I have welcomed the return of the Aeoclassics 727-100 mould as although it hasn't been without some issues Aeroclassics remains the only brand producing such a wide range and number of unusual releases in 400 scale. Who else is going to make such a small airline as Air Nauru? And yet, this is exactly the sort of interesting historic release that lights up my collecting with an intriguing back story from an exotic Pacific island. Nauru's short-lived Phosphate mining cashcow is a textbook story of greed and short-termism that temporarily elevated its tiny population to richness before drying up and leaving an environmental catastrophe behind it. It also funded Air Nauru, an airline built on hubris. In this review I take a look at the model only but the back story is just as interesting.
Each review is to split into three key areas:
The 727-100 has not quite gained the attention that its longer brother has in 1:400 scale, but has still had 5 separate moulds made for it. Interest in the type had waned dramatically in recent years with the last release prior to 2020 being in 2014. The Aeroclassics mould has been used by far the most regularly, with 142 models prior to its 2020 rebirth and 27 more since. That is more than three times as many models as the other four moulds combined, so it is just as well that this is a decent, if not perfect, 727-100.
The nose of the Aeroclassics mould is good and the profile of the cockpit region also quite accurate. This is a cradle mount mould so without slot in wings there is a seam join between the fuselage and wings. Unlike on the 727-200 mould, by the same manufacturer, it is a square cut seam that wraps under the wings. This means the fairing line isn’t well defined but I know that some find the larger seam on the 727-200 mould to be worse, even though it follows the real fairing line.
Something that has been apparent on some of the recent 727-100 releases is the seam line and join has been very poor at the top front region. It appears that some of the castings have been poorly made leaving a sizeable gap. Whether this is considered a mould or QC issue I'm not sure but it doesn't heavily impact this example. Although the seam could admittedly be tighter the gap is small.
The maingear of the Aeroclassics 727 is excellent. The gear doors are a good size, well positioned and angle upwards correctly. The nosegear is not quite as good but is ok. There is something of a gap either side of the nosegear doors, which themselves should be a little longer.
It is also important to mention that the number two engine intake is correctly not circular (a unique feature of the 727-100) as it is incorrectly on the competing Dragon Wings version. The side engines are also very well shaped and have well detailed exhausts.
Unlike the series 200 mould this version is not criticized anywhere near as much for the tail region. Even though it shares some of the same minor criticisms, such as the front edge not changing its angle enough at the top and the seam line, where the horizontal stabilisers are fitted as one piece, it doesn’t share the biggest issue i.e. the number two engine exhaust is better proportioned.
Overall, even though this is an older mould than the Aeroclassics 727-200 this 727-100 is actually superior. It certainly isn't perfect but it captures the aircraft well. As it is although seamless versions exist for both Dragon Wings and Aviation400 both of those have other inaccuracies that make them inferior to this good old casting. Any new mould would look to improve the seam, the tail front profile and top, and the nosegear.
SCORE – 7
PAINT & LIVERY
The Air Nauru scheme uses elements of the national flag in terms of the deep blue (its always looked green to my eyes), yellow stripe and the 12 pointed star. Certainly the colours on this model match those of the real scheme well.
This aircraft was ex-Ansett and when delivered had a natural metal belly (and for a time an Ansett nosecone) but the model here depicts it later in its career when the belly had been painted light grey.
As is usually the case with Aeroclassics releases, from distance the scheme looks good but in detail inaccuracies and sloppiness creep in. The major livery features are presented well especially the unusual title font, which is correctly different on the large AN on the tail.
Small Boeing 727 titles are printed nicely on the side engines, which have a natural metal portion on their lower side. One missing element is the aircraft name 'Chief Auweiyeda' which is visible beneath the cockpit on all the photos I have seen. Check out Aussie Airliners here for a series of good shots.
The sloppiness I mentioned earlier is around the join between the tail and fuselage, something that the Aeroclassics factory just can't ever seem to get right in schemes where there are line transitions between the two. Neither the blue margin at the front nor the yellow stripe match up with the fuselage elements they are supposed to be contiguous with. Fortunately the mismatch isn't too obvious.
SCORE - 8
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
As per usual with Aeroclassics the printing isn't going to win any awards but is generally solid. Certainly the base 727-100 print template is fine. It'd be nice to see some more detailing around things like the rear airstairs but they are present and correct.
Something that is missing is the large side cargo door on this 727 combi aircraft. Aeroclassics often leaves off this detail, which is a little annoying. It certainly can be hard to see on the real thing but is a major feature of the airframe and if their printing capability was good enough they should be able to print the fine lines of the cargo door with no problem. They also do not leave a larger gap between the windows where the door passes through them.
Build quality of the model is fine but there is also a paint mark above the Air Nauru logo on the forward fuselage roof left-side, which is a bit annoying.
SCORE - 8
This model is perhaps the perfect example of what to expect from Aeroclassics in 2021. It is a nice model of a super-interesting subject, but shows none of the improved capabilities that all other brands nowadays display in terms of print, paint and mould improvements. This model could have easily been made in 2005. Don't get me wrong I like it, but I do have the nagging feeling it could have been done better. Aeroclassics clearly do not want to, or don't have the capability to, improve so given that nobody else will ever make most of the models they release you either need to put up or not buy it. I'll continue to buy but the final score illustrates what you are getting.
FINAL SCORE - 23
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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