The 737 Classic family hasn’t got a great run in 400 scale to date and unsurprisingly the series 500 has had the least models made of the three variants. I was actually surprised to see there were 30 different 737-500 models but looking at what has been made the variety is lacking a little and there have been some unusual choices (Air Do etc) in place of obvious missing versions (United, British Midland, Sabena etc). Since 2014 only four models have been made and two of these are JC Wings Lufthansa releases from 2020.
Each review is to split into three key areas:
Some 400 scale moulds are serial tailsitters and along with the Gemini BAE-146 and Shorts 360 the 737-500 has previously been one of these too. Interestingly however, this new model has no inclination to tail sit whatsoever. Whether a change has been made or I just got lucky with this example I’m not sure.
The mould itself is closely related to the Gemini 737-300 and 737-400 and shares the same form as them, aside from the length obviously. Both the series 300 and 400 moulds have had something of a mini-renaissance in 2020 with both Gemini and JC using them – at times well and at times not so well. All three moulds date originally from 2003/2004 so were some of the first Gemini Jets II moulds made.
In general, they are solid, reliable moulds but obviously show their age somewhat. Having said that modern printing does wonders for them. The fuselage shape is decent. The nose and cockpit may not be of the standard of the Aeroclassics 737-200 but they are fine. The rest of the fuselage is good and the addition of aerials does enhance the overall mould, even if they are slightly over-sized.
The wings are very nice and have a tight cradle fit with the fuselage. This does mean there is a seam but this is only really visible just ahead of the wing and on the underside. The engines are nicely shaped on their underside and hang with enough ground clearance, although the upper shape isn’t bulging enough and too much engine pylon is visible.
The mould has not been updated with rolling gears, which is not something that bothers me, however the nosegear is a little longer than it should be and the whole model has a tailward angle (something that has previously contributed to the tail-sitting). This is also evident on the series 300 and 400 versions of the mould.
This is yet another of Gemini’s old mould back-catalogue that is still a worthwhile casting. It could do with a shorter nosegear, and compared to a new mould the shape of the cockpit region, nosecone and engines isn’t perfect, but it is a valuable way to create 737-500s at a low cost with the results being worth buying.
SCORE – 8
PAINT & LIVERY
I have written about the Lufthansa Express experiment at the avhistory blog previously – see:
The airline within an airline wore the basic Lufthansa 1990s livery with merely the addition of Express titles. Although initially used on internal German services Express coloured 737s could be seen widely around Europe. The Express titles necessitated the movement of the aircraft type and name (in this case Memmingen) to the upper rear fuselage. This was the space that would later wear website titles but Lufthansa Express operated from 1992-1994 so was well before the internet.
The central elements of the Lufthansa scheme are all present and correct. The title size and font, crane logo, white wingtops and deep blue tail look good. I do think the grey colour used for the engines and belly is a little dark but it isn’t incredibly so. Smaller details such as the name, registration on the tailtop and nosegear doors, and nose logo are all present.
SCORE – 9
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
I am a big fan of the printing detail of JC Wings models. I was seriously underwhelmed by the Gemini Jets United 737-300 using this mould, especially around the cockpit printing, but although using the same factory and nose region on this model the cockpit looks great. JC Wings can print fine detail like nosecone rings well and the underside of even a small model like this is full of detail.
Older Gemini moulds are solid and reliable. Impressively they have survived the years well so that even 16 years later the fit of components is tight. Construction on this piece is excellent.
SCORE – 10
I would like to see more 737-500s from this period in the type’s history and JC Wings clearly have the capability to make them. Sadly, I doubt they have the commitment outside of staple European airlines like Lufthansa and KLM. That doesn’t detract however from this being a fine little model which I can highly recommend picking up.
FINAL SCORE - 27
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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