The Boeing 757 is one of my all time favourite aircraft and so I was thrilled when NG Models appeared in early 2018 with a brand new and excellent 757 mould. The 757 has been the cornerstone of their production and, as of Mid-September 2021, they had made 157 models under their own brand name, as well as 15 for HYJL Wings and 2 for Dream Air. For a little while now I've been interested in how the usage of the 757 mould has changed over time so in this analysis I take a look at the usage it has received to date.
The inspiration for this review is two fold. Firstly, I'm obviously a nerd who spends too much time thinking about this kind of thing and secondly, I thought I'd noticed changes in the way the 757 has been used by NG Models recently and I wanted to see whether my thoughts (or bias) was backed up by the numbers.
This review follows on from my NG Models 757 Photo Gallery so if you haven't seen that go here:
What I've done in this review is go through all the 757s NG Models have made and split them out in a variety of ways to see what the numbers say. Am I overdoing it? Almost certainly, but you get to read the results for free so stop complaining!
One of the first things to point out is that the usage of the Boeing 757-200 mould by NG Models has decreased over time, which is no great surprise. When they began this was their only mould and as they have scaled up their mould catalogue it is only natural that the number of 757 releases has gone down year on year. Where there were 76 757s made in 2018 (including the 17 made for non-NG brands by NG) so far in 2021 there have been only 14. However, it is not the number of models I'm interested in as much as the diversity of them.
NOTE 1: I use the term classic to speak about 757s prior to 2000. These are not really classics in my opinion but I am obviously getting on in age!
NOTE 2: Aeroclassics has made a further 20 757s using the NG mould but as they were made separately to NG I will exclude them from this analysis.
NOTE 3: I have also excluded the 17 HYJL Wings and Dream Air models from the numbers below although I have mentioned them at times as they do have an impact on the analysis since they were made in the NG factory.
757 BY DECADE
First up I want to look at 757 production by era. For this I split the liveries represented into three categories. Firstly, 'classic' schemes worn prior to 2000, secondly, those liveries worn between 2000 and 2010 and thirdly, those worn after 2010 i.e. modern 757s. Obviously there is a little bleed across the decades at times but generally this method produces sound numbers, which look as follows:
Clearly the number of classic 757 releases as a proportion has decreased over time whereas the number of modern 757s has grown as a proportion of releases. In fact, modern 757s dating from after 2010 now make up a greater proportion than all 757s dating from earlier periods.
Why is this? I would say that it is partly because in their earlier days NG Models listened more to forum based collectors but since they have grown and expanded into other media platforms they engage more with younger collectors, often from outside traditional Western markets, who want more modern releases.
Personally I find it a little disappointing. NG are making a lot more modern aircraft than classics nowadays in general and the 757 is primarily a 'classic' aircraft. Or at least its heyday was in the 1980s-2010 and not afterwards. The airlines from this earlier period are not only more interesting but more important to avhistory in 757 colours. Then again I'm not expecting everyone to agree with me on this.
757 BY TYPE
The power, range and size of the 757 has made it a versatile platform capable of almost any type of operation. It has been at home running high frequency shuttle ops, sunseeking charters, mainline scheduled trunk routes, transatlantic schedules and almost everything in between. Outside of passenger ops it is an impressive cargo-hauler and has seen wide usage as a private or military aircraft. All of these have been represented by NG Models.
What is clear from the stats above is that at the same time as the proportion of 757 releases have decreased the proportion of freighter releases has increased substantially (even if the actual number of freighters hasn't increased much). In recent years there has also been an increase in the number of military 757s.
The 'other' category consists of house colours, private and testbed aircraft.
757 BY REGION
The 757 was especially heavily used in the USA, UK and China. It is no surprise then that releases have favoured these areas. 13 of the 15 HYJL Wings releases (not included in the stats below) are Chinese so take those into account and there were 22 Chinese 757s in 2018 and 4 other Asians (when you add the pair of HYJL Singapores and the two Dream Airs).
Once again the onus on 757 releases has shifted over the years although not because they have run out of UK and US 757s (there are very few Chinese ones left to make). The movement towards more modern and secondary operators means there are a lot more 757s being made for Asia. Even though the UK numbers still look good most of these have more recently been freighters too.
The data broadly supports what I had hypothesized was happening. There has been a shift towards modern freighter releases and away from core 757 operators. It is probably obvious by now that this is not to my taste although at the end of the day 'it is what it is'. I would obviously prefer that NG include more classic passenger 757s or even modern passenger airline 757s.
Back in March 2020 I produced a wishlist of over 90 757s that still needed to be made:
Of these models 9 have been made so far, whereas a significant number of 757s I didn't even know existed have been made. Tough shit I hear you say. Well yes it is, but this is my website so I can cry if I want to!
I am not asking for a really narrow range of models. There are entire regions that have not got any love to date such as Canada (at least 8 possibles), Russia (at least 10 possibles) and Africa (at least 8 possibles). It has been a long time since a new UK charter airline has been seen and there are many many old Gemini 757s still in need of replacement.
Anyway to sum up whether you agree with my point of view or not the numbers are interesting and they illustrate that NG has produced a high diversity of 757s to date. I hope that with the ever increasing number of NG moulds available that the number of 757s doesn't decrease further. There's a shit ton more that need to be produced!
I will end by thanking NG for producing such a great mould and a great range of 757s. Keep up the good work!
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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