Disclaimer: I have no affliation with JC Wings whatsoever. I'm just reporting the news as I see it.
I'm not sure what has been the driver behind the wholesale changes to JC Wings mould back catalogue as they already have the largest catalogue of available types, but it is good to see investment in this scale on this scale. Sometimes the changes have been limited to adding aerials to old Gemini moulds like the DC-8 (awful), 737-200 (obsolete) and Concorde but for more popular modern types replacements have been the order of the day.
It's not always been a success. Of the first batch of new replacement moulds the 737NGs had nose shape issues whilst both the 737s and A330s have had serious wing problems. This continues somewhat and may also have tainted the newish A321 mould too, however recent JC and Gemini 737s have been much better. It seems that the 737-800 mould has been massaged into shape. The 737-300 and 73G moulds still appear to leave a lot to be desired however. Check out my JC Wings 2016 review for more details.
Fortunately it looks like the most recent selection of new moulds has not repeated these problems and in photos at least they appear to be a winning selection. So much so that you could plausibly argue that JC now has the best A350, 747-8, 787 and 777-300ER moulds. Not only that but they've also been experimenting with flaps down models too.
In this post I want to just take a look at some of the new moulds as it seems some people are unaware of the changes JC Wings has been making. Photos are courtesy of JC Wings - like their Facebook page for more of this kind of thing.
Note that a lot of the models mentioned below have just been announced and are not yet actually available.
Three models have been announced on the new A330-200F mould, which looks pretty decent and judging by the photos doesn't suffer from the crazy wing issue of the main A330 mould. Unlike the Panda Models A330-200F the underchin bump is part of the mould, or at least seamlessly attached, however as with the parent A330 I do question the length of the undercarriage, which looks a little short. Even so this looks like a great mould.
A350-900 Flaps Down
JC Wings already had the best A350 mould and now they've created a flaps down version as well. Flaps down is an interesting new idea for this scale and whilst I don't see it ever being more than merely a sideline it's good to see new initiatives.
Creating a new mould for the newest version of the A350 is logical and yet JC Wings are the only people to have done it so far. The new mould looks really exceptionally good:
Boeing 787-8 and 787-9 New Mould and Flaps Down
JC Wings and Gemini 787s previously suffered in comparison to the Phoenix mould in having a 787 with a wing seam, but not anymore. There's a new mould in town for both the 8 and 9 versions with the 787-9 also having a flaps down version too. These look as good or better than the Phoenix mould, which is good news for Boeing fans everywhere.
For years now the cream of the crop of Phoenixes moulds has been its 777s and JC Wings 777s have suffered in reviews accordingly. JC Wings did update the landing gear of their old mould but only in 2017 have they finally stepped up their game with a new 777 mould. The mould is seamless and looks excellent. One of the few criticisms of the Phoenix mould has been engine size so it'll be interesting to see how this mould compares. Several models have been announced but so far none have been released, however it is as good as it appears to be I'll be in line for several of these.
Boeing 737 MAX 8
JC Wings still struggles somewhat with modern narrowbodies and I would still rather take the Aeroclassics A320 series over its new A320 mould. Panda have recently released a 737 MAX 8 and it has to be said that it is not only available but looks better than this new JC Wings MAX. Even so this mould isn't rubbish by any means. This is however yet another of JC Wings models, which has been incoming for ages now and yet to land.
As with the 737 MAX JC Wings' A320NEO is unlikely to be superior to Panda models already existing model. I assume it will be based upon JC's new A320 mould, which I've not seen in hand yet. Either way the JC NEO hasn't made it in front of a camera as of yet, however JC have announced 3 models to be released on it. Both of the airline versions have already been seen on Panda models.
Since JC Wings make the models for Gemini Jets you can expect to see most of these moulds appearing on new Geminis also. Adding these new moulds to a back catalogue, which already includes a great selection of regional jets, turboprops, MD-90, BAC One-Eleven 500, CV-580 plus the best 747-400 (in the form of the BigBird mould) makes a formidable player in this scale. JC's main competitor Phoenix meanwhile has rather struggled in recent times. They've ruined their 737NG mould, have an embarrassing 747-400, face competition from Panda for A330s and had major issues with their A350-900. In fact Phoenix only at present have real superiority in their 777s, and with the new JC mould that could be coming to an end too. Phoenix still have some great moulds, like the TU-154, but I do think they need to find a way to improve their output and differentiate themselves (hey they could use their TU-154!) if they are not to lose marketshare to JC Wings.
The only question remains when JC will actually release these moulds, as they continue to announce models often more than 6 months before they hit the shelves. Both JC Wings and Phoenix continue to have quality issues so on that front you very much take your chances with both of them. Nonetheless this massive investment in 1/400 is very promising and hopefully shows great things to come from JC Wings, and by extension Gemini Jets.
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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