Checking the fleet history of American the model's 720 status seems to be confirmed as there was a Boeing 720 with that registration (MSN/LN 18037/220), however this aircraft (one of 25 720s delivered from July 1960) was sold in April 1963 so could never have worn the 1968 Red, White & Blue scheme.
So has Aeroclassics made a mistake? It would seem NOT. AC have on occasion used the 720 mould to represent a 707-100 (for which a real mould is sorely lacking except for Dragons) - see my mould review here. Look at American's 707-123 fleet and you see 25 turbojets were delivered before 1960, but 30 more turbofanned 707-123B examples arrived from May 1965. These included N7551A (MSN/LN 18883/422).
So is this release really a 707-123B - it would seem so and the model database I use is incorrect. But what about the missing HF aerial at the tail? The only 720s or 707s that I knew missing it were United's 720s.
Checking photos on Airliners.net and this frame appears as late as 1973 to still have the HF aerial but by 1976 it is gone:
Looking in the Airliners.net database it is interesting to see that there are 707-123s missing the HF aerial as early as 1971 and by 1978 it seems to be a 50:50 split between those that have it and those that don't. I wonder why they were removed from some frames but not others?
A quick websearch threw up the below thread with some info suggesting American uninstalled and reinstalled the HF aerials fairly randomly.
Additionally I've always found it interesting that both AA and TWA took 707-100s as late as they did (up to 1969). The type seems obsolete by then and AA was receiving 727s as early as 1964. Perhaps they were just old orders that had to be honoured or was there some performance imperative for taking a 707-100 over a 727-100? The passenger difference between the two was up to 50 and the range 400 nautical miles so I guess that may have been enough especially considering the larger 727-200s 100 nautical mile deficiency against the 707. It wasn't until the entrance of the 727-200Adv that the 707-100 could be beaten by a 727 properly.
Anyway this is the sort of interesting discovery that keeps me interested in the 1:400 collecting scene. The models are a great way to learn about the industry's history.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: