There were only 75 MD-87s built but if you lived in Europe the type was a common visitor to most major airports courtesy of being a member of the fleet of a lot of existing MD-80 operators. With literally a handful of MD-87s made in â400 scale to date there is lots of potential for the type even with its limited production run.
In part 1 I looked at the possibilities for MD-80s for the Americas but of course the type has been used widely in the rest of the world also. In fact, arguably the 80 was more representative of Europe than the US and certainly there was a massive diversity of Mad Dogs in the EU. So here we take a trip around Europe, Asia, Oceania and Africa on the lookout for MD-80 options.
The MD-80 has not had a lot of love in 400 scale. There have been over 100 made, albeit that isn't 100 individual liveries and the moulds are all obsolescent or just not very good. In fact, the range of schemes that has been made has been low because there have been multiples of the same scheme quite a bit. There are literally tons of MD-80s that deserve to get made so here in part 1 I take a look at just those from the Americas.
I try and keep an eye on what's going on across 400 scale, which can be difficult with the proliferation of retailer driven exclusives. Panda Models have been at the forefront of this movement and there are three more recently announced releases to discuss. Two are from my friends at Airshop Diecast and the third is the first model for a South American retailer.
There have been a significant number of A340s made in 400 scale to date (267 series 300s and 45 series 200s) but that doesn't necessarily mean the type has great coverage. Although there are plenty of decent existing A340 moulds they don't get used a lot and there is still a good range of A340s that have either never been made or haven't been made on a good mould. Hopefully NG will produce some of this pool of options and here's a wishlist to point them in the right direction.
It can be a challenge to keep up with some of the more obscure under the radar releases that often barely get outside of China, so I want to thank some of my friends for alerting me to a selection of new releases that have recently been announced. They include a selection of Chinese airlines from HYJLwings and Panda but also something for Canadian fans and a classic from Yu ModeL. Read on for the details...
Even though the 757-300 only sold 55 units to 7 customers it has recorded a strong service record and worn a surprisingly high number of liveries. Here I've found 40 possible 757-300s that can be made, of which so far only 16 have been produced on existing moulds. Will the 753 get a renaissance in 400 scale in 2023? Maybe...
Phoenix have a strong following, especially in Asia, but have been losing ground in recent years to NG Models especially, but also to Aviation400, JC Wings and Panda Models too. One of the reasons for this has been their aging mould catalogue, which has largely been superseded by others. It had seemed like Phoenix was asleep at the wheel but it appears they have been jolted into action and fixed one of the most obvious mould issues they have had.
JC Wings has some exquisite moulds in its catalogue and has spent the past few years making some really nice new examples, to be used by itself and production partner Gemini Jets. Unfortunately, several 'recent' JC moulds also suffer from an issue that although easily resolvable has not been modified. It is an issue no other brand suffers from to the same extent - short undercarriage.
It may be the case that retro-airliners don't sell well but that's not going to stop me advocating for the history of aviation to be represented in 400 scale. Obviously when you're talking Comets it has to be Aeroclassics. The mould hasn't been used for over a decade but there are still some nice schemes that remain unmade, even Comet 4s that fit the mould's proportions. I wonder if we'll ever see them?
I have been lucky to mainly be able to source display cabinets from ex-retail stock, however in the new setup there is a single Detolf Ikea display cabinet present. The Detolfs, from Ikea, are a cheap and attractive option but also have serious limitations for displaying model aircraft, however it seems there are cheap options to dramatically increase their usefulness.
JC Wings has a variety of excellent moulds that barely get any use. A good deal of the blame for this can be laid at the door of their production partner Gemini Jets who I have heard block a lot of releases, however with Yu ModeLs producing an IL-86 on the JC mould soon there is hope we might get to see more of the big Russian Airbus.
Yu ModeLs appear to be ramping up their production somewhat with their A300 now out, the first image of the new Il-86 emerging and four other releases in the pipeline. All of these are Chinese subjects and the models can still at present only be purchased through Taobao, however the subject matter is a lot more interesting than the majority of 400 scale model releases.
I admit I can't quite get a handle on Panda Models release schedule, which seems often rather random. Certainly they are still making almost as many models for exclusives for retailers as they are for themselves. However, they have just announced their next batch of 6 models bringing their 2022 announcements to 17.
HYJLwings have been back on the scene for a couple of years now and slipping out limited edition models of mainly Chinese airliners using their A321 mould and various NG Models moulds. However the company has a strong connection to Canada and so it isn't just Chinese airliners they make as the latest releases illustrate. Read on...
Thanks to my friend Đặng Tùng for alerting me to these releases.