Chinese New Year is obviously a massive event for China and therefore also for the Chinese based manufacturers. To us in the West it mainly means major disruption to the monthly release schedules of the big brands but of course it really represents the beginning of the traditional Chinese calendar and starts on the new moon appearing between January 21 and February 20.
Associated with each Chinese New Year is an animal of the Chinese Zodiac, which runs on a 12 yearly cycle. Panda Models first appeared as a brand in 2015 and as I was interested in the mainly Chinese airliners they were using I was all over it and the controversy that their appearance also entailed. For more on the origins of Panda see my original articles here dating from May 2016:
For four years running from 2016-2019 Panda took the opportunity to release a special model for Chinese New Year advertising themselves and often also a scheme that related to the zodiac animal of that new year. Typically the model would use a new mould they had just brought to market.
The first model was a sharklet equipped A320ceo registered B-2016. I assume the rather odd tail logo is supposed to be a monkey (that year's zodiac animal) or perhaps it is just a weird panda?
2017 brought an attractive 737 MAX-8 with stylish 2017 titles doubling as a Rooster, that year's zodiac animal. Panda still has the best 737 MAX but sadly barely uses it.
2018 was 'Year of the Dog' so Panda made a blue ARJ21-700 with golden dog motif. Nowadays the ARJ21 mould is part of the NG Models stable and not Pandas.
The last of the CNY models to be made was in 2019 for 'Year of the Pig' and featured what was at the time Panda's latest mould the 737-600, which considering its stubbiness is perhaps rather fitting. As you can see the nosecone is the snout, complete with nostrils, there are two limbs on each side with trotters and a curly tail just beneath the vertical stabiliser:
As far as I am aware there have been no more CNY releases since 2019, probably partly due to the changes at Panda since then (it seems obvious there has been major change and possibly new owners but it is hard to say for certain). While usually not a model I would be interested in the acquisition of this model makes me interested to search out the other three and they are an interesting set of four.
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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