The factory that makes Aeroclassics has, with Aeroclassics permission, been providing its services to other brands for a while now, and one of their biggest customers has been Yu ModeLs. They are a boutique brand Chinese brand that has made a nice line of classic Chinese airliners and is potentially looking at expanding further. Being Taiwanese, and so seen as part of the PRC by China itself, China Airlines falls firmly within their remit and this example is a rare outing for the Aeroclassics Caravelle, last used by AC themselves in 2022.
I've reviewed other Yu ModeL releases here at the site. For those reviews see:
Each review is to split into three key areas:
The Aeroclassics Caravelle mould dates all the way from 2002 making, it one of the first non-decaled Aeroclassics moulds. Although this might suggest the mould will not be up to modern standards Aeroclassics at the time were producing some of the finest moulds, and since AC ignores some of the latest additions to 400 scale, such as aerials, this mould doesn't suffer by comparison to later Aeroclassics aircraft.
The Caravelle borrowed the nose of the de Havilland Comet and so has a very distinctive profile side on. I have heard some complaints about the Caravelle mould nose as being egg shaped but I usually struggle to see any major problems myself. Then again there have been some issues with over-polishing recently and the cockpit window print is another issue - more on them later.
The Caravelle itself has rather unusual proportions with large rounded wings that seem almost too big for the aircraft. The mould has one of the best and least intrusive seam lines of any cradle mount mould to the extent that I doubt slot in wings would be any improvement at all. I do think however that the wings themselves are a little too flat and should be higher at the wingtip.
The undercarriage doesn't roll but is tiny and nicely detailed. I do think that the nosegear could be slightly taller, as in many photos the Caravelle appears to sit slightly nose high.
The dorsal spine running along the fuselage roof and meeting the tail is good, as is the overall shape of the tailfin and stabilisers. The tailcone itself could be a little pointier but the angles all work.
Aeroclassics uses the one Caravelle to illustrate all versions, which means the engines are not correct all the time, even on the RR powered variants. The mould best fits the later VI-R and VI-N variants rather than the original Caravelle to Caravelle III, as they have the shorter hot section. This model is supposed to be a Caravelle III and so the exhaust component of the engines is quite inaccurate.
Coming from the Aeroclassics factory, even when not being used for Aeroclassics, the models still lack aerials so the two large rectangular ones on the real thing are not present on the model.
There is often compromise required with many of these older Aeroclassics moulds, especially when they are used to represent a type with limited sales potential that has various different marks as the Caravelle does. I can understand the approach that is taken and since it is highly unlikely there will ever be another Caravelle mould in 400 scale I am willing to accept them. It remains a solid mould but one with limitations.
SCORE - 7
PAINT & LIVERY
This isn't the first China Airlines Caravelle as B-1850 was made by Aeroclassics back in 2002. They make an interesting comparison and are very similar but not identical. Arguably in fact the original release was superior, which sadly isn't that much of a surprise.
Broadly the scheme looks fine and the colours are a match. The main titles and tail show no issues but the main cheatline is sloppy at the front. The blue upper portion ends before the black radome on the model and doesn't curve as much as it should. The original version had a better printed cheatline at the nose.
For a high quality image of a China Airlines Caravelle for comparison see this image at AirTeamImages.
Another area of minor complaint are the engines. The 'CARAVELLE' text is too large and not the right font while the white line should curve down at the front. It looks different on either side of the model but neither show the curve properly and again it looked better on the 2002 original.
SCORE - 8
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
Print detail is sparse on the model as you may well expect, especially considering the strong wing detailing of the mould in terms of flaps. The wings do however show the airbrakes well in printed detail.
The cockpit printing is not very good. Aeroclassics Caravelles often have poor cockpit printing but when you compare this version to a much older Aeroclassics Caravelle you can see how it has regressed. The older Air Charter edition, dating from 2011, has a much more compact cockpit.
As has been noted previously the standard print template also prints the main L1 door too far behind the nosegear and additionally the door is not tall enough. In terms of build quality comparing to the older Air Charter illustrates that the overpolishing has struck slightly too as the nose on this edition is definitely a little more pointy than it was and should be.
One last point worth making that a differentiator for Yu ModeLs from Aeroclassics is that they commission proper boxes with custom artwork that look a lot nicer than the generic boxes Aeroclassics releases come in.
SCORE - 7
The original Aeroclassics Caravelle release for this airline is very hard to find so a re-release is most welcome. Overall the model displays well but as is rather typical nowadays for the Aeroclassics factory the detail finishing could be better. I know that YU ModeL has had significant issues with quality out of the factory for their Chinese 737 releases, which is a shame. Even so, for many older types the remain the only game in town and I have really liked the Yu ModeLs releases I've acquired.
FINAL SCORE - 22/30
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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