There is simply nobody quite like Michael at Waffle Collectibles. He has an impressive ability to acquire collections and surplus models and a willingness to sell them on without the price gouging that comes via eBay. Just recently he acquired a collection of models lacking their original boxes and set about running a No-Box Collection Sale to the benefit of anyone lucky enough to catch it.
I generally like to avoid unboxed models, not least because transporting them is a problem, especially when they have to get from the USA to New Zealand; However, the chance to acquire some very rare and obscure models at prices ranging from $5-15 was amazing and frankly given that the models are displayed without their boxes why do I really care that they don’t come with the originals?
As per usual with a Waffle collection sale you have to be present at the right moment to secure the model you want but over a few days I was able to pick-up some real gems, none of which cost me more than $12. Most of the collection being put up was quite old and dated from the earlier days of 1:400. Certainly, the majority of the models I acquired were from 2003. This doesn’t necessarily say anything about the quality of the models but does often speak to their rarity, especially if they are Aeroclassics or Big Birds.
So what did I get? Tupolev TU-154s featured prominently – the cream of which are Interflug, Balkan Bulgarian and Egyptair examples (the former Phoenix and latter pair Aeroclassics). I have never seen the first pair for sale myself and certainly not for these prices. Also acquired were Vladivostok Avia and China Xinjiang examples.
Michael also had a few ‘scratch and dent’ models up – no doubt from them being stored without their original boxes. I managed to acquire a couple of BigBird 747s both for less than $10. The damage was relatively small (some nose rubbing and wingtip aerials snapped) – certainly nothing to stop them from being displayed with the rest of my collection. The ANA Mohican 747SR in particular is usually very expensive.
The rest of the haul was a selection of Dragon 747s, a Dragon 767-300, Golden Wings ERJ, Aeroclassics DC-3 and Gemini Concorde. All nice models. Now the question was would they survive the trip to NZ given their unboxed status. Considering the acquisition price, it was hardly a major risk. Then again, the TU-154s have quite high and delicate nosegears so there was definitely scope for damage.
My anxiety wasn’t helped as the parcel went walkies and spent at least a fortnight sitting somewhere in the Los Angeles area. It was easily beaten to NZ by another parcel from Waffle containing the new release Aeroclassics.
Finally, the USPS decided they had held onto the parcel long enough and, after releasing it, it reached Auckland a few days later. I was very pleased to see that each model was well packaged in its own cardboard box and wrapped in paper. In general, the models arrived well with just breakages to a couple of them. The worst was a broken wing and stabilizer on the Canadian ‘Proud Wings’ 747 but after a spot of glue it doesn’t look too bad. The other damage was to the Balkan TU-154, but after some glue to the put the horizontal stabilizer back together the only damage visible is a nosewheel slightly bent backwards.
This minor damage was easily worth the purchase price of the models and I am super happy with being able to add them to the mass of my collection. Even more they open up several blog posts which I hope to deliver in the future – especially on the subject of Interflug’s and Egyptair’s TU-154s.
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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