Now personally I wasn't a big fan of the movie 'The Force Awakens'. I mean it started well enough but the plot was full of contrivances and the whole thing was basically a massively inferior remake of the original. Plus how many bloody Death Stars do we need to see and let's face it Kylo Ren is about as threatening as a wet paper towel. Plus they abandoned the canon book trilogy with Admiral Thrawn, basically made the events of Jedi irrelevant and aren't ever going to bother explaining any of the inconsistencies. Rogue One is a massively superior film in every possible way, but I digress because I'm actually here to talk about the models.
So MachBirdz hey? Interesting name that. I am informed that MachBirdz is the in house name for MyHobbyHouse, which is how it has been used for both JC Wings and Phoenix because just a while ago JC Wings released a couple of Singapore A310s using this Machbirdz brand and now what is clearly Phoenix have gone and used the same name for these Star Wars models. I say Phoenix because they clearly are using the excellent Phoenix mouldings.
It was in June 2015 that All Nippon announced their deal to showcase the new movie with a five year "Star Wars Project" the first bit of which would be a new 787-9 in a special (and imaginative) R2 D2 livery. The aircraft, JA873A, entered service with its first flight between Tokyo and Vancouver in October 2015. Both Phoenix and JC Wings initially announced the version in 1/400 but soon 'cancelled' only for their models to turn up under the radar a few months later not using the manufacturers names. The Phoenix is far superior but both were going for silly money anyway, far above what is usual for a 1/400.
Following its debut a further pair of droid schemes were unveiled - a Boeing 777-300 (JA798A) in a BB-8 livery similar in style to the R2 D2 scheme and a mixed R2 D2 / BB-8 version in a more traditional style on a 767-300 (JA604A). All three aircraft were flying by March 2016. In addition to the unique paint schemes, ANA's "Star Wars Project” also includes movie-inspired images on headrest covers, paper napkins and cups onboard the Stars Wars aircraft.
As of December 2016 the MachBirdz releases of the other two aircraft have also slipped out onto the market. Both look fantastic aided by the wonderful Phoenix mouldings. They aren't cheap though going for Yuan 295-350 on the Skywings taobao store. Still it's a darn site cheaper than the original 787 release. As nice as they are they aren't a TWA Martin 2-0-2 or Boeing Stratoliner so they are outside of my collection criteria. Still I thought I'd mention them and share some photos I scalped from various sources.
Grab them whilst you can - they're sure to only go up in value!
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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