My collection recently breached the 2,000 model mark and all of these are 1:400s save for a couple of 1:200 JC Wings Shorts 330s I picked up for $5 each. That doesn’t mean I am not tempted by the larger scale just that my collection is based upon variety and numbers. In 1:200 it is extremely difficult to accrue either to the degree I have in 1:400. The cost and postage expense of acquiring these models in USD and getting them to New Zealand would be astronomical (it’s bad enough in 1:400). Then I’d need the space to display them and that is just a non-starter.
Having said that, as with quite a few collectors whose collections I see, it is hard to avoid the temptation to dabble in the larger scale and there has been a spot crying out for a statement model to sit in it. Recently Waffle had a collection sale of 1:200s and one model jumped out at me, partly because it isn’t too heavy, even in 1:200, and partly because it is a favourite livery for me. Of course being a Waffle sale the price was also decent.
So my first jet 1:200 purchase is the Gemini Jets Alaska Airlines Boeing 727-90C N797AS in the Golden Nugget scheme, which was made in 2011. This is a model I actually own in 1:400 scale as I have the Aeroclassics version already, which was made all the way back in 2003.
Both models are really nice representations of the aircraft, which was Alaska’s first Boeing 727. Alaska was at the time a small territorial airline always on the verge of going out of business and trying to compete with the better run Pacific Northern. The deal to acquire the first 727s was famously signed by the drunk Charlie Willis on the t-shirt of the lawyer, acting for Boeing, whose apartment he was drinking at after a night out with the Boeing salesman Clancy Wilde.
This initial 'rough' but legally binding deal was formalised as a contract for 3 727s each with a cargo door allowing them to be converted between passenger and freight configuration. N797AS’ career with Alaska lasted for nearly twenty years - from delivery on October 27, 1966 until sale in December 1985. She crossed the border as C-FRST with Bradley Air Services (also their first 727) and was retired only in June 2000. She wasn’t broken up until November 2007 but the nose and gear apparently were saved.
The Gemini 1:200 mould is superb and I can’t really fault it. It comes with aerials, the tail skid, and steerable nosegear. These features are obviously lacking on the 1:400 example. There are some minor criticisms I can level at the colour of the fuselage roof aerial, colour of the nosegear wheelhub and the angle of the cockpit printing but overall this is a fine model.
The Aeroclassics model in 1:400 is also one of my favourites being a nice mould and great representation. Arguably Aeroclassics has done a better job on the cockpit placement.
So what does the future look like for my 1:200 collection? There really ought not to be one and I am definitely not planning on any further 1:200 scale models, although I should never say never.
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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