Just recently I have been taking a closer look at the Boeing 787-9 in 400 scale but I left out of that analysis, which was centred on the new excellent AV400 mould, the 'new' Jet Hut 787. Jet Hut are a different kind of brand offering entry level products that shouldn't be necessarily compared directly with the standard offerings in the scale. Having said that they are being sold alongside standard 400 scale models at retailers, albeit at a lower price, and so it is hard not to compare them.
When I first wrote about Jet Hut I was excited about the opportunity they had, however I admit I am a little bemused at what they are doing. They can't hope to compete against standard 400 scale models and yet are selling through model retailers. Their only hope of getting ordinary 400 collectors to buy their models is to make unusual releases and yet their first two are both 787s that have been made by everyone else. Go figure? Anyway this second ANA Star Wars 787 comes to market just after Aviation400 have made the same aircraft. Let's see how inferior it is and whether there is any justification for buying it.
Each review is to split into three key areas:
Ok, before I start this mould review It is worth pointing out again that the Jet Hut 787 retails for around the $25.95 mark in the US and £29.95 in the UK compared to $50 and £45 for a standard 787. That is a lot cheaper but is it cheap enough to mean people are willing to downgrade to it?
The mould isn't new as it has been used previously for the De Agostini JAL Collection and debuted in issue 1 way back in September 2019. However it now seems Jet Hut, who made the models for that series, have access to all the moulds used in it.
As with other moulds used in the JAL Collection this 787 has the feel of a mould that dates from the mid-2000s. This isn't necessarily a massive issue since the Phoenix 787 itself dates from 2006 and Gemini have still been releasing the odd cradle mount 787 in 2022, which is of a similar vintage. What those old moulds have had however are updates adding rolling gear, aerials and even sometimes hollow core engines.
There are no aerials or rolling gear present on this Jet Hut mould, which is also a traditional cradle mount, without the slot in wings expected nowadays of premium moulds. Despite this I would say that the overall fuselage shape is no worse than that of the old cradle mount Gemini mould. It is broadly accurate with a surprisingly good shape, and the fuselage/wing seam join is tight and reasonably discrete.
The wings clearly curve more than they should for an on ground configuration and they are quite thick, especially beyond the engines. Having said that they are at least as good as those on the Phoenix mould.
The underside of the mould is very vanilla and lacks the small intakes or the large central structural bar between the wings running front to back. Note it also lacks a stand hole.
The tail shape and fit is ok. The top could do with being more angular at the rear tip but overall the shape is ok. Another interesting point of the mould is that the APU / tailcone is an added on part, rather than the rear mould being painted as in other brands.
Interestingly one area of detail that has not been skimped on are the engines. These feature see through fans and look actually very good. The engine nacelles overall are nice enough, which makes it a shame that the engine pylons are probably the worst part of the mould. The pylon above the wing is an odd shape with a heavily rounded front.
In summary this mould is obviously entry-level and nowhere near what is being offered by JC Wings / Gemini Jets, Aviation400 or NG Models with their modern seamless moulds. However when compared to the older seamless Phoenix and seamed Gemini Jets moulds it fairs better, but is clearly still inferior. Of course, those moulds have features this one does not so score better. A 5 may seem bad but remember the price point.
SCORE - 5
PAINT & LIVERY
Before I start this section of the review Jet Hut have clearly made a mess of the cockpit windows, but I'll discuss that in the next section of the review. Considering the budget price I am rather pleased with the level of printing detail they have put into this complicated livery design.
The detailing of the R2 D2 section is commendable and to their credit everything appears to be present and nicely printed. I would however suggest that some of the lower forward parts of R2 are slightly too high and this impacts the size of the L1 door, which seems noticeably smaller than the rear door.
The printing at the rear of the fuselage is very nice and smaller livery elements like the Star Alliance logo by the cockpit and RR logos on the engines are present also.
The colours are crisp and bright but the darker grey used for the head of R2 is too dark. For an entry level model the livery rendition is good and much superior to that of the JAL Collection models.
SCORE - 7
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
The thing that damages this model more than anything is the cockpit printing, which comes close to ruining the entire model. It is a real shame as the cockpit print on the first Virgin release was much better, albeit slightly too low. On this model the shape of the windows is all wrong and the outer windows droop disappointingly downwards. Jet Hut can't afford to be making this kind of Phoenix-esque error if they want to compete at all with anyone else.
The rest of the printing is very nice and actually superior to that regularly offered by Aeroclassics. All the windows have frames that are aligned, there isn't any bleed between paint layers and the detail print is fine and crisp.
The missing aerials and domes are printed on and the level of printing detail is superb for this price point. Quality control is also excellent, since the mould is simple there is less that can go wrong. If it wasn't for those damn cockpit windows it'd almost be a top score in this category.
SCORE - 7
This is a budget model and as such the final score needs to be seen in that context. It is certainly little worse than the majority of 400 scale models made prior to 2010 that many collectors still cherish in their fleets. In some areas it competes quite well with the brands at the lower end of the 400 spectrum for detail and quality. The printing is superior to Aeroclassics and like them it lacks aerials and domes. The mould isn't drastically inferior to Phoenix or seamed Gemini releases if aerials and rolling gear were added. It is however a real shame that the cockpit print is so poor on this model. Fix that and this would get a score of 21, which for the price would be good.
Even so, I still question whether there is a market for this kind of model at diecast retailers (at least in the USA and Europe). I think it would be better served competing in airport shops against DARON and the like in those mature markets. If Jet Hut do want to play in the 400 scale model space perhaps they'd be better making unique models like Yak-42s and regional types mature collectors may buy.
FINAL SCORE - 19/30
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.
This site is free. Please donate to keep it going.