John McCain

Product Spotlight: We Remember

Hobby Master’s 1:72 scale USN McDonnell Douglas A-4E Skyhawk Attack Aircraft – John McCain, VA-163 “Saints”, USS Oriskany (CV-34), Vietnam War, 1967

Merriam-Webster defines a commemorative as an item “issued in limited quantities for a limited time to honor or feature someone or something.” Poignant, to say the least.

As many of you may remember, Senator John McCain was a former US Navy attack aircraft pilot during the Vietnam War who was shot down over Hanoi and spent several fitful years in the ignominious “Hanoi Hilton” prison. The son of an admiral, he could have gone home early to nurse his wounds yet chose not to do so, deciding to remain in captivity with his fellow airmen for 5-1/2 years.

President George H. W. Bush, also a former US Navy pilot, flew an Avenger torpedo plane in WWII, one in which he too was shot down but fortunately made it back to friendly lines after being rescued by a US submarine. Both were dutifully remembered by our nation, McCain earning the Purple Heart, Silver Star, and Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions and Bush receiving the Air Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross and Presidential Citation for his exploits. Both men have since passed away, having served our nation on and off the battlefield as only they could.

Hobby Master’s 1:72 scale USN Grumman Avenger TBM-1C Torpedo-Bomber – “Barbara III”, Lt. George H. W. Bush, VT-51, USS San Jacinto (CVL-30), September 1944

Having said that, Hobby Master recently decided to pay both men an additional honor by re-releasing commemorative versions of the aircraft they flew into battle in their respective wars. In the case of Senator John McCain, we will soon take delivery of his A-4E Skyhawk attack aircraft when he was a member of VA-163 “Saints”, then embarked upon the USS Oriskany (CV-34) in 1967 (HA1429). And, in May, we will be accepting Bush’s Avenger TBM-1C torpedo-bomber, which he affectionately dubbed “Barbara III” in honor of his late wife and former first lady, Barbara, an aircraft that he flew into battle with VT-51 then embarked upon the USS San Jacinto (CVL-30) (HA1221). Both models are expected to sell very well at retail despite seeing the light of day for a second time around and produced in far greater numbers this go round than in the past. As we see it, sometimes quantity and recurrence on the collector’s shelf are superseded by fitting memorials to two of our nation’s monumental heroes. The true meaning of a commemorative.

It has been brought to our attention by the distributor that the name plate for the McCain A-4E Skyhawk has been misspelled and that the second “c” was not capitalized as shown in the accompanying photo. The manufacturer has included a corrected name plate with each model that can be easily affixed to the display base after first removing the original name plate.

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Hobby Master Remembers a Legend

Hobby Master’s 1:72 scale USN McDonnell Douglas A-4E Skyhawk Attack Aircraft – John McCain, VA-163 “Saints”, USS Oriskany (CV-34), Vietnam War, 1967

If you missed out on Hobby Master’s first look at Senator John McCain’s A-4 Skyhawk released way back in 2007, then you’ll no doubt want to listen up regarding this newest offering. As part of their October announcements, the Company plans on producing yet another version, this one based upon a warbird he flew off of the carrier USS Oriskany when he was attached to VFA-163 “Saints” HA1429). Priced at just $79.99 per copy, we believe this is one of those rare opportunities where you can pay tribute to both the man and his machine, well before it sky rockets in value once they all sell out.

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Should Hobby Master Re-Introduce a Past Favorite?

Hobby Master’s 1:72 scale USN McDonnell Douglas A-4E Skyhawk Attack Aircraft – John McCain, VA-163 “Saints”, USS Oriskany (CV-34), Vietnam, 1967

With the passing of Arizona Senator, John McCain, we’ve noticed that a lot of people have been taking a gander at Hobby Master’s 1:72 scale replica of his A-4 Skyhawk attack aircraft produced way back in 2007 (HA1403). Obviously, many people would like to lay claim to this model now that this American hero has been laid to rest. The question, therefore, is should Hobby Master re-release this overnight sensation? The Company has had a longstanding tradition of refraining from re-releasing a fan favorite, largely because they believe it would have a direct impact on the original model’s value. However, we thought the time was right that they re-consider their position, and possibly offer the model in a different scale, say 1:48, so that it doesn’t step on the value of the original 1:72 scale model, thereby enabling thousands of would-be collectors a chance at paying homage to this warrior turned statesman. What say you? Should Hobby Master make a second batch of the 1:72 scale Skyhawk, consider offering it in a larger 1:48 scale, or let the subject lie so that they can get on with other more pressing replicas? 

One of the A-4E Skyhawk’s destroyed in a blaze aboard the USS Forrestal

One potential course of action, as a blogger pointed out, is to portray the A-4E Skyhawk he piloted while aboard the USS Forrestal a few months prior to his fateful mission off the Oriskany. His plane was destroyed while aboard the Forrestal in a blaze caused by a Zuni rocket inadvertently fired from an embarked F-4 Phantom. Afterwards, McCain was asked to join VA-163 “Saints”, which was undermanned and in need of experienced pilots. The rest, as they say, is history.

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