Yu ModeL has been making a really nice select line of Chinese and Soviet classics over the past few years, producing some lovely models. Given the obscurity of some of the subject matter for a Western audience it is perhaps the prompts they have been giving Aeroclassics and JC Wings that are the thing the Western collector owes them most for. I know for example that they paid for the rehabilitation of the Aeroclassics Tu-154, and after they used the Il-18 it also reappeared in the Aeroclassics release set for the first time in years. Now the same has happened with the Il-86, but this time that is a JC Wings mould. Yu's interest in this model seems to have spurred JC from its slumber, with the type now getting its first JC releases in over a decade. Of course I'm more than happy to get the Yu version as well!
Each review is to split into three key areas:
Production on the JC Wings Ilyushin Il-86 originally lasted only between 2009 and 2012, and resulted in a small number of releases split almost equally between JC Wings and Gemini Jets. With only 9 releases output was severely limited, which was a crying shame as the big Russian Airbus had gained an exceptional mould in 400 scale. I recently updated the Il-86 and 96 mould review so take a look at that for more details of past releases and usage:
I am delighted to see the mould finally reappear in the JC Wings output with an Aeroflot example announced and more to follow. Interestingly this Yu ModeL release appears slightly different in that it has for the first time had aerials fitted.
It is hard to fault this excellent mould that captures the chunky appearance of the type so well. The mould dates from a time of great creativity at JC, before they became mainstream. A time when they were producing lots of unusual and innovative types like the F100 and DHC-8.
The shape of the fuselage and squared off cockpit, moving down to the short sharp nosecone are accurate. The mould is new enough to be a slot in wings rather than cradle mount and so there is no seamline.
The wings are solid and strongly detailed. The engines hang suitably low from the unusual pylons that attach well to the wing. At the rear the vertical stabiliser shows really nice detailing. The rudder form at the fuselage join is lovely and the accuracy follows up to the tailtop where the spiky projection from it is present. So is a small light on the upper margin.
The undercarriage is well formed, highly detailed and suitably short. The complex main gear is particularly nice with very fine gear doors and all three gear trucks that pivot nicely.
The Chinese Il-86s appear to have had aerials that are missing from many of the Soviet Il-86s, and both are present on this model - one under the nose and one under the rear fuselage. It is nice to see these details added, although both are clearly too long. JC Wings does have something of a history of slightly oversizing the aerials.
The only other criticism I can mount to this mould is that the rear underside dome (is it a tailbumper?) is not moulded in to the aircraft. Overall it is a fabulous mould and one I hope to see used far more than it has been. This is exceedingly close to a 10/10 and I feel harsh not giving it full marks.
SCORE - 9
PAINT & LIVERY
China Xinjiang Airlines was formed in 1985 just prior to the splitting up of CAAC, out of the ashes of the Xinjiang Regional branch, as a 50:50 joint venture between CAAC and the regional government. I have written in some detail about the Xinjiang Il-86s and the airline already at the avhistory blog:
The carrier's livery was not adventurous but did at least have its own logo. This consisted of a flying swan (a symbol of good luck) against a crescent (presumably denoting the regions Islamic links). The cheatline however was classic Aeroflot / CAAC.
You can't fault the blue colour being used here and the cheatline form overall is good. As is the tail logo - well sized, positioned and coloured. The large Chinese language main titles also look good and the huge registration (both repeated on the wings also). I'm less enamoured by the English language titles, which appear too strongly italicised to me.
One minor last criticism is that the nose anti-glare panel follows the line of the nosecone ring on the model, whereas on all the photos I see of the real thing it does not and is slightly larger.
SCORE - 9
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
There's a lot to like about the printing on this model. It is an instance of when even simple 'boring' liveries can be brought to life with print. The quality and detail shown here is second to none with areas such as the red wing and stabiliser tips achieved with sharpness and clarity.
A nice feature of the Il-86 always great to see are the belly entry doors, a trio of which are present on the port side. Also expertly replicated are the chrome highly polished engine rims. You could argue the model is too clean - cleaner than it ever was in service but it does look fine.
Aside from the undercarriage and aerials this is a solid mould, but the complete finish is great with no issues. I also should mention that the model comes in a lovely custom designed box.
SCORE - 10
You do tend to expect models made in smaller numbers for boutique brands to be made better, and I admit this wasn't a cheap model to purchase. Nonetheless, it is a thing of beauty - even if in a scheme that may not excite the hearts of most Westerners. I am thrilled to see JC Wings is also rediscovering this fabulous casting and can only hope it means there is more diversity to come from them, as they have a mould catalogue of great under-used types like the Fokker 100, One-Eleven 500 and DHC-8, which would help them stand out from the Airbus / Boeing crowd in 400 scale. Yu also have more interesting releases coming and, for me at least, are filling the last empty spaces of classic Chinese carriers with quality.
FINAL SCORE - 28/30
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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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