Nowadays aircraft are increasingly similar, as technology eliminates a lot of design quirks and gradually moves towards the perfect aerodynamic form, so the creation of a relatively bizarre specialist aircraft is a joy even if it is Chinese! The AG600M is the first new amphibian I can remember in a long time and could become an important strategic vehicle if China's ambition continues to grow and they do something stupid. For now though the type is being vaunted as a firefighter and NG Models, a big supporter of the Chinese industry, has created a new 200 scale version of the aircraft. Obscure to westerners maybe but a delightul looking aircraft nonetheless.
Each review is to split into three key areas:
I received the sample mould for the new 200 scale AG600 mould in November and undertook my usual review of it at the site here:
Whatever your opinion of China and its foreign policy (and there is little doubt this aircraft is firmly intertwined with that) the plane itself is a glorious looking effort with its single body flying boat fuselage, cantilevered high wings, four WJ-6 turboprops and tricycle retractable landing gear.
NG Models wasted no time in announcing the prototype aircraft in its February 200 scale set and could do because the sample required no modifications I could see.
The aircraft has this bizarre chunky nose, which reminds me somewhat of a troll's nose from some fairytale. Beneath it a kind of skirt is attached to the fuselage / hull and runs down to just forward of the wings. The entire fuselage is laterally compressed giving the aircraft a very high sided look. All of these aspects are captured well by the mould. The only criticism is that the forward join of the skirt to under the nose is a little more obvious than on the real thing.
The rest of the fuselage is wonderfully shaped too and comes complete with plenty of nice detailing. The boat-like keel of under the fuselage is sharp and has the standhole at the midpoint between the maingear. The model comes with an additional component, which when added allows the aircraft to be displayed in the 'on the water' configuration with the gear up since it provides a flat base.
It is also needed to fit the metal stand into but can be removed for realism when the aircraft is displayed with the gear down.
As well as a small boat-style rudder under the tail there are three aerials atop the roof. The rearwards one is very thin. There are also a pair of small domes attached along the roofline too and the sides of the fuselage have the bulbous porthle style windows just aft of the entry door.
The wings are well attached to the fuselage and have the engine nacelles styled into them perfectly. The complex outer wing floats are sculpted delicately and have four very thin attachment pylons connecting them to the wing.
The six bladed propellers are really beautiful and spin very nicely.
The undercarriage units display a lot of nice detailing and of course being 200 scale can be detached. Only the nosegear is attached by a magnet however, as the maingear clips into place along the fuselage side in in-flight mode. The detailing inside the bay compartments and on the, mainly hidden, inside of the gearleg is commendable.
200 is very much not my scale but it is obvious that this is a really well made mould with a lot of impressive detailing and a photo-realistic appearance.
SCORE - 10
PAINT & LIVERY
It is the firefighting version of the AG600M that has been undertaking tests to date and of the two extant flying airframes B-0DCC wears an attractive company livery of red and yellow.
It is a splendid scheme that NG Models has recreated very well although this version of the model actually isn't the official product that will be launched as it has AG600 rather than AG600M on the fuselage sides. This is accurate, as can be seen on some of the photos above). The rest of the model matches the 66001 release pictured above in graphic form.
The colours and positioning of the livery elements are excellent. The black flap track fairings finish the scheme off nicely. I can't see anything to complain about here at all.
SCORE - 10
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
Printing on the model is of the usual high standards you've probably come to expect from NG Models. The linework is great and the printing crisp throughout. A printing detail I really like are the water-level markings on the forward bow and at the stern just forward of the rudder.
Build quality is generally very good. The props all spin well and the very thin float supports are in great condition. The magnetic nosegear works almost too well as it is hard to remove when in gear up configuration even though NG do provide a pair of plastic tools to assist you in the process.
The only criticism from a build perspective comes at the wing attachment. The left wing is a little loose and there is some very small paint cracking as a result of movement here.
SCORE - 9
It is unlikely that the AVIC AG600M is ever going to be a major component of anyone's model collection but it is really nice to see diversity within die-cast at any scale and the AG600M is certainly a unique and interesting aircraft. Although this is no doubt aimed primarily at the home Chinese marketplace the effort and skill involved in making this mould is worthy of it featuring in anybody's fleet.
FINAL SCORE - 29/30
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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