Even though it appears as if their ground offensive has stalled by several months, that hasn’t prevented Corgi from initiating their 2019 aerial attack on the world at-large. Four new aircraft are currently winging their way to us and should be ready for shipment to our clientele by the third week of May. In no particular order, here’s what you can look forward to adding to your aviation arsenal in just a couple of weeks:
When World War I ended, the German Air Force was disbanded under the Treaty of Versailles, which required the German government to abandon all military aviation by October 1st, 1919. However, by 1922, it was legal for Germany to design and manufacture commercial aircraft, and one of the first modern medium bombers to emerge from this process was the Heinkel He 111, the first prototype of which an enlarged, twin-engine version of the single-engine mail-liaison He 70, which set 8 world speed records in 1933 flew in February of 1935. The second prototype, the He 111 V2, had shorter wings and was the first civil transport prototype, capable of carrying 10 passengers and mail. The third prototype, He 111 V3 also had shorter wings and was the first true bomber prototype. Six He 111 C series airliners were derived from the fourth prototype, the He 111 V4, and went into service with Lufthansa in 1936, powered by a variety of engines, including BMW 132 radials. The first production models had the classic stepped windshield and an elliptical wing, which the designers, Siegfried and Walter Gunter, favored. That said, AA33716 is a German Heinkel He-111H-16 Medium Bomber ferrying a Fi 103 (Doodlebug) under its fuselage. It was attached to 2./Kampfgeschwader 53 ‘Legion Condor’, an Air Launch V-1 Flying Bomb Unit operating during the latter half of 1944.
Numerically the most abundant fighter produced by either side during WWII, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 formed the backbone of the Jagdwaffe on both the eastern and western fronts, as well as in the Mediterranean and North Africa. Of the eight distinct sub-types within the huge Bf 109 family, the most populous was the G-model, of which over 30,000 were built between 1941-45. Despite its production run, only a handful of genuine German Bf 109s have survived into the 1990s, and with the serious damaging of the RAFs G-2 at Duxford in October 1997, only the German-based MBB G-6 and Hans Ditte’s G-10 (both composites) are currently airworthy. AA27108 replicates a German Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6/U2 Fighter known as “White 16”, that was attached to 1./Jagdgeschwader 301 during July 1944. Note that it is part of Corgi’s 75th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion collection.
The Typhoon was a British single-seat strike fighter, produced by Hawker Aviation starting in 1941. Intended as a replacement for the Hawker Hurricane in the interceptor role, it suffered from performance problems, but eventually evolved into one of World War II’s most successful ground attack aircraft. AA36512 depicts a RAF Hawker Typhoon Mk. Ib Ground Attack Aircraft that was attached to No. 245 (Northern Rhodesian) Squadron, then deployed to Homesley South Airfield, Hampshire, England during June 1944. Note that it is part of Corgi’s 75th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion collection.
The Handley Page Halifax was one of the British front-line, four-engine heavy bombers of the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. A contemporary of the famous Avro Lancaster, the Halifax remained in service until the end of the war, performing a variety of duties in addition to bombing. The Halifax was also operated by squadrons of the Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force and Polish Air Force. AA37209 represents a RAF Handley Page Halifax B.III Heavy Bomber known as “Expensive Babe”, that was attached to No.51 Squadron, then deployed to Snaith, England, during March 1945.
As we near the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day landings which occurred on June 6th, 1944, several manufacturers have marked the date by releasing commemorative versions of some of their most popular subjects. Corgi, affectionately known by many as “the Pooch”, has certainly seized the day, if you don’t mind us capitalizing on a phrase, by offering a complete stand-alone collection of some of the most iconic aircraft to participate in the battle. In no particular order, here’s what you can expect from the boys at Corgi over the course of the next few months:
One of the most crucial elements of the D-Day air campaign was the gathering of detailed reconnaissance photographs of the entire intended invasion area, which included the assessment of previous bombing raid effectiveness and the identification of future targets. In lessons learned during the disastrous Dieppe raid of 1942, military planners knew they had to have the very latest intelligence information in order to prepare for invasion, disrupting enemy communications and destroying defensive strongholds overlooking the invasion beaches. One of the most effective aircraft in securing this information was the Lockheed F-5E-2 Lightning, the photographic reconnaissance version of the distinctive twin boom P-38J variant. Undergoing modification at squadron level, these aircraft featured enlarged camera windows for more effective information gathering, with this bigger window featuring a teardrop fairing to minimize the impact of addition drag. Lightning 43-28619 was unusual in that it made a feature of this enlarged eye in the sky by the artistic addition of sharks teeth, with the camera windows serving as eyes for the flying beast. Wearing its overall PRU blue color scheme, nose artwork and D-Day identification markings, this must have been one of the most distinctive aircraft in the skies above the Normandy beaches, even though its mission profile was for the Lightning to remain undetected. On November 26th, 1944, this aircraft was intercepted and shot down by a Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter flown by Luftwaffe ace Hermann Buchner, with its unfortunate pilot becoming a prisoner of war.
The aviation pedigree of the
Supermarine Spitfire is second to none. Produced in greater numbers than
any other British aircraft, the Spitfire was in constant production
throughout the Second World War, with the basic air frame capable of
readily accepting upgrades and improvements which maintained the
aircraft’s position as one of the most capable single-engined fighting
airplanes of WWII. The combination of the classic Spitfire air frame and
the new powerful Rolls Royce Griffon engine produced a “Super Spitfire”
and what was regarded by many aviation historians as the finest low
altitude interceptor available to Allied air forces during WWII.
Having contributed to offensive operations in support of the D-Day landings, the speedy Spitfire Mk. XIVs of RAF No.322 Squadron were given a dangerous new task in the weeks which followed, intercepting the indiscriminate V1 “Doodlebug” flying bombs which were hurled against Southern Britain from their launch sites in France, in the weeks following the successful Allied landings in Normandy. The squadron proved extremely proficient in these ‘Anti-diver’ sorties, with no fewer than 108.5 Doodlebugs falling to the guns of their mighty Griffon powered Spitfires, before advancing Allied ground units could overrun the launch sites, thus taking these terrifying weapons out of range of their intended target areas. Released from their Doodlebug duties, the Griffon Spitfires of No.322 squadron were sent to operate from recently liberated bases in Europe, as Allied air forces continued to take a heavy toll of German forces, both on the ground and in the air.
If the Douglas
C-47 Skytrain is considered the most famous multi-engine aircraft of
D-Day aerial operations, then the single-engine equivalent must be the
fearsome Hawker Typhoon. Agile and extremely heavily armed, the Typhoon
was to see plenty of action during the summer of 1944, either attacking
strategic targets in the weeks prior to invasion, such as German radar
sites or providing invaluable close air support to ground units breaking
out from the landing beachheads.
With forward air controllers installed with ground units throughout Normandy, RAF Typhoons were ready to respond to any request for aerial support, with aircraft not already engaged in strike missions holding off the coast of Northern France, ready to be called into action. These missions proved to be incredibly hazardous for Typhoon crews, not so much down to the attention of Luftwaffe fighters, but from the murderous anti-aircraft fire hurled in their direction from seemingly every German gun in the Normandy region. Indeed, in the weeks following the D-Day landings, more than 500 Hawker Typhoons had been lost, less than 10% of which were attributed to enemy fighter attack. Flying at high speed and at extremely low level, the opinion shared by Typhoon crews was that you had not experienced real combat flying until you had spent time on a Typhoon squadron.
The opportunity to capture and
evaluate the latest versions of your enemy’s aircraft was of great
interest to both Allied and Axis military planners throughout WWII, not
only in order to asses the technology itself, but also to develop
tactics which would be useful to squadron pilots when meeting the
aircraft in combat. Most of these aircraft would come into the
possession of their new owners following combat and usually after
suffering varying degrees of damage, however, there were rare occasions
when Luftwaffe aircraft were unwittingly delivered in tact to a grateful
Royal Air Force.
Such an occurrence took place on July 21st, 1944, when a pair of bomber hunting Messerschmitt Bf109G-6/U2 fighter pilots became disorientated and landed at Manston airfield in Kent. One of the pilots appeared to be distracted whilst approaching the unfamiliar airfield and fearing he was running out of runway, retracted his undercarriage and made a belly landing. The other machine, “White 16” flown by Horst Prenzel made a perfect landing and therefore presented the RAF with a pristine example of this latest variant of the Luftwaffe fighter. Later evaluated by famous test pilot Captain Eric Brown, it was destroyed only a few months later in a take off accident whilst serving with the Air Fighting Development Unit at RAF Wittering.
In order to ensure the defeat of
Germany and the end of the Second World War, the Allied powers knew that
they would have to launch a full scale assault against continental
Europe, an undertaking fraught with potential dangers. In support of
this plan, Allied aircraft began a concerted bombing campaign, targeting
aircraft and munitions manufacturing plants, as well as attacking
strategic targets in the intended landing areas, all designed to
diminish Germany’s fighting capabilities. These attacks were always
carefully masked by strong diversion raids, so as not to alert the
Germans to where the anticipated Allied amphibious assault would take
place, making D-Day as much about deception, as it was about
Finally, after months of planning, the order was given to ‘Go’ and the invasion was on. At RAF Greenham Common in the late evening of June 5th, 1944, paratroopers of the US 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions climbed aboard hundreds of Douglas C-47 Skytrains, as they prepared to drop behind German lines in advance of the main seaborne invasion force, the spearhead of Operation Overlord. At the head of this mighty air armada and the aircraft which effectively launched D-Day, Douglas C-47A “That’s All Brother” would lead a force of over 800 Skytrains over the next few hours, as she navigated through thick cloud and German defensive fire to deliver her precious cargo of brave paratroopers onto their designated drop zones in Normandy and the opening combat operations of D-Day.
Year after year, the Heinkel He-111 medium bomber is one of the most popular aircraft in the Corgi Aviation Archive stable. Its sleek lines, handsomely applied paint schemes and wonderful attention to detail helps to explain way we sell out of this model almost as soon as we get them in stock.
This June, the latest entrant in the Heinkel line up is this He-111H-16, which is armed with a Fi 103 (Doodlebug), better known as a V-1 Flying Bomb (AA33716). A similar model was released way back in 2005 and instantly became one of the most sought after Heinkels ever to take wing, and now garners exceptionally high prices in many of the the after markets.
The newest Heinkel (AA33716) was operated by Legion Condor and wrought vengeance upon the Allied Armies following the invasion of Europe. Just one week after the D-Day landings and the successful Allied invasion of enemy occupied Europe, the Germans were determined to show that the war was far from over and launched the first of their V-1 Flying Bombs against Southern England. Described as their first “Vengeance Weapon”, these pulse jet powered unmanned flying bombs emitted a distinctive sound from the intermittently firing engine and quickly became known as “Doodlebugs”, with the indiscriminate nature of their targeting spreading panic amongst the British population. At its peak, more than 100 V-1s were hurled against England from their launch sites on the French and Dutch coasts, however, although they spread panic amongst the population, the range of these attacks was restricted to southern English counties.
In an attempt to extend the range of these attacks, a specialist bombing unit was formed and equipped with modified versions of Heinkel He-111H bombers, which could carry a Doodlebug slung beneath the starboard wing, between the wing root and the engine. With an electric connection running from the bomber to the V-1s engine, the optimum delivery method was for the Heinkel to reach a height of approximately 2,000 feet, before entering a shallow dive to reach a launch speed of 150mph. This was the speed needed for the V-1 to fly and once reached, the pulse jet engine was remotely fired, allowed to run for a few seconds, then released, with the parent aircraft diving away for a low level return to base. Many factors would then come into play and dictate where the V-1 fell, such as heading, wind direction and performance of the rather basic jet engine.
Look for Corgi’s rendition of its newest Heinkel He-111 to land some time in June.
The McDonnell F-4 Phantom fighter-bomber is certainly one of the most iconic aircraft of the Cold War, and is perhaps most closely associated with the prosecution of the air war over Vietnam by the US military. Used by all three major services — the US Air Force, US Navy, and US Marine Corps — the Phantom helped to wrest control of the skies over Vietnam from the infamous MiG, even if it took higher than anticipated losses doing so. Yet, despite its claim to fame, there were other operators of the Phantom that many aviation enthusiasts seem to overlook or just plain forget.
Although assembled in the United States, the UK’s Phantoms were a special batch built separately and containing a significant amount of British technology as a means of easing the pressure on the domestic aerospace industry in the wake of major project cancellations.[ Two variants were initially built for the UK: the F-4K variant was designed from the outset as an air defence interceptor to be operated by the Fleet Air Arm from the Royal Navy‘s aircraft carriers; the F-4M version was procured for the RAF to serve in the tactical strike and reconnaissance roles. In the mid-1980s, a third Phantom variant was obtained when a quantity of second-hand F-4J aircraft were purchased to augment the UK’s air defences following the Falklands War.
The Phantom entered service with both the Fleet Air Arm and the RAF in 1969. In the Royal Navy it had a secondary strike role in addition to its primary use for fleet air defence, while in the RAF it was soon replaced in the strike role by other aircraft designed specifically for strike and close air support. By the mid-1970s it had become the UK’s principal interceptor, a role in which it continued until the late 1980s.
In a bold move in the diecast community and follow-up to the release of their English Electric Lightning, Corgi plans to offer a 1:48 scale tooling of the Lockheed Phantom and, best of all, we have the pictures to prove it. Slated for a July touch down, plans initially call for a Royal Navy McDonnell F-4 FG.1 Phantom II fighter-bomber that was attached to No. 892 Naval Air Squadron, then embarked upon the HMS Ark Royal (R07) during November 1978 (AA27901). Impressive? You be the judge.
I’ve been sick as a dog since Saturday although I feel confident that all of the in-house orders for Dragon, Corgi and Hobby Master have now been handed off to the USPS. Of course, we are still receiving other in-bound shipments as we speak, including a new cache of Eaglemoss Star Trek starships, along with a bunch of back ordered products that we ran out of during the hectic holiday season. Have no fear — we will soldier on despite looking like death incarnate just to keep the wheels of progress greased and churning ever onward. Words of encouragement from you gents would be welcome right about now.
Earlier this week, we stumbled upon all of the new products Corgi plans on releasing throughout 2019. Thus far, we’ve listed all of the new/old 1:50 scale military vehicles and will start uploading the aircraft range over the next few days. To be honest, we have mixed feelings about the re-introduction of the military vehicles now dubbed the Military Legends. While collectors have been lamenting the series’ demise for years on end, this rehashed ranged is a bit pricier than before and truthfully doesn’t break any new ground as far as we can see. Most of the vehicles are just re-releases of previous efforts that first saw the light of day some ten or more years ago. Priced at $65 apiece, however, you can quite literally purchase several Altaya, Atlas or Eaglemoss vehicles in their stead, making their relative worth quite questionable given the state of the hobby and the influx of new model makers entering the hobby.
Anyway, we’re not going to pass final judgement on the line, since that doesn’t pay the bills or keep the gophers going (too much Dayquil I guess). So, keep your eyes peeled for the new aircraft listings and rest assured we’ll be burning the midnight oil to get everything up on our site in the most expeditious manner possible.
Just one week into the new year, Corgi has announced their entire 2019 lineup. Previously, the Company had unveiled their annual releases in six-month increments so it looks as if 2019 marks a departure of sorts for this longstanding model maker.
While a number of new aircraft were announced, what really struck us was the return of their 1:50 scale military vehicles series, a line that had performed very well over a decade ago when it was first offered but has since languished on the back burner without so much as a feeble attempt to dust it off and bring it back from the dead. No new toolings make up this re-purposed range, however, we feel confident that its return will do quite well, particularly since 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, advance across northwest Europe and, of course, the Battle for the Ardennes.
Typically, war planners like to give military operations names that help to convey the spirit and intent of the exercise in question. Overlord for the Allies’ invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe in the summer of 1944, Barbarossa, for the German invasion of Russia in 1941, and Market-Garden, the supposed breakthrough to the Rhine and beyond by Allied forces struggling to bypass the morass of northwest Europe in the autumn of 1944, all come to mind.
In the summer of 1948, three years after the conclusion of war in Europe, Soviet forces decided to close the major supply corridor into Berlin and bring it into the Soviet sphere. The Berlin Blockade, as it came to be known, (June 24th, 1948 – May 12th, 1949) was one of the first major international crises of the Cold War. During the multinational occupation of post-World War II Germany, the Soviet Union blocked the Western Allies’ railway, road, and canal access to the sectors of Berlin under Western control. The Soviets offered to drop the blockade if the Western Allies withdrew the newly introduced Deutsche mark from West Berlin.
The Western Allies, under the guise of Operation Vittles, organized the Berlin airlift (June 26th, 1948 – September 30th, 1949) to carry supplies to the people of West Berlin, a difficult feat given the size of the city’s population. Aircrews from the United States Air Force, the Royal Air Force, the French Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal New Zealand Air Force, and the South African Air Force:338 flew over 200,000 flights in one year, providing to the West Berliners up to 8,893 tons of necessities each day, such as fuel and food. The Soviets did not disrupt the airlift for fear this might lead to open conflict.
By the spring of 1949, the airlift was clearly succeeding, and by April it was delivering more cargo than had previously been transported into the city by rail. On May 12th, 1949, the USSR lifted the blockade of West Berlin. The Berlin Blockade served to highlight the competing ideological and economic visions for postwar Europe.
Corgi’s 1:72 scale take on a C-47A Skytrain is special for several reasons. Firstly, its big and beefy, a far cry from a 1:144 scale version of the same aircraft released way back in 1998. Secondly, its the inaugural product in their all-new 20th Anniversary Aviation Archive series, which commemorates many of the aircraft models they first offered to the public some twenty years ago. Now in stock, the “Fassberg Flyer”, as it came to be known, is an important piece of civil and military history, and a worthy addition to anyone’s diecast aviation collection.
Manfred von Richthofen, a.k.a. “The Red Baron”, is perhaps the most famous flier in military history, and certainly the most celebrated pilot of WWI. He is considered, as Wikipedia points out, the ace-of-aces of the war, being officially credited with 80 air combat victories.
Originally a cavalryman, Richthofen transferred to the Air Service in 1915, becoming one of the first members of fighter squadron Jagdstaffel 2 in 1916. He quickly distinguished himself as a fighter pilot, and during 1917 became leader of Jasta 11 and then the larger fighter wing unit Jagdgeschwader 1, better known as “The Flying Circus” or “Richthofen’s Circus” because of the bright colours of its aircraft, and perhaps also because of the way the unit was transferred from one area of allied air activity to another – moving like a travelling circus, and frequently setting up in tents on improvised airfields. By 1918, Richthofen was regarded as a national hero in Germany, and respected by his enemies.
Richthofen was shot down and killed near Vaux-sur-Somme on April 21st, 1918. There has been considerable discussion and debate regarding aspects of his career, especially the circumstances of his death.
To commemorate the death of the “ace-of-aces”, Corgi has commissioned this special edition 1:48 scale tribute to the man and his machine (AA38308). Due in early July, Corgi’s rendition of the Dridecker bears all the hallmark detail you’ve come to expect from this legendary model maker, including wire rigging, free-spinning propeller, sturdy display stand and even the “Red Baron” himself, seated behind the controls of his fighter, ready to take on his next opponent.
Looking to leverage the legendary star power of Hollywood, Corgi announced plans to build a 1:72 scale replica of a Consolidated B-24 Liberator heavy bomber that was piloted by none other than screen actor, Jimmy Stewart. While several legends of the silver screen enlisted in the military when their nation called upon them, Jimmy Stewart could be one of the most famous, leading an entire bomb group to reek vengeance over Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe during the latter stages of World War II. While he reportedly flew several bombers, “Male Call”, the lead ship of the 453rd Bombardment Group (AA34018) may be his most noteworthy, surviving the war having completed an impressive 95 bombing missions. In fact, she is thought to have been the only survivor of the original 61 aircraft assigned to the 453rd Bombardment Group, which arrived at RAF Old Buckenham airfield on January 21st, 1944. Look for “Male Call” to be called to action in October.
If you’re interested in learning more about Jimmy Stewart and his wartime experience, we strongly recommend Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe, which is available on Amazon.
If you missed out on Corgi’s inaugural 1:48 scale English Electric Lightning then you can take comfort in knowing the manufacturer has another one fueling up in the hangar. The second version (AA28402) is based on an aircraft that flew with RAF No. 74 Squadron “The Tigers”, then deployed to RAF Tengah, Singapore, during 1969.
As one of the most famous squadrons of the Royal Air Force, No.74 ‘Tiger’ Squadron can trace its history back to July 1st, 1917, and has been associated with such classic fighting aircraft as the SE5a, Hawker Hurricane and Gloster Meteor since that date. For many enthusiasts though, its most poignant association has been with the mighty English Electric Lightning, an aviation icon of the Cold War Period and one of the most significant achievements of the British aviation industry. As the Squadron selected to welcome the Lightning into frontline service in the summer of 1960, the ‘Tigers’ went on to operate the F.3 variant, T.4 and T.5 trainers, along with the ultimate F.6 fighter version of the Lightning. Indeed, No.74 Squadron was again to be the first unit equipped with the definitive F.6 version of the aircraft, which was capable of being fitted with over-wing tanks to extend the operating range of this potent fighter and resulted in the Squadron being assigned to the RAF Far East Air Force, based at Tengah in Singapore. In June 1967, the Lightnings of No.74 Squadron began leaving Leuchars for their ferry flight to the Far East, with their arrival at RAF Tengah several days later relying on the support of no fewer than seventeen Victor tankers, which provided the aircraft with an essential air to air refuelling platform during their flight. After enforcing the effective air defence of the region for just over four years, the Lightnings of No.74 Squadron were flown to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, where they were handed over to the care of No.56 Squadron, prior to 74 Squadron being disbanded and bringing their proud association with Britain’s only indigenous supersonic fighter to an end.
Get your pre-orders in early cause their second take on this illustrious aircraft will likely sell out as quickly as the first.