NG Models' issue producing natural metal finishes on their Tristars has been well documented and sadly they don't appear to be any closer to a resolution, which is a damn shame. NG also seem less interested in classic birds recently but there are still plenty of L-1011s to be made even if just focusing on grey bellys. I want to keep the type in the spotlight so here I take a look at the last NG Tristar, one where they compensated for the electroplating issue by using a silver paint instead.
Each review is to split into three key areas:
My opinion of the NG Tristar is well known. I think it rivals their Boeing 757 as the most impressive casting ever produced in 400 scale. It is miles ahead of the many previous Tristar moulds and certainly a vast improvement on both the old 1999 Gemini Jets version and the 2005 Blue Box version. It also clobbers both of the more modern competing L-1011s from JC Wings/Gemini and Lockness/Aeroclassics - neither of which come close to eclipsing this glorious casting.
The NG Models Tristar is the first Tristar mould to accurately portray the dolphin like nosecone of the type. Nobody else has come close to this level of accuracy, which is evident throughout the entire mould. Nowhere is this clearer than at the tail region, which is beautiful.
The wings are well angled and very well detailed as is the wing/fuselage join and fairing. The engine pylons were an area modified prior to the first production release and look excellent. NG also modified one other area of criticism not long after production began by modifying the angle of the engine intakes. They now slant correctly rearwards on the no 1 and 3 engines.
The only area of any inaccuracy relates to the angle of the maingear doors but it is not enough to detract any points in my opinion. The mould is fitted with three very nicely scaled aerials to finish off the near perfect package.
For previous detailed reviews of the samples see my reviews from April 2019 and to see how inferior the competing moulds are check out my comparison of the JC and Lockness versions here.
For me this casting is one of my favourites.
SCORE - 10
PAINT & LIVERY
I have noticed that NG Models releases tend to get a level of scrutiny and criticism that is way beyond that afforded to other brands. This is possibly because they have been so responsive to criticism, because their models tend to be a little more expensive and because they have set the bar so high. It is true they have been making more mistakes recently and this release copped a decent amount of flak, but did it deserve it?
The ANA delivery scheme, popularly known as the Mohican due to the blue roof, has never been a favourite of mine I admit, but is quite unique. This scheme and aircraft combo has been released previously in 400 scale a few times. The first time was way back in 2003 by Dreamjets (i.e an unlicensed Gemini release), then there were multiple Blue Box and Jet-X efforts. Most recently Lockness / Aeroclassics made it in 2019.
Due to the electroplating issues NG has faced with its L-1011s they have gone with a silver painted belly on this release rather than natural metal. I would prefer the natural metal finish but frankly the silver paint is nearly as good and really doesn't detract from the look. I'm not knocking any points off for that.
The colour of the light blue and red are accurate but it is the mohican itself that has attracted the lion's share of criticism. It is clearly too wide, probably only by a mm each side but when you compare the spacing from the titles to the blue stripe above there just isn't enough white. It might also be the case that the main cheatline is a little too narrow also, but if it is it is by a tiny amount.
One other small criticism is that the rooftop aerial should be blue and not white. The rest of the livery is carried off to the usual high NG standard. The titles are well sized and use the correct font both on the fuselage and no 2 engine. The tail insignia is crisp and well replicated. The shadowed 01 near the nose is especially nicely reproduced.
If I do a comparison to the other releases in this scheme then both the DreamJets and Lockness get the mohican correct, however they both have other issues. The DreamJets has a tail logo that is too small and TriStar titles that are too large. The Lockness ANA Mohican release is the usual mess of poor research. The TriStar titles on the tail are oddly in a serif font, the tail logo itself is the wrong way around, on the port side at least, the main titles are heavily printed and the 01 is not shadowed.
Above: The Lockness release has the tail logo printed the wrong way around, odd TriStar titles, thicker titles and no shadow on the 01 but does have the correct mohican and a natural metal belly.
Below: The NG release is a superior L-1011 all around and aside from the mohican has no major issues
Considering that the Lockness Tristar also struggles to look like an L-1011 I know which of the two I'd be picking! So yes this livery application has one major issue (mohican) and one non-issue (silver paint) but it's still better than Lockness managed and about as good as the DreamJets.
SCORE - 7
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
Printing is an area where you'd expect this model to kill the other releases stone dead and it does. Obviously printing has come along way since 2003 so it is no surprise that the NG effort is a lot more detailed than the DreamJets. In comparison to Lockness it also wins comfortably as the Aeroclassics factory are just not capable of the sort of detail print that NG are. All across this model there is fine printing that stands up to close scrutiny.
NG seem to have almost, but not completely, resolved the ongoing issues with hubcap detailing. On this model all the outer rims are good but two of the inner rims on the maingear lack the detailing. Fortunately you really can't tell and the rest of the model has exemplary build quality.
SCORE - 9
This model, as with most, does not come without some mistakes, however I would argue that they are no worse than those routinely ignored from other brands. As for the natural metal belly, for me it is a non-issue unless the entire aircraft is silver (like Eastern for example). If it is a case of seeing no Tristars from NG or some with silver painted bellys then I want to see the releases, as NG's L-1011 is a country mile ahead of the competition.
FINAL SCORE - 26/30
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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