Aeroclassics February 2022
Faucett DC-6: OB-R-846
Let's get something out of the way right now. Aeroclassics is near dead-last in certain category areas in the 1/400 scale airplane hobby. But if you're looking for those usual issues, you won't find any here. The current AC DC-6 mould is bang on and they clearly brought out the special sauce for this stunning Faucett DC-6. I've gone over this model about three times tip to tail and I can't find any significant issues. There is one though, it's pretty clear after really getting into the artwork that the main titles on the airplane are just a tad too low. They shouldn't connect with the cheatline and they do. Besides that though, there isn't much to be disappointed in and this was the first model I dropped into my virtual shopping cart.
ATA 727-200: N770AT
There are two 727s this month and the first of them should probably be the next one you put in your shopping cart. The 727 was an integral part of the the ATA network and we've only gotten one ATA 727-200 and that was in the 80's color scheme released by Aeroclassics back in 2016. The final ATA scheme has finally come to fruition and it looks really good. To me, the highlight of this scheme is the bright pastel colors that indicate to leisure travelers that they've boarded the right plane. Sadly though, Aeroclassics typically use darker hues and this has robbed the model of its true potential. Also, it's pretty clear in looking at the 1/1 that there are no port side windows aft of the rear door. Still, all of the right bits are there and truly are close enough.
Republic 727-200: N274WC
The 80's Republic colors adorn the second 727 this month. There isn't anything remarkable about this particular model except for the fact that it's the only one in this scale. The bland yet unique livery should be an easy one to replicate. It seems for the most part Aeroclassics hit the high notes, but I'm a little concerned about the cockpit printing. The stock photograph is particularly fuzzy in that area. Maybe it's just this particular model, maybe not. This model will look nice next to the DC-9 provided that they were using the same color pallet.
Air Afrique 737-200: F-GFVK
There aren't too many Pan African airlines. The western based Air Afrique has received some moderately good coverage in 1/400 scale relative to its overall historical footprint. In the last decade Aeroclassics have given us a beautiful DC-10 and strong A300. There are also some DC-8s, a 747, and others in this 70's color scheme in 1/400, but finally arrives the 737 F-GFVK. The green ibex looks great on this little model and is certainly the focal point. The bold and italicized titles seem pretty good and well placed. This aircraft was outfitted with a port side loading bay for large cargo and this detail was not lost on AC. The only criticism I have is the cheatline should be situated just a tad higher so that it most accurately meets with almost the top edge of the cockpit window. One more interesting detail is that this aircraft was outfitted with a gravel strip kit to allow for operations on unpaved surfaces. Obviously this detail doesn't exist in 1/400, nor should it, but one can dream.
Air Algerie 737-200: 7T-VEG
I bet you if someone asked you what the tenth largest country by area is, you wouldn't say Algeria. I also bet if someone asked you to tell them one airline based in Algeria, you may not be able to name this wholly owned government entity. Before us is the latest offering from Aeroclassics. This truly is going to end up being a very rare model. There have only be two other 1/400 scale models made to represent this north African fleet. An Air Algerie 747-200 registered N747WR in this exact scheme was made by AV400 back in 2010 and a gorgeous DC-8 was made by Aeroclassics back in 2016 in the World Airways hybrid scheme. This model has the potential to be the best of the three. The title, cheatlines, and tail icon all look superb. Something should also be said about Aeroclassic's ability to get Arabic characters printed as finely as this. All is well except that nose cone. It's too big, it extends up the nose of the aircraft too far when it should stop by the time the white potion of the cheatline meets the nose. Because I don't have any Algerian models in my collection, this one is already enroute. It will be a great placeholder until something better comes along. It will likely be a while.
Britannia 737-200: G-AXNC
British charters have never been a central part of my collecting criteria but they some how keep sneaking into my collection. Britannia has gotten a lot of love in recent years with a flurry of new moulds, the 737, 757, and 767 have all been used to bolster the options in 1/400 for Britannia collectors. This particular airplane has never been made in 1/400 but this livery has been done three times before, once by Gemini and twice by AV400. While I believe this is the superior mould, this is easily the most inferior paint job. The red cheatline is a minor disaster at the front. It should extend neatly all the way to the nose cone and instead stops far short of there. Aeroclassics has issues with their 737 noses and it needs to be remedied. I have this model inbound as well. It will likely be a very brief visitor in my collection as opposed to a long term representative.
First Air 737-200: C-FNVK
The selection of rugged 737s this month include First Air's C-FNVK. First Air finally got representation in 1/400 scale exactly a year ago when Aeroclassics released C-FPXD. Now we get a second ambassador for their airline with the instantly recognizable poler bear tail. This to me honestly looks like the strongest of all the 737-200s this month but didn't quit make the cut for me because it is very niche. I certainly hope to have a good reason to add this model someday but it isn't quite "impulse buy-worthy." I'm sure friends to the north will be happy with one. The only visable issue I see is that the gray belly paint is too high. It shouldn't go above the port side cargo bay door of the wing-joint.
United Airlines 737-200: N9068U
You may be thinking to yourself, didn't we just get a United 737-200 from Aeroclassics in the white bellied Saul Bass colors? The answer to that question is yes, but this time around AC has decided to focus on the slightly altered titles and lower cheatline. The previous example indeed focused on the smaller titles and the higher cheatline. This time around things look good. On a personal note, I don't collect Saul Bass United models. I focus quite strictly on the blue tulip forward so this isn't a high priority model for me. It is interesting though to see how many United Jets Aeroclassics continues to make and this speaks to the vast fleets and liveries of this U.S. legacy carrier.
Continental Airlines DC-9-30: N17531
The Aeroclassics DC-9-30 mould is a real treat. Before the acquisition by United, Continental DC-9s were common site at my childhood home airport in Buffalo, NY. The last time a decent Continental DC-9 was released was by Gemini Jets back in 2004. It is long past time we see this livery on the sharp AC mould and this month we not only get the standard scheme but the Continental "Lite" scheme as well. More on that in just a second. This particular airplane is line number 394. As it was a much deeper catalogue order, this plane was first delivered to Swissair in 1968. The airplane was sold to Texas International Airlines in 1980 and was then leased to Continental in 1982. The aircraft was swapped around between TIA, Eastern, and Continental for the next two decades before being leased to Aeropostal, and the retired in 2006. The model looks to be almost bang on except, like the First Air 737, the gray belly line is just a bit too high and shouldn't go beyond the bottom of the port-side door. I can't wait to have a closer look when my copy arrives.
Continental Lite DC-9:30: N18513
While Aeroclassics had it's DC-9 mould out they must have figured it would be a good idea to add a never before represented brand in 1/400. Continental Lite was introduced in 1993 to enable Continental Airlines to better compete with the emergence of American LCCs like AirTran. The goal was to focus on cities that Continental already served out of central hubs like Cleveland. DC-9s, and 737s were stripped of their first class seats in favor of an all economy layout. This operation didn't last long however. As leadership inside the company changed, Continental ended it's commitment to the CALite brand. The model is identical to it's sibling and this is also affected by the slightly higher than appropriate belly paint. Even still, this is the one and only Continental Lite model in 1/400.
Aerolyon DC-10-30: F-BTDD
Based in Lyon, France, Aerolyon began long distance charter service from high density populations in France to the Caribbean, West Indies, and overseas territories in 1996. The airline never grew beyond three DC-10s. This is another very niche aircraft. I'm not sure how this model serves the interest of any more than a few dozen collectors. The color pallet is nice, but not overly eye catching. There is a lot of white and empty space on this aircraft. I have no real interest in this particular model, but I don't want to downplay its importance to others. The mould itself as we know is stellar and the main details on the model are really good.
Philippine Airlines F27: PI-C516
If for some reason you were hoping to pick up a prop jet this month and the Faucett didn't whet you whistle, then you still have a lovely F27 in the PAL 60's colors to think about. Last month two American F27s were distributed and AC wasn't quite finished with the mould it seems. It really is quite a shame that Aeroclassics isn't interested in even trying to print on certain details. This little mould is stellar, but how much snappier could it be if some detail was printed on to those engine cowlings? This continues to be a lost opportunity. Either way, the model itself looks decent enough. The main stripe along the fuselage looks like it's right where it should be. The flag of the Philippines is a little large and lacks some crispness. The PAL logo on the rear port-side fuselage looks really nice and the colors actually look really good. I don't dabble in PAL very much and so this one will go on the long list. I'm somewhat sad to skip over it for now, but with prices on everything on the rise, one must become even more discerning.
There is no doubt about the quality of the selection this month. AC remains unbeaten in both the diversity of airlines (12) and regions represented (6) as well as moulds used (6). I doubt there are many folks out there who took a look at this month's releases and were able to pass on everything. I will say I wasn't quite as thrilled as I thought I'd be. The DC-10 is rather bland, and some of these models have errors and certainly aren't worthy of the continually rising price points. I don't know why AC has struggled getting the windows right on so many recent releases. The VASP from a few months back comes to mind.
For a second I was thinking I'd finally see that Air Niagara 727. I hope in the coming months we see more DC-10s, perhaps some A300s, and Tu-154s. I really hope we haven't seen the last of the 727-100s but it was clear AC was struggling with the mould.
I have seven twelve of these models enroute. Unpacking them should be a happy weekend activity. I really have my fingers crossed that the quality control team has put in good work. It has been a long while since I've purchased Aeroclassics models in mass like this and I'm holding my breath that I won't have to endure the sting of shoddy workmanship. As always thank's for reading.
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