Some things in 400 scale are depressingly predictable. No sooner does a manufacturer come out with a new mould then other brands attempt to flood the market with as many versions of the same aircraft as they can hoping to steal away sales. Competition is good but this is pretty damn cynical. So a few days after AV400 announce its first A380s both Phoenix and JC Wings announce a raft of their own.
Back in May when I spoke with AV400 regarding their A320 series moulds they also told me about some other news. AV400 have long been fans of modern widebodies and now along with their new 787 and A380 they are expanding their widebody line to include the A330-900 too. Additionally at the same time they are making some changes to their A330ceos also.
All of a sudden there is a lot going on in 400 scale and it seems rather incredible (and perhaps for some a little depressing) that less than a week after I announced NG Models new Airbus A320 family moulds that a short video leak has announced that Aviation400 has also built its own set of A320s. I've been in contact with AV400 and here's what I've learnt.
It's been a while since any new news of the Aviation400 Airbus A380 has sneaked out, in fact it was June when I reported on the resin sample. AV400 has however been busy behind the scenes, despite the impact of factory closures and Covid in China, and new images indicate the new mould is approaching completion and that it features a new novel feature - detachable landing gear.
Increasingly, and a little annoyingly, it seems 400 scale releases are being made for specific retailers in specific localities. Don't get me wrong it's great that people can get models made but it's a pain when they aren't well publicised and/or almost impossible to get hold of. Here's a quick roundup of some models you may have missed from this year made exclusively for markets in Asia.
It was only in December that I exclusively announced Aviation400's next new mould (the 787 series) but they are busy creating another new mould too, which has reached the resin sample stage. Yet again AV400's focus is on modern widebodies but this is one that hasn't got a huge amount of love in 400 scale to date - the Superjumbo A380.
Aviation400 have been widely praised for their releases and attention to detail. They have also shown a keen interest in modifying their existing moulds to make them better. Currently they have a very nice Boeing 777-300ER mould, which competes well against the JC Wings and Phoenix versions. One of the few criticisms to be levelled at it is the shape of the distinctive wedge tailcone and that is an area they are looking at modifying.
With 2020 behind us I thought I’d take a look back at the year in 400 scale that was and pick out some salient points for discussion. Obviously for most it was a year best forgotten but in 400 scale it was actually a superb year. In general, the scale seems vibrant and healthy with some excellent innovation and models being made. In part 1 I take a look at 3 of the major brands.
Aviation400 have been making some really high quality models for several years now. Over the past few months I've struck up a relationship with Aviation400 and my contact there has told me that they are nearing completion of their latest new mould in 400 scale. He has given me permission to show a few early photos of the sample mould. In this post I'll look back at AV400 and the what the new mould means for 400 scale.
March was the month level 4 lockdown began for New Zealand and there was further dislocation to the manufacturing of 1:400 scale, with most companies delaying new releases. Even so there are always older models to acquire and with my job holding on for the timebeing I was able to take advantage of some nice Aeroclassics sales.
Aviation400 has gained something of a reputation for long lead times with its releases, somewhat in the vain of JC Wings. It was last June that they announced a trio of military A330s seemingly suggesting that they would also be adding the extra elements to the models to make them realistic as tankers. It has been 10 months but the trio have just hit the shops alongside some more standard A350s and a 777. Have AV400 done what they said they would?
Aviation400 have been getting a bit of stick recently for the amount of time it is taking them to release models after announcement. I have had multiple people asking me if I know when various A350s will be released. They certainly haven’t been too quick, but at the same time they aren’t JC Wings slow either. Anyway, they have just cleared a big chunk of their backlog so here’s what’s now available.
No sooner than I have posted updates of the year so far for both Aviation400 and Panda Models then both of them announce their June models. Although they are both relatively small sets both contain some exciting models showing that even with an airframe as common as the A330 there is still gold to be mined in 1:400 scale.
Aviation400 are another of the newer enigmatic brands in 1:400 scale, although unlike NG Models, Panda Models and HYJLwings they have moved into the smaller scale from 1:200 (where they are Inflight). Like JC Wings their release announcements often do not parallel the actual releases, which can make discussing their models a bit challenging. Nonetheless they are regularly releasing Airbus widebodies and exploring new Boeing moulds as well.
It is now mid-February and with all the December releases (aside from the JC Wings ones obviously) arrived it is a good time to reflect on the year that was 2018 and what it meant for my collection. 2018 was an outstanding year for 1:400 Scale and certainly my pocket felt the pain of so many excellent releases but what was I buying and why?