For more detail about the moulds available I suggest you go to my mould reviews area for a comprehensive review of the different aircraft types.
Now you might think that this blog post is just my personal opinion and to a degree it is, but largely it isn’t and this is why:
So though you might disagree with my opinions you’ll have to work hard to discredit them.
By the way asking ‘Who makes the best 1/400 models?’, which I also often hear asked, is a bit of a silly question. Quality of releases, even from the same manufacturer, can be highly variable; whereas all the manufacturers have moulds which are less good and moulds which are excellent. Lastly colour and detail is also up and down. I would strongly suggest that instead of asking such a generic question that instead you pick and choose the better moulds for the different manufacturers - when you have a choice that is, which often times you don't.
I am not taking into account here QC (which blights all the manufacturers to some degree), colours or research mistakes. In addition having rolling gears or aerials doesn’t immediately elevate a mould above one with static gears and no aerials if the mould itself is inferior. If it doesn’t look like the aircraft it's supposed to be it ain’t a winner in my book.
I have chosen only one mould as the best for any given type. This may introduce some contention but hey you've got to put an opinion out there. As I said these answers are based not just on my opinion but that of a cross section of collectors.
Nothing in this list disqualifies many of the other moulds, which are often nearly as good or sometimes too close to call. An example of this is the Phoenix and Aeroclassics A330s where preference is very much in the eye of the beholder. So don’t let this list control your purchasing – just use it as a guide and a bit of fun!
I have also mentioned where there is competition between moulds. Where there isn’t the existing mould has to be the ‘best’ even if it isn’t very good. That is just the way it has to be. So let’s see who has the best moulds in total and where there is competition for the largest manufacturer of jet aircraft - Boeing.
Phoenix rule the newer Boeing widebodies (excepting the 747-8), though they are given very strong competition by the Gemini / JC Wings and Witty 787s. Nobody argues that the Phoenix 777s aren't the best by some distance.
The spread of manufacturers for Boeing types is quite wide, however it is interesting that for a manufacturer of their stature Gemini do relatively poorly. Most of their wins come in categories with limited front line competition (i.e they are mainly competing with old Dragon moulds in the 734, 735, 753 and against Witty for the 739). Aeroclassics has chosen to ignore the more modern Boeing types leaving it to be a 2 way competition between the combined Gemini / JC Wings mould sharing association and Phoenix. Where Aeroclassics has a plane in the race it usually wins (exceptions are the 727-200 and 707-100 (where they use their 720 mould)).
In part 2 we'll look at Douglas and the other New World aircraft manufacturers.
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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