Hobby Master

Product Spotlight: Altitude not Attitude

Hobby Master’s 1:72 scale USAF Lockheed F-104C Starfighter Interceptor – “World Altitude Record”, Capt Joe Jordan, Edwards Air Force Base, California, Dec. 14th, 1959

Fifty-eight years ago, USAF Captain Joe B. Jordan zoomed a modified USAF/Lockheed F-104C Starfighter to a world altitude record of 103,395.5 feet above mean sea level. The flight originated from and recovered at the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC) at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

On Tuesday, July 14th, 1959, the USSR established a world altitude record for turbojet-powered aircraft when Soviet test pilot Vladimir S. Ilyushin zoomed the Sukhoi T-43-1 (a prototype of the Su-9) to an absolute altitude of 94,661 feet. By year’s end, the Soviet achievement would be topped by several American aircraft.


FAI rules stipulate that an existing absolute altitude record be surpassed by at least 3 percent for a new mark to be established. In the case of the Soviet’s 1959 altitude record, this meant that an altitude of at least 97,501 feet would need to be achieved in a record attempt.

On Sunday, December 6th, 1959, USN Commander Lawrence E. Flint wrested the months-old absolute altitude record from the Soviets by zooming to 98,561 feet. Flint piloted the second USN/McDonnell Douglas YF4H-1 (F4 Phantom II prototype) in accomplishing the feat. In a show of inter-service cooperation, the record flight was made from the AFFTC at Edwards Air Force Base.

Meanwhile, USAF was feverishly working on its own record attempt. The aircraft of choice was the Lockheed F-104C Starfighter. However, with the record now held by the Navy, the Starfighter would have to achieve an absolute altitude of at least 101,518 feet to set a new mark. (Per the FAI 3 percent rule.)

On Tuesday, November 24th, 1959, the AFFTC accepted delivery of the record attempt aircraft, F-104C (S/N 56-0885), from the Air Force Special Weapons Center at Kirtland AFB in New Mexico. This aircraft was configured with a J79-GE-7 turbojet capable of generating nearly 18,000 pounds of sea level thrust in afterburner.

Modifications were made to the J79 to maximize the aircraft’s zoom kinematic performance. The primary enhancements included increasing afterburner fuel flow rate by 10 percent and maximum RPM from 100 to 103.5 percent. Top reset RPM was rated at 104.5 percent. Both the ‘A’ and ‘B’ engine flow bypass flaps were operated in the open position as well. These changes provided for increased thrust and stall margin.

An additional engine mod involved reducing the minimum engine fuel flow rate from 500 to 250 pounds per hour. Doing so increased the altitude at which the engine needed to be shut down to prevent over-speed or over-temperature conditions. Another change included increasing the maximum allowable compressor face temperature from 250 F to 390 F.

The F-104C external airframe was modified for the maximum altitude mission as well. The compression cones were lengthened on the bifurcated inlets to allow optimal pressure recovery at the higher Mach number expected during the record attempt. High Mach number directional stability was improved by swapping out the F-104C empannage with the larger F-104B tail assembly.

USAF Captain Joe B. Jordan was assigned as the altitude record attempt Project Pilot. USAF 1st Lt and future AFFTC icon Johnny G. Armstrong was assigned as the Project Engineer. Following an 8-flight test series to shake out the bugs on the modified aircraft, the record attempt proper started on Thursday, December 10th, 1959.

On Monday, December 14th, 1959, F-104C (S/N 56-0885) broke the existing absolute altitude record for turbojet-powered aircraft on its 5th attempt. Jordan did so by accelerating the aircraft to Mach 2.36 at 39,600 feet. He then executed a 3.15-g pull to an inertial climb angle of 49.5 degrees. Jordan came out of afterburner at 70,000 feet and stop-cocked the J79 turbojet at 81,700 feet.

Roughly 105 seconds from initiation of the pull-up, Joe Jordan reached the top of the zoom. The official altitude achieved was 103,395.5 feet above mean sea level based on range radar and Askania camera tracking. True airspeed over the top was on the order of 455 knots. Jordan started the pull-up to level flight at 60,000 feet; completing the recovery at 25,000 feet. Landing was entirely uneventful.

Jordan’s piloting achievement in setting the new altitude record was truly remarkable. His conversion of kinetic energy to altitude (potential energy) during the zoom was extremely efficient; realizing only a 2.5 percent energy loss from pull-up to apex. Jordan also exhibited exceptional piloting skill in controlling the aircraft over the top of the zoom where the dynamic pressure was a mere 14 psf. He did so using aerodynamic controls only. The aircraft did not have a reaction control system ala the X-15.

The F-104C external airframe was modified for the maximum altitude mission as well. The compression cones were lengthened on the bifurcated inlets to allow optimal pressure recovery at the higher Mach number expected during the record attempt. High Mach number directional stability was improved by swapping out the F-104C empannage with the larger F-104B tail assembly.

USAF Captain Joe B. Jordan was assigned as the altitude record attempt Project Pilot. USAF 1st Lt and future AFFTC icon Johnny G. Armstrong was assigned as the Project Engineer. Following an 8-flight test series to shake out the bugs on the modified aircraft, the record attempt proper started on Thursday, December 10th, 1959.

On Monday, December 14th, 1959, F-104C (S/N 56-0885) broke the existing absolute altitude record for turbojet-powered aircraft on its 5th attempt. Jordan did so by accelerating the aircraft to Mach 2.36 at 39,600 feet. He then executed a 3.15-g pull to an inertial climb angle of 49.5 degrees. Jordan came out of afterburner at 70,000 feet and stop-cocked the J79 turbojet at 81,700 feet.

Roughly 105 seconds from initiation of the pull-up, Joe Jordan reached the top of the zoom. The official altitude achieved was 103,395.5 feet above mean sea level based on range radar and Askania camera tracking. True airspeed over the top was on the order of 455 knots. Jordan started the pull-up to level flight at 60,000 feet; completing the recovery at 25,000 feet. Landing was entirely uneventful.

Jordan’s piloting achievement in setting the new altitude record was truly remarkable. His conversion of kinetic energy to altitude (potential energy) during the zoom was extremely efficient; realizing only a 2.5 percent energy loss from pull-up to apex. Jordan also exhibited exceptional piloting skill in controlling the aircraft over the top of the zoom where the dynamic pressure was a mere 14 psf. He did so using aerodynamic controls only. The aircraft did not have a reaction control system ala the X-15.

Look for Hobby Master’s rendition of Captain Joe B. Jordan’s zoom-climbing F-104C (HA1038) to charge the heavens this coming April.

 

 
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No Pranks nor Jokes from Hobby Master this April

Hobby Master’s 1:72 scale portrayal of a US Army Air Force Douglas A-26B Invader Light Attack Bomber – 89th Bomb Squadron, 3rd Bomb Group, August 1945

We’re finally caught up pumping out two weeks worth of orders and finally got around to posting the April 2018 releases from Hobby Master. As usual, the newbies cut across all scale, eras and nation states, but one thing that did catch our eye was this USAAF A-26B Invader light attack aircraft that was attached to the 89th Bomb Squadron, 3rd Bomb Group during the tail end of WWII (HA3211). Interestingly, the marketing hype is billing this as the last A-26 to be made by Hobby Master and comes in the wake of its recently introduced A-26K Counter Invader, one of the hottest selling aircraft in recent memory from the folks at Hobby Master. While its not another Counter Invader, we did think this came as a bit of a surprise and so we are bringing it to everyone’s attention before this too sells out this Spring.

We’ve listed the entire spate of April 2018 barn busters on our web site and are now taking pre-orders.

 
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Hobby Master: One Last Hoorah

We learned today that our distributor received their October shipment of Hobby Master products. Ordinarily, with a week’s vacation looming, we would ask them to hold our shipment until we return from our hiatus. But, since so many people are waiting for many of these items, particularly the Su-35, A-10 and last batch of B-26 Counter Invaders, we decided to release the shipment, with the hope that it arrives before the weekend. This would enable us to process and ship out orders before we head off for the wild blue yonder, thereby making everyone happy. So, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that the shipment doesn’t get diverted or delayed and will do our best to turn around orders connected with this shipment the moment it arrives.

 
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Hobby Master Shows Off Several New Toolings for 2018

Hobby Master’s 1:72 scale Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker-B multirole fighter

While we are still awaiting pricing and some ancillary information, Hobby Master announced today three new toolings for 2018. In the air, the Company unveiled their first ever Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker-B multirole aircraft (HA6001), something we kind of suspected was in the wings after they announced a Su-35 earlier in the year.

Two versions of the M35 2-1.2-ton truck are expected: one in an olive green and a second in a sand scheme

On the ground, two versions of the US M35 2-1/2-ton truck were shown for the first time (HG5701 and HG5702), the successor to the ubiquitous 2-1/2-ton truck first seeing action in World War II. And finally, in a surprise move, the Company displayed their first-ever NASA Orbiter (Space Shuttle), which depicts the Atlantis in 1:200 scale (HL1401). Other new items were also made known, and we hope to have them all listed on our web site by Tuesday, October 17th, once we get the ordering information finalized.

Hobby Master launches itself into space with a 1:200 Orbiter, named after the space shuttle Atlantis
 
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Product Spotlight: On the Wings of Icarus

Hobby Master’s 1:72 scale Russian Sukhoi Su-35S “Super Flanker” Multirole Fighter – “Red 6”, 23rd Fighter Aviation Regiment, 303rd Guards Composite Air Division, 11th Air and Air Defence Forces Army, Khmeimim Air Base, Latakia, Syria, 2016

We’re getting close to the release of Hobby Master’s first-ever Sukhoi Su-35S Super Flanker (HA5701), a warbird clad in a garish yet functional camouflage scheme that makes the aircraft stand out a bit more in test bed flights, particularly when flown low to awe the crowds and gauge its prowess in high speed maneuvers. That said, we are of the opinion that the second scheme chosen for this elite generation 4+ fighter will likely do the warbird proud since it represents a scheme currently seen over the skies of Syria and built from the ground up to fight at altitude.

While it isn’t designed to be stealthy, it is, nevertheless, quite deadly, especially in the hands of a capable pilot

“Red 6”, as it is known, is a Super Flanker Multirole fighter that was originally attached to the Russian Air Force’s 23rd Fighter Aviation Regiment, 303rd Guards Composite Air Division, 11th Air and Air Defence Forces Army, but now deployed to Khmeimim Air Base, Latakia, Syria.

Khmeimim air base was built in mid-2015 adjacent to the Bassel Al-Assad International Airport to serve as “the strategic center of Russia’s military operation against Islamic State”. The existence of the Russian strategic base was revealed by the United States in early September and American officials expressed concern over the possibility of escalation of the conflict in Syria. The airbase became operational on September 30th, 2015.

The Super Flanker can carry a wide range of ordnance, as can be seen by this underside shot of the aircraft

During September 2015, the air base came under rocket attack by local Syrian rebels apparently using Grad missiles.

At the end of September 2015, NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe, General Philip Breedlove, said that the kind of military infrastructure that Russia had installed in Syria, which included anti-aircraft defense systems, was a de facto no-fly zone: “As we see the very capable air defense (systems) beginning to show up in Syria, we’re a little worried about another A2-AD (anti-access/area denial) bubble being created in the eastern Mediterranean.” (Russia’s third denial zone around Europe)

The Su-24 shoot-down by Turkish fighters on November 24th, 2015, was reported to be when the Russian jet was on its way to return to Khmeimim.

The military Tu-154 that crashed with loss of 92 lives on December 25th, 2016, was on a flight from Sochi to Khmeimim.

Look for “Red 6” to appear over the skies of the diecast community this December.

The nose-on view of “Red 6”
 
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Hobby Master: “Its a Zero Sum Gain”

Hobby Master’s 1:48 scale Imperial Japanese Navy Mitsubishi A6M2B “Zero” Fighter – LCDR Shigeru Itaya, IJN Akagi, December 1941

One of the most iconic aircraft of the Second World War has finally joined the Hobby Master arsenal with news that the manufacturer will soon offer up a 1:48 scale Mitsubishi Zero fighter. The first effort is expected in February, and is based upon Lieutenant Commander Shigeru Itaya’s A6M2B Zero that was embarked upon the aircraft carrier Akagi as it participated in the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. No doubt other variants, schemes and types will be added to the Zero fly-by, as the Company better gauges interest in its sales success.

Going for insane prices in the after market, Hobby Master’s 1:72 scale returns to the front lines. Seen here is a Polish Achilles IIC Tank Destroyer – 1st Anti-tank Regiment, Polish 1st Armoured Division, Netherlands, Autumn 1944

Hobby Master also announced a bunch of other new aircraft in its September newsletter, along with a pair of 1:72 scale Achilles tank destroyers, which have long since sold out at most retail venues. On the down side, their initial trio of M60A1 Patton tanks, originally due out this fall, have been pushed back until February, although now reason was provided for the delay.

 
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Is There a Phantom in Your Phuture?

1990 was a very good vintage for the RAF’s F-4J Phantom II fighter bomber

Photos were released earlier today for Hobby Master’s upcoming pair of RAF F-4J Phantom fighter-bombers. Hailing from No. 74 Squadron, which was deployed to RAF Wattisham, England, the first represents a bird flown in 1990 (HA1985) while the second portrays one flown five years earlier in 1985 (HA1986).

Turn back the hands of time by another five years and you have this equally impressive F-4J from No. 74 Squadron

Both come with a nice weapons load out and all of the hallmark detail and craftsmanship you’ve come to expect from Hobby Master for well over a decade. Look for this deadly duo to appear over our skies some time in October.

 
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Hobby Master Puts More Flankers on the Front Lines

Hobby Master’s second Sukhoi Su-35S “Flanker-E” multirole fighter was “blooded in battle” over the skies of war-ravaged Syria

We’ve been waiting for more versions of their soon-to-be-released Sukhoi Su-35S multirole fighter to be added to Hobby Master’s inventory, and now we finally have one. The second “Flanker-E” scheduled to hit the market is based upon one of four aircraft dispatched by Russia to Syria to help bolster the Assad regime in 2016. Formerly attached to the 23rd Fighter Aviation Regiment, 303rd Guards Composite Air Division, 11th Army Air Force, “Red 6” represents a warplane that operated out of the Russian-built Khmeimim Air Base, near Latakia, Syria, during 2016 (HA5702). Painted in a sky-blue camouflage scheme and wearing Russian markings and insignia, we anticipate their latest Su-35S to do quite well at retail, since it is one of the first Flankers to be “blooded” in battle, and thereupon analyzed by Western intelligence agencies to see how it would stack up against current fourth- and fifth generation aircraft in service with NATO forces.

Note: A second version of HA5702 has been announced, hereupon referred to as HA5702, which will come with a set of decals so collectors can portray any of the Russian Su-35 Flankers currently seeing action in Syria.

 
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June Swoon? Think Again Fellow Collectors…

Corgi’s 1:72 scale RNZAF Vickers Wellington Mk. IC Medium Bomber – R1162 / AA-Y, “Y for Yorker”, No.75 (NZ) Squadron, RAF Feltwell, Norfolk, 1941 is still on track for a June fly-in

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.

The latest Hobby Master A-10 Warthog is pegged for an October ship

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.

 
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Hobby Master Claims Its Own Stake to the Vehicle Throne

 

Hobby Master makes a land grab in the diecast military space with its first ever M60 Patton tank

As some of the budget-minded partworks lines slowly fade into the sunset, comes word that Hobby Master is looking to get back into the 1:72 scale military vehicles arena in a big way. Earlier today, as part of their October product announcements, comes word that they will soon offer both a US-built M60A1 Patton main battle tank as well as a Russian-built ISU-152 self propelled gun. On a personal note, I find it interesting that this news comes just a day after we posted our opine that Modelcollect is making a bid to claim the armored crown, unseating Dragon from its longtime position as the dominant player in the vehicle game. Coincidence, perhaps, but the news concerning these two new entrants is certainly welcome, nonetheless, and could signal that other manufacturers are looking to dabble in the motor pool (sic) so long as inexpensive partworks lines have run their course and no longer pose a credible risk to their business model.

Earlier this year, Hobby Master announced plans to offer a ISU 122 self-propelled gun. Bigger and more robust, plans also call for a larger ISU-152 self-propelled gun
 
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