July's Aeroclassics announcements included some relatively obscure hybrid 737-200s, which nice as they were (and my Aviogenex is still in the post somewhere) they couldn't possibly be as popular as the G-reg quartet from August. There had previously been a BA Landor 737-200 made by SMA but it is a likely Zinc Rotter and rare even before that consideration. Plus, the four new BA Landor's announced by Aeroclassics are different in detail. Having seen the regional titled 737s at Birmingham in the 1990s and also being an Aston Villa supporter I had to get the BA Birmingham titled release so let's take a closer look.
Each review is to split into three key areas:
I own 43 Aeroclassics Boeing 737-200s using this particular mould, which not only says something about what I collect but also how highly I rate this casting. Aeroclassics had access to an earlier 737-200 mould previously (the old SMA mould) but replaced that cradle mount casting with with this slot in mould in 2009. Some early examples had oversized nosegear doors but otherwise it is an excellent 737-200, easily the best that has been made in this scale. Very few 737-200s are made in 1:400 scale anymore but I believe Gemini does still have access to its venerable old mould, which dates all the way from 2001. It cannot hold a candle to this magnificent Aeroclassics casting, which is superior in every way.
One of the most important things that Aeroclassics has got correct is the diagnostic nose region that is shared by the 707, 727 and 737. All its 707, 727 and 737-100,200 moulds look good in this department. This casting is slightly better here than the previous mould Aeroclassics and SMA used (the easiest way to tell the difference between the two is that as the older mould is a cradle mount it has a small seamline under the fuselage).
The current nosegear doors are well sized. They do recess into the fuselage a little and are not quite the correct angle along their lower edge but still look good. The wheels and hubs are simple Aeroclassics standard tyres on spigots but with such small and short undercarriage as the 737-200 has it really doesn’t matter.
The aerofoils, engines and stabilizers are great and the wings slot in tightly to the fuselage. The mould has no aerials but this is Aeroclassics and I certainly wouldn’t suggest that you buy a Gemini 737-200 due to that difference even if one were available.
This is a great little mould and I see no likelihood it will ever be improved. Being harsh, I’ll knock a point off for the aerials and shape of the nosegear doors, but that is harsh indeed.
SCORE - 9
PAINT & LIVERY
The British Airways Landor scheme is a classic, although on glum overcast English days it could often look a little drab. It is also a scheme that, like the United battleship grey, has been difficult to pin down in terms of the Pearl Grey colouring. So, anyone with many BA Landors will see a variety of shades even from the same manufacturer.
As you can see above these four models from different brands have variable greys. The 747-400 is a Gemini and this and the NG 757 have lighter, browner shades than the greys of the Aeroclassics 737 and Apollo DC-10. The colour can even look different in different photos. I would say that the Aeroclassics version is a little too grey and dark but is still not bad.
Much of the rest of the livery is good. The dark blue is fine and the red of the speedwing is also good. Positionally all the elements are in the correct place and the font of the titles is fine, although arguably they are a little thick.
Other small livery features are present and correct - including the YN at tailtop, Royal Mail logo under the rego and the aircraft name 'River Ayr'. What is missing is the YN on the nosegear doors. If I was being harsh I could knock maybe 3 points off in this section but given the tiny size of the tail crest I'll leave it at 2.
SCORE - 8
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
Aeroclassics printing is relatively basic compared to some other brands but as long as they get the major points correct it doesn't tend to bother me greatly. The printing here is ok and some features, like the door for the built in airstairs, are present. The print template for the 737-200 is good and the model displays well from distance.
Close up in detail the slightly clumsy printing does show up however, and this is especially obvious at the nose. The line of the midnight blue around the cockpit on both sides is rather sloppy and not straight. It doesn't ruin the model by any means but it is a little annoying once you notice it. It isn't a one off either as it is similarly poor on my Manchester example.
On the plus side this is a solid little mould and it is put together well.
SCORE - 8
I have only recently started collecting Landor schemed BA releases so these two 737s are welcome boosters to that area of my collection. They are good little models, and already sold out, but they exhibit the usual levels of print and research the AC factory provides, which whilst not heavily damaging the models as a whole does lead to them losing points in a detailed review. They could be better but since nobody else is going to make them you have to decide whether they are good enough for you. And you need to decide quickly because nowadays Aeroclassics releases are made in such low numbers that blink and you'll miss them.
FINAL SCORE - 25/30
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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