There seems to be a renewed interest in U.S. Navy ships, as the numbers of models in this category which are now being released or are planned exceed anything that we have seen in many years. Just look at the latest developments...
Neptun/Navis has released N 1315 RANGER, NM FURST BISMARCK and NM 6 OSLYABIA. Soon to be released are U.S. CVEs CASABLANCA, COMMENCEMENT BAY and SANGAMON. The cruiser INDIANAPOLIS is in preparation.
New from Argos are CGN 35 TRUXTON, and DD 968 ARTHUR RADFORD, with the unusual AEMS mast. Argos is also planning to do CGN 9 LONG BEACH, and two angle-deck ESSEX Class, the BON HOMME RICHARD and the INTREPID. Optatus has also released TRUXTON, and both Argos and Optatus appear to be entering a competition to do various modern U.S. ships, including CVNs, CGNs and LHDs. While it will be nice to have excellent quality models of these ships produced at last, it is unfortunate that the two seem bent upon producing the same ships. There are so many things that need to be made, that one high quality model of a particular ship should be enough. On the other hand, it would not hurt if one made a ship in one rig, and the other made the same ship at a different time, and in a different rig. It is not uncommon for manufacturers to enter into understandings that they wont compete. Here in the U.S., that would be considered monopolistic and restraint of trade. But in an industry this small such agreements actually can help both manufacturers and consumers. It is tough for small manufacturers to survive, and competition of this sort can drive one out of business. There are plenty of different ships that can be made, and limited market to serve. Manufacturers that carve out niches for themselves can survive, and provide collectors with needed models. Where competition IS desired, however is in the perfection of the trade. That is, there is always room for a BETTER model. In the case of Argos and Optatus, however, both are producing top of the line models.
CM has released two IWO JIMA Class LPHs, the GUAM and GUADALCANAL, and is planning to do several other versions, some as originally built, others in later rigs.
Classic Ship Collection plans to do CVN 65 ENTERPRISE as built, and possibly LONG BEACH and MIDWAY. Classic Ship produces very high quality models, and these promise to be outstanding. However, expect prices to match. Classic sells only over the Internet.
Trident Alpha hasnt done many new ships, but has just released TA ORISKANY, in the angle-deck configuration.
Argonaut has released the entire Polish Navy of the WW II era, several new British ships, and the Norwegian minelayer OLAV TRIGGVASON. Plans are underway to do French three and four funneled DDs. Also in the works are the U.S. cruisers WICHITA and ST. LOUIS, and possibly a BROOKLYN, as well as a couple of BRISTOL Class DDs.
Informed sources say that the master for the Klabuatermann French BB JEAN BART is ready. When the model will enter production is unknown.
Also, Quadrant has in the beginning stages its model of the new French CVN CHARLES DE GAULLE. This model, which will be issued in relatively limited numbers should be a very fine production.
From Saratoga Model Shipyard comes several new models: The French Navy tugs LABORIEUX and GOLIATH, sloop AMIENS, and the U.S. SC 1-448. In preparation for production are the U.S. Navy ships MELVILLE AD 1, NITRO AE 2, and KANAWHA, AO 1, and the French Navy tugs MAGAUD and SIX-FOURS.
Neptun/Navis is working on their own web site. It will contain photos of all of their models, which will be tremendous benefit to collectors.
Alnavco has announced that it is purchasing the Superior line of ship models, and will be producing the models themselves. Pete Paschall has indicated his intention to improve the line, and reissue some models that have been long out of production. It is anticipated that the focus will be more toward collector quality, rather than war gaming, in part because the demand for these models by gamers has declined as the popularity of 1:2400 and 1:3000 scale among war gamers has increased.
Langton has recently released a line of ships of the 17th C. Anglo-Dutch Wars with photo-etched brass sails. The use of PEB in 1:1200/1250 ships is gradually being introduced, and should usher in a new age of increased detail and quality in this scale.
An examinination of the Neptun and Optatus ERITREA models reveals a number of differences between the two, other than the different paint jobs. It is apparent that after casting the model for Optatus, Neptun reworked the master some to bring it more in line with Neptun standards.
Newly released: Neptun 1212 TAIHO and Navis 615 OSLYABYA.
Neptun's N 1147 EMERALD and N 1551 ERITREA are now available. OPT 11 ERITREA is the same as Neptun's, except that the Neptun one is painted gray, while the OPT model is painted in tropical colors. OPT 9, the CG ALBANY is also available, and is as close to Neptun quality as can be expected. That is not surprising, since the model was cast for Optatus by Neptun.
For those of you with an interest in Japanese KONGO Class battleships, take note: There are a variety of different models of these ships available. Aside from the older Comet/Authenticast and Superior models representing the class during WW II, Navis has KONGO circa 1913 (NM 220), and Konishi makes KIRISHIMA circa 1915 (KO 111), both representing the class as built. Neptun makes KONGO (N 1206) and HIEI (N 1205) both circa 1939. Konishi makes several of the class in WW II: KONGO (KO 109) and KIRISHIMA (KO 110) (which models are identical), and represent the ships during the war, with two more twin 5" AA guns and radar added, thus making the models different from the Neptun ones. Additionally, Konishi makes KONGO circa 1939 (KO 112)
Neptun 1530 Pola, the
Italian CA is now on the market. N 1532, Zara
has long been available, but though sister ships, the two differ in significant details.
Expect to see Neptun's British CL Enterprise
and U.S. CV Ranger within the next few months.
16 May 1999
Informed sources report that Neptun
production plans include the release of the following models over the next six months:
Italian colonial sloop Eritrea,
British CL Emerald, Japanese CV Taiho, U.S. CV Ranger,
and CVE'S Commencement Bay and Casablanca
7 March 1999
GEM has released the
clipper Peking, a beautiful sailing ship
with full sails. Last moth they released the Rosario,
a steam/sail cargo passenger ship from 1881, and the 1958 bark Gorch
Fock. Next planned for release are Barbarossa
1851, and paddle steamer Britannia 1840, Hansa 1849, and Bremen
I 1858. These will probably be followed by the great 7 masted schooner Th.W. Lawson and the Gefion
7 February 1999
A new company, Microfleet, has
begun producing models. What is unusual is that the focus of it's new line are ships built
by Blohm & Voss, the German shipyard.
The first models replicate the first ships built by the company back in 1879-80.
Neptun has now released
its new models of the German AMC Komet, N
1024, Japanese CV Unryu, N 1211, and U.S. CV Saratoga (1945) N 1317. British CB Renown (1941) N 1106 is scheduled for release in January 1999.
Neptun's N 1211 Unryu has now been released, and N 1317 Saratoga is to be released this week
Neptun has released the long awaited model of the Lexington circa 1940 (click here for a review). She will be followed next year by Saratoga circa 1944. Also nearing production is Renown. Available now also is Edinburgh
Interested in escort vessels? Argonaut has one of the most comprehensive lines of destroyers, frigates, sloops and other escort vessels of the Royal Navy, as well as the Dutch, Spanish and Italian navies of WW II. A number of U.S. ships are also available.
Oliver Maertens (Oliver's Welt) is closing his Berlin store and will be selling only second hand models from now on. Oliver also produces Optatus models, which he will continue to market .
Clydeside, long out of production, has resumed, starting with some of the ships of the River Platte Battle: Cumberland, Graf Spee, Achilles, etc. Also available are some Dutch and British destroyers. These models, made in Britain in 1200 scale, come in kit form and are relatively inexpensive. They are good starter models, and sturdy for wargaming, but lack the fine quality found in most German made models.
Word is that Freidrich Villi the producer of Trident models has died and that production of Trident has ceased. Ostrowski and Sextant have also ceased business. However, apparently Peter Krtina, owner of Hai has acquired the mouldsof the above companies and may produce some of their models if demand is sufficient.
Newly released from Neptun: the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Edinburgh. New from Navis: Mikasa and Navarin.
Neptun plans to release Lexington
(1940) soon, followed by Saratoga (1944)
sometime later. Also in the works for release in the not too distant future are Unryu and Renown.
Also planned for release, are
GEM is planning to produce a series of steam-sail ships of
the German Navy of the 19th Century. GEM currently produces a number of fine models
of 20th century sailing ships. While the German Navy is of interest to many
collectors, especially since a large number are German, we hope that GEM will consider
producing 19th century ships of other navies.
Due in July from Nordzee Modellen (Holland) is the 1:1250 m.v Kedoe. Launched in 1921, she was the first Dutch
diesel engine motor ship on intercontinental service, sailing between Rotterdam and the
Dutch East Indies. During WW II she was on charter to the British Ministry of War