One thing that 400 scale lacks is a decent number of regional airliner releases and this is an area that the JAL Collection has not skimped on with offerings of the Saab 340, DHC-8-Q400 and E-170. Having said that all the regional releases do appear to suffer from a trait that is rather common to these models - tyres that are too large. In this review I'll take a closer look at the mould for the E-170.
As with other smaller types the E-170 issue of the JAL Collection magazine, issue number 28, comes with two models rather than one.
EMBRAER 170 IN 400 SCALE
There have only been 15 E-170 models made in 400 scale to date and unusually this is an area where Herpa have made the most, albeit that is only 9 models. The other mould comes from Gemini Jets. There have also been 11 E-175s made by Gemini / JC and I suspect they share the E-170 mould. Both moulds look decent, although I'd probably give the win to the Gemini version, which has a superior undercarriage and nose shape. Both moulds being fairly recent are slot in wings moulds.
I don't own any E-170s and the closest model I have in my collection is the E-190 of which I have 3 JC Wings examples that uses the Gemini mould. Clearly one of the key aspects of the mould is that the nosegear tyre is very small. I also did at one point own the below E-175, which is a closer fit to the 170 being reviewed here.
JAL Collection E-170
Smaller aircraft types can often be trickier than larger ones to get right in 400 scale as problems can be magnified, especially using macro photography. Clearly the JAL Collection trait of using oversized tyres on the landing gear is in evidence here and more than any other mould I've seen so far damages the overall look of this E-170 mould.
For serious collectors I expect the tyre size to be a deal breaker here, but what if you want 20 of these for your model airport? Perhaps then it isn't such an issue, especially if you're not viewing them up close. It should be quite easy to decrease the tyre size on these models as the tyres are fixed and don't roll.
Obviously it isn't just the tyres that are a problem here as the shape of the nose is one of the weaker attempts I've seen in a JAL Collection mould to date. The cockpit windows don't help but it is actually at the underside of the nose where most of the problems lie. The curve on the underside is not sharp enough and the result is that the nose is the wrong shape - not pointed enough or assymetrical enough. Having said that none of the E Jets in this scale to date have the nose actually correct.
The mould is also a cradle mount, which is surprising given the small size of it. Almost all the JAL Collection moulds are cradle fit (the MD-80 and MD-90 being exceptions) and to be fair the seam is not a massive issue, however you have to think it wouldn't have been a lot of effort here to have slotted in the wings.
It is a shame that the nose and tyre size are as they are since the rest of the mould is actually rather good. As with other models in the collection the wings are well shaped and detailed, albeit probably slightly thick.
There are no aerials on the mould including the absence of the long midline rear under-fuselage one, but that is also often missed off by the senior brands too. The rear of the fuselage is accurate and the vertical and horizontal stabilisers are nice as well.
The small engines are surprisingly nicely detailed, including the side strake, and the engine pylons are ok and hold the engines well but could do with less curvy fronts. On the underside of the fuselage the open wheel wells for the tyres are moulded in.
From a mould perspective I will dock the following points:
As with other JAL Collection moulds there is potential here, which could be better realised with some small tweaks. As the below doctored image shows take off the undercarriage and increase the size of the cockpit windows and suddenly this mould looks pretty decent:
This casting is never going to win any awards but at a greater distance than macro photographs allow actually looks ok. I'm not recommending it as a competitor for existing regional moulds, but then again that isn't the point of these Jet Hut / JAL Collection moulds anyway and you have to bear in mind I got two of these for about $15.
The printing across both of these models is decent aside from the cockpit windows, which are the wrong shape and too small. Even with the poor mould score I suspect that in a detailed review these would still be hitting around the 20 mark. I understand why many collectors wouldn't touch them but I still think they have a place in the scale - especially if you have a model airport.
SCORE - 5
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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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