Despite the complications thrown up by 2020 the world of 400 scale model aircraft continued on its way with barely a gap in releases and all the major brands survived the year. Nonetheless competition is clearly rising and how long can the marketplace sustain the addition of NG Models and Aviation400 along the incumbents? In part 2 I'll look at the year 2020 for the remaining four brands and look forward to what 2021 may hold.
The Chinese market often gets releases well before those of us in the West and looking around Chinese sellers can often turn up new information and releases that you might otherwise miss out on. Checking around the past few days has turned up just such releases and announcements from Panda Models, Dream Air and NG Models.
Given the number of models I own I really ought not to be starting new areas of the collection, but the post-deregulation period in developing nations has always been of real interest to me and Indonesia in particular is super interesting. In recent years there has been a nice selection of relatively obscure releases made, often in partnership with retailers, and even though I know I shouldn't have recently I started an Indonesian fleet too.
The Panda Models 737-300 mould (once used by Aeroclassics also) is massively under-used. Panda has shown some interest in it, most recently with some easyjet and Jet2 examples but frankly they could be a lot more active. There are many series 300s left to be made and most exciting of these for me are the European charter airlines that took people to the sun and snow during the 80s, 90s and, with LCCs, even into the 2000s.
November proved to be an expensive month with excellent release sets from my two go-to manufacturers in 1:400 scale: Aeroclassics and NG Models. In this post I'll take a look at what flew in to join the collection last month and offer some opinions about them.
The late 1980s and early 1990s are a curiously poorly represented period in 1:400 scale. NG Models has been making good use of its 757 to fill the gap but there are large numbers of MD-80s, early A320s and 737 classics that have been neglected. Panda already has an excellent 737-300 but hasn't been using it as much as I'd like. Now they are producing a series 400, which is a major gap in production. Here's a look at what they ought to make with the new casting.
There are currently more players in the 1:400 space than ever before and although some of the older manufacturers appear under some stress (mainly Phoenix) several of the others are still expanding. To that end two of the newcomers, NG and Panda, have both announced that they will be producing new moulds soon.
The A320 family is hardly under-represented in 1:400 scale. Even so most manufacturers are fixated on the now and looking back to the service entry of the original A320 is way outside their interest. That’s a shame as there are plenty of cool models that have not been made for A320s from 1987-1995.
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.
Panda Models have swung towards a European audience of late and post Chinese New Year their releases continue to be a mix of by now familiar airlines focusing on their Airbus mould catalogue. They have seemed content in 2019 to play second fiddle to NG Models but their models are still high-quality releases that are ticking the box for many, even if they have still not created a particularly viable distribution pathway for themselves.
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?
The Chinese New Year is almost upon us, which means there'll be a lot less models for a month or so until the whole of China gets back to work in March! In the meantime though Panda Models have not been sitting still and instead have released their December models and announced their batch for January, most of which are already on sale as well. Let's take a look.
Recently Panda Models have presumably leveraged their existing 737-700 mould to produce its shorter stablemate the series 600. The type was thoroughly unloved and therefore the number of operators of the type was limited. Panda have already made 5 737-600s covering SAS and Air China but there is a small group of further series 600s that can, and ought, to be made.
Panda Models are so obscure as a company that it is really hard to tell what is going on with them. This year they have been no way near as prolific as they were last and in fact for several months they don’t appear to have released any models at all. Nonetheless they are still developing new moulds and over the past few months there have been two new offerings announced, plus some interesting models.