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  AB Emblem Gemini quality reproductions (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   AB Emblem Gemini quality reproductions
edorr
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Posts: 39
From: Chelmsford, MA
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 08-13-2010 03:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for edorr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Back in June 2006, Bernie Conrad, president of AB Emblem, contacted me out of the blue to ask if I'd be willing to collaborate with AB Emblem on a new set of Gemini patches. He acknowledged that there was a need for a really decent set of Gemini patches of a consistently high quality. He saw my space patches website and thought I could give them some advice on how to "get it right."

Interestingly, he said that he wanted to do this project even though he thought the market for it was quite small, and that profit wasn't his motive. He seemed to feel an obligation to do this -- to whom, and why, I never pursued.

The folks at AB worked through each of the patches: some were easy, AB having gotten a patch almost dead-on at their first try; in other cases I despaired of their ever even getting close. But, patch by patch, they worked through the set, ending up doing a superb job on each one.

Once we wrapped up Gemini 12, though, the AB project seemed to just disappear. Many months would pass without a word. Every now and then I'd either hear from AB about some marketing issue (like wanting a blurb for the packaging); or else I'd hear from an independent source that they'd heard about AB producing a set of Gemini patches, and did I know anything about it?

Finally, after four years (!!), AB has told me that they are about a month away from starting production on these patches. I'm pretty psyched about it, and relieved to finally be able to tell you all that the wait is over (almost), and that you'll shortly be able to run out and buy as many "insanely great" Gemini patches as you want.

Now I want to be clear on a few points...

AB Emblem, in the person of Bernie Conrad, contacted me; I would never have had the chutzpah to initiate this myself. I was really sort of touched by his integrity in wanting to do this, simply because it was the "right thing to do."

The marketing stuff on the packaging makes me cringe. It has my name all over it, and it started out being totally over-the-top -- which is, of course, what marketers do. Honestly, I begged them to tone it down. There are definitely other folks who know a lot more about these patches than I do. My only claim to fame is that I made one of the first websites about them. I am not the ego-maniac that they make me out to be. Really.

My objective was to get patches that reproduced as closely as possible the appearance of the flight version of the patches. I didn't get into things like stitching direction or thread count. I concentrated on size, design, and color.

There are no hallmarks on these patches (as far as I know).

I've received no compensation of any kind for my involvement in this project. I'm not making a penny off the marketing. Nor have I paid AB Emblem for any kind of promotion. I didn't ask to be credited on the packaging. (If I had, I'd have stipulated that they cite my website. To my dismay, they don't mention it at all!)

The craftspeople at AB Emblem deserve enormous credit. They have produced real works of art in embroidery.

carl walker
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Posts: 178
From: Netherlands
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 08-13-2010 03:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carl walker     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow, sounds fantastic. Very excited to see the finished products!

spaced out
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Posts: 2597
From: Paris, France
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 08-13-2010 04:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well I for one am certainly looking forward to seeing what the Gene Dorr™ endorsed Official Gemini Gene Dorr Reproduction Patches® look like.

Lots of interesting decisions to have been made - crew-worn designs versus souvenir designs, modern style 4" sizes for some patches or stick to the original 3" size...

One thing's for sure - they will never please everyone. To please every purist on the original thread you'd need to produce two or three versions of most patches and even then there'd be complaints.

In any case if these new designs mean the end of those horrible so-called Gemini patches that have been produced for the last 45 years that will be a great thing.

GoesTo11
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Posts: 1025
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 08-13-2010 05:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Terrific news about the AB set. I agree; it's very cool that they felt a responsibility to produce these for posterity's sake, even if there's not much profit to be made. Thanks and well done to Gene and everyone else involved.

Bill Hunt
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Posts: 378
From: Irvine, CA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 08-13-2010 05:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bill Hunt   Click Here to Email Bill Hunt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's certainly true that you can't please everyone. I, however, am VERY glad to see this finally happening and I can't wait to get my hands on a set of these babies. Thank you very much for all your efforts on this Gene, and to Bernie at AB as well.

KSCartist
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Posts: 2488
From: Titusville, FL USA
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 08-13-2010 06:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by spaced out:
In any case if these new designs mean the end of those horrible so-called Gemini patches that have been produced for the last 45 years that will be a great thing.
As for what I have heard from my AB contact, those terrible souvenir patches will still be made and this special set may only be for a limited time. It will be a business decision. If they sell like hotcakes they will last longer.

I am curious about how this will effect the Richard Gordon special edition GTA-11 patch. Or is that one from 2006 being incorporated into this new set.

edorr
Member

Posts: 39
From: Chelmsford, MA
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 08-13-2010 08:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for edorr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
AB hasn't shared any of their marketing strategies with me, but I'm inclined to agree with your assessment. Their initial run of these patches will be pretty small. And from the pricing matrix I've seen, I'd be surprised of they made any profit on these at all.
quote:
Originally posted by KSCartist:
I am curious about how this will effect the Richard Gordon special edition GTA-11 patch.
All of the designs in this set are original. The Richard Gordon special edition is completely separate.

edorr
Member

Posts: 39
From: Chelmsford, MA
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 08-13-2010 08:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for edorr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by spaced out:
Lots of interesting decisions to have been made - crew-worn designs versus souvenir designs, modern style 4" sizes for some patches or stick to the original 3" size...

Exactly right. In the final analysis a lot of decisions kinda made themselves, just from an attempt to be consistent.

Regarding size, I attempted to match the original size in all cases.

There were times when I was afraid I must be driving the folks at AB absolutely nuts with my nit-picking. But then they'd come back with a remark like, "you're so much easier to work with than most of our customers, because you really know what you want." (I'm paraphrasing here.) That really made this a rewarding experience.

astroborg
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Posts: 170
From: Woodbridge, VA, USA
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 08-17-2010 07:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for astroborg   Click Here to Email astroborg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gene, very cool! Thanks for sharing this info with us.

Bill Hunt
Member

Posts: 378
From: Irvine, CA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 08-18-2010 03:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bill Hunt   Click Here to Email Bill Hunt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just talked with AB Emblem - each replica Gemini patch will cost around $6.99. Each will be attached to a headercard with historical information about the patch and the subsequent space flight.

Patches will be available in about 5-6 weeks, probably around Oct. 1. And here, thanks to the fine folks at AB, is a look at each of them. Pretty damn great looking if you ask me...


lucspace
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Posts: 257
From: Hilversum, The Netherlands
Registered: Oct 2003

posted 08-18-2010 03:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lucspace   Click Here to Email lucspace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It did take some time, but finally, the Gemini reproductions are here!

Gene and AB did a tremendous job; reproductions like this have not seen the light of day before. Unfortunately, the set is not without its flaws... I think that Gemimi 5, 8 and 12 are less than perfect; but do make up your own minds when you get to see them.

I already tried to do a 'expedition-patch-with-names' deal, but AB has decided they are not going to tinker with the designs anymore...

Again, this does get us patches that are way, way better than any Gemini reproduction ever. The 9 and 10 (my favourites) are almost perfect! Hats off to Gene and his persistence!

The price of the patches is very reasonable, and there is an attractive discount when ordering multiple copies of the same patch.

Bill Hunt
Member

Posts: 378
From: Irvine, CA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 08-18-2010 04:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bill Hunt   Click Here to Email Bill Hunt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Maybe they're not EXACT, but they're damn close. Better than any replicas we've seen before in my opinion... and I HAVE many of the replicas. But I also have many of the originals, so I'm very glad they're not exact. If they're not hallmarked, the slight differences will make it easier for casual BD fans to tell them from the originals.

In any case, I can't wait to get my hands on this set. It's about time, it's taken WAY too long for it to happen... but it seems the wait has been worth it. That's a darned nice looking set if you ask me.

GoesTo11
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Posts: 1025
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 08-18-2010 04:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Those look terrific! Now I can finally put together a proper-looking framed Gemini display to go with my Apollo and Shuttle frames

Once again, BIG thanks to everyone who made this happen!

On edit: I do have one question for Gene though... Why no "8 Days or Bust" on the GT-5 wagon? Is it because you wanted to replicate the patches as they were in flight, and Cooper and Conrad didn't reveal the slogan on their patches until splashdown? Fine either way, just curious...

Bill Nelson
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Posts: 55
From: Lakewood, Colorado U.S.A.
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 08-18-2010 09:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bill Nelson   Click Here to Email Bill Nelson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How do we go about ordering a set of these patches?

Bill Hunt
Member

Posts: 378
From: Irvine, CA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 08-19-2010 01:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bill Hunt   Click Here to Email Bill Hunt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Pre-orders open around end of September I think.

edorr
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Posts: 39
From: Chelmsford, MA
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 08-19-2010 08:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for edorr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by GoesTo11:
I do have one question for Gene though... Why no "8 Days or Bust" on the GT-5 wagon?
Well, I'm not 100% positive they'll be carrying this through in the final product, but the patches AB sent me for approval DO have the 8 Days or Bust embroidered on the patch, which is then covered up by a bit of cloth sewn over the canopy of the wagon. Bill/Luc: is that the case on the ones you guys have?

edorr
Member

Posts: 39
From: Chelmsford, MA
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 08-19-2010 08:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for edorr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the interest of transparency: after my initial post at the top of this thread, in which I said that AB didn't mention my website on their packaging, AB contacted me and essentially said "Oops. Sorry about that. We'll add it."

So when you get the final product it will indeed have both my website's URL and AB's website's URL on the packaging.

So, you now know that AB does check on this forum....

328KF
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Posts: 829
From:
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 08-19-2010 10:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by edorr:
...the patches AB sent me for approval DO have the 8 Days or Bust embroidered on the patch, which is then covered up by a bit of cloth sewn over the canopy of the wagon.
That is incredible! I hope this is the case for the regular run of this patch. For anyone who knows the story behind this, you couldn't ask for a more accurate repro of the original "Cooper" crew patch.

Well done!

Harald Kraenzel
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Posts: 283
From: Dinslaken,Germany
Registered: Nov 2005

posted 08-19-2010 10:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Harald Kraenzel   Click Here to Email Harald Kraenzel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
First of all a big "Thank you" to all envolved. It's a great project and I am looking forward to get those patches.

I was told by AB that:

  • The emblems will have a sticker on them (on the back) and will be affixed to the card outlining the process.

    [My point of view is that this is kind of a hallmark and those patches can be clearly pointed out compared to the original ones.]

  • The 8 Days or Bust is embroidered into the emblem and then covered by a bit of cloth over the Conestoga wagon as was the original.

Bill Hunt
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Posts: 378
From: Irvine, CA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 08-19-2010 02:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bill Hunt   Click Here to Email Bill Hunt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by edorr:
Bill/Luc: is that the case on the ones you guys have?
I actually don't have a set - AB sent me images. I'm trying to get my hands on a set however, because I've got all but two of the original patches and I'd love to take comparison shots so people can see the new replicas next to the "real" deal.

justin13
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Posts: 26
From: Orlando, FL, U.S.A.
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 08-19-2010 11:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for justin13   Click Here to Email justin13     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's fantastic news, especially if they've gone so far as to replicate the cover-up on the Gemini 5 patch. I can't wait to have a set in my collection.

edorr
Member

Posts: 39
From: Chelmsford, MA
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 08-24-2010 05:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for edorr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kati Phelps of AB Emblem has asked me to share her contact info so that interested parties can order the Gemini patches. Here it is:

Kati Phelps
1-888-438-4022 phone
1-888-438-4016 fax
kati@abemblem.com

Bill Hunt
Member

Posts: 378
From: Irvine, CA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 08-25-2010 05:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bill Hunt   Click Here to Email Bill Hunt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I should have a set coming soon, and when they arrive, I'll photograph them alongside my original Gemini emblems. I asked AB if I could get a set early so I can specifically take those photos for all of us to see here, and they've been kind enough to oblige.

garymilgrom
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Posts: 1571
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 08-26-2010 09:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I contacted Kati yesterday and she was very helpful in walking me through the order process. These look great!

Harald Kraenzel
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Posts: 283
From: Dinslaken,Germany
Registered: Nov 2005

posted 08-26-2010 09:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Harald Kraenzel   Click Here to Email Harald Kraenzel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's exactly my experience! Indeed she is very helpful.

xlsteve
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Posts: 368
From: Holbrook MA, USA
Registered: Jul 2008

posted 08-26-2010 11:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for xlsteve   Click Here to Email xlsteve     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm in for a set as well.

Rick Mulheirn
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Posts: 2457
From: England
Registered: Feb 2001

posted 08-26-2010 04:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've known Kati at AB Emblem for nearly 20 years and she is a terrific lady to deal with. She tells me she has been working on the Gemini reproductions for four years already and they should be available a month or less from now.

Rick Mulheirn
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Posts: 2457
From: England
Registered: Feb 2001

posted 08-28-2010 04:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kati Phelps tells me no decision has yet been made to as whether these patches will become a normal "stock" item going forward. At this time only 200 sets are planned and most of those have now been ordered so if anybody is considering a set... don't delay.

backof
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Posts: 19
From: Pound Ridge, NY USA
Registered: Oct 2005

posted 08-28-2010 08:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for backof   Click Here to Email backof     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Do we need to call AB Emblem directly to order a set? I don't want to miss out on this!

Harald Kraenzel
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Posts: 283
From: Dinslaken,Germany
Registered: Nov 2005

posted 08-30-2010 07:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Harald Kraenzel   Click Here to Email Harald Kraenzel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Minutes ago I received an answer from AB which unfortunately reads as follows:
Harald, I can't increase the order due to the number of emblem orders I have received - at this time. We are looking at reordering another production run.
I was asked by AB to place an order which I did on August 26 (I ordered 10 sets which was enough to that date).

And so far it looks like today this was a good decision as with the above news I would not have been able to order sets today!

Bill Hunt
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Posts: 378
From: Irvine, CA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 09-02-2010 07:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bill Hunt   Click Here to Email Bill Hunt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
All right, here's a look at these new AB Emblem Gemini "flight patch" replicas, as compared to my own original and vintage Gemini emblems - the ones I own when possible and the best available picture of the original emblem for the ones I don't own. (And all credit for those is due to the original photographers and sources of those images.)

If you ask me, I think AB's done a VERY nice job of replicating the original patches. In a couple cases, the thread color is a little bit off, but that's certainly to be expected (some of the thread color differences visible below - particularly for the patches I do not own - are inherent in the different lighting of the photography). You will also note that the thread is a little more shinny on the replicas, no doubt owing to their new manufacture. It's particularly impressive that even the weave direction is correct on many of the replicas.

This first picture is a group shot. Top row (left to right) - AB's new Gemini 8 replica, the recent AB/Novaspace Gemini 4 "McDivitt" patch, the ORIGINAL Gemini 3 patch. Bottom row (left to right) - My ORIGINAL Gemini 5 "flown souvenir" patch and AB's new Gemini 5 "Cooper patch" replica. Even though they aren't officially part of the new AB set, I thought the GT3 and GT4 emblems were useful for comparison... (click on images to enlarge).

Bill Hunt
Member

Posts: 378
From: Irvine, CA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 09-02-2010 07:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bill Hunt   Click Here to Email Bill Hunt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's a look at AB's new Gemini 5 "Cooper patch" replica (left) side by side with the ORIGINAL Gemini 5 "Cooper" patch (right).

And here's a closer look at the front and back of AB's Gemini 5 "Cooper patch" replica...

Bill Hunt
Member

Posts: 378
From: Irvine, CA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 09-02-2010 07:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bill Hunt   Click Here to Email Bill Hunt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Now here's AB's new Gemini 6 patch replica (left) side by side with the ORIGINAL Gemini 6 patch (right).

Here's AB's new Gemini 7 replica (left) side by side with the best photo available of the ORIGINAL Gemini 7 "flight" patch (right).

And here's the AB Gemini 7 replica (left) side by side with my ORIGINAL Gemini 7 "flown souvenir" patch (right).

Bill Hunt
Member

Posts: 378
From: Irvine, CA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 09-02-2010 07:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bill Hunt   Click Here to Email Bill Hunt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Now here's the AB's new Gemini 8 replica (left) side by side with the rare ORIGINAL Gemini 8 patch (right) sold at auction a couple years ago. The thread colors on the roman numerals are a little off, but still, pretty close...

Next up, my ORIGINAL Gemini 9 and Gemini 11 patches (left) side by side with AB's new replicas (right). Obviously, the replica Gemini 9 has the names tab removed, as it was for the actual flight. The biggest difference here is the obvious color variation in the blue twill background of the Gemini 11 emblems.

Bill Hunt
Member

Posts: 378
From: Irvine, CA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 09-02-2010 07:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bill Hunt   Click Here to Email Bill Hunt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And finally, here's my ORIGINAL Gemini 10 and Gemini 12 patches (left) side by side with AB's new replicas (right). Pretty damn close. My Gemini 10 original has warped a little with age, but otherwise the biggest difference here is that the red thread on the original GT10 is a little deeper and darker than the replica. Again, the fact that the replica patches look a little lighter in general (i.e. more lusterous) is due to their newer manufacture.

All in all, I think most of you are going to be VERY happy with these replicas. My hats off to Bernie and everyone at AB Emblems, and also to Gene, for working so hard for so long to make this fine set happen!

Harald Kraenzel
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Posts: 283
From: Dinslaken,Germany
Registered: Nov 2005

posted 09-03-2010 03:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Harald Kraenzel   Click Here to Email Harald Kraenzel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great work, Bill.

Thank you so much for doing all this comparing work which gives a very good overview of what we all are anxious to get: the AB Gemini set patches.

spaced out
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Posts: 2597
From: Paris, France
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 09-17-2010 09:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It always struck me that the original Gemini 7 crew patch looks like someone holding a burning hairdryer.

The crew souvenir version with the text around the outside did a much better job - it actually looks like a torch and even has the bottom of the handle lined up with the top.

Of course the new issue has to more or less follow the original crew version but the new version seems to have improved some details so that it looks slightly more torch-like and slightly less like a malfunctioning household appliance.

dogcrew5369
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Posts: 547
From: Statesville, NC
Registered: Mar 2009

posted 09-17-2010 05:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dogcrew5369   Click Here to Email dogcrew5369     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I may have missed it, but is there going to be a website or store site this set can be bought from in the future?

spaced out
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Posts: 2597
From: Paris, France
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 10-06-2010 06:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I notice that at least one eBay seller is now offering these patches.

Please note that I have nothing to do with this sale.

GoesTo11
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Posts: 1025
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 10-06-2010 12:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone have the latest on when these might ship from AB?


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