I'd wager the 787 and A350 are the big sellers in 400 scale nowadays and it is hard to avoid having a mould for each if you want to be successful in the scale, unless your aiming for a small niche market. Aviation400 have gained plaudits for their widebody moulds and attention to detail when it comes to features. As I've been reporting since December 2020 they have been working hard on a Boeing 787-9 and the first releases for it have just started to arrive in stores. Prior to a detailed review comparison with the other 787 moulds here I take a look at one of the new releases.
Each review is to split into three key areas:
Although I have had ongoing communication with AV400 regarding their 787, and they have sent me various photos and videos of the samples, I have not had a copy of the sample in hand for review and so this is the first close up look I have had of it. Even from the sample photos it was clear this was going to be a great mould and provide real competition to the JC Wings and NG Models versions (the Phoenix version is not at all competitive already).
The nosecone and cockpit shape of the new mould is excellent and in fact the entire fuselage is very good. If you were just looking at the fuselage itself without the printing, aerials, undercarriage etc then you'd struggle to tell the difference between this mould and the JC Wings and NG Models versions, which illustrates how good they are.
You can say the same about the wings, which have a very nice form and curve. They are slightly higher at the wingtip than the NG Models wings but they don't have the hugely inaccurate curve of the Phoenix wings.
The engine nacelles are excellent and fitted with hollow core spinning fans. The fans themselves are nicely spaced and a good thickness but lacking as good a curving profile as the NG version. They are much nicer than the JC Wings version, which are too thin, and the Phoenix version, which are too thick. The engine rear exhaust cone is good but not as pointed as it might be.
The engine pylons are shaped well under the wing and have the correct rear profile and splayed portion that hangs above the engine hot sections. Forward of the wing the pylon is not as curved as I would like and too chunky. It still hangs the engine with good height but the engine itself is ever so slightly too low.
The undercarriage is the area of the mould I consider the weakest. The nosegear door and leg are very good but personally I think the tyrehubs are a little too small. The maingear has more issues as the shape and detailing of the maingear doors is incorrect - lacking the lower portion of the door completely. Here the tyres seem a little small overall. One plus point for the maingear is that it does pivot about its central axis.
The last point to consider are the additions to the mould. This is where AV400 comes to the fore as their models have the delightful red nav beacons. They also have all the roofline lumps and bumps in relief (there are four on this model). The JC Wings and NG Models version only model in the large Wi-Fi dome whereas the Phoenix has both the Wi-Fi dome and rear bump.
One last minor criticism is that AV400 has all four aerials but they are slightly too large. Overall there are now 3 excellent 787 moulds active and I can recommend getting all three. The line between them is very minor. I will be looking in closer detail at that aspect in my forthcoming detailed mould rating comparison for the 787, which will illustrate the differences in more detail than a score of 1-10 can.
Historically I have given both the NG and JC 787s 9/10 despite their excellence. This mould also has minor issues here and there (the worst being the maingear door shape) so I will also give it the same score and you'll have to wait for the detailed scoring review to see which comes out top on points.
SCORE - 9
PAINT & LIVERY
China Southern has taken the unusual approach of painting all its 787s in a unique livery called 'Wings of Dreams'. Originally this was to be only for the first 787-8s but it has been rolled out 787-wide and involves a pair of huge Egret wings on each side of the fuselage, which cleverly merge together so one is blue and the other white.
This particular airframe has the honour of being the 787th Boeing 787 and wears these additional titles on the lower forward fuselage. I have the NG Models standard 787-9 in this scheme without those titles so the two make an interesting comparison.
The light blue fuselage colours on this AV400 version are definitely superior to those of the NG version, which are too dark. However, the AV400 version doesn't have it all its own way. In general the placement of the livery elements is excellent but there is one point of inaccuracy. This is the position of the forward egret wing edge where it meets the roofline. It should cut through the Wi-Fi dome towards its front but on this model it almost misses it entirely.
Below: The position of the blue line at the front doesn't meet the Wi-Fi dome correctly
I should add that although recent photos of this frame show it with a silver Wi-Fi dome when delivered the dome was white as it is here. There is another minor livery inconsistency I've noticed too. The tail logo is larger than on the real thing by a small margin.
I've always thought the font of the large red and white 787th titles doesn't really fit with the rest of the scheme but regardless they are recreated well here. Overall this is a well replicated livery and the two issues I've raised are both minor.
SCORE - 9
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
Aviation400 is competitive when it comes to printing detail and obviously top of the pile when it comes to adding other details - like the nav beacons. Comparing to the NG Models version I own I notice that AV400 use darker black outlining and cockpit windows whereas NG use a finer grey. Which you prefer is entirely up to you - personally I think I prefer the NG but that isn't to say the AV400 is worse in anyway.
What is inferior on the AV400 version are the engine fanblades, which are very silvery and should be a titanium dark grey.
Build quality is good, with no loose parts but AV400 do seem to have acquired the same issue NG have had in terms of tyre hubs. Looking at the maingear and only four of the eight hubs have the expected detailing on them.
SCORE - 8
It is clear there are now a lot of great 787s on the market - with only the old Phoenix mould worth avoiding (assuming Gemini don't slip out anymore old cradle mount versions). AV400 can be trusted to make great moulds, add a lot of lovely detail and produce top quality finishes. It gets to the point where a reviewer has to look in extreme detail to see differences and offer criticism (10 years ago moulds of this quality simply didn't exist). Even so, there are differences and minor inaccuracies if you want to search for them - and my detailed 787 rating review will look at those. For the majority of collectors I'm sure you'll be happy just to stare at the loveliness and know that whether you buy the JC Wings, NG Models or Aviation400 787 you'll be getting a great model.
FINAL SCORE - 26/30
9/10/2022 07:09:49 pm
Change east throw alone place if.
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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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