February saw arrivals from only two manufacturers. I had hoped that I would acquire a couple of the February Gemini releases also but somehow that never happened. I am still planning on adding the Dan Air HS748 and Republic Convair but they may have to wait until I have a reason to order again. Maybe this month, or maybe not if my job doesn't hold out. Another box in the mail coming from China was delayed and so my February additions were limited to only JC Wings and Aeroclassics.
It is hard to keep track of JC Wings releases but pleasantly JC seem fit to sometimes send me some models to review and these four arrived. I never know what they might send so opening the box is a bit of a surprise and in this case a pleasant one.
I had not had the chance to review an updated JC Wings A350 so this model was particularly welcome. You can read the detailed review here:
The mould update is a significant improvement although the quality control on this model, and cockpit printing in general on JC A350s, leaves something to be desired.
The Embraer has also been reviewed and is a very nice example of the type I can highly recommend:
The Lion Air A330-900 and Singapore 747-400 will both likely also get full reviews in the coming weeks. I really appreciate getting the odd model from the manufacturers, but as I hope you can tell it doesn't impact the way I review the models.
February was the last month of Aeroclassics selling its models through the usual retailer network and so it was also my last package of them from Waffle. It was a bumper month in terms of variety and number if not in terms of quality. I acquired the following six models:
The box containing these models went walkies somewhere between Los Angeles and Auckland for a couple of weeks so I guess I should just be grateful that they turned up eventually. Still they cost me a pretty penny so I'd like to be able to expect some precision.
As is regularly the case they all look great from distance but in detail all have issues of either livery research or paint quality. The Ethiopian Cargo was a great example of this. I was convinced this was going to get a high score in a detailed review, but when I did the review the point deductions began to rack up:
I'm not sure Aeroclassics is ever really going to get to grips with the fundamental issues that cause these regular avoidable mistakes, but frankly I still want the models they are making so I guess I'll have to accept the errors where I can.
The Starliner with silver belly was a model I'd waited for for sometime and it would be perfect if it weren't for the sloppy white paint on the port-side. For some reason there is a clear line along the fuselage with the white above much brighter than that below. She still sits well with my other TWA piston-props but I can't say I'm thrilled by this:
Aeroclassics has been making quite a few models that can in theory replace older 1:400 versions in your fleet. The moulds are always superior but the finish isn't always so and I often find myself keeping the old model rather than selling it, partly due to the mistakes on the new version. This month's Western DC-10 isn't a bad model but I do wish they had not painted the tail silver, as has been mentioned by several others. Here it is compared to the older Gemini. Note that Gemini also use a dark blue while Aeroclassics just uses black. It is often hard to tell in photos but I'm told it ought to be blue:
Otherwise the model is a nice example and the AC DC-10 is better than the Gemini Jets. I have decided to keep both models.
The other models are all good but not quite reaching the peak of greatness too. The inability of Aeroclassics design staff to match up fuselage and tail lines when they cross is super annoying. We've already had several recent examples on DC-9s and now also we get it on the PLUNA 707:
The two recent PLUNAs have doubled my Uruguayan fleet to 4 and there will be one, or maybe two, blog articles on the airline coming soon:
The TAP Portugal 727-200 is a nice release, but as some have pointed out on the forums the uniform grey belly colour is not correct. Forward of the wings it should be natural metal:
If you can forgive this issue it displays nicely alongside my pair of earlier Aeroclassics TAP 737s:
Lastly there is the America West 737. This model sits well with my other Aeroclassics Cactus fleet members but not well with those from Gemini Jets. That is because AC uses a pure white base colour and Gemini's is much sandier. Photos can show both variants but I am told by many collectors it ought to be off-white and Gemini are closer to the mark.
So to wrap up February it was a little bit disappointing. I am rather over buying Aeroclassics models only to be forced to say 'it's a nice model, but...'. They can do better and with the skyrocketing prices and nosediving exchange rate they will have to if they want to survive. Fortunately the first month of buying from Aeroclassicsdirect.com has had better results, which we'll see in my March roundup.
March has also seen the arrival of a box from China with some Aviation400 contents, albeit not all recent releases, and a bumper set of older Aeroclassics. Whether I can keep buying 1:400s as I have done is open to question and like many of you no doubt the course of the next few weeks will have a major say on our future purchases, regardless of the quality of the models.
Keep safe everyone and drop me a comment about what you bought before Coronavirus got in the way!
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of 1/400 scale model aircraft and airports. This blog reports work on my model airport dioramas and discussion of the model manufacturers output.