Panda models appeared on the diecast scene in April 2015 in an unexpected and controversial fashion. Since then they have produced a quality set of desirable models for a niche market, that though of little interest to your average Gemini-o-phile is pleasing to those looking for the more exotic, and possibly hundreds of millions of Chinese people! In this post I attempt to sift through the opinions to understand events so far and look at their releases.
Aeroclassics had begun releasing Boeing 737NGs in 2014 but what few knew at the time was that Aeroclassics was actually 'borrowing' the moulds under license from their owner Kang Kai. The moulds were generally well received and recognised as being pretty good, and certainly no worse than any of the other Next Generation 737s available. Then in early 2015 seemingly unrelated various GSE sets (tugs and buses) began to appear on the market in boxes marked Aeroclassics. This was apparently news to Andrew Klein, the head of Aeroclassics, and it seems that the GSE originated from the same people that owned the 737s. Aeroclassics filed a 'cease and desist' order against Kang Kai to try and stop them using the Aeroclassics name.
Below some of Panda's GSE now own branded. The buses are great - the tugs a little large:
Announcements, Purchasing & Volumes
In May 2015 joeli16 (who has no connection with Panda models) over at DAC announced the arrival of Panda Models and Black Box (two brands from the same company) seemingly Kang Kai was going solo with the use of the 737NG moulds Aeroclassics had spurned. Though there have been criticisms of the production runs of the models they appear to be in the order of 200 pieces each, which is larger than many older Aeroclassics releases. The exception has been a special Sichuan Panda A320 for the Hobby Expo in China of which only 50 were made.
Panda seem to announce 2-4 models twice a month judging from release so far.