Happy Birthday, Curiosity. As NASA’s Curiosity celebrates its first year on Mars, the NASA rover continues to explore the Red Planet as it travels to Mount Sharp, the ancient crater near the Martian equator and site of Curiosity’s touch down on August 5, 2012. Mount Sharp, the central peak of Gale Crater, may hold the key to unlocking the planet’s geological past. Earlier this year, Curiosity accomplished the mission’s main scientific goal when the rover found evidence of an ancient wet environment with conditions favorable for microbial life in the Glenelg area of Gale Crater. As Curiosity continues to analyze rocks and dirt from the planet’s surface, scientists hope to gather more information to determine if Mars had once been an environment suitable for life. With more than 30,000 images beamed back to NASA researchers, Curiosity has concluded this to be a strong possibility. Though Curiosity does not have the instruments to search for life past or present, the rover is paving the way for future missions. NASA hopes to launch the future rover in 2020 and will include scientific instruments for analysis on the microscopic level. This rover will also collect and store samples for a possible return to Earth by a future mission.
The popularity of the Curiosity rover has been huge as it engages more interest and support for space exploration. From an educational and collectibility standpoint, Sun Star has produced a 1:18 scale model of the Spirit/Opportunity Mars Rover complete with detailed body, camera and antenna, movable solar arrays and instrument deployment device. Visit MagellanModels.com for details or contact us directly at 1-800-647-0771!
Batman, the comic book superhero featured in DC publications, has fascinated fans for generations. This fascination shows no slowing down as evidenced by the sale of the original Batmobile for more than $4.6 million at the 2013 Barrett-Jackson auction. Batman memorabilia extends from the children’s toys to the precision-detailed models for serious collectors, and today Batman collectors have several to choose from as an addition to their collection.
Mattel’s Super Elite edition of the 1960s TV series Batmobile is a hard to find collectible model. This 1:18 scale diecast model offers opening features with extra details such as bat radar antenna, photo-etched running boards, metal missile launchers, greater dash detail, and more.
Also making its first appearance in the 1960s TV series Batman, the Batcycle was the specialized motorcycle for Batman. Mattel Elite created the Batcycle model complete with Robin’s sidecar. Fast forward to “The Dark Knight Trilogy” movie series to the Bat Pod, an escape pod that was integrated into the Tumbler. It serves as an auxiliary vehicle armed with dual front-mounted cannons, grappling hooks, and machine guns. Most notably is the Bat Pod’s steering with the driver’s shoulders, not his hands and features the engines mounted inside the wheels instead of the frame. For Batman collectors, the Hot Wheels Elite Bat-Pod is a 1:18 diecast replica that features giant wheels like the ones used on the Tumbler and is complete with the armament details. This latest release comes highly recommended.
Each summer for one week in August, the Monterey Bay peninsula offers the perfect backdrop to the Monterey Car Week. This year’s dates are August 12-18, so start making your plans for Monterey, California. The crown jewel of Monterey Car Week is The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering. The lush golf course setting of the Quail Lodge and Golf Club will play host to some of the finest vintage sporting automobiles seen during this spectacular auto week. In conjunction with The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, Bonhams will hold their 16th annual motorcar auction. The Bonhams 16th annual Quail Lodge Auction is scheduled for Friday, August 16. Bonhams, one of the world’s oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques, is pleased to announce that the prototype and Bugatti Works entry at the 1924 Grand Prix de Lyon, the 1924 Bugatti Type 35 Grand Prix, will be a highlight at this year’s Quail Lodge sale. Introduced at the 1924 French Grand Prix held in Lyon, France on August 3, 1924, the Bugatti Type 35 was the most successful of the Bugatti racing models. The Type 35 dominated Grand Prix racing and set records of more than 1,000 victories with a reported 14 per week during its height.
To share in the rich history of the Bugatti Type 35 race car, the CMC Models 1:18 scale replica offers an exceptional model hand assembled from more than 926 parts. Its many features include real leather seats, glass faced gauges, rubber tires, authentic paint scheme, and is complete with fully wired and plumbed engine. This 1924 Bugatti Type 35 replica also showcases the front wheel suspension, standard of Bugatti in its day, and gives the model a slanting position stance with positive wheel-camber. Those looking to own a piece of the Bugatti Type 35 history should check out this exceptional car replica at www.magellanmodels.com.
Recognized by its distinctive triple-tail design and dolphin-shaped fuselage, the Lockheed Constellation “Connie” continues to capture the interest of aviation buffs. Built by Lockheed between 1943 and 1958, the Constellation was used for both a commercial airliner and U.S. military air transport. Most notably, the only VC-121E built was the personal aircraft for President Dwight Eisenhower. After World War II, the Constellation began its history as a commercial airliner with Trans World Airlines receiving its first aircraft in 1945.
The National Airline History Museum located in Kansas City, Missouri is currently restoring its Lockheed Constellation, an L-1049G which was one of Lockheed’s last Constellations and now painted in Trans World Airlines colors. The museum’s restoration efforts are in preparation to fly the Lockheed Constellation “Connie” on April 17, 2014 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the 1944 inaugural flight piloted by Howard Hughes and TWA president Jack Frye. This flight set a record for coast-to-coast, non-stop flight from Burbank, California to Washington, D.C. in 6 hours and 58 minutes. On the return flight, the aircraft gave Orville Wright his last flight when it stopped at Wright Field.
The museum is planning to use the Lockheed Super Constellation, Super Connie, as an ambassador to Kansas City and to promote the history of commercial aviation during its more elegant and unique time.
Hobby Master just announced the latest Signature Edition model coming in July, the 1:48 scale P-51 Mustang “Paul 1″ signed by Col. Paul H. Poberezny. Col. Paul Poberezny is the founder of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and a 1999 inductee to the National Aviation Hall of Fame. In 2002, he received the prestigious Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy from the National Aeronautic Association. With a distinguished military career spanning almost 30 years, Col. Poberezny is one of the most decorated men in the international aviation community. A veteran of World War II and the Korean Conflict, he retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel as the only man in the armed forces to receive all seven aviation wings. With more than 70 years of flying, Paul has piloted up to 500 different types of aircraft, including amateur-built airplanes, and has logged more than 30,000 hours of flight time. Some of the more famous military aircraft he has flown include the Bell P-39 Airacobra, Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, Vought F4U Corsair, and the North American P-51 Mustang. Col. Paul Poberezny is one of the most sought-after aviation spokesmen and represents the interests of more than 170,000 active EAA members at events around the world. This highly collectible Limited Edition model will feature engraved panel lines, fully detailed cockpit with sliding canopy and removable pilot figure, authentic markings, and more. The display stand will include the signed nameplate. Limited Edition of 500 pieces.
Chad Kirchner — 05/04/2013
Tesla is having a tumultuous year, legally. They recently won the right to sell their Model S vehicles in New York, but then were denied sales in Virginia. Tesla is gaining ground in Texas, though, with a new factory and model on the line.
When it comes to sales though, Elon Musk’s Tesla must be motivated by Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.” The Model S has reached a new milestone when it was recently announced that Tesla sold more vehicles than expected (and that the company became more profitable sooner than expected). So far this year the Tesla Model S has sold more units in North America than the Chevrolet Volt, taking the lead in rechargeable automobile sales.
The 4,750 deliveries of Model S vehicles exceed the 4,421 sales of the Chevrolet Volt, and the 3,695 sales of the Nissan Leaf. Even though these are all low-volume numbers, being on top is still a great success for the independent automobile maker in Palo Alto.
It should be noted that General Motors sells the Opel Ampera in Europe. The combined sales of both the Volt and the Ampera is approximately 9,000 units. Also, Nissan Leaf sales dipped early this year because the company moved production of the US version of the vehicle from Japan to Tennessee.
According to automotive analyst John Wolkonowicz, the Volt makes more sense to more people, and will likely regain the sales crown by the end of the year. “The Volt is the one that makes sense out of that whole group of plug-ins, because you can use it like a regular car when the battery runs out,” says Wolkonowicz.
Range anxiety is becoming less of an issue, especially with the Tesla, due to the excellent range (approximately 300 miles on the high-end version). Also, Tesla is installing 30-minute “Supercharger” stations along popular motorway routes across the country. Tesla is also hinting at a 500 mile range in the near future. So even though analysts seem bearish on Tesla, Tesla seems to delight in proving them wrong every chance they get.