Aeroclassics is still my favourite brand in many ways. They make models nobody else will, make a fabulous diversity of releases and have a generally strong mould back catalogue. Unfortunately, they also do not use aerials or proper tyrehubs, are prone to printing issues and have weaker print detailing than some. A lot of the time I can ignore the weaknesses as the pluses are enough, and I have to say that with the Douglas family of aircraft it is generally hard to go wrong with Aeroclassics. So in this week's review I take a look at this month's release of a stretch Eight.
Each review is to split into three key areas:
When it comes to Douglas Commercial Aircraft then Aeroclassics is rarely beaten. They have the best DC-4, DC-6, DC-7, DC-9-30, DC-9-40, DC-9-50, DC-10s and DC-8s. Even better they have an impressive collection of DC-8 versions covering the early turbojet water wagons through to the series 50s and beyond. This includes both the stretch Douglas DC-8-61 and DC-8-63 variants, but sadly not to date the re-engined 71s and 73s.
The DC-8s are excellent but admittedly have little competition, with Gemini Jets the only other having touched the DC-8 in 400 scale to date. To be fair the old Gemini mould is perfectly respectable but shows its age with simple gear, thick wings and a slightly chunky nose. Given the impressive form of the Aeroclassics Eights there is really no need for anyone else to bother with a new DC-8 anyway. This is in fact Aeroclassics 2nd DC-8-61/63 mould, debuting in 2008, and is a significant improvement on the 2004 original version.
The fuselage and tail shape of the newer Aeroclassics mould is spot on. The nose intakes are a little hidden by the paintwork but are moulded in. Also moulded in nicely is the rear tail bumper, all important when you have such an incredibly long fuselage.
The undercarriage of the mould is also superb with a well sized nosegear door set (unlike the updated Gemini mould) and well detailed and suitably slight gear legs. The tyres and wheelhubs are simply rubber rings on spigots but with the DC-8 it makes very little difference given the size of the gear.
The wings and engines are another strongpoint. They are accurate and nicely detailed plus Aeroclassics has different sets for the DC-8-61 and DC-8-62/63, which do not share the same pylon / wing join structure. The DC-8-62 was updated with a streamlined pylon that did not go above the wing leading edge and the same improved design was fitted to the series 63 also. Gemini Jets never bothered with the series 62 or 63 variants.
The wing seam on the mould is less obvious than on the smaller DC-8s and even less of an issue since it fits well and follows the correct contours of the fairing anyway. The Stretch-8 can look a little ungainly with such a narrow fuselage and long body, however this mould shows off its characters almost perfectly. It is one of the finest moulds in 1/400 scale.
The only improvements worth doing if there were a new DC-8 mould would be the removal of the seam and addition of aerials. It isn't worth it when this mould exists and Aeroclassics won't be updating those things.
SCORE - 9
PAINT & LIVERY
This livery screams the 1970s with its bold red and gold striping, but it doesn't look like it was actually introduced until around 1977. It lasted until around 1987 when a modern eurowhite scheme was trialled with a new W logo and billboard titles.
This frame was with World from April 1973 until February 1982 so only wore this scheme for the last few years of its time with them, when it was leased out to Garuda and Air Algerie for periods. There is a very nice shot on Wikipedia from October 1981:
The bright red and gold look great on the model. In extreme close-up the gold is a little glittery but it adds to the sparkle the scheme had anyway. This livery still has the classic globe and swoosh logo and Aeroclassics have done a lovely job of that too.
They have even managed to get the lines correctly in synch where the scheme transfers from tail to fuselage, something that they haven't always got correct with this sort of livery.
The cheatlines are well positioned and the main titles are placed correctly and use the right typeface. Forward there is the golden globe with WORLD titles in it in white. Kudos to Aeroclassics, even under magnification this looks good.
Overall I can't fault this livery rendition - it is very well done. No mistakes I can see anywhere.
SCORE - 10
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
Printing detail on Aeroclassics models is straight forward and no fuss, which means that sometimes details are a little sparse. This can be more of an issue with newer types but rarely has an impact on older ones like this DC-8. On the DC-8s Aeroclassics doesn't print where the mould has detailing already - such as maingear doors and the rudder. This can mean that paint can obscure some of that mould detailing.
The printing on this model is good across the board and thankfully they haven't forgotten the large side cargo door. I'd perhaps like a little more panel line detailing on the engines and the nose intakes to be highlighted more but they aren't biggies.
One area that hasn't been painted at all is the engine intakes. The mould has great fan detailing but it is all in neutral unpainted plastic. Build quality is fine and there are no problems with it.
SCORE - 8
As I said at the start of this review Aeroclassics Douglas models are some of their finest and this model scores one of the higher totals for an Aeroclassics model I have reviewed in some time. I still buy a lot of Aeroclassics and they produce many fine models, however it isn't always the case they get them up to this standard. I know there are issues with the factory and AK getting access to China but those issues don't look like they are going to change anytime soon so although there is excellence to be had with Aeroclassics checking out the release photos matters.
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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