January 02, 2017

MTSC PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: Wings of the Great War Armor Collection

Wings of the Great War: Armor Collection
Each 1/72 scale, molded-resin replica features accurate weaponry, realistic tracking, authentic World War I markings, and a removable presentation stand with clear plastic cover.

World War I, a time when battle tank manufacturing was in its absolute infancy, offers us but a glimpse of the powerful, versatile, and lethal armored vehicle technology that would rapidly progress before the outbreak of World War II. These early-era tanks, to our modern sensibility, are fascinating in their simplicity though they offered soldiers of the time an opportunity to travel at higher speeds, traverse difficult landscape, and be equipped with dynamic and mobile weaponry. 

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WOTGW Armor Range Coming in 2017 
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WW10203 WWI British Mk IV Tadpole
Available February 2017
The Mark IV was first used by the British in mid-1917 at the Battle of Messines Ridge. Its initial use came as a nasty shock to the Germans which allowed the Allies to gain territory. Within time, however, the Germans developed wider trenches to prevent tanks from driving over them. For the British, the simplest solution was to lengthen the tank. Thus, the Tadpole was born. The problem was that, while it was sound in theory, it was much more complicated in practice: the track extensions suffered from weak connection points and consequently flexed too much, making turning very difficult. The Tadpole never made it past the prototype stage.

WW10202 WWI French Schneider CA 1 - Juvincourt France, 1918
Available February 2017
The Schneider CA 1 (originally named the Schneider CA) was an armoured fighting vehicle developed in France during the First World War. Although not a tank in the modern sense of the word, not being a turreted vehicle, it is generally accepted and described as the first French tank.

The Schneider was inspired by the need to overcome the stalemate of trench warfare which on the Western Front prevailed during most of the Great War. It was designed specifically to open passages for the infantry through barbed wire and then to suppress German machine gun nests. After a first concept by Jacques Quellennec devised in November 1914, the type was developed from May 1915 onwards by engineer Eugène Brillié, paralleling British development of tanks the same year. Colonel Jean Baptiste Eugène Estienne in December 1915 began to urge for the formation of French armour units, leading to an order in February 1916 of four hundred Schneider CA tanks, which were manufactured by SOMUA, a subsidiary of Schneider located in a suburb of Paris, between September 1916 and August 1918.

The tank was of the "box" type, lacking a turret, with the main armament, a short 75 mm cannon, in the right side. Generally it is considered a very imperfect design, even for its day, because of a poor lay-out, insufficient fire-power, a cramped interior and inferior mobility due to an overhanging nose section which had been specially designed to crush through barbed wire belts. Improved designs were almost immediately initiated but the production of these, the Schneider CA 2, CA 3 and CA 4, was eventually cancelled.

The Schneider CA 1 tanks were widely used in combat during the last war years. Their first action on 16 April 1917 was largely a failure, the tank units suffering heavy losses, but subsequent engagements were more successful. In 1918 the Schneider tanks played an important role in halting the GermanSpring Offensive and breaking the German front in the French summer offensives. They were active until the end of September 1918, less than two months before the Armistice of 11 November 1918, their numbers having dropped considerably due to attrition. After the war the surviving tanks were mostly rebuilt as utility vehicles but six Schneider tanks were deployed by Spain in the Rif War in Morocco, and the type saw its last action in the beginning of the Spanish Civil War.

The Current WOTGW Armor Range

WW10301 WWI British Rolls Royce Armoured Car
Developed in Britain during World War I, the Rolls Royce Armoured Car - of which only 120 were manufactured - first saw combat action in early 1915. Though it was poorly suited for the muddy trench conditions of the Western Front, it proved adept on battlefields in the Near East. Indeed, Lawrence of Arabia called the Rolls Royce vehicle "more valuable than rubies." More than 70 remained in service at the outbreak of World War II. Made of resin, this 1:72 scale display model replicates the combat car and features a realistic Vickers machine gun, running boards, a colorful flag, treaded tires (including side-mounted spare), and a display base.

WW10003 WWI British Mk. IV Male
Sold out
The Mark IV tank - first seeing combat duty in 1917 - was the most popular British tank of World War I with more than 1,200 units being produced. It benefited greatly from its Mark variant predecessors (some of the first tanks ever manufactured) and was a clear improvement in armor, fuel-tank placement, and overall ease of transport. The Mark IV Male was equipped 2x Ordnance Quick Firing 6-pounder (57 mm) Mark I 23 calibre guns and 3x 0.303 inch (7.62mm) Lewis air-cooled light machine guns. Aside from the French Renault FT, the Mark series of tanks was considered the most successful of the entire war.

WW10201 WWI British Mk. IV Female
The Mark IV was a introduced in 1917, it benefited from significant developments on the first British tank, the intervening designs being small batches used for training. The major improvements were in armor, the re-siting of the fuel tank, and easier transportation. A total of 1,220 were built: 420 "Males", 595 "Females" and 205 Tank Tenders (unarmed vehicles used to carry supplies), which made it the most produced British tank of the War.

The "Female" tank carried multiple machine guns, instead of the mix of machine guns and cannons mounted by the original Mark I tank. The prototype, nicknamed "Mother", and the first production models of what would become referred to as the Mark I were designed to carry two six-pounder guns and three machine-guns. Lieutenant-Colonel Ernest Swinton expressed the fear that tanks armed in such a way might be unable to protect themselves from attacks by large numbers of enemy infantry. Armament for Female tank was 5 x 0.303 inch (7.62mm) Lewis air-cooled light machine guns.

In April 1916, it was therefore decided that half of the 150 tanks on order should be fitted with machine guns in place of the six-pounders. A new sponson was designed so that the tank could carry two Vickers machine guns, with their cooling jackets protected by armored sleeves, on each side of the hull. Swinton's idea was that tanks should operate in pairs: a "destroyer" and a "consort" or "man-killing" tank, providing mutual protection. He stated that he then assigned the names "male" and "female" respectively. The designation "male" applied to those armed with six-pounder guns, whereas the "female" was the tank equipped only with machine guns.

WW10206 German Captured British Mk.IV Male
About 40 captured Mark IVs were employed by the Germans as Beutepanzerwagen (The German word Beute means "loot" or "booty") with a crew of 12. These formed four tank companies from December 1917. Some of these had their six pounders replaced by a German equivalent. 

During the 1918 German spring offensive, British officers discovered in surprise some German assault troops were accompanied by captured Mark I and IV. These “Beutepanzer” sightings rose so often that encounters with the German-built A7V were rare in comparison. 
WW10002 WWI German A7V Western Front, 1918
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The German-built A7V tank was built in response to the inaugural British tanks appearing on the Western Front in 1916. Designs for the A7V began that year though it did not see combat until March of 1918. It was the only German tank to see operational service during the Great War - only twenty units were produced - and it was equipped with six 7.92mm MG08 machine guns and a 57mm Maxim-Nordenfelt front-mounted cannon. Ultimately, the A7V was not considered a success as it was sluggish and suffered from frequent mechanical failures. Improved variants in the pre-production stage never had an opportunity to see battle. This 1:72 scale, molded resin replica A7V includes numerous high quality features such as textured surfaces, accurately reproduced weaponry including all six machine guns and front cannon, realistic tracking, authentic 1918 German Army markings and camouflage paint scheme, and a removable display base.
 
WW10204 WWI German Sturmpanzerwagen A7V Mephisto July 1918
Mephisto is a German A7V tank captured by Australian troops, of the 26th Battalion (composed mainly of Queenslanders) at the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux on 24 April 1918. The battle for the area saw the Australian, British and German forces in a fluid situation, moving around the tank, which had been abandoned after falling into a ditch. The 26th hatched a plan to capture it. In July 1918, under cover of an artillery barrage, the Australian infantry and two British vehicles (either Gun Carriers or Mark IV tanks) moved forward and dragged it back to their lines; the Germans were still in sight of the tank and firing at them. 

Following its capture Mephisto was transported to the 5th Tank Brigade demonstration ground at Vaux-en-Amienois near Amiens. During its stay there it was decorated with "soldier-art" paintings of a British lion with its paw on an A7V, many soldiers' names, details of its capture and recovery, the color patch of the 26th Battalion and the rising sun badge of the Australian Imperial Force (A.I.F.) The words "TANK BOYS" and the names of 13 soldiers were hammered onto the front, left side and rear armor. One of only 20 built, it is the last surviving example of the first German tank and at present is displayed at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, Australia.

WW10205 WWI FT-17 U.S. Army "Five of Hearts," 344th Tank Battalion     
Among the most ground-breaking tank designs in military history, the French-built FT-17 was the first production tank to have a fully rotating turret. It debuted on the battlefield on May 31, 1918, during the Second Battle of the Marne. In addition to its late introduction during World War I, it also saw service during World War II with many regional conflicts along the way. The "Five of Hearts" belonged to the 344th Tank Battalion in the Tank Brigade under Col. George S. Patton, Jr. The full track steel tank with a turret mounted 37-mm gun had a two-man crew and a road speed of approximately 4.5 mph. The Five of Hearts supported the 16th Infantry of the 1st Division in the Fleville Sector of the Meuse-Argonne Battle in October 1918. The tank is located at the Fort George G. Meade Museum at Fort Meade, Maryland.
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Need figures to accompany WOTGW HERE

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