A series documenting the aircraft of Japanese airlines could hardly be complete without including Japan's own commercial airliner - the NAMC YS-11. The YS-11 achieved a surprising amount of success and the JAL Collection has not shied away from smaller regional types in its lineup meaning the YS-11's place in the series was secure. As is common with smaller types it also means that there are two models per issue for the YS-11.
The YS-11 has now featured twice in the magazine in issues 18 and 39 covering its service with Japan Air Lines, Japan Air System and Toa Domestic. I was able to acquire the issue 18 set but unfortunately when it arrived from taobao it only had two versions of the JAL model with it.
NAMC YS-11 IN 400 SCALE
The YS-11 is a type that although represented in 400 scale has been typically represented only partially. This is all the more annoying since the YS-11 did get decent service outside of Japan and yet even really obvious models like Piedmont delivery colours have not been made. This is largely a symptom of the existing mould being made by Gemini Jets and not Aeroclassics. The Gemini mould dates from 2004 but is still a good casting.
Ten or so models were made in the early 2000s and then the mould reappeared in 2010 for four more (3 JC Wings and 1 Gemini). The last usage was in 2016 or a JASDF version. I should also mention that there is a Hogan mould about too, but I admit to not knowing much about it and it has mainly been used for twinpack exclusives for the Japanese market.
Things to note about the Gemini mould is how small the nosegear tyre is and how large the nosegear doors are, although later versions, such as the Hawaiian below, remedy this to a degree.
JAL COLLECTION YS-11
Yes the nosegear tyre on the JAL Collection mould is too large, but in other respects the mould is surprisingly good and arguably no worse than the Gemini mould (in which the nosegear tyre is too small). It is also worth pointing out here that the De Agostini version doesn't have the enormous slab nosegear doors of the Gemini and is much better off for it.
The nose and cockpit region are perfectly decent and the rest of the fuselage well shaped. This is a cradle mount mould but the seam is hidden under the fuselage in a very tasteful way so it looks like a slot in wings mould.
The fit of the tail to the fuselage is better than on the Gemini and it has a good shape, with plenty of detailing, especially around the rudder.
The wings are very well shaped and thin. They also angle upwards more convincingly than the on the Gemini mould where they are very flat.
The engine nacelles are generally well shaped and connect to the wing with no obvious join lines. The props also have the classic square blades. Minor criticisms are the shape of the curve up to the engine from the undercarriage, the seam line along the side of the engine nacelles and that perhaps the prop spinner could be slightly sharper.
Lastly the maingear tyres are well sized and attach nicely with good maingear doors. There isn't that much to criticise with this mould, which to my eye is not far away from being as good as the Gemini version.
I'll detract points for the following:
Nosegear tyres -1
Engine detailing and spinners -1
That gives a highly creditable 8 out of 10.
There is definitely a snobbiness amongst some collectors who complain about certain things vehemently (like tyre size) and then are willing to except far more gratuitous errors. Yes the nosegear tyre is too large here but when the model is on display it looks no worse than the too small tyre of the Gemini. This is a surprisingly good little mould and I'd bite your hand off for a Piedmont version.
SCORE - 8
JAL Collection vs Gemini
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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