I recently purchased 'Classic Gatwick Propliners' a 2019 release by Tom Singfield and the History Press. It is a wonderful book with superb photographs and detailed and personalised text to go with them. I highly recommend it. One thing you notice reading it is how many glorious piston and turboprops are still missing in 1:400 scale.
They may be largely of interest to the European and UK collectors out there but that is still a sizeable market. If 1:400 manufacturers could target their sales I think they would stand a chance, plus Aeroclassics has shown that it is possible to produce great prop classics and survive (as long as you don't focus entirely on them).
The Bristol Britannia stands out for me, partly because it was so big and partly because for a brief time in the early-mid 60s it was the limousine of props for the independent airlines of the UK. Plus of course it has already been recognised in 1:400 scale.
In fact there are multiple moulds. Aeroclassics have led the game with 23 releases on their series 300 casting (of which I own 17). I've never done a detailed review of the type but it would seem the Gemini series 300 is slightly better thought of. I have standardised on the Aeroclassics due to the number of releases and am quite happy with it. Unfortunately I believe the mould is no longer available for use?
Gemini Jets, and their partner JC Wings, have both a series 300 and a shorter series 100 mould. Gemini and JC together have made 6 series 300s and only 3 series 100s. The moulds sat in purgatory from 2010 until 2015 when I believe Adrian Balch managed to convince JC Wings to release a new Britannia 100 in the hybrid colours worn by the aircraft operated briefly by Cathay Pacific (as cover for their Lockheed Electras undergoing LEAP modernisation).
Since then there have been no new releases, which is a crying shame. Here are 17 options of which I'd rate about half strong sellers (for a prop mould).
After going to the trouble of making a series 100 mould it seems mad not to use it to finish off the available liveries, especially when at least 3 of them would, I believe, sell well:
BOAC was the recipient of all 15 Britannia 102s and even though JC Wings made the Cathay hybrid they never went the extra small step of producing the blue tail livery. I imagine this would sell well as BOAC models usually do for BA fleetbuilders. This isn't the best photo but others can be found here and here:
Britannia Airways is a super obvious choice, especially since they renamed themselves after the type and operated ten of the fifteen built. Here's G-ANBO in 1965:
There were actually two Britannia liveries. The first had a different tail arrangement:
Laker Airways started operations with a pair of very smart Britannia 102s - G-ANBM and G-ANBN:
BKS became Northeast Airlines in 1970 and one of their Britannias got the new titles and tail logo. JC Wings have made the BKS scheme but not this one:
There were other series 100 operators but I can't recommend Treffield International or Angkasa Civil Air Transport (of Indonesia) as viable candidates for models.
British & Commonwealth - the text below says it all:
British United's early scheme wasn't the most attractive but BUA was a major force in the 60s. Aeroclassics made the later sandstone and aqua colours but the delivery scheme has been ignored:
Donaldson International operated 4 Brits between 1968 and 1974 in this attractive Scottish themed scheme:
Lloyd International was another major independent which operated four Brits from the mid-60s until its demise in 1972:
Transglobe was another independent operating Brits between 1965-68:
Invicta International, an all cargo operator leased a pair of Brits in the late 70s and these survived into 1981. Again not the highest quality photo but you get the idea:
Another 1970s British cargo operator was Redcoat Airlines. There was also a red tail version of this scheme:
Most worthy foreign operators have already been covered but there are still a couple left to make:
Never delivered but fully painted up was G-ANCD for Northeast Airlines of the USA and doesn't she look great:
Air Spain was a major charter carrier in the late 60s and operated four Britannias into the early 70s when they were replaced by DC-8s:
Aer Turas had 5 Brits on the register but not all saw active service. Nonetheless Turas was a major cargo operator for many years and it's Brits were smart as:
Argentinian carrier Transcontinental SA operated a pair of Brits between 1959-1961. Note how similar their logo is to Transglobe? This one is without titles awaiting a new life with British Eagle:
Cuban airline Aero Caribbean's trio of Brits were quite famous during the 1980s and one even got into the early 90s:
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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