Aeroclassics have always been a rather exclusive brand, producing models in relatively small numbers, but in recent years the production runs appear to have gotten even smaller with recently, for example, only 150 Icelandair 727s in delivery colours made. Their South American releases always sell well and the recent pair of Faucett DC-8s caused some controversy when they sold out in a matter of minutes and it turned out only 85 of each was produced. I was waiting for them to be posted for sale and even I missed out on one due to dawdling over my decision in the shopping trolley. Aeroclassics have admitted they underestimated the demand here and have said they will re-release both versions of the models with different registrations later this year. Until then I’ll take a deeper look at the one I did manage to secure.
Each review is to split into three key areas:
Aeroclassics consistently produced excellent moulds in the modern era of 1:400 scale collecting and it is only in the past four of five years that the quality has slipped somewhat with weak Tristars and 737 MAX products. The majority of their older moulds are best of breed and certainly their Douglas products are particularly good - from DC-4 all the way through to DC-10 they are unrivalled. Their 2008 DC-8-50 mould is a great example of this as it beats the old 2001 Gemini mould in every way.
The old Gemini mould is certainly a product of its age and I’m sure that if Gemini produced a new DC-8 it would be better, but that is simply never going to happen. As the last Gemini DC-8, a Pan Am release from 2016, showed Gemini do still have the mould so comparing the two still seems fair.
The entire shape of the Aeroclassics mould is spot on. I have heard complaints about the nose being too pointy but I don’t see it. If anything, the Gemini DC-8 has a too rounded and chunky nose. Even so the two small intakes low on the nosecone ventral are not moulded in and are quite obvious on the real thing.
The undercarriage of the mould is superb with a well sized nosegear door set (unlike the updated Gemini mould) and well detailed and suitably slight gear legs. Aeroclassics tyres and wheelhubs are simply rubber rings on spigots but with the DC-8 it makes very little difference.
The wings and engines are another strongpoint – delicate unlike the chunky thick Gemini efforts. The series 50 engines are well shaped and detailed. They do not suffer from the occasional incorrect angle that sometimes afflicts the Aeroclassics series 10s. The mould is old enough to be a cradle mount, but although there is a seam it is short and has a tight fit.
I have historically given this mould full marks but I can see it could be improved in minor ways – making the nose intakes more obvious, removing the wing seam and adding the one large dorsal aerial on the forward fuselage. It is harsh to dock a point but I think I will – it is 2021 after all.
SCORE - 9
PAINT & LIVERY
This is the all-natural metal under the cheatline version of the releases and it wears the colourful orange Avianca / Iraqi Airways style striping scheme of Faucett in the 1970s and early 1980s. Photos of this particular aircraft are few and far between but there is one on Wikipedia – here. Fortunately, there are other photos of Faucett DC-8s wearing this scheme to use for comparison such as this shot of sistership OB-R-1259 by Bob Garrard.
There are differences between the DC-8s in the two photos. This aircraft is named ‘SANTA BARBARA’, which the model shows under the cheatline at the cockpit. It also should have the reg 1223 in the nosegear doors and this is missing.
The orange color of the cheatline and the red/white striping of the Peruvian flag up the rudder are correct. The curving orange sash that tapers down towards the rear fuselage form the roof is accurate at its rear but not at the front. It ought to have a stronger upwards angle and appears to join at the rooftop way after the L1 door not before it as on the model. Aeroclassics made a similar mistake with their Air Florida 727, which has a similar style scheme.
The main titles are nice and well sized, but obviously since the orange stripe they are in is too thin they are too close to its upper edge. Overall, this livery rendition is acceptable but once again the accuracy of the artwork could and should be better.
SCORE - 8
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
There’s a lot of natural metal finish on this DC-8 and it looks good. It also helps you to see the line down the side of the fuselage showing that the cross section is not a circle. Aeroclassics have correctly applied grey paint to a few areas, like the radome. There isn’t a lot of extra printing detail required but what is there, like the engine manufacturer logo on the nacelles, is good. I would however have liked to see the nose intakes at least printed on.
Less impressive is that the engine fans themselves are left in unpainted plastic grey. They are quite far back in the nacelles but nicely detailed nonetheless. It is a shame therefore that from the front they standout for the wrong reasons. There is also a paint defect on the starboard side lower cheatline under the PERU titles where there is some scratching revealing the white paint underneath.
Although Aeroclassics DC-8s are a little prone to broken nosegear legs this model is perfectly put together and survived transportation. Fitting of the wings and stabilizers is firm and there are no construction quality problems.
SCORE – 8
With this sort of interesting and colourful release it is depressing that Aeroclassics think they can only sell 85 units. I guess most collectors are just too fixated on boring euro-white A320s to notice or care about classics. At least the classics collector is well served by Aeroclassics, albeit with the usual qualifications that artwork mistakes will be made and 2021 standard details will be lacking. This is a lovely DC-8 but the score reflects a series of small errors and omissions that stop it reaching the highest level in 400 scale.
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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