“Underestimation of non-conventional units or a guerilla enemy by regular forces is a cardinal military sin.”
– Howard R. Simpson, Dien Bien Phu: The Epic Battle America Forgot
Admittedly, french manufacturer Quarter Kit, makers of the Master Fighter line of 1:48 scale resin military vehicles, tends to lean heavily on the use of french equipment to retell some of the most important armored battles in military history. For instance, while one of their upcoming Chaffee light tanks is based upon a vehicle that served with the US 1st Armored Division during the latter stages of WWII (MF48602US), two are being created to portray french involvement in Indochina during the early 1950s. Due out in May, the first of these replicas portrays a vehicle that entered service in 1953, and comes decked out in a standard factory-fresh olive drab pattern that might have been better suited to Europe (MF48602FR). The second is designed to model a vehicle that helped to defend french interests at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, and comes painted in a more appropriate jungle motif (MF48602IN).
Master Fighter has announced several new vehicles that are also expected to put in an appearance in late Spring, so we are currently in the process of adding them to our product portfolio.
As part of the run-up to the D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy, General Percy Hobart was tasked with creating an unusual array of engineering oddities that could breach the German obstacles that lay in the way of a successful landing. Through trial and error, he came up with a startling array of heavily modified tanks that were designed, among other things, to clear mines, breach obstacles, and wade ashore to provide fire support.
This spring, french manufacturer, Quarter Kit, will pay homage to many of the concoctions he came up with by offering several engineering vehicles derived from the Churchill tank. First off is a British Churchill Mk. III Infantry Tank with a Deep Wading Device (MF48605) that was employed by the 14th Canadian Army Tank Regiment, Calgary Regiment, at Dieppe, in 1942, a dress rehearsal of sorts prior to the larger D-Day landings in 1944.
Also expected is a British Churchill Mk. III AVRE Tank with 290mm Howitzer used by the highly decorated 79th Armoured Division, at Juno Beach, Normandy, during 1944 (MF48608), which was used to ferry specially trained engineers to the beaches so they could help clear obstacles.
The 79th also used the British Churchill Mk. III Infantry Tank with AVRE Mat Layer (Carpet-layer) with Bobbin (MF48606) as a means of traversing areas of the beach deemed to unstable for ordinary transport.
Lastly, the 79th also brought along a British Churchill Mk. III Infantry Tank with AVRE Fascine Carrier (MF48607) which could drive up to a ravine then deposit a bundle of fascine in its yaw that would effectively fill in the open space. Look for all four 1:48 scale curiosities to become available in time for the 73rd anniversary of D-Day. We will post actual vehicles for each replica once they become available.
A couple of months ago, we listed many of the french-built Master Fighter vehicles and accessories on our site to gauge interest in the line and assess its strengths in relationship to other ranges now on the market. We’re proud to say that reaction to the line has been strong; in many instances far outstripping our initial forecasts. Unlike the original Gaso.Line range stocked several years ago, the Master Fighter series come in their own handsome acrylic cases which resemble many of the other comparable lines available on the global market today. Moreover, the vehicles are not based upon a Solido, Verem or Corgi chassis, making them look more uniform and ideal for wargaming aficionados as well as collectors interested in showcasing a premium line.
We’ve placed an initial order with the manufacturer, which will hopefully arrive in the next couple of weeks after clearing customs. We’ve deliberately kept our order conservative, largely because the line is both broad and deep and we do not want to tie up funds unnecessarily in some items that may not sell as well as others. So, we strongly recommend pre-ordering those items you may wish to purchase now, before the shipment comes in and gets doled out to early adopters. Its entirely possible that some items may not be listed as available for general sale, at least until a follow-on shipment is released to us at a later date.
Several years ago, we decided to discontinue the Gaso.Line line of military vehicles and accessories, in part because of high shipping costs since they had to be imported from France. With the reduction in the price of oil and rising value of the US dollar vis a vis other forms of currency, we decided to take a second look at this fabulous line. We are happy to report that as we close out 2015, we have decided to once again resume shipments, and hope to start taking delivery of their products in the first quarter of 2016.
Unlike their previous efforts, which came in white cardboard boxes, their all-new line of Master Fighter 1:48 scale military vehicles comes packaged with an etched display base, acrylic cover and attractive outer box (as seen here), which more closely resembles some of the larger manufacturers in the military space. And, with the resurgence of 1:43 scale military vehicles, courtesy of Eaglemoss, Atlas Editions and Altaya, these vehicles can be displayed side-by-side with these crowd favorites, or with some of the older Gaso.Line military vehicles that have risen in value over the years.
With the New Year looming, and several projects already in the queue, we hope to begin listing all of the Master Fighter vehicles and figures sets we intend to bring in shortly, and can start taking pre-orders immediately thereafter.