It seems like only yesterday that the Boeing 777-300ER debuted on the scene and began to suck up the majority of orders for long range widebodies, effectively killing off the 747-400 and outcompeting the Airbus A340-600. It wasn't, and it is over 18 years ago that this frame, N5017V, the 300ER prototype, took to the air for the first time. Nowadays the 77W is being outcompeted by the latest big twins but the type still holds an important place in the world's airline fleets and 400 scale model releases. In recent years Aviation400, JC Wings and Panda Models have produced the majority of house colours schemes and so it is little surprise that AV400 revisited the beginnings of the 77W recently using their 2019 mould.
Each review is to split into three key areas:
This is my 18th Boeing 777-300 and the diversity of moulds I have for the type (6 JC Wings, 6 Phoenix, 4 AV400 and 2 Apollo) indicate how strong the competition is between them. It also suggests who makes the top 4 77W moulds - since there have been 9 moulds produced and I don't own any Dragon Wings, Herpa, or Gemini Jets examples.
This particular model has actually been made twice before - once by Jet-X, using the Dragon mould, in 2004 and once by Phoenix in 2007. Given AV400 have a new mould it isn't a surprising choice for a re-issue. Nowadays if you're hunting for the best 77W in 400 scale then your options are really limited to the 2007 Phoenix mould, the 2016 JC Wings mould or this 2019 Aviation400 mould. All are strong contenders.
Focusing on this mould and starting at the front the nosecone and cockpit region are near perfect representations of the real thing. There isn't much more to say there but the nosegear deserves both some credit and criticism. One thing that rather stands out on this model, but I hadn't noticed before, is that the nosegear door is a little large. Otherwise the gear leg has lots of nice detailing.
The Phoenix mould has been criticized for the small size of the huge GE engines and this AV400 mould doesn’t repeat that error. As with the JC Wings 777 the engines are larger, albeit they are held a little lower due to the shape of the pylons. Engine ground clearance isn’t an issue despite this. At the maingear the first clear error is present in that the gear doors are too short and show off too much of the gear leg.
From the front the engine fanblades, which rotate, are very nice and although thin successfully trick the eye into appearing thicker. They look a little better than those of the JC mould.
It is towards the rear that the AV400 mould is weaker, although AV400 are working to improve this area. The 777 has a very recognizable asymmetrical tailcone with the APU exhaust on the left. The shape and placement of the APU is wrong and the upper and lower prongs of the tailcone too large. Even so this is distinctly better than the old Phoenix mould, which has no APU hole, no prongs and a full width attached vertical stabilizer.
Where AV400’s moulds do gain ‘brownie points’ is in the detailing. The small rooftop bumps mid-fuselage and the slightly larger bump aft are moulded in. The four aerials are well-sized and so of course are the obligatory AV400 navigation beacons above and below the fuselage. These small red jewel attachments look excellent and shine beautifully in the light.
In fairness from a mould perspective all the 3 leading versions are good moulds and it becomes something of a toss up as to which you prefer, which for me is primarily based on other factors (i.e. has Phoenix stuffed up the cockpit printing, do I want a flaps down version, will JC release within 6 months of announcement, how important are the beacon lights). In detail this mould is better than the older Phoenix and probably marginally behind the JC Wings edition but as a total package it competes very nicely.
SCORE - 9
PAINT & LIVERY
Boeing have, at least since the 1980s, always had classy house colours schemes and the 777-300ER must be one of, if not the, last aircraft to wear a derivative of the 80s house colours with their traditional red, white and blue. The colours on the model are bright, bold and match the real thing well.
Positionally the curving stripes are well located and printed to a very high definition. The join points under the forward and rear fuselage where the stripes meet together are extremely crisp and well printed.
The grey of the engines, complete with the Boeing logo in white, and the grey of the world map are fine but I notice the map outline is stronger than on the real thing. It is the map that provides the greatest challenge in replicating the scheme. The result is good but not perfect. Interestingly the map is not the same on either side of the model, even on the real aircraft, but AV400 haven't quite got it 100% accurate on either side.
On both sides the map has been slightly shortened and could do with being a mm or two taller. It is the top of the map that suffers with it being slightly squashed. Additionally on the port side the shape of the North-west of Africa is incorrect and South America appears too large meaning its lower part is missed off.
On the starboard side South America and Africa's shape is better but Asia and Australia curve downwards too much meaning that the North-east of Russia almost touches the cockpit, when it should be quite a bit higher. Australia is a little squashed up.
Other smaller details are present and nicely done. The unusual Boeing font is well replicated and the 7 airline launch customer tails are tiny but show a surprising amount of detail. Under macro-photography you can even make out enough detail to identify some of the tails such as Air France, ANA and Japan Air Lines.
SCORE - 8
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
As already noted the level of print detailing on AV400 models is excellent and on par with the best in 400 scale. Engine panel lines are present even on an engine that is all grey with additional panels on the pylons. Across the entire model there is ample detailing, a lot of which only really shows under macro photography. For example until I saw some close-up shots I hadn't noticed the round markings on the front of the vertical stabiliser.
The model also features one of AV400's trademarks - striping on the rear underside aerial. Unfortunately in this example the aerial has been slightly squashed. Otherwise build quality is perfect.
The model also features the metallic grey undercarriage, which is a relatively recent change for AV400 models away from the light grey.
SCORE - 9
This is another solid offering from Aviation400 showcasing their high quality moulds and finishing. I wouldn't go so far as replace the Phoenix version, if I had it, especially as it seems the map shape on that is better, but swapping out the Jet-X is a no brainer - as it ought to be with a model that is 17 years younger. Ordering between the Phoenix, JC Wings and Aviation400 777s is something of a toss up and arguments could be made for all three - often ignoring the models completely. The nav beacons, nosegear detail and engine fans on the AV400 mould are stand outs for this version and I doubt you’d be disappointed with any AV400 777 you purchase.
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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