There have been two changes for Panda this year. The first is a relationship with the Indonesian store Airshop Diecast which has seen them produce a range of Indonesian models often made exclusively for the Indonesian market and impossible (or at least very hard) to find, even on Taobao. In June for example the entire release was of Indonesian models (5 Garuda/Citilink 737-300s and a pair of Tiger Mandala A320s).
Chinese & Germans
The other trend has been a breakout into European aircraft spearheaded by their second collection of Easyjets. Like HYJLwings they also have a fascination with Lufthansa. Neither of these markets particularly excite me since my collection is either focused on modern Chinese or global classics.
July and August brought the more traditional backlog of recent Chinese deliveries, plus more Lufthansa. Panda has excellent A320neo and 737 MAX-8 moulds and continues to cover aircraft as they arrive. This includes MAXs from Xiamen Airlines and a forthcoming release for Shenzhen Airlines.
China Eastern continues to get impressive coverage with a pair of old colours A319s and now a pair of A320neos as well. Note that the nosegear has been increased in size across the A320 family. Further NEOs cover Shenzhen Airlines and Lufthansa. The latter also gained an A320ceo in July as well.
Two special schemes were made in July on 737s – a World Cup scheme on a rare G reg 737-300 of Titan Airways and the Expo 2019 colours on an Air China 737-800. I have recently reviewed the latter in detail.
Probably the most exciting releases for many, though not me, are a quartet of European A340-300s two each for SAS and Swiss. The Panda A340 is excellent and given the paucity of material for Chinese releases (although where is the China Southwest example?) it was probably inevitable that Panda would have to diversify elsewhere.
Even so this is hardly new territory and exactly the reason why I questioned the need for an A340 from them at all. The Swiss A340 has already been made by Aeroclassics, Phoenix and Dragon Wings whilst the SAS A340 has been done by Aeroclassics, Phoenix and JC Wings. Even if these are the best yet are they really needed?
Panda continue to make good quality models on good moulds, however I admit to not being overly excited by the recent batches when compared to what NG Models and HYJLwings have been doing. Also, their complete silence is in stark contrast to the friendly and approachable face that NG have been showing. Then again perhaps it’s just as well Panda are moving away from my criterion as otherwise I’d probably bankrupt myself.
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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