With the MAX back in the air, and orders and deliveries back in full swing, the stage is set for it to become one of the key types in 400 scale too. So with that in mind it makes perfect sense for NG Models to venture to the MAX and produce its own version. This makes double sense when you consider how well thought of the NG Models 737 Next Generation series moulds are. I can't say that the MAX is likely to be a major feature of my collection but I couldn't resist taking a look at the first release on the new mould, produced only a month after the samples debuted here at Yesterday's Airlines.
Each review is to split into three key areas:
It was only in December that I received the MAX mould samples for review from NG Models. For a read of that review, which included both the MAX-8 and MAX-9 see below:
The mould performed well and there was only one area of criticism - the height of the nosegear. Or rather the lack of it. Pleasingly it seems NG were listening and have been able to quickly modify the height of the nosegear. The leg is definitely longer and now shows a significant gap between the gear door and tyre.
The mould itself in general form and shape is very accurate. Obviously they have their already excellent 737NGs as a base so the nosecone and cockpit region looks great.
The engines despite being larger than those on the 737NGs have good ground clearance due to the lengthened gear and pylons that keep them nice and high. They are solidcore, but the refusal to go down the hollow-core spinning blades route aids realism and detail.
The split tip winglets are sharply defined and excellently shaped. The rest of the wing has strong flap detailing and fits tightly to the fuselage. Towards the rear the mould clearly shows the recontoured longer pointier MAX tailcone.
One area the samples didn't have was the aerials and rooftop dome. All 5 aerials are present and well sized. The rooftop dome is also well-shaped and attached. The mould still lacks a standhole in keeping with the other NG Models 737 moulds.
There are obviously several competing MAX moulds in 400 scale and when I got the samples I discussed on Youtube how I thought this version compared. My views haven't really changed. The only real competition comes from the Panda mould, which seems to have vanished, and the JC Wings / Gemini Jets mould. However, this NG Models mould is easily a match in quality for both of them.
SCORE - 10
PAINT & LIVERY
This aircraft, delivered on November 14th, features a retro Desert Gold scheme and honours Southwest's founder Herbert D. Kelleher. There were previously a pair of 737-700s that wore the same scheme, N711HK and N714CB, but both have now been retired.
What is clear is that even though these retro aircraft are called Desert Gold they are not wearing the original colours of Southwest. The original Desert Gold scheme used a brownish colour rather than anything golden. In different lights it appeared quite different but certainly was never golden.
Photos clearly show that even though it is called Desert Gold the scheme used on this MAX and the earlier pair of 73Gs was not using the same colour as the original livery did. This new colour is a lot more golden and shiny. It actually looks really impressive.
The Desert Gold scheme has always been a difficult scheme to replicate and the new version, which really glistens in the light is tough also. Comparing this new MAX to three other models wearing the Desert Gold livery you can see it doesn't match to any of them, although frankly none of them match to each other either!! It shouldn't match anyway but I can't say it matchs the real thing either.
The NG version certainly doesn't look as orange as it does in the Desert Gold comparison photo above but it isn't golden either. It is more a medium sandy brown. I think it is the wrong shade but I have some sympathy with anyone trying to replicate this colour.
The other colours being used all look fine and as far as I can see the placement of the livery components is good too. The outer tyre hubs are red, doors are outlined in white, and 871 ETOPS is present on the nosegear doors and above the rear entry doors.
'The Herbert D. Kelleher' is written under the cockpit windows and note the lack of anti-glare ahead of the cockpit (this was present and a major error on the Aeroclassics version).
SCORE - 8
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
In general NG Models printing is very good, although sometimes the resolution of very small text can be a little unclear. I don't think that is an issue on this model, although the '871 ETOPS' written on the starboard side nosegear doors is at an odd angle not aligned properly with the door. On the portside it is fine.
Printing on the wingtops is interesting since the black outlined area only goes halfway along the wing. This appears to match the real thing. NG also successfully manage to get the emergency exit arrows on the overwing aligned correctly with the windows. The flap detailing on the mould is good but a little obscured by the grey paint.
Quality control overall is also good and certainly nothing is lose or chipped. I do admit though that I am not 100% happy with the angle of the nosegear, which seems to slant forwards a little. It is minor and I think a QC error, which is why I didn't mention it in the mould section.
SCORE - 8
NG Models picked a challenging first release on their new MAX mould but they are not the sort of company to shy away from difficult models. Obviously this is a much better model than the recent Aeroclassics attempt, but it'll be interesting to see how the Gemini Jets version that has been announced as a future release comes out. Of course whether this NG release will still be available for sale by then is another question and I suspect it will sell out quickly. The new MAX mould is certainly a winner and although this model isn't as golden as I'd like it is still a nice rendition.
FINAL SCORE - 26/30
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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