Decent versions of 400 scale 747-100/200s can be very hard and very expensive to find and so clearly this is an area that could be exploited by a new manufacturer such as Jet Hut (who seem to be behind these JAL Collection models for De Agostini). So far they have made moulds for all four major 747 classic variants, but how do they match up to the real thing and other classic moulds? In this snapshot I'll take a look at one of the 747-100s.
This Japan Asia example was featured in issue 29 of the magazine but a JAL 747-100 also appeared way back in issue 2.
DISCLAIMER: I don't know for certain if JetHut is going to turn into something and even if they do I don't know for certain they'll use the JAL Collection moulds, however there is a decent chance they will do both.
As I have said many times these JetHut moulds are not supposed to compete with first-line 400 scale brands and will be priced much cheaper than ordinary 400 scale models. This will come at a cost to quality so it is wrong to necessarily compare them directly to existing brands. Nonetheless, I will do that just to illustrate how near or far they are from usual 400 scale models.
747-100 IN 400 SCALE
There are many 747 classic moulds in 400 scale however there have been no new mainstream 747s since 2008 (and that was the dreadful Phoenix version). Most of the more important moulds are cradle mounted - the exceptions being the Dragon Wings and the Witty Wings. I suggest having a look through my 747-100/200 mould review to familiarise yourself with what is available to date:
Many of the 747-100/200 moulds are actually quite decent and it is rather ironic that the only one I definitely avoid is the newest.
Below: One of the many decent 747-100s in 400 scale - this one is a Witty version using one of the many Big Bird copies
JAL Collection 747-100
Below: JA8103 in her early career with JAL:
I must admit that seeing the JAL Collection 747s was one of the reasons why I paid little attention to the JAL Collection line to start with. That is perhaps a little harsh but I don't think this is one of their better moulds. It doesn't help in this case that the livery printing has a major issue with it - its height.
The belly line, cheatline and upper deck windows are all printed too high, which seriously damages the model overall. However this is not a full model review so try and ignore that and focus on the mould itself. In fact, let me try and remove the livery crudely to look at the shape itself:
The wing seam is a similar size and shape to several early 747 moulds but probably looks the most like the Blue Box / Magic mould, whilst sharing similarities with Gemini and Big Bird. The full diecast wings are surprisingly decent, with once again a lot of flap detailing. The wingtip aerials are quite thick but not more than on the recent Aeroclassics 747s. Considering the model comes with a magazine, and so will presumably see a lot more non-collectors owning it, the wingtip aerials make sense.
The engine pylons themselves are rather chunky and have the old familiar attachment problem seen on the old Gemini and Big Bird models where they join the wing. I notice too that the outer pylons are the same shape as the inner ones, which is not correct. The engines themselves are rather good, but as with several of the JAL Collection moulds do show a seam line running around them.
As you can see above the horizontal stabilisers of the model angle upwards rather strongly, although I admit you don't tend to notice it that much when viewing the model from any angle other than side on.
The shape of the rear fuselage and vertical stabiliser are both fine and unlike most of these JAL Collection moulds the tail on this one is solid diecast, albeit once again with a full attachment to the fuselage.
Underside detailing on this mould is limited, there is no stand hole and the maingear trucks are a little chunky on their insides. The tyres are however well-sized. Unlike most other 747 moulds there is no movement of the maingear trucks possible.
This mould does have potential but I feel it falls rather short of what I'd be looking for in a 400 scale 747, even at the cheaper end of the spectrum. I will detract points for the following:
That gives a total score of 5/10. With multiple additional points lost for the misplacement of the livery I suspect this model would score around the 18-20 mark if I did a full review. If the printing on this model was better positioned it would no doubt look a lot better than it does and overall the model could still be displayed alongside other 400 scale models without shame. However, I doubt that I would acquire examples of this mould unless there was a special reason to do so.
Even so, for younger collectors and those less interested in model collecting in general I think this model can still be a fine collectable, if the price point is well beneath standard 400 scale models. I may yet display it alongside my JAL fleet - I'm undecided.
SCORE - 5
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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