|"You're Order Has Shipped
By Collin Riley
Well, my Corgi 1/72 scale B-36 arrived today, and it is a masterpiece beyond belief (I was going to write, "...a scale beyond belief", but refrained). The UPS team dropped the shipping crate on the stoop, which caused only slight damage to the cement, and after having my wife drag the box into the living room (it's my back you know, the old sciatic nerve), I crowbarred my way in to expose the Corgi box and its masterful cover art. Removing the box lid (Corgi provided handy handles -- no, actually they are called "handy handles" in the promo) I uncovered the most magnificent, boggles-the-mind diecast ever made.
In my excitement, I almost failed to notice my wife rummaging around the pots and pans drawer. Since I do all the cooking, I knew that could mean only one thing: she had found the invoice before I could "file" it away (so, for what else do you need a fireplace?), and was looking for the old iron skillet. Unfortunately, my wife is the one who put the "skill" in skillet, and before I could cop a plea I was waking to a roaring diecast-collectors' headache, a caring nurse adjusting my oxygen tube, and the voice of my wife describing how I tripped over a B-36. The doctor was nodding agreeably, so, obviously, he had heard it all before.
My near-comatose condition allowed me to rehash the years-long events that led to the arrival of that B-36 on my (now damaged) stoop. We all know that Corgi had originally planned to chicken out and build the model in 1/144 scale, and after their release of the B-52 in that scale, gloom settled over those of us pushing for a 1/72 B-36. However, the big break came when Hobby Master announced the impending release of a 1/72 Russian Bison, with the release date just six months away. Corgi immediately countered with an announcement it was planning a B-36 in the same scale, little knowing that the Hobby Master announcement was a ruse, designed to lead Corgi into wasting its time on what would obviously be a multi-year's long project, punctuated by delays, complaints from picky collectors, and a resource war between China and South Korea. We know now that Corgi would have never fallen for the machinations of Hobby Master if they had realized the obvious, namely that there are probably only five Bison collectors in the entire world, and none of them in Russia!
Predictably, when Hobby Master made their Bison announcement the price of zinc shot sky high, but the market quickly came to realize Hobby Master's game, and prices dropped back to normal levels. Zinc prices shot up again when Corgi made their announcement, only to slide down, down, down below normal levels when the market realized Corgi wouldn't have enough resources left to develop anything BUT the B-36. Zinc traders call these events the Great Zinc Zap, and to this day it is celebrated every March 3rd with a mass Alka-Seltzer dose-in on the exchange floor.
Corgi's design and engineering team finally began work on the project, and after much beaver-like activity (which raised some eyebrows in the diecast community, since they were making a mold, not chopping wood), they turned out a casting that was universally panned by the diecast community as either an Italian sausage with a fungus or an Android-icon look-alike without the green (though that was approximately the color of those diecast collectors who had supported the project). Finally, after rejecting the previous water-mammal work methods, Corgi turned out a magnificent mold and diecast model that absolutely wowed the diecast world.
In a short time preorders were offered by online vendors, and the resulting massive order traffic crashed numerous servers. Lines formed around diecast shops in various places, and the police were forced to remove the tent cities of diecast groupies. When news of the order volume hit the market, zinc shot up again, the price tripling and quadrupling overnight. In self-defense, China began a program to corner the zinc market, which caused South Korea to retaliate with a zinc-hording program of its own. Threats passed back and forth from one country to another, eventually resulting in the massing of armies, most notably in Lichtenstein and Monaco. Both armies quickly stood down once the excitement of the thing dissipated (all this, despite the fact that there are no known diecast collectors in either country).
Eventually the hullabaloo subsided. Hobby Master was forced to suspend production for three months while it scoured the world for zinc, eventually pealing it from old buckets and horse troughs, which resulted in a short term problem of water leakage from Hobby Master models. Corgi's profits soared, and for a short time UPS and Fed Ex stock prices surpassed those of Apple and Google. Several online vendors took their profits, closed up shop, and moved to Costa Rica or Monaco (though by a newly passed law, those bound for Monaco had to give up their personal diecast collections before doing so).
Unfortunately, and inevitably, China ran
out of zinc, and those of us toward the end of the preorder line had to
accept models made from spent fuel rods from aging nuclear plants. At
that point, some collectors actually cancelled their orders, claiming
they weren't getting the real McCoy. Personally, I was overjoyed to finally
receive mine, especially since I could admire it at night, hanging there
from the ceiling, casting its soft green glow across my smiling face.