For my series on underused moulds see:
The rules this time around are that the aircraft type:
As with my previous list I am trying to look at a list in some kind of priority order and therefore moulds for worthy but rare types, like the Breguet Deux-Ponts or Dassault Mercure, are not going to feature highly. Don't get me wrong I'd like to see those but ideally I'm trying to illustrate the potential for the mainstream manufacturers who are unlikely to produce a Nord 262 (wow the French have a lot of these).
The order is determined by a rough comparison of ease of mould creation (sometimes parts of other moulds can be reused), my opinion on sales potential, importance of the aircraft and how many models that could be made.
Here are some types that accordingly didn't make it into the top 22 for me:
Some aircraft, like the Dornier Do 228, Beech 1900D and Jetstream 31, I consider to be just too small for 1/400 outside of 3D printing.
So in part 1 of 2 I'll take a look at my numbers 22-10 which are as follows:
22. Vickers VC.1 Viking
21. Tupolev TU-114
20. Airspeed Ambassador
19. Antonov 24
18. Yakovlev Yak-42
17. Avro York
16. Tupolev TU-204
15. Boeing 737-600
14. Shorts 330
13. Tupolev TU-104
12. Sukhoi Superjet 100
NOTE: The manufacturer in brackets is my most likely pick for making the type.
22. Vickers VC.1 Viking (Aeroclassics)
The flying cigar was an important intermediate type in the immediate postwar years between the DC-3 and the Viscount with 163 built. That may seem like a small number but in the late 1940s that's a very good total. As you'd expect BEA was by far the largest civilian user and they passed their fleet on to a selection of secondary operators and they were seen well into the 1960s.
In 1/400 its heavily British userbase means that is is unlikely to see the light of day, however we've got a C-46 from Aeroclassics, which had, I think, less civilian operators using it. Plus the Viking was used in a surprisingly wide range of countries from Argentina to India. Looking at the British operators I think the following are most plausible:
21. Tupolev TU-114 (Herpa)
It's large, it's got huge historical value and it has that wow factor going for it but the mighty Tupolev TU-114 is still very unlikely to appear in 1/400 scale. For one thing it is a very complex aircraft and the landing gear especially is super difficult. Imagine the issues that there'd be with broken landing gear! In fact they'd probably have to box the gear seperately. The other issue it has is the lack of liveries, then again Herpa has shown a willingness to go for these ultra-rare types and has form considering its TU-144. Plus it already has a 1/500 mould, though admittedly I doubt they could scale it up into 1/400. It looks like there are at least three Aeroflot liveries possible plus the joint Aeroflot/JAL colours. It could happen, but I'm not holding my breath.
20. Airspeed Ambassador (Aeroclassics)
The Ambassador was hardly the success Airspeed wanted it to be, with only 23 aircraft built, but nonetheless it was a distinctive and quite attractive propliner (from the air anyway) that was a major component of BEA's fleet. It also saw foreign service in both Switzerland and Australia. There's only a small sample of airlines that could be made but a man can dream can't he?
19. Antonov 24 / Xian Y-7 (Aeroclassics or Panda Models)
The Coke was hardly the most attractive of aircraft but saw an impressive production run of over 1,300 aircraft, including licence production in China as the Y-7. They have been used globally but often for smaller airlines or military customers. Even so most of the Chinese airlines of the 1990s have used one or both of the AN-24 and Y-7 so there is decent Chinese sales potential, whilst most Eastern Bloc airlines also used the type. Here are some I think could sell pretty well:
Within China as the Y-7:
18. Yakovlev Yak-42 (Anyone who can get the Seagull mould)
The tri-jet Yak-42 actually has a 1/400 mould made by Seagull and it looked ok, but where are they and where it is who knows? As far as I know only two models were made and one of those was an effectively all white Avioimpex. It seems printing was a major issue for them. Anyway the 'Clobber' is another distinctive and interesting type that deserves a run out in 1/400 even though only 185 aircraft were built. I admit some of the operators are a little obscure but if someone could find the Seagull mould and use it properly with a decent finish?
17. Avro York (Aeroclassics)
The Avro York is one of those classic British aircraft that survived well beyond its obsolescence and was a regular feature at UK airports well into the 1960s. Famously boxy and derived from the Lancaster bomber the York hardly compared to the sleek DC-4 but in hard pressed postwar Britain 259 were built. We really need some aircraft that illustrate the UK civil scene after the Second World War and the York is a really recognisable piece of that history. Big users included:
The York was also historically important in RAF service as part of the Berlin Airlift so there's decent opportunity there too. It also saw service abroad in Argentina, Canada, Iran, Lebanon and South Africa. I'd love to see some more tail draggers in 1/400.
16. Tupolev TU-204-100/TU-214 (Herpa or Phoenix)
You could argue that Phoenix have already made a TU-204 by trying to make an A321 but that'd be mean! Anyway the Soviet 757ski is a nice type that has had 82 aircraft made. There haven't been loads of operators but there have been a few and it is still in use in Russia and technically still in production. If we can have a IL-96, which looks like it sold well, then I don't see why we can't have a TU-204 as well.
15. Boeing 737-600 (JC Wings or Panda)
There aren't many modern moulds of mainline aircraft that haven't been made already and indeed there is a 737-600 in existence, however it is a) by Herpa, so will never get used, and b) awful. The smallest Next-Generation Boeing was hardy a sales success but it did help Boeing win some sales from Douglas by enabling commonality with the larger 737 family. SAS I believe bought it rather than the MD-95. Even though only 69 were built the series 600 was used by a selection of major airlines, including some from the sales mecca of China. I'd say in rough order of sales potential the possibilities look like this:
14. Shorts 330 (JC Wings)
The Shorts 360 featured in the underused blog post and in my mould review for that type I also muse at the possibilities for its older brother the Shorts 330, which of course sold well commercially and made it into USAF service as the Sherpa. It can't be that much work for JC Wings to modify their 360 and make a 330, can it? Perhaps I should let them concentrate on all the missing 360s first?
13. Tupolev TU-104 (Herpa)
The second jetliner in service and the first to see prolonged operation and yet no model in 1/400 scale and in fact only 5 models made in any scale. Bizarre. I guess one of the big issues is that only 2 airlines operated the type - Aeroflot and CSA. Herpa don't seem to mind producing obscure moulds and using them infrequently so I guess they are the only likely manufacturer of one of the world's most important jetliners. Alternatively you could try for a 1/400 version done by 3D printing via Shapeways:
12. Sukhoi Superjet 100 (JC Wings or Herpa)
There's definitely some anti-Russian feeling amongst the manufacturers and the absence of an SSJ mould when we already have two manufacturers using a C Series mould is puzzling. It's not as though the SSJ hasn't made some sales outside Russia either. So far 130 have been built and the type is in service or has served with the following airlines:
Now I admit that some of these types have limited potential and are pretty unlikely (then again I never expected a C-46 or L-1649 either). Anyway numbers 1-11 are a lot more sales friendly so we'll take a look at those in part 2.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of 1/400 scale model aircraft and airports. This blog reports work on my model airport dioramas and discussion of the model manufacturers output.