Does Your Ultimate Holiday Wish List Include Military Might?

National Geographic Channel Airs Tycoon Toys: Two One-Hour Specials on

Millionaire Men and the Military Machines They Love to Collect

Nov 29, 2004, 00:00 ET from National Geographic Channel

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- If money were no object, what would
 top your holiday wish list?  Flashy cars? Private yachts? Not for a new breed
 of millionaire men, who have dropped luxury items from their wish list in
 pursuit of faster, more powerful and much more dangerous toys.
     This gift-giving season the National Geographic Channel (NGC) gives you a
 chance to experience the adrenaline-rushing, testosterone-pounding items on
 the wish lists of men with money to burn and a hunger to own some of the
 finest ex-military hardware in the world. On December 15 from 9-11 p.m. ET/PT
 join NGC as it premieres Tycoon Toys, two one-hour specials that put viewers
 in the driver's seat next to millionaires as they play with some of history's
 deadliest tanks and military aircraft -- some literally in their backyards!
     See what motivates these alpha males to indulge in a pastime where a
 single mistake can mean instant death. Each episode also showcases the
 histories behind each machine, the battles they fought, their destructive
 capabilities and the skills needed to operate them.
     In Tycoon Toys: "Tanks," airing at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT, viewers will go for a
 ride in some of the most remarkable ground fighting vehicles ever built and
 visit with their new owners -- some of the world's most renowned tank
 collectors -- as they demonstrate the awesome capabilities of their prized
 machines. See what makes these high spenders' engines run and why owning
 killing machines like the Sherman Tank, German Panzer, British Scorpion and
 M18 Hellcat fighting vehicle is just half the fun.
     For some collectors, their ultimate hobby reaches its peak during an
 annual weekend of war games.  Jon Shoop is a member of the 14th Armored
 Division World War II reenactment group and owns two of the platoon's M5A1
 Stuart tanks. National Geographic Channel follows him and his friends as they
 take their tanks to a reenactment event at Fort Knox where they put on a
 stunning battle scenario, pushing their tanks to the limits.
     For others like Andre and Renaud Veluzat, a big part of the fun is
 building their arsenal. They started with one tank and now own a collection of
 400 armored vehicles. What began as their hobby is now one of the world's most
 prized collections of ex-military ground vehicles and has drawn the attention
 of the movie industry. The brothers' war wares have been seen in dozens of
 Hollywood films, and they have turned their hobby into a prosperous business.
     Tycoon Toys: "Fighter Jets," airing at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT, features men who
 prefer to put some of the world's most renowned fighter planes through their
 paces -- extraordinary aircraft like the Electric Lightning, MiG fighting jet,
 "Widow Maker" Starfighter, F15 fighter and the Cobra Attack Helicopter. Once
 flown by ace military pilots, these former war birds are now somebody's
 passionate and very expensive hobby. With 4,000 pounds of thrust and top
 speeds twice the speed of sound, it's a hobby that attracts a certain kind of
 individual -- men who have both the money and the guts to take the ultimate
     Who are these men and why do they collect and fly these exceptional
 machines? Most are high achievers like Bob Lutz, Chairman of General Motors
 North America, one of the most powerful men in the car industry, who says that
 flying fighter jets reminds him of his youth and keeps him young.
     Businessman Mike Beachy Head has created his own private museum of fully
 operational military jets.  His squadron consists of 14 of some of the most
 awesome aircraft ever built, including classics like the English Electric
 Lightning, which can travel over twice the speed of sound. Says Head, "I
 remember once going vertical in a Lightning at sunset, just the only man in
 the sky and this incredible golden light and then I arced the airplane over
 hanging weightless at 20,000 feet looking at the most remarkable sunset."
     Go inside the world of Tycoon Toys, where men with unlimited wealth can
 buy anything, even some of the world's biggest toys. Tanks and planes may not
 fit under their holiday trees, but they are at the top of their wish lists.
 They buy them, drive them, fly them and shoot them ... and they do it for fun.
     Based at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., the
 National Geographic Channel is a joint venture between National Geographic
 Television & Film (NGT&F) and Fox Cable Networks. National Geographic Channel
 debuted to an initial 10 million homes in January 2001, and has been one of
 the fastest growing networks in history. The Channel has carriage with all of
 the nation's major cable and satellite television providers, making it
 currently available to 52 million homes. For more information, please visit

SOURCE National Geographic Channel