Comac ARJ21-700 Xianfeng in 1:200 Scale
Modified: November 2020
The Chinese market is huge and unsurprisingly Chinese manufacturers are keen to service it so although I suspect there'll be griping from Western collectors it is really little surprise that the Chinese home-grown aircraft are getting decent representation in both 1:400 and 1:200 scale. NG Models already have access to a decent little ARJ21 mould in 1:400 scale and now they have created a version in 1:200 as well.
The ARJ21 has had an extended development life-cycle and until recently it looked like it would be seen as largely a failure. You can never underestimate the perseverance of the Chinese system though, and with new orders appearing at the end of 2019 and production gearing up it looks like it might eventually be a mild success. I wrote about the Xianfeng (Flying Phoenix) way back in mid-2017 at a time when it's future appeared very much in the balance. For discussion of its development see my previous article:
The aircraft itself is clearly not technologically comparable to other types in its class and is regularly derided by Western aviation fans - especially model collectors. However to do so is to miss the point. The ARJ is an important stepping stone to more successful projects and considering its rocky development it is impressive that production continues and even ramps up.
Even if the sizeable orders placed by the big three state owned Chinese airlines are motivated by the Chinese government's command the aircraft will provide much experience in providing full manufacturing and in-service support. This will surely stand Chinese aviation in good stead in the years to come.
Comac ARJ21-700 Mould
The ARJ21 has a rather odd appearance due to its rather random collection of parts. The fuselage and nose clearly owe a debt to the Trunkliner programme and in these areas it looks like a small McDonnell Douglas MD-95/Boeing 717. The engines don't really suit the fuselage and the Antonov designed wing appears as if it is designed for a smaller, lighter aircraft.
What is immediately clear looking at this casting is that NG Models have not just up-scaled their 1:400 mould. This version has a lot more detail and accuracy to it than the mould NG inherited from Panda models in the smaller scale. Having said that the smaller mould is good, it is just this one is better. The shape of the nose and fuselage is excellent. The wing fairing joins to the wing beautifully.
The tailcone is a clear improvement over the 1:400 mould as the screwdriver tail is nicely squared off. The vertical stabiliser shape is accurate aside from at the top front edge, which I feel doesn't curve as much as it should.
The undercarriage is very nice and well scaled. My only criticism in this area is that the nosegear doors are too wide by a small amount.
The model's underside is excellent once again with the wheel-wells modelled in as on the smaller 1:400 version.
The engines are a particular triumph with the exhausts featuring the crenulated detailing at the exhaust.
All in all this looks like another nice new mould from NG Models. Considering the relatively small number of operators I think it is clear we can expect to see a similar release set to that produced on the 1:400s i.e. Air China, China Southern, Jiangxi Air, Genghis Khan Air, Chengdu Airlines etc. I'd have thought even many Western collectors will be seduced by one of the upcoming models.