Forces of Valor Warships

Forces of Valor: O’ Captain My Captain

Earlier today we learned that we won’t have on-hand any of the new Forces of Valor warships for Father’s Day. Bummer, right? On the positive side, all eight warships reworked by the Walterson’s crew, which were expected this summer, are being “shipped” together, no doubt to save on “shipping” costs, and should be available for general sale in early July, barring any other unforeseen issues. Puns aside, we apologize for the delay but still believe that all those lucky recipients slated to receive these fine new replicas will be just as thrilled even if they have to wait a few more weeks to add them to their desktop fleet.

In related news, we are also going to tack on another 30 days to the anticipated release of their first grouping of 1:32 scale military vehicles, meaning they will likely start to appear some time in August. We recognize that the manufacturer has a lot of irons in the fire, so-to-speak, and think that our original forecast for a July release may have been a bit too optimistic. If anything further changes, we will update our site accordingly.

 
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Forces of Valor Puts to Sea

As promised, Waltersons, the new owners of the Forces of Valor brand, has put the final touches on their revamped warships series and indicated the first shipment should be setting sail for their distributors this month.

 

This means we expect them to arrive around the middle of May, which coincides with our full-page advertisement in WWII History’s Band of Brothers special edition magazine. They are currently working on the first group of 1:32 scale vehicles, which, barring any unforeseen delays or problems, should make it to market in June.

 
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Product Spotlight: Royal Navy Admiral Class Battlecruiser – HMS Hood (51)

 

HMS Hood, pride of the Royal Navy, and one of the first surface warships to fall victim to the Kriegmarine’s battleship Bismarck

“That the sinking of the Hood was due to a hit from Bosmarck’s 15-inch shell in or adjacent to Hood’s 4-inch or 15-inch magazines, causing them all to explode and wreck the after part of the ship. The probability is that the 4-inch magazines exploded first.”

– British Board of Inquiry convened in the aftermath of the sinking of the HMS Hood

As we near the release date for Walterson’s relaunched fleet of 1:700 scale Forces of Valor warships, we take our fourth close-up look at some of the ships you can expect to see. The Royal Navy’s Admiral Class Battlecruiser, HMS Hood (51), will forever be remembered as the ship that tangled with the Bismarck almost on an even basis yet, despite its promise as a viable combatant, suffered an ignominious fate on the morning of May 24th, 1941.

Just before 06:00 on May 24th, 1941, while Hood was turning 20 degrees to port to unmask her rear turrets, she was hit again on the boat deck by one or more shells from Bismarck’s fifth salvo, fired from a range of approximately 16,650 metres (18,210 yd). A shell from this salvo appears to have hit the spotting top, as the boat deck was showered with body parts and debris. A huge jet of flame burst out of Hood from the vicinity of the mainmast, followed by a devastating magazine explosion that destroyed the aft part of the ship. This explosion broke the back of Hood, and the last sight of the ship, which sank in only three minutes, was her bow, nearly vertical in the water.

A close-up loot at the Hood, which reveals the thin deck susceptible to plunging fire from the Bismarck

Hood sank with 1,418 men aboard. Of the 1,418 crew, only three men – Ordinary Signalman Ted Briggs, Able Seaman Robert Tilburn, and Midshipman William John Dundas – survived; they were rescued about two hours after the sinking by the destroyer HMS Electra. Electra spotted a lot of debris, but no bodies.

Badge of the HMS Hood with the motto “Ventis Secundis” (With a Favorable Wind”), wishful thinking that failed to prevent its fate on the morning of May 24th, 1941

The HMS Hood is expected to be resurrected from the ocean depth’s some time in May.

 

 

 
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Product Spotlight: USS Missouri (BB-63)

USS Missouri (BB-63) looks to be re-commissioned into the Forces of Valor navy this summer

 “It is my earnest hope, and indeed the hope of all mankind, that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past — a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish for freedom, tolerance and justice.”
– Gen. Douglas MacArthur, aboard the USS Missouri at the conclusion to the signing of the Instrument of Surrender, September 2nd, 1945

Several years ago, we had the great pleasure of visiting the US naval base at Pearl Harbor in Oahu, Hawaii. Part of our trip involved seeing the USS Arizona Memorial, as well as a trek through the Iowa-class battleship, USS Missouri, which is fittingly moored aft of the Arizona. I remember pausing when we came to the end of the guided walk through, and looking, quite fondly, at the spot on the deck where delegates of the Imperial Japanese Empire formally signed the instrument of surrender in Tokyo Bay on September 2nd, 1945, thus formally ending hostilities in the Pacific Theatre of Operations.

Therefore, it is, with great pleasure that Waltersons’ will soon be re-releasing a 1:700 scale replica of the USS Missouri in its WWII-era configuration, reworked and remastered to conform with their all-new warships lineup.

The ceremony aboard the deck of the Missouri lasted 23 minutes and was broadcast throughout the world. The instrument was first signed by the Japanese foreign minister Mamoru Shigemitsu “By Command and on behalf of the Emperor of Japan and the Japanese Government” (9:04 am). General Yoshijirō Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff, then signed the document “By Command and on behalf of the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters” (9:06 am).

At 9:08 a.m., U.S. General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, the Commander in the Southwest Pacific and Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, accepted the surrender on behalf of the Allied Powers and signed in his capacity as Supreme Commander.[4]

After MacArthur’s signature as Supreme Commander, the following representatives signed the instrument of surrender on behalf of each of the Allied Powers:

On September 6, Colonel Bernard Theilen took the document and an imperial rescript to Washington, D.C., and presented them to President Harry S. Truman in a formal White House ceremony the following day. The documents were then exhibited at the National Archives.

Look for the USS Missouri (FOV861003A) to weigh anchor some time in May.

 
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Product Spotlight: IJN Super Battleship Yamato

 

 

IJN super battleship Yamato, flag ship of the post-Midway Japanese navy

“Yamato was simply built to stand up to and utterly outclass any conceivable American or British opponent by sheer weight of gunfire and elephant-like armor. As such, hers is a sort of ‘brute force’ approach to protection. Her armor layout isn’t the most efficient, but she has a lot of armor, so it doesn’t really matter.”

– Jon Parshall, historian and author of Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway

This April, we expect to take delivery of the first of several redeveloped warships from Waltersons, the new owners of the Forces of Valor brand. As such, we thought it made sense to preface their release with a little history of each warship and their relative importance in naval history. To kick things off, we look at the Imperial Japanese Navy’s super battleship Yamato.

The Chrysanthemum Seal, effectively the Imperial Seal of Japan, which was placed prominently on the bow of the IJN Yamato

The Forces of Valor rendition of the famed warship portrays her during Operation Ten-Go, a fateful and last ditch effort by the IJN to thwart the US landings at the island of Okinawa towards the end of the war. Operation Ten-Go was a Japanese naval operation plan that consisted of four likely scenarios. Its first scenario, Operation Heaven One (or Ten-ichi-gō天一号) became the last major Japanese naval operation in the Pacific Theater of World War II. The resulting engagement is also known as the Battle of the East China Sea.

In April 1945, the Japanese battleship Yamato (the heaviest battleship in the world), along with nine other Japanese warships, embarked from Japan on a deliberate suicide attack upon Allied forces engaged in the Battle of Okinawa. The Japanese force was attacked, stopped, and almost destroyed by United States carrier-borne aircraft before reaching Okinawa. Yamato and five other Japanese warships were sunk.

The battle demonstrated U.S. air supremacy in the Pacific theater by this stage in the war and the vulnerability of surface ships without air cover to aerial attack. The battle also exhibited Japan’s willingness to sacrifice entire ships, even the pride of its fleet, in desperate kamikaze attacks aimed at slowing the Allied advance on the Japanese home islands. This extremism reportedly contributed to the US decision to employ nuclear weapons against the Japanese.

 
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