More awful diecast from Aviation72: Folland Gnat

by Acey26. November 2012 21:10
OK, the Folland Gnat has never been what is traditionally thought to be an attractive aircraft. It's toyish and a bit ridiculous in real life.

Still, that's no reason to make a total caricature of it as Aviation72 have apparently done:

Aviation72's latest release is yet more evidence that they are quite comfortable at foisting utter rubbish at exorbitant prices. For years I have had the compunction to collect at least one of each major diecast type being released - you know, for "completeness." But, now, a secondary rule has come into effect - "but don't buy overpriced crap." And this, like most Aviation72 offerings (exception: the Sea Hawk is overpriced, but at least its not crap), certainly qualifies.

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The perfect aircraft that will never happen.

by Acey5. November 2012 14:00
There is an aircraft that ticks all the following boxes:
  • Operated by the USA, UK, Canada, and Australia - the big four "western" countries for diecast collecting.
  • Operated by ROCAF and Japan, both of which have significant followings
  • Appeared in both Vietnam camo and ever popular US-Navy grey
  • Was fundamentally unchanged in terms of its basics throughout its service life, thus allowing most if not all variants to be made from a single mould.
  • Served as a gunship in Vietnam
  • Served in the Falklands War
  • Had cool 'Skunk Works' versions
  • Has plenty of interesting color schemes
and yet is unavailable in 1/72 diecast and probably will never be. That aircraft is the P-2 Neptune. Wouldn't it be nice?

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Mould Modifications!

by Acey5. November 2012 13:30
Here is my wish list for "mould modifications" that make sense.

  • Corgi 1/72 C-47/DC-3 to AC-47. It is my understanding that much of this was already done on an experimental basis by Corgi. There is most definitely a market for a Vietnam-era AC-47 in 1/72 scale! Of course, the door will remain firmly closed...
  • Hobbymaster Beaufighter to Beaufort. The Beaufort is the forgotten loser older brother of the Beaufighter, but they share pretty much everything except for the front fuselage. HM would basically need to make a new fuselage mould and mate it with bits and pieces, including the wings, gear, engines, and horizontal stabilizers from their excellent Beaufighter, and they'd be set.
  • Corgi 1/72 single-seat EE Canberra to Martin (R)B-57 2-seat Canberra. The Corgi single seat canberra is dead as disco. It's hard to imagine any other profitable liveries that they'd get out of the mould. Therefore, even thought it might take major surgery and irrevocably alter the mould, it makes a lot of sense to convert it into the US 2-seat version, where several quite saleable liveries are possible. Of course, Corgi is afraid of the USA, so this will probably never happen. On the other hand, for once Corgi could upstage HM by making one in ROCAF colors, too.
There are probably more, but these three immediately come to mind for the time being.

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Terrible Diecast Alert: Phoenix Models L-39 "Baltic Bees"

by Acey3. November 2012 20:04
Well, it's been a while since we've heard from Phoenix Models. You may recall that they were responsible for a 500-edition limited release 1/72 L-39 Albatross - in the mostly black livery of the "OK Czech Jet Display Team" The asking price for these was (and still is in many online shops) somewhere between $50 and $70. I eventually got one at an airshow for $15 from a seller who, well, clearly hadn't sold a single one of his allotment otherwise and was happy even to get rid of the one to me at what must have been a loss.

In a nutshell, the Phoenix L-39 model is bad. Very very bad. "Worst model of the year, 2009" (or whenever it was released) bad. While getting the basic shape of the aircraft passably correct, it was bad in essentially every way imaginable from the awful cockpit detail to the utter lack of panels to landing gear so bad that it would make IXO stand a bit prouder of some of its worse efforts. To top it off, the livery was from some trainer-based display team that, well, few had ever heard of.

This time around Phoenix decided to outdo themselves - by choosing a livery of an even more obscure and unmarketable display team--the mighty "Baltic Bees" - whoever they are. To their credit, Phoenix has managed to put a little bit of lipstick on this dog by improving the cockpit by adding pretty awful looking pilot figures and by choosing a Suez-throwback livery that perhaps hides the sins of the mould a bit better (note to self: bees in the Baltics are apparently blue and yellow.. who knew?). But, at the end of the day, it's still some overpriced model of a display team you've never heard of. Why The Flying Mule would agree to resell these I can only guess - I sure hope their trade price is less than $20 each.

Here it is:

It's hard to imagine how they will sell more than 50 of these worldwide, given that quite a few of us must have simultaneously ticked the L-39 box and said goodbye to Phoenix forever after the first release AND many of the 500 are still available for sale on the web.

There are two things Phoenix should do:

  1. First, thank their lucky stars that Altaya has not made an L-39 yet. The moment they do, they might as well throw this mould into the Baltic Sea.
  2. Second, in the little time they have left before Altaya does make one, make an actually marketable livery of this mould. Which means, in a nutshell, this one:

This is the livery that will sell, accuracy or not. It will cover up many of the flaws of the mould. If you care about sales, put the red star on the tail, not the Czech roundel.

Or, if you want to be heroes, a Ukrainian Air Force one... oh, I'd like that, but it won't happen.

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Musingss on new moulds of modern aircraft.

by Acey2. November 2012 05:09
Planes I do not particularly care to see new moulds of:
  • F-15E Strike Eagle - It's an important aircraft, but boring, and, frankly, I'm happy enough with my Dragon offerings. One dull 'tactical' scheme after another on the F-15E equals I'm sorry but I just can't see myself shelling out for whatever a HM version would cost.
  • F-18 E/F Super Hornet - The classic Hornets look right. This one looks like its on steroids. Regardless of my preferences however, plenty of Witty examples are available cheap, and so I'd pass on any new ones. I'm sure somebody can point out plenty of flaws in the Witty mould that a HM version might remedy, but ultimately given the number of choices in diecast these days and the significant surcharge a HM version would entail, I can't imagine that many people would be bothered.
  • F-117 Nighthawk - This is absolutely one of my favorite aircraft, and, truth be told, if a truly quality new mould were released, I'd probably get one. However, my SunStar version is not that bad. A smart businessperson might buy the SunStar mould, spruce it up a bit (read: intakes) and do quite well.
What I'd rather see instead ...
  • V-22 Osprey "Money Eater I" - If HM or whoever feels the need to make more modern aircraft, how about this one? Compact mould, consistent shape, and a fair number of liveries. The model needs to have the same tilt-rotor capability, of course, but this would be a real conversation piece and a winner.
  • F-35 Lightning II "Money Eater Max" - In the real world, I hate this aircraft with a passion due to how much it cost and how much the taxpayer was lied to about how much it would cost. However, given how many will be produced in real life, it seems a no-brainer that we'll see these in 1/72 diecast sooner or later.
However, if we never see a V-22 or F-35, in diecast, I'll get over it, too.

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Most wanted new moulds - historical aircraft.

by Acey2. November 2012 04:29
Here is my list of most wanted new moulds and the manufacturer that I'd like too see them from. The list is limited, as much as possible, to moulds that I think make relative economic sense for the manufacturers:
  • 1/72 B-29, Corgi - Is the B-29 a big aircraft? Absolutely. However, it's also quite simple in shape and the parts an be cleverly cast (for example, the fuselage can be done in segments rather than the usual "upper half / lower half" contraption. Numerous good liveries, and a big ticket item. Pity Corgi, as much as I love 'em, probably doesn't have it together enough organizationally at the moment to give this a serious go. Note: the wings could be packaged in such a way that the user would have to attach them.
  • 1/72 A-20 Havoc/Boston - Corgi - Corgi should jump on this before HobbyMaster does. The Havoc's user base is right in Corgi's wheelhouse, so to speak. It's an iconic aircraft with plenty of excellent schemes. Makes infinitely more sense than, say, their upcoming Puma mould. As much as I love Corgi's helicopters, that one is extremely limited in potential market.
  • 1/72 P-61 - Hobbymaster - Rumors have been swirling around this one forever. If HM makes it to the standard of their A-26, we'll all be happy. The trick with this one, of course, is to make the mould versatile enough to handle the several quite different variants.
  • 1/72 Supermarine Scimitar - Aviation72 - At the standard of their overpriced but decent seahawk. Alternately: DH Sea Venom.
  • 1/72 P40B or heck just about anything - Dragon 1/72 - Dragon, we miss you. You provided excellent models at reasonable prices only to be taken for granted and complained about because of your "fiddly bits." We apologize. Now, will you please come off your tantrum and stop making those ridiculous useless 1/144 things and rejoin the world? Quite literally anything that you have made recently in 1/144 would have been a massive hit in 1/72, and there are certainly plenty of other subject available for you. Suggested: P-40B.
  • 1/72 FJ 2/3 Fury - Skymax - There are enough interesting liveries to make this little plane an economic success.
  • 1/72 FJ 4 Fury - Altaya - The 4 is different enough from the 2/3 to need an almost entirely new mould. While there are many interesting liveries for it, the range of them is similar to the Skyray. Altaya's Skyray was more than adequate (though of course we'd like to see more liveries) and a FJ 4 Fury could be the same..
  • 1/72 CF-100 - I realize this is unlikely to happen, but wouldn't it be great to see a CF-100 commissioned by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum?
  • 1/48 Zero - Hobbymaster - There are a lot of worthy subjects for HM to do in 1/48. Being greedy for a moment, the reality is that I pretty much have most of the ones that I want (Hellcat, Corsairs, Wildcats, Me109s, etc) from FM, C1, and/or EI. While I have FM and Marushin 1/48 zeroes, this is one area where I feel that HM could nevertheless do well with me and other experienced collectors. For all the praise heaped upon them, Marushin's zeros were I think actually quite poor, and FM's were famously their weakest mould A good 1/48 zero would be exploitable for a very, very long time with HM, and most liveries need none of that pesky mottling that HM can't bring itself to do.
  • 1/72 Vigilante - Century Wings - Not holding my breath...

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