One of the things I love about Aeroclassics is their interest in making colourful classic African airliners of the sort I'd see on my rare visits to Heathrow as a kid. They always seemed so exotic and have such interesting stories behind them that they make very deserving subjects in 400 scale and yet are largely ignored by everyone else. Indeed, the late September Aeroclassics announcements illustrated the best of the brand's ability to select wonderful examples of airliners and aircraft to make.
I actually met the owner of Aeroclassics, Andrew Klein, recently at the AMS fair and he was a lot more reasonable in person than he is online. He said I could review a model of his if it scored 29/30! I wish that were likely but as always I will be fair and honest and Aeroclassics remain one of my favourite brands, as my 6 purchases from the last release set illustrates.
Each review is to split into three key areas:
Until the new Aeroclassics Airbus A310 mould debuted in July 2016 there had only been a rather small selection of attempts at an A310, by Dragon Wings, Herpa, Gemini Jets and Jet-X. The Gemini was the best of a weak bunch but none of the older moulds did the type justice. Fortunately, the Aeroclassics A310 is one of their best recent new moulds.
JC Wings theoretically has an A310 mould in the works too but since they sent me the sample way back in November 2021 no more has been heard of it. That's a shame as it compared well to this Aeroclassics mould but even so, the AC version remains strong.
The tail and rear fuselage are very good, whilst the quite complicated wing/fuselage join is rendered faithfully. This creates a natural looking join between the wing and fuselage on the mould, however at the rear it does create something of a seam. The JC mould had the rear part of the fairing as part of the fuselage whereas this mould has the fairing as part of the wing and that means where it joins the fuselage it is more obvious.
âThe wings and engine pylons are excellent. Pleasingly the wings have the correct up angle so the engines don't become ground-huggers like on the Gemini Jets mould. Aeroclassics has at times struggled with the engines on some older releases but the shape of the GE CF6s on this model are good.
On the underside the amount of moulded in detailing is limited with the NACA intakes printed on, unlike the moulded in intakes and extra detailing present on the JC Wings sample.
âThe undercarriage legs are thin and nicely detailed and look good. They do have the simple tyres on spigots and lack of rims familiar to the majority of Aeroclassics moulds but they look fine here. The nose gear is also correctly proportioned giving the A310 the correct leggy look, something that is a problem on the Jet-X mould.
The shape of the nosecone and cockpit are excellent. Overall the entire aircraft looks and feels like an A310 should but obviously the model lacks aerials (two on the roof and one on the belly) as all Aeroclassics models do. I think on an aircraft the size of an A310 they would be worth adding but nobody's ever going to change AK's view on that.
This is one of my favourite Aeroclassics moulds. Some of the detailing could be improved, NACA intakes, refinement of the wingroot fairing at the rear but these are not major issues.
SCORE - 8
PAINT & LIVERY
The concept of a pan-African airline seems more relevant today than ever, but sadly a failure to liberalise cross-border traffic, petty nationalism, a slide towards autocracy and an increasing number of coups makes it further away than ever. Air Afrique was a great concept and Africa is poorer without it, not just because of its attractive livery.
The scheme avoids national colours and uses neutral lime and emerald green shades to represent the many member nations. The greens could be slightly lighter but work well regardless. The big thick cheatlines are positioned nicely.
The thick black main titles slant correctly and are well sized but the holes in the Rs could be larger. On the tail the stylised Gazelle head over globe logo looks great.
Smaller details are mainly present and correct - such as the small black nosecone and A310-300 titles. What is missing is the AZ on the nosegear doors.
SCORE - 9
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
The printwork on this model is very nice. I particularly like the black outline to the cockpit windows and that the windowframes match the window template! There's actually some nice detailing on the cargo doors and engine nacelles.
Less good are the engine inners, which are very silvery. This seems to be a regular thing on AC A310s whereas they have made the fans darker on most of their other moulds such as the Philippines A300 I got not long ago.
Build quality is good all over except at the starboard side wingtip fence. The shape appears rather stunted but it isn't a breakage as the paint is fine. It looks more like something that happenned when the casting was not quite solid. It doesn't stand out dramatically but certainly isn't the well formed shape of the port wingtip fence. Additionally there is only a landing light painted on the port side and not starboard.
SCORE - 8
A solid release and a fine addition to the African fleet, which is predominantly Aeroclassics in origin. There are still a good number of potential African classics that could be made with Aeroclassics existing mould catalogue, which I hope to see one day. Even the A310 has a lot more potential on the continent with Libyan, Nigeria Airways, Somali Airlines, Kenya Airways and Air Djibouti all excellent possibilities.
FINAL SCORE - 25/30
I'm Richard Stretton an aviation enthusiast and major collector of 400 scale models. On this page I take a detailed look at new releases.
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