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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
According to Hobby Master Collector, a fan site aimed at disseminating all of the latest information as it relates to Hobby Master, the manufacturer has been furtively working on developing their first model of a Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E. While no livery has been formally announced, prototype photos were posted on the site showing how far along the Company has come towards bringing the first model to market (HA5701). The site claims that the first replica will ship in August, although no price point has been issued and orders have not been placed to determine the production run.
Needless to say, we will keep our eye on this important development and post product information just as soon as it is passed along. It is also quite likely that Hobby Master is signalling plans to produce models based upon the entire family of Sukhoi modern aircraft, which includes the Su-27, Su-30, Su-33. Time will tell if this assumption proves correct.
It was beginning to look as if Hobby Master had gotten out of the military vehicle game for good. Happily, that may have changed this week, with the announcement of a new 1:72 scale armored vehicle: a Soviet ISU-122S self propelled gun (HG7020). Drawn from the ISU-122 family of assault guns, the ISU-122S variant features the faster-firing D-25 gun. Interestingly, D-25S gun production was prioritized to be fitted to IS-2s, but as more became available in late 1944, they were fitted to the ISU hull. This variant passed trials in late 1944 and was referred to as the Object 249 or ISU-122-2. Its rate of fire was now 2-3 shots per minute, and even 4 shots per minute with experienced loaders.
The easiest way to spot this variant is by the double baffle muzzle brake or by the ball-shaped gun mantlet. The D-25S’ muzzle brake reduced the recoil force from firing the gun and made working conditions better for the crew, as well as allowing a smaller, lighter gun mantlet being mounted, but with the same effective armor protection due to its round shape. 675 ISU tanks were fitted with the D-25 gun, but because of the huge stocks of the A-19, both the ISU-122 and ISU-122S were produced until the end of 1945.
Look for the inaugural ISU-122 assault gun to reach the battlefield some time in October.
With Chinese New Year having now concluded, Hobby Master has bolted out of the gates, unleashing a torrent of new product as well as announcing a bevy of new items for a mid year release. According to one source, those items expected to arrive in both the February and March timeframes have arrived at our distributor and should be shipping out to the dealer network over the next few days.
Additionally, a number of new items were announced today, covering everything from 1:72 scale jets and prop-driven fighters to several 1:48 scale WWII-era aircraft. We are in the midst of listing all of these new items and hope to have the task completed in the next couple of days.
While the aviation community seems to be focusing on 5th generation stealth fighters, both President-elect Trump and Hobby Master seem to be more taken aback with F/A-18 Super Hornets. Admittedly, Super Hornets are no replacement for the more expensive F-35 Joint Strike Fighters now entering service, but they still look cool and will likely carry on for some time until the F-35s completely replace them some time in the 2020s.
This January, Hobby Master released not one but two brand new toolings for the venerable F/A-18 Super Hornets: one and E model operated by VFA-14 “Tophatters” (HA5101) and the other an F variant supplied to VFA-103 “Jolly Rogers” (HA5102). Both versions are now in stock, loaded to bear, and ready to take center stage amidst any diecast aviator’s collection.
It never ceases to amaze me how collectors can’t have enough of a particular warbird. I’m not talking F-4 Phantom IIs or even the venerable F-14 Tomcat, both of which have their own unique critics, fans, and well wishers. Friends, I’m talking the Fairchild A-10 Warthog ground attack aircraft, a much maligned aircraft that the Air Force has been trying to shed and re-embrace for several years. First introduced into the Hobby Master lineup back in 2007, and priced at just $39.99, the latest incarnation (HA1322) sold out in a matter of mere weeks this holiday season, even though it was offered at nearly three times the price of the inaugural tank buster.
The next version (HA1323) is currently poised to hit the streets in February and, in many respects, looks very similar to the most recent one that quickly sold out, meaning there’s still hope for those of you looking to pick up a “Warthog” even at current market prices. Goes to show beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder.
“First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space, and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.”
– Excerpted from President John F. Kennedy’s speech delivered before a joint session of Congress, May 25th, 1961
STS-3 was NASA’s third Space Shuttle mission, and was the third mission for the Space Shuttle Columbia. It launched on March 22nd, 1982, and landed eight days later on March 30th. The mission involved extensive orbital endurance testing of the Columbia itself, as well as numerous scientific experiments. STS-3 was the first shuttle launch with an unpainted external tank, and the only mission to land at the White Sands Space Harbor near Las Cruces, New Mexico. The shuttle was forced to land at White Sands due to flooding at its originally planned landing site, Edwards Air Force Base.
Before landing, Northrop T-38 Talon chase planes flew alongside the shuttle, helping to guide the unpowered craft down and onto the flat desert floor. To commemorate this momentous occasion, and to kick off their latest aircraft tooling, Hobby Master has announced plans to model the Northrop T-38 trainer, and, in particular, the lead chase plane used at the conclusion of STS-3 (HA5401). Look for this sleek replica to streak across the hot desert sands some time in April.