Before I get into the wishlist I wanted to talk about variants. As with most Soviet era types there are a myriad of variants of the Tu-134 (Nato codename 'Crusty') many of which are for military use and some of which are just plain bizarre. This review will focus on civilian airline variants most of which share the same basic body plan. The original Tu-134 'sans suffix' was shorter, had different maingear spacing and no thrust reversers but was produced in only small numbers.
It is the Tu-134A and Tu-134B that were the major variants. Outwardly they are similar except the original A's came with a navigator position, glass radome and chin radar. It isn't true however that all Tu-134As had the glass nose as 34 Tu-134As and 6 Tu-134A-1s were made with the radar nose. These are the two moulds that Panda has to operate with:
Tu-134A/B with Grozna M134 Radar
This visual difference between variants means that many airline liveries can be made for both types. In this review I'll distinguish between the two not by types but by nose configuration. I won't always put images of both types in where the liveries are the same. To make it obvious I'll use this indicator (in this case both variants are valid obviously):
Obviously the Soviet flag carrier has to come first and the Tu-134 operated with them in a few schemes. Panda has obviously already done the delivery scheme. Aeroflot was at first not keen on the radar nosed aircraft but did operate a decent number of Tu-134Bs. The 'new' post Soviet Aeroflot actually never operated many Tu-134s, about 17 or so (some glazed and some solid nosed), but they continued in service long enough to get the 2003 silver scheme.
Incidentally the Tu-134As never wore the scheme applied to the original Tu-134 'sans siffix' versions with the wavy flag and flag pole.
The Tu-134 saw extensive service in Warsaw Pact countries aside from Romania. It was these airlines that forced the radar nosed variant on Tupolev.
âCSA - OK JET
CSA was always something of a trendsetter and only operated the radar nosed version of the Tu-134A and never the glazed version. There were at least three liveries used over the years.
âLOT - Polskie Linie Lotnicze
The Polish flag carrier operated a few Tu-134 'sans suffix' and a small fleet of Tu-134As with glazed noses. Only two ex-Polish Air Force Tu-134AKs with solid noses were operated.
Balkan was actually the first foreign operator of the Tu-134 receiving 6 Tu-134 'sans suffix' versions. They acquired a single glazed nose Tu-134A from the Air Force in 1974 and a glazed nose Tu-134AK in 1978 from the same source. Five further solid nose Tu-134As and AKs filled out the fleet.
Interflug was the largest foreign operator of the Tu-134 with 39 purchased in total, although only 29 served with the airline and the other 10 were Air Force.
Early scheme - silver belly and logo near nose. Note also the old DM rego prefix.
Below is the later version of the livery. Grey belly and no logo on nose. Note DDR rego prefix.
The last changes - white nosecone and D- rego prefix:
The Hungarian flag carrier was another major Tu-134 operator with 13 on strength, of different variants.
Rest Of World - Not ex-Soviet
This Yugoslav charter airline was a major Tu-134 operator and responsible for several versions and innovations of the type. They did operate a pair of original Tu-134 'sans suffix' but all the A's had radar noses.
âHang Khong Vietnam / Vietnam Airlines
âGreenair - Turkey
The Baltic States
This airline had several variations of the same scheme with different arrangements of the same colours.
There have been lots of Russian Tu-134 operators but only the most important are listed here.
âAHY Azerbaijan Airlines
Kazakhstan Airlines / Kazair
So there we have it a pretty extensive list of Tu-134s (well over 60) just begging to get made in 400 scale. With this bunch you could make an awesome diorama of Domodedovo or Pulkovo airports! I have organised them in order of sales value i.e.:
I think that there is decent sales potential in a lot of them and frankly if you're going to make a Tu-134 mould and not use it then WTF are you doing? Big thanks go to the wonderful book by Dmitry Komissarov, which made my work here much easier. Go get it now! After that just sit back and wait for a flood of Crustys!
I'm Richard Stretton, an aviation enthusiast and major collector of 400 scale model aircraft. This blog discusses ongoing events in the world of 400 scale.
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