There are relatively few models made for the Central and South American market and 90% of those that are come from the Aeroclassics stable. It is more than coincidental then that El Aviador’s move into 400 scale (they’d previously made only 200 scale) happens to use the Aeroclassics moulds, in a deal with the semi-independent factory that makes Aeroclassics. So far, El Aviador have released two models and announced three more. In this review I’ll take a look at their first and it is also the first time in two years that I’ve reviewed the AC A321 as well.
Each review is to split into three key areas:
A lot has happened in the Airbus A321 space in the past two years. Firstly, HYJLwings appeared with a new A321 mould made in the NG Models factory. This mould has subsequently been taken over by NG and is a superb mould. Additionally, Panda Models have also produced an A321 (although they don’t use it much) and together these two new moulds have easily swatted aside competition from JC Wings / Gemini Jets and Phoenix.
Both the Panda and NG moulds have a lot in common with the older Aeroclassics edition (some say too much), which despite its age, and Aeroclassics unwillingness to move with the times, remains a great casting. The overall fuselage shape is very good although the nose on this edition isn’t quite as nice as that on the NG Models version.
Aeroclassics has improved one element of the mould. Along with the other BabyBus editions the nosegear size has been slightly increased to remove the sometimes nose down attitude earlier releases had. Unfortunately, this has not gone hand in hand with adding gearhubs to the tyres. The effect is unimportant for the maingear but the spigot in the tyre on the nosegear is too small and it would look better with a hub.
Being from the Aeroclassics factory there are no aerials on the model (there ought to be four) as they are considered “out of scale gimmicks”. I, and almost all, collectors disagree on this point but Aeroclassics are not going to change their mind.
As this is an older wing fence, and not Sharklet, equipped A321 Aeroclassics do have the correct wing for the type. As I have said several times previously the A321 comes with extra flap tracks that are a result of the more complicated double slotted flaps, which are not fitted to A320s. Phoenix have never noticed this and all their A321s are incorrect. The wing on this mould is very good and so is the join and fuselage fairing it meets.
All in all, aside from the customary lack of aerials and simple tyre hubs this is effectively a near perfect mould.
SCORE – 9
PAINT & LIVERY
TACA’s 2000s livery that adorned their Airbus fleet, prior to being replaced by a much inferior version in 2008, was classy and stylish. It centred around TACA’s traditional parrot motif and there were several versions – mainly distinguished by the size of the titles. One version had a parrot (more properly a Macaw) playfully flying away with the C of TACA.
This A321 is wearing a modified version of the parrot / C scheme, which was used to celebrate the airlines 75th anniversary. The primary difference is on the tail, which rather than having the usual 5 golden parrots on it instead has a 75 years logo, part of which still features a parrot in flight to make the 7. The livery was worn for about a year from mid-2006 to around June 2007.
For once I think Aeroclassics has got a red correct and the crown above the fuselage looks good, as does the pinstripe along the fuselage. The main title is well placed, sized and uses the correct font. The Macaw carrying off the C is also well shaped and sized but not quite as colourful as it ought to be. It is well carried off but under magnification does look a little pixelly.
The same can be said of the tail, which although correct in terms of placement and design doesn’t pop like the golden real thing does. The Costa Rican flag is correctly carried next to the registration. There are no errors with the realisation of this livery, however under intense scrutiny the printing could be slightly finer.
SCORE - 8
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
Printing on the model is mainly up to the usual Aeroclassics standard i.e. pretty good but not exceptional. The important things are there but there is no hint of the aerials or fuselage mini-domes, even in print, and none of the more detailed panelling lines that is common from other manufacturers nowadays. The engines in particular are rather blandly white. The engine fanblades are pleasingly nice and dark but you can still see the fanblade detailing.
Aeroclassics models do tend to benefit in the build stakes from having less parts than other brands but at the same time almost always come well put together. This is another good example of this and there are no build quality issues.
SCORE – 9
If you care about aerials and hyper-realistic printing detailing then it is unlikely Aeroclassics, and so by extension El Aviador, will be the brand for you. However if you want good, well-made interesting models covering an unprecedented range of avhistory then they definitely are. This is a very nice first release and I can tell you the second, a LACSA 727-200, is even nicer. I am super-pleased to be seeing these kinds of releases and glad to have El Aviador investing in the smaller scale. I look forward to the upcoming Lockheed Electras.
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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