The Fokker 100, or if you're being pedantic the Fokker 28 Mk 0100, was a significant success for the Dutch manufacturer despite the fact that the costs involved in the programme were a factor in Fokker's eventual demise. It sold a highly creditable 283 units, more than the F28, at a time when the concept of regional jets didn't exist. It even broke the US market with significant orders from USAir and American. On the seconds market it has had a long and fruitful career. None of this has meant a particularly good representation in 400 scale and it is one of several JC Wings moulds barely used. Nontheless, Gemini Jets dribbles out the odd F100 (about one every couple of years). Mostly these have been contemporary Australian versions but this 'classic' Brasilian is a great departure into more interesting territory.
Each review is to split into three key areas:
This mould dates from the earliest days of JC Wings in 2007, with the very first release in fact being branded as Blue Box. By the end of 2011 there had been 13 releases (by both JC Wings and their partner Gemini Jets) but since then it has been used very rarely and 16 years after the mould was released there have been only 21 models made. This is a real shame, but isn't particularly unusual for several of the smaller early JC Wings moulds (see HS748, BAC One-Eleven 500, F70, Saab340, DHC-8, ATR-42, Shorts 360 etc).
That is frustrating as all those mentioned early regional moulds are actually really good. In fact, ironically the only regional moulds that aren't very good are the CRJs and ERJ-145s, which have tended to get more usage. This Fokker 100 mould is delightful and certainly deserving of more than 21 models being made using it. Back in 2019 I wrote a wishlist for the type and there is a long, long way to go before even a fraction of it is fulfilled - Fokker 100 Wishlist.
The mould is old enough to be a cradle type but this is a classic example of how to do that properly. The seamline follows the wing/fuselage fairing join line well and shows the correct shape, plus it is discrete and hard to see.
The nose and nosegear are good, certainly good enough to pass close inspection. It may be that the down curve from the cockpit isn’t quite strong enough and the nosegear doors are slightly too large but these are minor concerns. The rest of the fuselage moulding is great and it is pleasing to see the pair of ADF roof humps just aft of the wings moulded in.
The engines and vertical stabilizer are practically faultless. A minor failing is the shape of the diagnostic rear fuselage airbrake tailcone splitter. It is a little too square on the model but you have to get close to see that. The hinges of the tailcone sides are nicely moulded on.
Of the 21 releases on this mould only three, including this one, have the aerials fitted. The trio with aerials are not the most recent releases illustrating that aerial addition is a choice. This is the first Gemini version to have the aerials (the previous pair were for JC Wings and Dream Air of Taiwan). The four Gemini releases between them all omitted the aerials, which were first fitted in 2016.
Even so, the choice of aerial fit has varied. The JC Wings releases had two (one upper and one lower), this model has two (both on the roofline) and only the Dream Air version had all four (two roof and two belly). I know fitting the aerials is an extra cost so the choice to omit half the aerials on this model is likely a financial decision. The forward aerial is a little too tall.
This mould is very strong and a testament to the potential that JC Wings has in its mould catalogue if only it could find a way to tap into it.
SCORE - 9
PAINT & LIVERY
The success of TAM was built around the Fokker 100 more than any other type as it enabled what was a small regional airline to grow and compete in the Brasilian market and become a major player. The airline operated 51 F100s, which continued in service well into the 2000s. PT-MRA was the airline's first being delivered on lease from the GPA Group in September 1990.
This model illustrates the delivery scheme with the blue tail, white TAM tail titles and fuselage striping. This was worn from 1980-1998, being replaced by a simpler blue tail scheme with red tail titles and then in 2000 by a red tail livery with white titles. All three schemes were worn by the Fokkers at times.
The livery is quite simple and well replicated here by Gemini. Everything is in the right place and sized well. Smaller details like the Brasilian flag and Fokker 100 titles ahead of the L1 door are present.
The only criticism I have of the livery is that the TAM titles on the tail are almost light blue rather than white due to the issue of overprinting white onto a dark blue background.
SCORE - 9
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
Historically there have been issues printing the cockpit windows in the correct shape and position on this mould. I have the old American Airlines release and the cockpit is misprinted. In 2018 I reviewed the Austrian Airlines example, which had very poorly shaped cockpit windows in general. I am pleased to say on this model the cockpit printing placement and shape is significantly better.
The printing overall is good, especially on the wing surfaces, but I can't help but feel the entire windowline is ever so slightly too high.
QC issues on smaller models tend to stick out like a sore thumb so I am relieved to say there don't appear to be any on this model. The finish is excellent.
SCORE - 9
It has been refreshing to see Gemini Jets release a more diverse set of models in 2023, including several very welcome classics like this F100. It is an important model for the history of Brasilian civil aviation and this particular airframe is a great choice too, since not only was it TAM's first F100 but it was also involved in an amusing accident in 1991 that saw it end up in a ditch at Sao Paulo Congonhas - see here for a photo. It is just the sort of model that I want to add to my collection and an excellent example of what can be achieved when all the elements come together.
FINAL SCORE - 27/30
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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