Firstly I want to separate the issue I'm discussing here from engine ground clearance. There is a long history of moulds in 400 scale with poor ground clearance for their engines - the Blue Box / Jet-X A310, the Phoenix A350, NG 777-300ER, JC Wings/Gemini A320NEO etc etc. However in these cases the engine clearance is usually related to the engines themselves, or the pylons that hang them from the wing. In those examples only the Jet-X A310 has too short undercarriage. It isn't alone - some other moulds have also had this issue (the Herpa Tristar 500 springs to mind) but it is certainly less common.
I can't think of another brand that has had the issue of too short undercarriage across so many moulds, and certainly not such recently created ones as JC has. It is quite obvious when you see the moulds and has been pointed out previously but so far JC have not taken any measures to modify these moulds. Which ones do I mean? Let's take a look:
The A330 is well known for having a slightly nose down stance and high undercarriage.
The JC Wings A330 has at best a level roofline and at worst one that slants down towards the rear - the opposite of the correct angle.
The difference between the JC mould and other A330s in 400 scale is stark as can be seen here when comparing to the Phoenix mould. The nosegear isn't so much the problem as the maingear, which is obviously too low:
Unsurprisingly the issue continues with the freighter version. The whole idea of adding the nosegear blister was to raise the nose to create a level back but obviously when you're mould already has an incorrect maingear height the result is the opposite of what was intended. It doesn't look as bad as it might because JC buries the nosegear door into the blister but still...
Regardless of whether you have an issue with the blister form on the Panda Models version, now used by NG Models, the nosegear height is better and can be so because the maingear height is correct to begin with.
The recent JC Wings 747-400 mould is excellent but has one achilles heel - the landing gear height, especially at the nose. It is substantially shorter than on any other 747-400 mould and is the only real shortcoming of what is otherwise an excellent edition:
Lockheed L-1011 Tristar
Just prior to NG Models producing their own Tristar JC came out with one of their own, which in its standard length version appeared to be a chimera of the old Gemini mould and the Witty Wings ones. It isn't all bad but the worst aspect of it is once again the landing gear height, which is way too short. In the below photos the JC Wings edition is on the left and the recent NG Models CX release is on the right:
I'm not trying to bash JC Wings - they are one of my favourite brands and make a lot of good models. However, modifying the landing gear of a mould should be one of the easiest changes that can be made, especially if it is just a case of making a gear leg a mm or so taller. All four of these moulds could do with the gear being lengthened and this is not a new problem. For the A330s and L-1011s it is enough of a problem for me that I don't buy them if I can avoid it. For the 747-400 it is the only real issue impacting an otherwise world-beating mould. Other moulds in the JC catalogue, such as the 777s and 787s, don't have this issue but I can't think of another brand that has 4 moulds all with too short landing gear. JC Wings - please take a look and modify accordingly.
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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