Here’s a quick photo, sent by our production facility. It’s a pre-production sample of the upcoming AMT “Double Dirt Bikes” parts pack. (AMTPP014/24, June release.) It features a pair of 1/25 scale motorcycles which originated in certain MPC Dodge Pickup and Van kits during the 1970s. While under normal circumstances, I really try to avoid re-branding items, all our parts packs thus far have been done under AMT. So I followed suit on this one.
The production parts will be molded in silver, making it easy to build these without the need for a lot of painting, if desired. The die-cut viewing window of the packaging will be slightly different and the custom PVC blister that holds the parts will be black. Overall, final presentation will be greatly improved!
The parts build into nice looking replicas for the scale. Now you won’t have to scrounge parts or pilfer vintage kits to enhance your next diorama or custom off-road build project with a sidekick dirt bike!
Grab the glue, it’s all you…
At first glance the tool looks like one of the 1:1 gun kits from Pyro (also released by Life-Like). Part of it looked like a rifle barrel however the gunstock was missing. Test shots revealed that it was a sword. It is very decorative with an eagle-shaped pommel, armor on the chape, a knight and lion head on the scabbard, a knight and axes on one side of the cross-guard, and an AOUW Shield on the other. There are several places where gems would attach. So far in our research I have found Lindberg and Hawk kits previously released under O-lin, Pyro, Life-Like, Eagle/Eaglewall, Palmer, IMC, and a few others. I can not find any sword model kits release under Lindberg or any of those brands.
While I have not found any evidence of the model being released as a kit I have found the real life sword it was patterned after. And here. The AOUW on the cross-guard is for the Ancient Order of United Workmen, a fraternal organization founded by John Jordan Upchurch, a Mason, after the Civil War in 1868. Swords like this would have be used during ceremonies and given to a member of the society often with his name scribed on the blade. This info, while interesting, has not help me track down the origin of the kit. So I call out to you, modellers, and your vast knowledge of vintage kits. If this seems familiar or you know any of its history, let us know in the comments.
Thanks to Craig Bennett for this. The sword was released as Palmer Jeweled Renaissance Sword & Scabbard. I am not sure what year. The box design is done in the style of some of the cannons. I found this small image.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
Word of our new MPC Eagle kits landing in modelers hands started trickling in late last week. Orders are still in the mail to some, so stay patient if yours hasn’t arrived yet. I just wanted to take a quick minute for a quick post. Let’s start with some “bad” news…
The metal accessory parts are at least a month behind. The factory is making sure that they weed out and metal bells with visible flaws. At the price the sets will be going for, we want them to be flawless. Only a few people have seen them first hand. I actually don’t have a full set myself other than the one installed on our buildup. But everyone that has seen them will attest to how magnificent they look.
Speaking of flaws… with as much energy as we put into the kit, nothing can be considered perfect. I’m going to be up front and fill you in on the handful of things to keep an eye out for if you are a discriminating modeler.
- One point the factory misinterpreted in their final clean up was the presence of two “teeth” on the trailing edge of the command module halves. The presence of them would allow the main pod shell to grip onto the back wall without the need for cement. Unfortunately these were removed on accident and are not present on the first production run of kits. This has already been corrected on the tooling so subsequent production runs will have this feature.
- During the tool polishing stage, the factory got a bit carried away on the port windshield part causing a bit of a wave in it which gives a bit of distortion when looking through it. The tool is being reworked to correct this as well.
- There are pins present on the back side of the CM sensor dishes. These pins are oriented at an incorrect angle. This will get fixed later on too.
- Two errors were present in the data we sent to the factory that was used to create the model. Correcting these problems was problematic as it would require substantial tool work for the very slightest amount of change. the first error is the depth of the RCS thruster housing. They are 1mm too deep.
- The second error was not noticed until just recently. The nozzles on the loose Gemini domes should have been either A) been fudged a bit so one part could be used in every application or B) had lefts and rights made on the tool. Sadly this wasn’t the case so now the “lean” (the angle is fairly slight) in the wrong direction in some cases.
- Lastly, The screws that are included in the kit are not “self tappers” so you will need to use a drill bit or another instrument to create a hole in the top of the passenger pod roof. Don’t make it too big obviously…
In the big scheme of things these are all very small things. But I figured I should stay as straight forward as I always try to be.
Now some good news… that some might think is bad…
I mentioned that we were making corrections where reasonably feasible on the problem areas I mentioned so the kit is more “right” when we do subsequent production runs. As of this writing we are very nearly sold through (that means from our warehouse, not necessarily at the retail level) on the first batch of Eagle kits. A second batch was already on order some time ago, but we don’t expect those kits to arrive until later this month. In fact, we’ve placed a third order to follow behind that one as sales have been very brisk. So, that means if you want yours soon, but you haven’t ordered one you should do it now or you may end up having to wait a bit until more fill the distribution lines.
Further good news is that our friends over at Sci-Fi Fantasy Modeler have launched their digital publication program. Be sure to check them out to get some free digital content now, while new stuff like the Eagle special will be coming soon. I also understand they will be making back issues available digitally as well. So check them out and keep an eye out for more from them. Read the yellow section at this link to find out more details.
Not to introduce brand confusion (read the title closely) we got word this morning of a new sci-fi oriented website that looks pretty promising so far. Check out the link below and look for the 1:350 scale U.S.S. Constellation article. Looks pretty great.
While I’m talking up websites/forums/online modeler gatherings I wanted to mention a fan group on Facebook that has been very supportive of the Eagle kit. If you aren’t already a member, do a Facebook search for “Space: 1999 Props & Ships” to see what Todd Morton and a ton of other kind S:1999 fans from all over the world are talking about.
Lastly, we know a lot of people have been asking why our own model kit website hasn’t been updated recently. Fear not. Attention has turned to developing an all-new website that will host all of Round 2’s product lines. It is a complicated endeavor that a limited few of our staff have been handling for several months. There is still a lot of work, redirecting and updating to do before we start using it. Round2models.com as you know it will stay active until everything is up and running on the new site.
Onward into 2016…!
UPDATE: Kits are due to ship from China by the end of November. No promises that they will land in modelers’ hands by Christmas, but may still reach many of you by the end of the year.
Nearly everyday I get an email or note requesting more info on our exciting new MPC Space:1999 Eagle kit. Quite a bit has happened since my last post and I’m overdue on an update. So here you go. Let’s see… where to start…
The parts- We’ve received two rounds of test shots. You may have seen comments from Jim Small or Jay Chladek online about the first set of those. I’ll admit I’m holding back a little bit on this one in order to save something for Sci-Fi Fantasy Modeler’s Eagle special where I’ll be contributing an article. Btw, to pre-order your copy click right here! I’m doing my best to balance the distribution of info between here and there.
I guess I’ll start by saying that beyond flaws in the surfaces of parts caused by the tooling process that there was not a whole lot to be addressed. There were minor fit issues here and there with pins missing, sink marks etc. All were to be expected in a preliminary test shot. Other than that, the kit really assembled nicely once I wrapped my head around a few of the sub assemblies. It is one thing to see all of the parts and understand how the end product is supposed to look and see what assembly “theories” worked out and which didn’t. Even not noticing very slight differences between some of the frame tube parts caused problems in my first attempt. Keep in mind none of the parts get numbered until the next step. A few lessons were learned, but all for the better and the initial build went together satisfactorily.
I always ask for 10-12 initial test shots for plenty of testing and distribution to consultants and select media outlets. Most might think “ooh, 12 sets!” Well, they go pretty fast once you start handing them out. I kept three. One got assembled, one was used to retrace steps in the build to document trouble areas in the parts and one was kept intact for our archive. Three got sent to Jim Small to use for our buildup. That allowed extra parts for immediate replacement for the build and the ability to build a rescue pod in addition to the standard passenger pod. He was also due a copy as a consultant on the project. Our other consultants Daniel Prud’homme and Chris Trice were also sent one copy each. A set was sent to Sci-Fi Fantasy Modeller for upcoming issues. Two sets were sent to Mat Irvine to take along for his SFFM interview with Brian Johnson. One set was awarded to Jay Chladek for winning in the JerseyFest model competition. Let’s see… ten fingers and couple toes… Yep, that was all of them.
Back to the parts themselves, I mentioned we received a second round (only two sets this time) and most of the problems were resolved, but they never all get taken care of even at this stage. There were still about ten points to correct. The biggest problem to overcome was sink marks in the tops of the landing footpads. The parts were originally solid, but had to be broken into two parts each. This required a bit of rearranging other parts on that particular sprue to make room for the second sizable piece. The change resulted in more problems. In some cases, the factory’s work takes us a step backwards and this case was no different.
One of the features of the kit is that we are injecting it in two colors, “eagle” white and gray with windows supplied in clear plastic. This means that if one wants to, he can build the ship without having to paint it. I’m of the mind that is looks a little toy-like in this state, but adding the metal engine bell accessories helps, and just a little chalk dust added to the corners and crevasses would supply a superb look without painting in full. Here is a pic of Jim’s “naked” build with the larger metal bells installed.
Packaging- By the time test shots arrived, we were racing the clock to get everything finished. The instruction sheet needed to be revised to take practical assembly into account, decals had to be test fitted and refined, the test shot needed to be built into a respectable model for the packaging and publicity and I had the extra task of finishing the box lid illustrations. In most of the designs I was considering, I had a second Eagle in the background. I decided to paint that one separately and would later drop it in as needed in photoshop. This served two purposes. The angle I used for it lent itself better on the box ends. So I would need it larger than it appeared on the box face. Secondly, it allowed me a practice painting to exercise my languishing skills and to check my planned technique. If I couldn’t manage this “baby Eagle” as I like to call it, I was sure to fail at the much larger painting. I’ll post more on the illustrations and process on those another day, but I have to say I felt a bit wounded by some of the comments I saw out there when one of our distributors released a sales image of the box face. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and let’s face it you guys love this ship more than I do even in the very intimate role I’m playing in this. I know very few people could have known the hundreds of hours spent on the design, art and package. In the final push, I spent every waking hour for three straight days working on the larger painting. Time heals all wounds though and I feel much better now. Btw, usually when working on freelance gigs and even when I’m doing semi-mindless photoshop here at Round 2 I listen to podcasts more than music. One thing I used to pass and measure the time on this project was finding “books on tape” for free on youtube. My “reading list” was… 2001: A Space Odyssey (I get it now), Starship Troopers (I was struck by how closely the movie stayed to the book while still failing in its portrayal of the material), the first 1/3 to ½ of Stranger In A Strange Land unabridged edition (I didn’t really grok it so I moved on), 1984, A Brave New World and Treasure Island. I feel very well read now…
Other stuff- I was very hesitant to reveal all of the news I made in my last Eagle post because it all felt too good to be true and that any of the deals I mentioned could fall apart at any moment. And I’m sorry that I have to report that one of them did… for the moment. It seems the ability to move decals from Italy into China for pack-in is disastrously problematic without the proper red tape taken care of. This is something that is being worked through presently and we full expect to be able to use Cartograf decals in upcoming Polar Lights, MPC and AMT kits by mid 2016, but unfortunately it just can’t happen in time to include them in this release of the Eagle. We currently and will continue to include them in our Hawk and Lindberg branded kits. The move to change to Cartograf has sent a clear message to our current Chinese decal suppliers and stepped up attention to quality has been ensured. I have tested proofs of the Eagle decals and they performed admirably and responded to the use of setting solution. More updates on the inclusion of Cartograf decals will come when definitive info becomes available.
On the plus side, Mat Irvine’s interview with Brian Johnson seems to have gone off without a hitch. Since the interview Brian has delivered a special behind the scenes treat for Eagle connoisseurs, a rare photo of the Eagle model crew along with a full listing of everyone that worked on them!
Pictured from left to right: Alan Barnard, Sallie Beechinor, Terry Reid, Guy Hudson, Brian Eke, Cyril Forster, Brian Johnson, Andrew Kelly, Terry Pearce, David Watkins, David Lichfield, Terry Schubert
Not pictured: Harry Oakes- DoP, Frank Drake- Cam Op, Les Bowie- Pinewood FX, Alan Bryce- Pinewood FX, Fiona Latto- Sec, Martin Bower- models
AGM Aeronautical General Models- Larry Barr & Wag Evans- 2nd 44” filming Eagle
Mary Robbins (Anderson), Nee Curtis- Sec 2nd Series 1999
Wrapping up- Okay, that’s about all comes to mind at the moment. Have a happy Thanksgiving!
Oh… you ask when will the kit come out? It is November and that was the release date we’ve published, isn’t it? Yes, well, despite our best intentions November is not to be. Currently, it looks like kits should arrive in the nick of time before Christmas. No promises as always, but the honest truth is that is how it looks at the moment. I’ll post an update when I hear they are being loaded onto a boat. Until then… build a deluxe 12” Eagle Deluxe Edition or Moonbase Alpha. As always, Happy modeling!
At long last, here is the promised sneak peek at the new parts that have been brewing to create our upcoming release of the U.S.S. Excelsior from Star Trek. The short history on the old AMT tooling is that the inserts that are needed to transform the U.S.S. Enterprise-B kit into the Excelsior have been lost. So we have had to recreate the missing parts. Like most of our work on new Star trek kits, the CAD work was done by Angelo Bastianelli. If you never picked up our reissue of the Enterprise-B a few years back, we made a few corrections on that one. Most significantly, we completely redid the lower saucer and curved the back wall of the neck. Some might ask if we are just recreating the parts from the old Excelsior kit. You know us by now. We approach these kits like the Six Million Dollar Man. We make them better than they were before, better stronger, faster… Okay, maybe just better, but you get the point.
With this edition, we examined the shape of the lower hull carefully, but found that the shape of the old part was proportionally accurate. Without necessarily meaning to, the new one is relatively close to the shape of the old one. We’ve decided to implement a slide mold this time though so the deflector trench will no longer be a separate part. That also allows us to get the weapon details a little better on the sides of the hull. We are completely redoing the inner “gut” detail of the hull based on Gary Kerr’s research into the model kit parts used when the filming miniature was built. A few compromises were made to allow us to inject the part with minimal fuss, but few will pick up on the differences. The look of the “whalebone” is more accurate now with that detail being split between the inner bay part and the outer hull part.
We had to recreate the top of the saucer as well and this was probably the most significant undertaking. The old part was kind of soft on details, so we made sure this one is up to snuff and a substantial upgrade will be the ability to use parts to build the ship as either the NX-2000 as shown in STAR TREK III: The Search For Spock or as the NCC-2000 as commanded by Sulu in STAR TREK VI: The Undiscovered Country. That means the bridge dome, impulse crystals and hangar bay will all come with swap-able parts. Speaking of impulse crystals, they will come as clear parts regardless of which version you choose.
Here are a whack of photos to take a gander at. I’m sure you’ll pick up on some of the other fun details and features I haven’t mentioned. Right now, it looks like the kit will be out in May.
For those hungry for more Eagle updates. I hope to have another post about that out next week.