DT Custom Models - Tu-134s
Updated: July 2022
400 scale on the whole is very collegial and I have been lucky enough to become friends with some very gifted fellow collectors. One of these is Đặng Tùng, from Vietnam, who has recently been making an interesting range of 400 scale custom models. The focus of these has often been his home nation of Vietnam but just recently he had a brainwave.
Above: The Panda Models Tu-134 release Đặng Tùng has used as his donor model
Panda Models of course has an exceptional 400 scale mould for the Tupolev Tu-134 (see a detailed review of a release here) and both the glazed and unglazed nose versions of the aircraft as well. However despite there being massive potential for the type in 400 scale (see my Tu-134 wishlist here) Panda have proven very slow in releasing 134s. As of August 2022 they have only announced 8 models (and one of those uses the Tu-22 Backfire nosed Tu-134UB-L mould version). That is a poor outlay for a mould that was first released back in 2020.
Customising such a small mould isn't easy but Panda made it easier by releasing two models wearing the standard 1970s era Aeroflot scheme. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union a lot of new airlines began operations in Russia and the CIS states using Tu-134s and often wearing much of the old livery arrangement of the Aeroflot scheme still. Some 134s even got out into Southeast Asia and kept much of the same Aeroflot style livery. Đặng Tùng had the great idea of increasing the number of Tu-134 releases by making custom models using these examples that kept the traditional Aeroflot cheatlines.
Tùng was most interested in representing his home nation airlines, and both Hang Khong Viet Nam and its successor Vietnam Airlines used the Tu-134 - the former in a similar scheme to Aeroflot. Acquiring several examples of the Panda releases he set to work and produced his first version.
Next up he took on a Tu-134 from neighbouring Cambodia that served with Kampuchea Airlines. As a nation Cambodia hasn't been well represented in 400 scale, with just a single recent hybrid 737-200 from Aeroclassics. The result is another delightful example.
Next up Tùng researched other possibilities and we discussed together what there was that could be made. This resulted in a further three lovely customs but this time featuring airlines from either Russia or Belarus as follows:
Orenair was a major charter airline in Russia until its acquisition by Aeroflot in 2010 and merger into Rossiya. KD Avia was based in the European Russian enclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic coast until its bankruptcy in 2009. Lastly Belavia is the national carrier of the Russian backed dictatorship Belarus. As you can see I was lucky enough to be able to acquire copies of all 5 Tu-134s for my collection and they fill a gap in my fleet that is unlikely ever to be met by official releases.
In time I hope that several of these models will grace the avhistory blog on the site here.
It is also worth mentioning that these are far from the only customs that Tùng has made. Many of his customs are now visible as entries in the DiMA database courtesy of Waffle.