Russian aviation outside of Aeroflot and a few western widebodies has not got much of a look in over the past decade in 400 scale. The recent emergence of both a Tu-104 and a Tu-134 mould in 1:400 scale are probably something of a false dawn. The former seems as though it will never get used again at this point, while the latter is unlikely to get a great deal of use either in the hands of Panda.
I often hear how there isn't much left to be made even on types like the Tu-154, and I completely disagree with the statement. Obviously you won't be selling as many as you would if it were a 787, but American kids are not the target market anyway and I think there are more than enough interesting models that would sell in the 200-300 unit range with the right marketing. Certainly for older classic collecting European and Asian collectors the Tu-154 still has some appeal.
So far there have been just over 70 Tu-154s but most are very hard to find and even amongst the made models there is a fair bit of duplication. Certainly when Gemini and Phoenix have made Tu-154s they appear to have sold well.
In this wishlist I'm going to take a look at a range of the most obvious Tu-154s left to be made. More than half of these are Russian airlines, but seriously what do you expect with a Russian airliner? The majority of the airlines were major carriers in Russia during the 1990s and 2000s and should be familiar to anyone with any interest in Russian aviation.
Outside of the USSR boundaries and there are a surprising number of well known other operators since the Tu-154 got far and way the most exports of any Soviet-era jet. I really hope to see some of these get a look in now the mould is back. I know AK has said he'll look at 5 or 6 (with two in the January release set) and hopefully this list gives him reason to pick a few more.
The majority of the larger better run post-Glasnost airlines utilised the Tu-154, often as their flagship since only a relatively small portion got to operate the IL-62 and IL-86. The following airlines represent the cream of the crop of larger Russian carriers yet to receive a Tu-154 release.
I'll start however with one that is guaranteed to sell - the original pre-1973 Aeroflot colours:
From the first I move to the last - Alrosa the last commercial operator of the type:
The airlines that formed the AiRUnion group were major players in the early and mid-2000s and deserve greater representation in 400 scale. These carriers were all major Tu-154 operators and sported some nice liveries:
Although Aeroclassics did make a Kras Air 154 the livery selected was non-standard.
The Tu-154 has appeared in some really impressive and colourful schemes over the years with other Russian airlines, such as:
AVL Arkhangel'sk Airlines
Kavminvodyavia (KMV Avia)
Bashikirian Airlines BAL
Outside of Russia
The trijet has seen service from Guyana to Pakistan and Turkey to Latvia. If Russian airlines don't catch your fancy surely some of these would:
In my opinion there's a decent number of saleable releases here:
Major National Carriers: Aeroflot, Ariana, PIA, Balkan Bulgarian, CSA and Malev
Major Russian airlines: Kras Air, Samara, Omskavia, Pulkovo, Vnukovo, Ural Airlines
Charter Airlines common at European Airports: VIA, Greenair, Bashkirian
Certainly these are more deserving than yet more 737s and A320s!
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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