When NG Models announced they were making new Tristar and 747SP it didn't take long for JC Wings to show interest in both types, after showing absolutely zero interest in them for years before. Now Aviation400 has announced its first A380s of course the same pattern has emerged, but not just from JC Wings, also from Phoenix.
This is competition and is fair, however what makes it a little naff is that obviously all the brands are hoping to claim the preorders and of course of the three only Phoenix regularly produce their models near the announcement dates. Given that both JC Wings and Phoenix are much better known brands than Aviation400 I can't help but feel this is something of a cynical ploy to prey on the naivety of many model collectors who don't know of Aviation400 or their new A380 mould.
Anyway the result is a sudden influx of new A380s no doubt designed to kill off the AV400 version before it gets started. Below is an overview of all the 18 releases that have been announced this week. It ignores the registrations but focusing on liveries you can see the duplication, and bear in mind neither Phoenix or JC Wings have made many A380s recently:
It wouldn't surprise me at all to see a Gemini Jets British Airways A380 this month also.
You could argue this state of affairs provides choice and is good for the collector but I don't really agree. In the short term this may be true but in the longer term if JC Wings and Phoenix succeed in damaging the profitability of the new AV400 mould then it will lead to less models from a vibrant competitor.
Comparing the moulds the JC Wings version is obviously inferior to the other pair by some margin. Alongside their extended release dates this should make the JC Wings offerings the least attractive of all of these. The Phoenix A380 is good but obviously the Aviation400 A380 appears to be excellent and is introducing new features to the type with navigation beacons and magnetic undercarriage.
As always I want collectors to make informed decisions and it is up to you what you buy, however I hope that collectors realise what is happening here and that Aviation400 have their A380s upcoming, which are all new and likely to add a level of quality not seen before for the type. Hopefully AV400 can get their A380s to market in good time.
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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