Austrian Airlines, A320: OE-LBU
Austrian Airlines is one of those Euro carriers that never seems to quite garner the attention you might expect. The airline currently operates 63 airplanes and 27 of those are A320s. They type is clearly meaningful to the company and their strategic goals. This particular aircraft is in it's 22nd year of service and was recently repainted in 2019. I actually love this livery and what's quite surprising is that to my knowledge, a standard early 2000's OS A320 has never been made. The last time this livery was in production was back in 2019 when Panda made a nice pair of 737-600s. That makes this a very important offering this month and one I'm keen on picking up.
Southwest Airlines, 737 Max 8: N871HK "Retro" 'Herbert D. Kelleher'
Is it even worth trying to convince anyone at this point how bad the 737 Max 8 AC mould is? What's now worse is that Aeroclassics continues to refine the post production castings to have properly represented nosecones across almost their entire line of products. This A320 looks to closely resemble the issues with last month's AeroSvit. To really make this thing un-buyable however, AC has gone the extra mile to incorrectly use black paint to indicate the registration. I'm sure this does nothing though to convince someone who has already shown a willingness to purchase such a lackluster effort. At least we live in a time where vastly superior Max 7/8/9 moulds exist.
Continental Airlines, DC-9-32: N3514T '1980's Contrails (Black Meatball)'
The Aeroclassics DC-9 mould is every bit as good as the the Max 8 is bad. This stock photo appears to reveal that some of the same 'point nose syndrome' features are going to be seen. This however is a minor detractor. No one else is making DC-9s right now. This is a good opportunity for anyone who missed out on earlier versions of this livery from the likes of the Seattle Model Company back in 2004. That example came in a set of two. The other in that set a, 'red meatball' compatriot just like the other Continental release this month. A virtual do-over. This aircraft was originally delivered to Texas International Airlines in 1979. It then joined the CO fleet in 1982 and stayed there before one last tour with Aero California in 1999. The aircraft seems to have been scrapped in 2008.
Continental Airlines, DC-9-32: N543NY '1980's Contrails (Red Meatball)'
Chronologically speaking, the red meatball, or the more accuratly named 'contrails' livery followed right behind the black meatball in the 1980's era. It looks like another of the common issues that have hung around on the Aeroclassics production line is the misalignment of print lines from the tail stabilizer to the fuselage. The problem is more evident on this model compared to the other DC-9 this month. Again, this model is a nice offering in that it's a re-release to a degree. For people like me who have recently become more interested in classics, it's a second chance to pick these up.
Air Hawaii, DC-10-10: N904WA
A tropical treat! Air Hawaii has never been recreated in 1/400 scale. Air Hawaii was a scheduled airline between Hawaii and focus cities, L.A. and San Francisco between 1985 and 1986. It was a startup managed by Michael J. Hartley, they same person behind The Hawaii Express (1982-1983). To disambiguate the airline from two others with the same name, this Air Hawaii is the only one that ever transported passengers from the islands to the main land U.S. While I do love when added details like ariels and radomes are added to model airplanes, I won't pick on them when they are absent so long as everything else on the model is done right. The Aeroclassics DC-10 mould is probably still the best one ever made and honors Air Hawaii well. A top pick from this release for me.
Thai Airways International, DC-10-30: HS-TMC
The rear centered landing gear and CF6-50's help to clearly distinguish this three-engined wide body aircraft. Thai Airways operated a total of nine DC-10s. All of which wore a version of this livery. There have been four previously made DC-10s for TG in 1/400 scale. The earliest of which was a product made by Tucano Line in 2002 (HS-TMC). A second model was produced by Aeroclassics in 2008 (HS-TMA). Then in 2012, Inflight 400 created two more 1990's Thai DC-10s on their far inferior mould (HS-TGD and TGE). This will be the second Thai DC-10 for Aeroclassics and it seems to be the better one as this version carries the 'Thai' titles on the central tail mounted engine. Baring any production flaws noticed by the community. I plan on picking this version up.
Blue Box Releases
U.S. Airways, A330-300: N275AY
As far back as 2000, the 1/400 scale has had a healthy supply of A330s. The first U.S Airways A330 made in 1/400 was in the 1990's navy blue and gray colors. It was made by Dragon Wings and was soon followed by other offerings from Gemini Jets, then Aeroclassics, and most recently NG Models. There have been eleven total U.S. Airways A330s in 1/400 to this point. NG released a U.S. Airways A330-200 earlier this year, but it's been since 2014 that we've gotten a -300. That one was by Gemini Jets. This AC A330-300 mould is vastly superior to that. It looks as though Aeroclassics have largely got it right. The mould carries the model through. While early 2000's models aren't real hot right now, I do forecast that they will be more highly sought after in the coming years. I currently own the earliest A330-300 in these colors, a model produced by Gemini Jets in 2007. I don't have urgent plans to replace that model with this one but it will, I'm sure one day become a higher priority. This aircraft in 1/1 form is sitting in the desert after being withdrawn from service in 2020 during the onset of covid. At over twenty years old, I'm not sure if she'll ever make it out.
Delta Air Lines, 737-200: N321DL
Aeroclassics have been providing a steady steam of 737-200s in 2022 (23 models to be exact), and that seems like it's likely to continue into 2023. As part of January's releases a pair of 'Colors in Motion' or 'Deltaflot' Delta Air Lines 737s chase an earlier pair from last month wearing the earlier Ron Allen Landor liveries. Delta operated 75 Boeing 737-200s. Believe it or not, this is the first DL 737-200 in this livery unless I'm mistaken. I'm not in a rush to add this model, but it will be interesting to see how that metallic belly paint looks in person seeing has how AC doesn't electroplate their planes.
Delta Express, 737-200: N325DL
The late 90's saw many U.S. carries try their hand at the emerging LCC market. United with 'United Shuttle,' Continental with 'Continental Lite,' and Delta with 'Delta Express' later 'Delta Song,' were all airlines within and airline. While I wasn't able to secure a specific number, based on the amount of destinations, I'd guess a dozen or more of the Delta 737-200's wore this livery. (A little more about Delta Express can be found 'here' on the Delta Museum website). Yet, only Gemini Jets have produced an example in 1/400 scale. I do own this particular model which came out in 2002 on the adequate, yet inferior Gemini casting. This particular model looks ok but I'm quite sure there should be a red band around the engine cowling. That said, I have been enjoying the fleury of 737-200s lately and these are a nice addition to the fold. Four Delta models in two months is a treat and there's good reason to look for each one. It seems as though AC has mostly done a good job with them.
This page will be updated to rank and discuss monthly releases from the 1/400 model aircraft industry as well as other hobby news and info.