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Archive for February, 2016

Star Trek Model Kits: U.S.S. Excelsior update

posted by JamieH 3:28 PM
Friday, February 26, 2016

This time I’m coming back around to the Star Trek U.S.S. Excelsior model kit that should be coming by summertime. I received the first test shots a couple weeks ago and they look pretty good for the most part. There are always bugs to work out of course. The main thing about this particular set is the rough surface texture left from the RP that was used to make the electrodes that cut the tooling. Most of that work will be done by hand at the factory. The staff over there will need to take special care not to impact the nice delicate engraved panel lines we have on parts of the lower hull.

We made quite a few improvements on this version compared to the old AMT kit you might remember. In the end over half the kit was retooled including the entire lower hull. We used Gary Kerr’s notes and research on the aft weapon array and interior detail to get extremely close to the look of the filming miniature.

The parts are subject to licensor review.

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The Inside Scoop on AMT’s 1929 Ford Model A “Mod Rod” Reissue

posted by JohnG 12:49 PM
Tuesday, February 23, 2016

I’ve heard through the grapevine there’s been some speculation on what will, and will not be included in our upcoming release of AMT’s 1929 Model A Ford Roadster double kit. For those unaware, the two original “Mod Rod” releases, post the first issue, still included the parts to build Barris’ Ala Kart. However, the later Street Rods issues saw some parts modified and many others deleted. No more Kart. Then, in the AMT-Matchbox days, the rather “visually-unappealing” A-Venger was issued, suffering more original part deletions and further changes to others. This is pretty much how it stayed until RC2 reissued the kit with some parts gates reopened.

Before confirming what’s included in the upcoming reissue, I wanted to mention: as you can imagine, there are two camps regarding the original Ala Kart from the double kit vs. the retooled version. If the Ala Kart specifically was ever to be reissued, one group insists the original is better, i.e., it’d be more desirable to retool its missing parts. The other group feels that while the new tool has a few shortcomings, it’s the better candidate for rework to improve scaling and accuracy. This argument is the reason why the Mod Rod reissue will not contain ALL the parts to build the original Ala Kart kit. In other words, I haven’t decided which, if either approach to take. However, rest assured the upcoming Mod Rod issue will still delight you!

After a lot of consideration, I made the decision to retool what was necessary to re-release the yellow Mod Rod shown on that release’s box art. As such, the Ala Kart’s front axle and front suspension unit had to be recreated. I opted to leave the existing/modified (Kart) front suspension unit as it was (sans front springs) , so that it could still be used by those wanting to build the A-Venger version.

The Ala Kart wheels and ’32 Ford grille shell also needed to be retooled. The photo below shows images of the 3D models of all the retooled parts.

29Aparts

We’ve reopened every possible part gate in the tooling and have added part numbers to those without one. Even the Kart’s pickup bed will be back in the kit. But some key pieces, such as the Kart nose/radiator and the clear insert that goes into its chrome grille are gone from their respective tooling. The injector tube pieces for the Kart motor’s intake setup are also no longer in the primary tool.

It goes without saying that we are very excited about what IS in this value-added kit. You’ll be able to build two complete cars once again, including the original old-timey racer with it’s hopped-up four-banger motor. As we had acquired the original yellow Mod Rod box painting a couple years back, we’ve decided to make the kit available as part of the Original Art™ Series. It’ll be molded in white and have the large format box with a bonus print of the painting, suitable for remembering the heyday of modeling. The kit will also be available molded in yellow, in our standard packaging as well. Both kits include exactly the same parts and even feature two drag slick options – our new skinny “pie crusts” with Firestone lettering that will knock your socks off; and also a set of Goodyear Blue Streaks that look very similar to what’s shown on the Mod Rod box painting.

The planned release for this kit is in May, just in time for late-spring kit bashing season!

Lindberg Table Top Navy: HMS King George V and HMS Dorsetshire

posted by ChrisP 5:14 PM
Thursday, February 18, 2016

First, for those of you I haven’t met my name is Chris Purvis.  Last year I manned the booth at Wonderfest with Jamie.  I work primarily on the Lindberg/Hawk line doing the military and historical kits (airplanes, naval boats, sailing ships, tanks, etc.).  The occasional car or oddball kit will also end up on my desk.  Before switching over to Lindberg in 2014, I worked on the Forever Fun line.  Next month I will be celebrating 3 years with Round2.  Also, I am a big nerd for movies and vintage sci fi, so if you want to get off topic in your comments go that direction. -ChrisP

Available soon will be the 3rd 2-pack in the Lindberg Table Top Navy Series, the HMS King George V & the HMS Dorsetshire.  The kit features two World War II British Battleships in 1:1200 scale.  Like the previous ships in the series, they can be displayed as Full Hull or Waterline models.

HL439-12-TTN-2-Pack-HMS-King-George-V-&-HMS-Dorsetshire-packaging--o-1

Recently we’ve been able to acquire some of the original box art paintings used on old Pyro and Lindberg kits.  The King George V box art is from a new scan of the 1959 painting. It is amazing to see some of the original detail and brush work put into these pieces of art.

Pyro-KingGeorgeV-painting_500

For the Dorsetshire I scanned the 1959 packaging.  From my research I could not find any references to the ship ever have the depicted camouflage pattern.  I altered the image to show this known hull scheme.

Before….

dorsetshire-then

1941-HMS_Dorsetshire_500

After…

dorsetshire-now

The kit will include that hull scheme for the HMS Dorsetshire as a decal, along with a dazzle camo option for the HMS King George V.

HL439-12-TTN-2-Pack-HMS-King-George-V-&-HMS-Dorsetshire-decals

 

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I was actually going to make this a lead in to a longer Star Trek models post that also included an update on the U.S.S. Excelsior since I’ve received the first set of test shots. My point in doing that was to deliver positive news along with what will be a disappointment to some of you. Instead I’m just going to rip off the band-aid lay out the situation with the Galileo Shuttle.  No forward progress is being made to engineer the kit. I doubt this will come as a huge shock to anyone. I hope my directness and openness on the subject is appreciated. It pains me more than anyone to make a statement like this.

I won’t drop that bomb without giving some kind of reason. Basically it comes down to timing and the budgetary limits of a company our size that offers such a wide range of products that we do. Sci-fi model kits take up a relatively slim slice of the pie when considering our automotive and military kits, die cast cars in several scales (including the recently re-acquired Johnny Lightning brand) along with other endeavors. Priorities have to shift when opportunities arise and for now we aren’t in a place where we can commit to the kit. Sometime we can invest in something grand, and sometimes other lines get to do something else instead.

You may ask why we’ve steered away from this one while producing others instead. That’s a fair question and this is where timing kind of comes into play. Initially, there was a bit of a delay in getting completed plans of the ship. Gary Kerr is our most trusted consultant on all things Star Trek, but when we first dug into the project, his plans were very preliminary and just captured the basic shape which we used for the basis of the shuttle in our 1:350 kit. By the time he turned them in, they consisted of over a hundred pages of crystal clear information. That took some time to do and while he was hard at work drawing up the plans we did other kits. Keep in mind it is easy to think about the old AMT kit and imagine that we could just do an improved version of that, but you know our reputation of doing a new kit right when we do one. At scale, the ship measures 11” long and over 7” wide. In that old kit one wall provided the interior and exterior. That won’t work for a kit that is intended to be accurate. it requires separate interior and exterior walls, floor, ceiling, roof, etc. So once parts get laid out on a tool, it essentially becomes the equivalent of two kits! I studied ways to cut back or compromise, but ultimately they would have seemed like a shortcut or cheat. The savings in doing so were negligible. One factor that actually worked in our favor was that when combined the 1:1000 Romulan BoP and U.S.S. Reliant were more manageable financially and they gave us more marketable kits at a lower price point. They also tied directly to other kits of the same scale. If we had done the Galileo those kits may never have come to market.

Why do the Eagle and not the Galileo? That qualifies as a textbook “tough decision”. Ultimately we decided that the Eagle gave us the basis for three variations along with many potential add-ons and accessories while the Galileo could pretty much only exist as itself and therefore limited us with what could be done with the tooling. On top of that, sales on the Space:1999 license proved that the market was hungry for a new kit and that seems to indeed be the case. That isn’t to say one license won over the other. We still have a lot we can and want to do with the Star Trek license!

So why say this now? I could have said something a few months ago, but I was knee deep in other matters. Plus, I still have hope and an idea to be able to do the kit sooner than later. I just wanted to clear the air with everyone that really wanted a straight answer on it. So the straight answer is we aren’t doing it right now, and they way things look we won’t be considering it for a while. I DO want the kit to happen and like I said, I have schemes and ideas, but it is time to move on for a bit with the intention to work back around to it. So what will we do? We’ll see. I’ll show you when I have something to show. Onward…

 

AMT, MPC Cars & Trucks: The Devil Is In The Details

posted by JohnG 1:24 PM
Thursday, February 11, 2016

OK, all you car and truck modelers: I’ve been taking some heat, both internally and also from emails coming in. No, not about suicide chicken wings, but regarding our blog and Facebook pages; being “limited” to sci-fi subject matter. I cannot contest this. So, I’m going to try and improve on the situation once and for all, with some posts for those of you who like things that run on gasoline as opposed to dilithium crystals. I commend Jamie to no end for the time and effort he finds and puts into his sci-fi and figural posts. He’s done an incredible job.

My plan is to keep you informed on notable things we’re doing in the car and truck realm, and give you a glimpse of the details you may not even be aware of. The Retro Deluxe™ idea was developed to inject real excitement and delight into the AMT & MPC kits we produce. It’s very rarely “just another reissue.” Take the Surf Woody for example: did you know we’ve retooled all-new, narrow “pie crust” cheater slicks which very accurately represent the dual rear tires on the 1:1 car? Check out the images – these babies even have the double pinstripe on them! They’re absolutely beautiful. (Side note: the front tires in the Surf Woody kit come with matching double stripes.) You’re going to find the new slicks, with different pad printing and lettering, in other kits as well… a certain “Mod Rod” that’s coming soon will have ’em!

narrow slicks1narrow slicks2
In addition to late breaking news, I’ll do my best every so often, to select a question or two to reply on. However, please understand that I cannot answer questions about whether a tool exists or not, or what condition it’s in; or will we ever tool such and such, etc. We’re not at liberty to divulge information on tooling, primarily from a business perspective: Why freely tell our competition what we do or do not have? Secondly, isn’t it much more exciting for everyone when a forty year old kit unexpectedly gets announced? I think so!  Just when you thought you’d never see it again…
Until next time, grab the glue… it’s all you!

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