Aeroclassics February 2023
Iberia, A330-300: EC-LXK
I find the 90's Iberia livery to be a top classics airline livery. Perhaps in the top ten g.o.a.t. category. To me, this is a fabulous rendition and the AC A330 casting is a darn good one. Certainly not the best in class, but a worthy choice for any level of collector. The combo of livery and mould make this a virtual done deal if you can put up the cash. EC-LXK is a 10 year old aircraft that has been a member of the Iberia fleet only. The airplane's designated name is 'El Salvador.' It is primarily given trans-Atlantic assignments and is line number 1426. Iberia controls twenty-four A330s. Eight are of the -300 variety. Seven are active as of February 2023. There have been five Iberia A330's made in the 1/400 scale, all in the 90's livery, and the best of the five has to be EC-LUB created by Aeroclassics back in 2013. So yes, this does in fact make this model a re-release. It also means that for anyone who didn't get the first rendition, this one should be a nice consolation.
Iberia, A340-300: EC-GGS
As I've stated on many occasions, the A340 series is one of my very favorite airplanes to travel on. My experiences on them have been outstanding. The long and elegant A340-600 in my mind is associated with the best trans-Atlantic flight I've ever had. While that flight wasn't with Iberia, the A340 is commonly associated with the Spanish airline (they operated 39 of them over the years) and has been replicated in 1/400 scale five times. That means it has occurred equally as frequently in the scale as the A330 counterpart from this wave. It similarly has really only been done well twice, once by Gemini and once by Phoenix. This should in theory be the best rendition yet as long as Aeroclassics maintains quality control while they worked on the tooling.
Eastern Provincial Airways, C-46: CF-NAE
The Aeroclassics C-46 is the only game in town when it comes to this vitally important historical aircraft. It has been great to see the half-dozen C-46s that have made it off the AC production line in the last calendar year. Thankfully we are still getting more included the two C-46s from this month. The C-46 is obviously an important historical airplane. It made a significant impact during WW2 and contributed greatly on a civilian level after the war as commercial air travel was normalized. Eastern Provincial Airways was established 1949 precisely during this normalization period and was responsible for providing that infrastructure to many remote locations around Eastern Canada. They continued to operate into the Jet Age doing the same until 1986. This seems to be another great rendition of a classic prop. The printing and paint work look top notch. The only slight concern I have is the vertical stab seam which oddly pops up at the front as seen below.
Pacific Western, C-46: CF-HYI
The other C-46 this month is also a Canadian. Pacific Western shares a very similar pedigree as Eastern Provincial Airways. It too was an airline that ushered in the era of civilian air travel. Pacific Western however developed their operations far further than EPA and developed a much larger fleet of aircraft over time. That is translated into 1/400 scale by the sheer number of models available respectively. EPA has 8 models representing it in the scale. PW has nearly 20. Climbing out of the minutia, this C-46 looks nice. Again, the paint and printing detail are looking good on this sample and even better, the vertical stabilizer looks to be properly attached. It seems like AC took the time to do these C-46 models right and both should be considered. Neither one seems to be effected either by the recent 'pointy-nose' syndrome that has plagued the brand t=over the past year.
Iran Air, 727-100: EP-IRA
If only someone would invest some cash in this casting... Aeroclassics brings back it's 727-100 mould in 2023 as is. They used the 727-100 mould twice in 2022. The first use was a 'Trump' titled former Eastern 727, the later, the now infamous 'pp' Philippines Airlines. So, in 2023 we've already equalled the 2022 quota with this Iranian 727-100 and the Piedmont 727 I'll discuss in a moment. So first of all, the good. The last 727-100's from AC have, in my opinion, been largely impacted by the unusual 'pointy-nose syndrome' That surely seems to have been taken care of while looking at this sample casting. While I'm looking at that particular area, it seems that most if the nose area paint and printing looks pretty good. Moving down the model, it's notable, and sad that Aeroclassics don't electroplate these 727s. This model would really pop with the appropriate chrome. Other details look up to snuff as well. The window line, engine detailing and vertical stab paint and printing look goos too. Perhaps the Iranian flag looks like it might be a little crooked, slanting downward towards the right, but again that's minor when considering that no one else is making 727-100s. Even if someone else had a 727-100 mould, it would probably take them years to get to a livery like this, so if it is interesting to you, be sure to snag this one.
Piedmont, 727-100: N838N
Most big names in 1/400 have helped to cover virtually every airplane that the Winston-Salem based airline flew over the course of the airline's 41 year history. Virtually every airplane that is except for perhaps the most important. Piedmont began, like most 1940's startups, in the propellor age, but it was the 727-100 that delivered this classic airline into the jet age. according to web databases, there have been about 24 different 1/400 scale models made to represent Piedmont. None of these until now is a 727-100. This airplane fills a significant gap in representing Piedmont's history. Like the Iranian 727-100 the model looks pretty good.
Ukraine International, 737-200: UR-GAC
Ukraine International has been around since the 1990's but they've only recently gotten much attention in 1/400. Aeroclassics have put a focus on Ukrainian aviation presumably in part because of how Ukraine has become the center of international news thanks in large part to the war that Russia has waged on the former soviet state. It's great to see the continued use of the AC 737-200 mould. As a reminder, the mould is a slot-in casting and largely AC manages the quality well. I've gone ahead and sent away for this model for a few reasons. One is that this mould does seem to have a much more normal nose cone compared to 737-2s from last year. Another is that Ukraine International is a rarely replicated airline in 1/400. One slightly less positive remark is that the usual color issues seem to be consistent in that the Ukrainian blue is too dark. It will be interesting to have this one in hand.
SAS, DC-9-32: SE-DBZ
While some of this month's releases seem to ave had their nose cone issues resolved, this DC-9 does not. The SAS viking long boat livery is a personal favorite. But the pointy nose move this release farther down the list of priorities. Two other SAS DC-9s were offered last year, one registered in Denmark, the other, Norway. This one registered in Sweden completes the trifecta. It is known the Aeroclassics DC-9-30 is the greatest in show. The model however is spoiled in lack-luster production like it's peers. Nice idea, bad execution. This airplane was line numb er 149. It was delivered to SAS in 1967 and returned to the States in 1981. The airliner finally served with Continental Airlines until 1993 when it was retired. Even though SAS operated dozens of DC-9s, only 7 were-30s.
Balair, DC-10-30: HB-IHK
I'm sure the day will come where 1/400 scale Aeroclassics DC-10s will be obsolete in the name of modern moulds and superior graphics. But that day has not yet come. The Aeroclassics DC-10s are the best anyone can get right now and as is true with many of their models, they are the only ones making this airplane. Now, AC has made plenty of DC-10s recently, but the trouble is that many are very niche. Out of the six DC-10s this year, only one of them is truly mainstream (Thai DC-10-30, HS-TMC). While the DC-10 remains in it's own category because no one else is producing the model, going this far into the b-sides catalog of the airplane is a little extreme. The Balair DC-10s this month look far better than some of the other French charter DC-10s from last year, but unless you're an Airberlin or Swiss aviation nut, there's not a lot of reason to seek this model out. This certainly plays into the hands of long time collectors, but over a week after these have hit the market, they are still readily available.
Balair, DC-10-30: HB-IHK
At least Aeroclassics have done the decent thing and made both of the prominent Balair liveries that airline flew between 1979 and the 1990's. Balair is a minor European airline surprisingly well covered in 1/400. In fact this DC-10 has been done before in both liveries by Dragon and Phoenix respectively. I've read that there is some kind of issue with the black titles on this one. Perhaps it has to do with the slant of the font? I can't quite put my figure on the issue. Either way, either version is probably ok enough. This one is also low on my over-all list of priorities but the Swiss cross and bright red cheatline sure look nice.
Hawaii Express, DC-10-10: N905WA
I had a pretty good feeling that when the Air Hawaii turned up last month that we'd finally get this tropical treat soon after. The short lived Hawaii Express (1982-1983) at least provided us with a fantastic livery dripping in 80's goodness and the pineapple on the tail is iconic. It's been 20 years since a Hawaii Express DC-10 has been available at retailers. The last one made by Jet-Ex sold out long ago. I've been hoping for this one for the better part of a decade as I got into 1/400 back in 2009. It seems like Aeroclassics have absolutely nailed this model. It's shocking this sku is still available over a week after release. So far, this is my favorite release of 2023.
Northwest Airlines, DC-10-30: N240NW
One of the most popular models this month was unsurprisingly the Northwest DC-10. Four DC-10s this month is a nice spread, and I'm sure this one will excite many. There's always been something about the various Northwest liveries that Aeroclassics makes that just seem a tad off to me. The various bowling shoe models from a few years back all struggle by being too dark. This model looks great in the details and mould categories, but I'm not a fan of the flake paint that AC uses on liveries such as this one and the new American Airlines livery. This is a personal taste issue more than a quality issue however, and I know this will be one offering this month that is going to make a lot of people pretty happy. A solid choice by AC and a collectable worthy effort.
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