You'd have to have been asleep for most of the year by now to have avoided the discussion that has been started by NG Models. They have been more proactive and friendly than any other 1:400 scale manufacturer and have firmly backed up their words with deeds. The effect on the 757 in this scale has been impressive. Not only have they created an excellent mould for the type but they have stimulated JC Wings/Gemini Jets to update their old mould and at the same time shared the NG 757 with Aeroclassics.
The result of all this activity is that the market is suddenly full of exceptional 757s covering a wide range of subjects (including often obscure hybrids). In 2019 it looks like it will be the Tristar that will be the next battleground and already Gemini are showing their intent to compete with a new Tristar 500.
Regardless of that, now we have six manufacturers regularly releasing 757s on two moulds it's probably worth taking a closer look. Out of interest these are the manufacturers that have been active with 757s recently:
NG Models Mould: NG Models, HYJLwings, Dream Air, Aeroclassics
Gemini Mould: Gemini Jets, JC Wings
To Replace or Not to Replace?
As an aside before we look at the two active moulds I suspect many people are asking the question as to whether they should replace their existing old Dragon, Gemini and Phoenix 757s where possible. My opinion is yes they should. I have already replaced the following:
A few photos will illustrate the gulf in class between the older moulds and new NG mould:
The old Gemini 757 is actually quite nice but in comparison to a 2018 mould struggles somewhat. The undercarriage is clearly the weakest point of the mould both at the nose and the maingear level.
The below Shanghai uses the same moulds as the China Southerns but were made for different manufacturers. The printing on the older Shanghai is actually good but the landing gear is clearly obsolete.
Things only got worse when Phoenix updated the Gemini 757 with new rolling gear. The result was an awful nosedown, huge tyre version that is easily beaten by the new NG mould.
In this review I'll only compare the two extant moulds.
NOSE / NOSEGEAR
Both of the moulds have good noses and the general shape of the fuselage of the old Gemini was never really an issue. The updated Gemini mould now has a much nicer gear leg and tyre but the tyre-hub on the NG mould is better and the complex shape of the gearleg forward just above it better also. Gemini has the two prongs but not the equipment atop them on its leg. The other issue with the Gemini nosegear is the gear doors, which are too far recessed into the fuselage and not large enough. The NG gearleg is good, albeit sometimes a little amorphous, and the geardoors very nice.
One area of the old mould that could not be improved for Gemini is the wingbox. The mould is still an older cradle type and although the seam is relatively discrete it means that the wing/join and contouring of the mould simply can't be replicated properly.
The maingear of the 757 is quite large and the new JC gear is pretty decent, however I'd argue the main tyres are still a bit too large and the vanilla tyre hubs rather stand out.
With an all new mould the NG wingjoin is essentially perfect. Especially nice is that the wing join seam correctly follows outside of the landing lights.
The maingear is very good and I think the tyres are a little better sized.
NG Models actually have engines for all 3 757 engine types whereas Gemini / JC Wings have the two most common engines. In this review I'll stick to the commonest engine the RB-211-535E.
Gemini's mould has poorly shaped engine pylons especially at the front, they are the wrong shape. The engines themselves seem quite good.
NG's engines are perhaps not quite the correct shape on the underside but the pylons are very good.
The rear fuselage of both moulds is very strong. The only difference is that the NG mould correctly replicates the rudder being free at its bottom margin whilst the Gemini tail is attached along its entire lower margin.
It is really little surprise that the NG Models 757 beats the Gemini / JC Wings updated mould on every count. That doesn't mean the Gemini is not worth buying but it does clearly illustrate which of the two you should be getting if there is direct competition. Aeroclassics examples on the mould obviously come without aerials but even then I'd prefer them to the current Gemini offering. Scores out of 30 are:
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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