For part 1 of this series see:
For my sister series on underused moulds see:
The rules again one or more of the following must apply. The aircraft type:
Whereas the majority of the last part's aircraft were either British or Soviet in this part all but three are American, which goes someway alone to raise their profile and sales potential. Here is my top 10:
11. Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation (no radar)
10. Lockheed Tristar 500
09. Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia
08. McDonnell Douglas MD-87
07. Boeing 707-320/420
06. de Havilland Canada DHC-7
05. Martin 4-0-4
04. Boeing 720 (turbojet)
03. Tupolev TU-134
02. Boeing 707-120/220
01. Douglas DC-9-10
NOTE: The manufacturer in brackets is my most likely pick for making the type.
11. Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation (no radar) (Aeroclassics)
All early Super Connies up until the L-1049G came without weather radar. That's over 100 aircraft from a production run of 259. Dragon did make a radar-less short nose Super Connie, but used it only once, whilst Aeroclassics just ignored the rader and used their L-1049G mould to represent earlier versions. I guess that is a problem for any future models in terms of potential reduced sales, but not for me. Aside from one other type this is the most obvious missing piston-liner and the original Aeroclassics Super Connies are so rare that I expect re-releases on an accurate mould would go down a treat, especially if they came with GSE.
Plenty of potential models from major airlines like:
10. Lockheed Tristar 500 (JC Wings)
The short Tristar has had an even poorer run than the standard length variants in 1/400 scale. Dragon had a nice mould, Gemini tried a few early on in their history, BlueBox also had a go and Herpa's was a mess. Whether any of these moulds could be found nowadays is questionable and instead it'd be best for a new mould to be developed. If this could utilise the bones of the Witty Tristar 1 so much the better, although I suspect it's just as easy to make an all new mould. The Series 500 rounded off Tristar production, first flying in late 1978 and continuing being built until Tristar production ended in 1984. Even so it still accounted for 1/5th of the Tristars built - 50 aircraft in total. A good number of actual releases in this scale exist (59) and they may prove a stumbling block for new Tristar 500s, however the majority are on the sub-optimal slab-sided Blue Box mould and are very rare even if they can be sourced. As such most of the major airlines that used the Tristar 500 are still worthwhile options:
09. Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia (JC Wings / Gemini Jets)
I know that smaller types don't sell as well as larger ones but the Brasilia is one of the most important regional airliners of the 1980/90s, served well into the 2000s, sold over 350 examples and was used in the liveries of a lot of major US airlines. Even better a mould already exists for it in 1/200 scale so could theoretically be downsized relatively easily (I assume) into 1/400 scale. The 1/200 mould is part of the Gemini / JC Wings stable so accordingly you'd expect if anyone was going to go here it'd be them. The potential is there but I fear the capacity within JC Wings is not. That's a shame but still I think the EMB-120 gets into the top 10.
Here are some that could sell well:
08. McDonnell Douglas MD-87 (JC Wings)
The MD-87, much like the 737-600, suffers from not having many operators within the USA and this is no doubt a prime reason why it hasn't got a lot of love in 1/400. There have been moulds - two in fact but neither are still in circulation and I can't see Dragon finding theirs anytime soon. You might think that as we can barely get a standard MD-80 in 1/400 an MD-87 would be a stretch (pardon the reverse pun) but the 75 built saw service with a decent range of popular airlines so why the hell not? Especially when it really requires only the shortening of the existing Gemini MD-80 and usage of the MD-90 tail. C'mon anything is possible. Here are the airlines that would fill a void of European MD-87s from the 90s:
Plus a few from elsewhere:
07. Boeing 707-320/420 (Aeroclassics)
Aeroclassics have the most excellent Boeing 707-320B/C but it cannot pass for an original Boeing 707-300/400 which had a variety of differences relating to the wing shape, undercarriage and ventral tail fin not to mention the engines. They did make Boeing 707-320/420s back when they first started but the mould is showing its age and if they could instead use the 707-320B/C fuselage with the nosegear from the Boeing 720 they'd be halfway to a new 707-320/420. The thing is you assume Aeroclassics still have the design work for the originals so they could in theory just reuse that and produce the same 30 or so examples again but on a modern mould. Easy as.
06. de Havilland Canada DHC-7 (JC Wings)
The DHC-7 was a pioneering type well ahead of its time, which didn't get the sales it probably deserved but nonetheless paved the way for de Havilland Canada's move into the big time. It also found a successful niche most famously for several years as the only aircraft able to operate out of London City Airport.
Going for it in 1/400 are a selection of factors - it's large for a commuter, it operated in the colours of several well known majors (Air France, BA, SABENA), it's historically significant, it's not too old and best of all a perfectly good mould exists already albeit in 1/200 scale.
C'mon JC Wings a few DHC-7s would be very nice indeed. If Aeroclassics felt like getting in on the action then there are even plenty of Canadian, Israeli and Indonesian options for Andrew. I'm thinking:
05. Martin 4-0-4 (Aeroclassics)
The lack of a Martinliner in 1/400 leaves a gaping hole in any classic US airline fleet, not so much because of the trunks (though TWA were an important operator), but because of its impact on the local service airlines, some of which never operated Convairliners and instead chose the Martins.
04. Boeing 720 (Aeroclassics)
Aeroclassics already have a great Boeing 720B mould with the turbofans but not a recent 720 with turbojets. This one seems like a no-brainer and I get the sneaking feeling that Aeroclassics may be on to this already since they have a mould in 1/200 for it now and have followed their 1/200 DC-8-10 with 1/400 DC-8-10s recently. It simply makes sense to capitalise on the design work by using it in both scales. Aeroclassics previous 1/400 scale 720 turbojet wasn't a great success; although the modifications needed to it were small they never happened. Hopefully there'll be some movement in this area as there is a decent list of turbojet 720s out there:
03. Tupolev TU-134 (Phoenix)
Phoenix are a little frustrating as they show very little interest in being very interesting in this scale. They seem to prefer to chase the asian dollar by releasing lots of, I guess saleable, 777s and the like. In the past they have shown interest in Soviet types and their TU-154s and IL-96s are a delight. Perhaps this sideline just wasn't lucrative enough, although anecdotally they seem to have sold well. Either way Phoenix have shown no interest in downscaling their 1/200 TU-134 to produce what is by far the most obvious missing Soviet airliner. I get that it wasn't really used in Asia, and isn't a widebody, but still I'm sure there's a market. Over 850 'Crustys' were built and the type has had a surprising longevity. Phoenix have 17 liveries made in 1/200 scale that they could surely quickly make 1/400 if they chose to do so. Maybe one day they will?
02. Boeing 707-120/220 (Aeroclassics)
Probably one of the most important airliners in history and yet only Dragon have ever bothered to make an accurate mould for it. The 707-120/220 is not simply a 720, as Aeroclassics would have you believe, but has a different fuselage length, wing, tail and ventral fin. Later the 707-100B would gain the same wing as the 720B but I'm talking turbojets here.
Seeing as Aeroclassics have been getting back into the mood for pioneer jetliners with its DC-8-10s it'd be great to be able to have the original rivalry in 1/400 with the first 707s side by side. One of the problems is the relatively small operator base for the original 707s however if the manufacturers were smart they could swap out the vertical stabiliser and ventral fin to represent different versions of the 707-100. Then they could slip on their 720 wing and turbofans to make a 707-120B.
Options for a 707-120/220 include:
Options for a 707-120B include:
01. Douglas DC-9-10 (Aeroclassics)
Please, please, please Andrew can you create a short DC-9 using your excellent DC-9-30? It's been so long since your screw bottom DC-9-10s and a new mould would be amazing I'm sure. Without it everyone's collections are missing one of the most important early jetliners and there are so many well known airlines that could be made. Outside of the old AC mould there was an attempt by Jet-X, and it wasn't appalling, but it wasn't great either. So much great Douglas jet material to be made often in multiple liveries for the same airline. I'm talking:
So we reach the end of what, along with the underused mould series, will hopefully become a handly checklist for the manufacturers when they are thinking of what to do. Let's see how they go and revisit in a few years to see how they're doing.
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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