An Introduction to Collecting 1:400 Scale Models
Welcome to the world of collecting 1:400 Scale model aircraft. This can be a complex and confusing field to get into if you want to understand what you are buying and the aim of this page is to help new collectors to get started in the hobby.
I have been a major collector in this scale for many years and write heavily on the topic but I am not suggesting you just listen to me. There are other sources you should keep abreast of too, but don’t listen to everyone. Not all opinions are equal and one of the key things to do is build an understanding of who to trust and who not to.
I often hear people say ‘buy what you like and like what you buy’. That is in my opinion only ok as long as you don’t care what you are buying. Subjectivity can only go so far. I want collectors to be informed and I want manufacturers to make better models. That isn’t going to happen if they put their fingers in their ears and go ‘la la la’.
Instead I’d suggest a better credo is ‘buy models using information that gives you enough of an understanding to make a good decision'. That is what this page and most of Yesterday’s Airlines is aiming to enable you to achieve.
Below are the answers to some common questions I see people asking and beneath those are resources you should be using.
There aren't many. Obviously I strongly suggest you have a look around this site. I write about a whole lot more on here but these two areas are good for starters.
I also write detailed model reviews at ModelAirliner.com and for many years Jon Champs also wrote reviews over at his site 1400 Reviews. I didn't always agree with him but his reviews were different to mine, interesting and knowledgeable. Sadly Jon no longer writes reviews:
I strongly suggest you sign-up to a couple of online forums. Yes, forums are a little old fashioned but they have been going for a long time and count a lot of knowledgeable collectors as members. They aren't perfect by any means but if you want expert information they are far far better than social media. They are also frequented by several of the manufacturers themselves (mainly Aeroclassics and NG Models). The two best forums are:
The only online database of models that is kept near to being up to date is the one at DiMA. It has 99% of all models ever made in most scales. If it isn't there it probably hasn't been made. Use it religiously:
Social media can be good but frankly a lot of what is said and shown is either inaccurate or just nonsense. Unless you trust the person's opinion then I wouldn't put much stock in things like polls online. From what I’ve seen a lot of collectors only know what they own and most think if they own it it must be great. This is not true.
Youtube is a really mixed bag. Honestly, I barely use it for 1:400. Unboxing videos are usually the worst kind of dross where nothing critical or interesting is said and the person usually doesn't know what they are on about. I have seen some embarrassing videos on Youtube from kids who know how to use a camera but don't know the basics about aviation or models. View with caution. Even so there are no doubt some valuable channels. Color Aviation produces a lot of videos albeit with no voiceovers, which is probably a godsend, and the visuals are nice.
Instagram, like Facebook, can be useful but as it is image focused the amount of detail and introspection is very limited. Most people on Facebook or Youtube are also on Instagram including myself: Yesterairlines
Having moaned about Social Media I have to say there are some decent Facebook Groups out there whose membership often includes many of the same users from forums. It is also a much more global platform than the forums. Try these groups: