Airbus A340-200/300 1:400 Scale New Mould Samples
Modified: September 2022
Ever since it was noticed that the plastic cradle for the NG Models A330 could also accommodate an A340 it was fairly certain that eventually NG would get to the four engine type too, but it has taken them a while since it was back in 2019 that their A330 first appeared. NG has shown that given time they will fill out even obscure members of aircraft families and despite there being reasonable competition for the type in 400 scale it has not been well covered in recent years. Considering the excellence of the NG A330s surely the A340 must be equally as good? Let's take a look at the samples and find out.
The Real Thing
The A340 was the first true Airbus long-hauler, back when the A330 was just a medium range people mover. It came in two original body lengths with the shorter series 200 having a considerable range advantage over the original series 300 by shrinking the fuselage a la the Tristar 500 and 747SP. Later versions of the A340-300 would close the range gap and render the series 200 obsolete. Both versions utilise the same engines (CFM56-5Cs), wing and triple main undercarriage. The central gear leg and four engines are the two main identifying features vis a vis the A330.
The shorter A340-200, above, is 59.39m (194ft 10in) long (slightly longer, by about 50cm, than the A330-200) while the A340-300, below, is 63.66m (208ft 10in) long (the same length as an A330-300).
Competing A340-200/300 Moulds in 400 Scale
There has been a decent selection of A340-200/300 moulds in 400 scale with 45 series 200s and 267 series 300s models made. Old, obsolescent moulds exist from Herpa/Hogan, Dragon Wings and Gemini Jets. There are 5 more modern moulds for the series 300, of which four remain active. These are from Aeroclassics, Aviation400, JC Wings / Gemini Jets and Phoenix. The 5th was the excellent Panda Models mould, which is no longer available.
Usage of the four extant moulds has been sporadic in the past few years, although Phoenix has been releasing quite a few recently and Aeroclassics has also made several this year. All four moulds are really rather good so, assuming they get used, the competition is strong. For the smaller series 200 only Aeroclassics and Phoenix have available moulds (Panda also had a version).
A340-200/300 Mould Samples
Unsurprisingly the new A340 castings share many similarities to the A330s but obviously they have the central maingear unit modelled in. As with the neos the nose, cockpit and nosegear are effectively identical and therefore excellent.
There's been some interesting discussion in the past few days related to vertical stabilisers on A330/340s and I thank Phantom for the following image illustrating the differences between the types, which previously I wasn't aware of.
In the images to the left we have:
A : A340-200, A340-300, A330-300 and A330-900
B : A330-200 (original)
C : A330-200 (post Mod 48979), A330-800, A340-500 and A340-600 (note that 345/346 rudders have a small recess for stab/elevator clearance in full deflection)
I hadn't noticed but upon measurement I can confirm that the tails of the A330neos are different heights on the NG samples. As follows:
A330-800 = 2.4cm high - (8.8m on image) should be 2.2cm
A330-900 = 2.25cm high - (8.3m on image) should be 2.07cm
A330-300 = 2.1cm high - (8.3m on image) should be 2.07cm
Those measurements suggest that NG have got the tail height incorrect on the A330-900 and should have just used the stab for the A330-300 mould.
This issue is replicated on the A340-200 and 300 both of which measure 2.25cm high. I'll ask NG to reuse their A330-300 tail.
It is only a couple of mm off but I appreciate collectors like Phantom who see details that I sometimes miss!
The relatively tiny engines of the A340 are a distinct difference to the modern massive high bypass fans that allow all current in production airliners to be twinjets. In general the shape of the pylons and engines is good. Perhaps the curve of the lower nacelle shape could be finessed a little. The engines are solid core - not even Phoenix attempts see-through fans on such a narrow engine.
Underside & Maingear
The maingear doesn't pivot, in keeping with recent practice. Of the competing A340 moulds only the JC Wings version does pivot.
It is also worth mentioning that the moulds don't have the trio of NACA air intakes sculpted into the underside. They are also not sculpted on to their A330-200/300 (but are present on the new A330-800/900 samples). They will instead be printed on. They are sculpted in to 3 of the 4 competing moulds - only Phoenix prints them.
NG Models Airbus A340-200
NG Models Airbus A340-300
The A340 is unlikely to be a major release market for NG but there are plenty of aircraft in need of a re-release and not a lot being made. The samples are clearly going to end up being strong contenders against the existing moulds but I admit of the A340s I own there aren't many I would consider need replacing. Even so, the creation of this mould fills another gap in the catalogue and is no doubt relatively cheap given the existing A330s. In terms of issues to fix the main one is the swapping of the vertical stabiliser for that of the A330-300 and it couldn't hurt to give the engine nacelles a second look over.