Covid is proving a real challenge for model collectors especially outside of the USA. Not only have prices of the models continued to rise but the international postage costs have skyrocketed, making it hard to get models at sensible cumulative prices even when buying multiple at the same time. It doesn't help when some retailers are not flexible with their shipping or when the USPS stops shipping entirely to the country you live in. Eventually the cost : benefit begins to swing in the wrong direction, especially when you can't be sure what you receive is going to be of particularly high quality either. I fear that both my ability and will to acquire Aeroclassics in future has been seriously eroded but will this VASP A300 be enough to cheer me up?
Each review is to split into three key areas:
There have been 5 attempts at an Airbus A300 mould in 1:400 scale, although, as of 2021, only the two newest, by Aeroclassics and Phoenix, are still available for use (although Phoenix have only used theirs once, in 2020, in the past 7 years). Unless you are blind or care more about slot in wings than your model looking like an A300 then this Aeroclassics mould is much superior to what Phoenix pretends is an A300.
The A300 has the classic Airbus sharply tapering nosecone and the Aeroclassics mould gets this all-important aspect correct, whereas the Phoenix competitor makes a complete mess of this. On the Phoenix mould there is almost no change in angle from the cockpit to the nosecone. That ruins the entire Phoenix mould for me. The nosegear and tyres are some of Aeroclassics best and like that of their DC-8 and DC-10s are much superior to recent attempts on the 767s and Tristars.
The rest of the fuselage is well shaped and the rear fuselage near perfect. The one weakness the Aeroclassics mould has is that it is one of the last moulds to be made as a cradle fit. That means there is a seam around the wingroot and under the fuselage. Unfortunately, it is quite an obvious seam. The Phoenix mould is a year younger and has slot in wings and so no seam, but if you're buying it over the seamed Aeroclassics version I think you need to take a long look in the mirror.
This is an A300B2K, although a late one delivered in 1982, and so has no wingtip fences. The wings are very nice, as are the engine pylons. The engines are well sized and have good ground clearance, although the rear exhaust area looks like it resembles the older CF6-50C rather than the CF6-50C2 fitted to the this frame.
I'm a big fan of this mould so it is good to see that it has been used 8 times in the past year or so. It could be improved without a seam, new tyres and added aerials but that isn't going to happen. Producing classic Airbuses isn't on anyone else's radar and when Phoenix rarely stray into this arena their A300 looks dreadful anyway.
SCORE - 8
PAINT & LIVERY
While the VASP scheme could never compete with the Cruzeiro one this version from the 1970s and early 80s is more interesting than the later blue scheme, with the V logo on the tail, even though it does have a rather 70s feel to it.
The foundation of the scheme are three blue stripes in different shades moving down the tail and along the lower fuselage in pinstripes. Checking a few photos I think Aeroclassics may have the blues a little too dark but it is within the accepted margins of error for me. As is often the case in some pictures they look darker than others.
Positionally the striping is located accurately both on the fuselage, tail and additionally on the engine nacelles, where it is applied to both sides of the engine forming a V shape from underneath.
The VASP titles on the fuselage look good and have an accurate font so it is a shame they have not been repeated on the tail. The titles there are too thick and take up too much space, but unless you're comparing with photos you wouldn't notice.
Livery detailing on the model is great. The registration above and below the wings, Brasilian flag, tiny anti-glare, black nosecone and A300 titles are all present.
SCORE - 9
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
This model exhibits some nice printing, particularly on the top surface of the wings, but in other places illustrates a lack of workmanship and sloppiness all too common with Aeroclassics in 2021. The base A300 print template is good but there are several other errors that aren't so good.
On the left side of the aircraft there is an obvious line running just under the windows almost all the way along the aircraft. I have seen this problem before, I recall it on the Britannia 767 for example. It isn't present on the right hand side and is annoyingly noticeable.
On the right side the pinstripes near the nose are very poorly printed, with smudging and stippling affecting the lowest, making it blend in with the middle line.
Build quality is fine aside from the maingear on the port-side, in which the first tyre pair don't touch the ground. Also are those silver engine fan blades I see too?
SCORE - 5
South American releases sell out quickly and I am glad to have received this model, which is unlikely to be made by anyone else. Having said that, it retailed at $48.95 and postage for two models to NZ was a staggering $61.40. That's USD not NZD. Is the model worth that much - no clearly it isn't even without the poor printing job it has on it. I need a new plan to continue collecting Aeroclassics or I just need to buy a lot less models. If a major 400 scale collector like myself, who has bought 42 Aeroclassics in 2021 is thinking that way then I can only imagine what other less dedicated collectors are thinking. I'd have thought that would be a concern for the manufacturers.
FINAL SCORE - 22
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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