day landings in June 1944. Wearing black-and-white Invasion Stripes, their latest behemoth measures 15-1/2 inches in length by 20-1/4 inches in width, and bears all of the hallmark detail and authenticity we’ve all come to expect from this longstanding model maker.
Pre-orders are still being accepted although we should hear soon if this item will be allocated like some of their previous heavies.