Forces of Valor broke its silence and finally posted a bunch of new work-in-progress photos for their three upcoming 1:32 scale Sturmtiger assault mortars. According to the posts, final imagery are still weeks away, which means product won’t likely be built and shipped to our shores until October, at the earliest. The photos show the vehicle in three different configurations — initial, early and late stage variants — and provide up-close looks at some of the detail found both inside and outside the finished product. Previously, FOV posted preliminary photos of some of the figures that will accompany each vehicle, including Adolf Hitler and Albert Speer observing the vehicle during its initial presentation phase. Other figures being sculpted include loaders, drivers, gunners and vehicle commanders.
Unfortunately, the lack of final photos for the Sturmtiger typically means that work on all of their upcoming Tiger I (13) and Sherman tanks (8) haven’t moved all that far along beyond the CAD stage, and that product may not make it out for the holiday season. We’re still hopeful that some of the vehicles may make it under the tree this year but want to remind everyone that we aren’t making guarantees based upon the rate of progress we have seen thus far. We wish we had more hopeful news to offer, but want to remain realistic since the holiday season is fast approaching.
In other news, the Company is moving forward with their line of 1:72 scale prop-driven WWII-era fighters which the manufacturer claims will be out by the close of the year. They have also indicated that they have begun work on their 1:72 scale jet fighter series and have signed a licensing agreement with Bell to re-release their 1:48 scale AH-1 Cobra and UH-1 Huey helicopters that were formerly produced by Unimax. A UH-1N Twin Huey is apparently also in the offing as is a AH-1Z Cobra helicopter. We will likely see all of their 1:48 scale rotary wing aircraft produced in 1:72 scale, although these are probably a ways off considering all of the previous product announcements.
Finally, while we do not have confirmation just yet from our R/C distributor, it would appear as if their 1:24 scale line of radio controlled tanks will be re-released this fall, which will likely be augmented with their M26 Pershing and M1 Abrams tanks. Still no word concerning VS Tanks, a separate line of radio controlled tanks which was acquired four years ago. And, while images of a 1:16 scale T-72 they have been working on for several years were posted on Facebook several weeks ago, no pricing or date of release has yet been set.
Update: Earlier today, Waltersons acknowledged that nineteen (19) different Tiger I tanks are in the hopper and was kind enough to provide line art imagery for each of the proposed projects (no actual product photos were shown). Two models are listed as 2020 releases, although its not clear if that’s when they are scheduled to be produced or actually going to be released to the public. So, we’re going to assume that none of the Tiger I tanks will make it out by Christmas and that 2021 will be a bumper year as far as Tiger tanks are concerned. The same is likely true for all of the Sherman tanks expected as well as the Elefant tank destroyer. Incredibly, a separate line of “Tank Aces” was also hinted at in a recent Facebook post, thereby increasing the Tiger I count by several more vehicles. While collectors will certainly have a field day choosing from all of the different Tiger I tanks being proposed, it remains to be seen how distributors and retailers alike will be able to inventory and sell so many different versions of what is essentially one vehicle type and how this massed shotgun strategy will likely affect other models still waiting in the wings such as the Panzer IV, Panther and Sherman medium tanks, many of which have their own subset of vehicle types. I guess its time to build a new warehouse.