Uganda Airlines 707-320: 5X-UAL
My main goal in 1/400 scale is to acquire a representative from every country of the world. While I already have the semi-rare DAS Cargo DC-10 Phoenix made back in 2003, it is an 'N' registration, and this is the first ever properly registered 1/400 scale model airplane for Uganda. That's the first highlight. Second best is that it's on the very nice AC 707 mould. Provided that the antenna isn't bent upon arrival, and that factory printing and painting is good (the cheat line is looking a bit suspicious about halfway down), this is one I'm really looking forward to having, and its my top choice this month. This airplane has a fascinating history I'll cover next month.
Philippine Airlines 727-100: RP-C1240
It's good to see that AC is still tinkering around with what is currently the only 727-100 mould on the block. That's where the excitement ends for me though. The printing on the nose of the aircraft doesn't look bad, but it does look way out of place. I'm not sure what's going on with those flight deck windows, but it isn't good. PAL has gotten some decent representation from AC lately with a rather blank F-27 that was distributed in February. Regardless of it's humble appearance this was one of the fastest moving models this month and at this point is virtually sold out.
United Airlines DC-6s: N37570 & N37594
Aeroclassics is in full on DC-6 mode. They have released 8 of the so far in 2022, and I've managed to add a few of them. Best of which so far has been the Peruvian Faucett from February. While both of these super 6's look ok, minus some problematic over polishing of the nose, the best of the three this month has to be the JAL which I'll get to in a moment. As WWII came to an end and air travel become available to the general public, large people movers such as the DC-6 became ubiquitous at airports all over the world. United operated 90 of these, and the two here are dressed in the masked mainliner livery that distinguished the company in the post war world. There have been well over a dozen United DC-6s in 1/400 scale to date, but just one other that wears this particular scheme.
Japan Air Lines DC-6: JA6206 "City of Nagoya"
By the 1950's Japan was in full recovery mode and access to the country from the United States was facilitated by DC-6s just like this one. The aircraft would make the transpacific journey via Wake Island and Honolulu. JAL operated up to ten of these piston engined aircraft and most would be converted to freighters by the end of the 1950's. It's nice to see the grass roots of JAL and United Airlines represented this month.
Indian Airlines F-27: VT-DOL
This next release takes us back to 1964, when VT-DOL was setting up for take off from Madras Airport. When the aircraft reached take off speed, the gear legs were over zealously retracted and unexpectedly, the aircraft touched back down again collapsing onto it's hull. Besides the less than flattering incident, this rather bland scheme just isn't interesting. Aeroclassics have dribbled out a few Indian Airlines models in the last few years, and the only reason you'd pick this up is if you were fleet building, or loved F-27s. Indian Airlines operated up to 17 of these airplanes and several met calamitous endings from various high jackings and foul weather accidents.
French DC-8s: F-BJLA & F-BJLB
The two DC-8s this month are symbolic of a French merger that took place a long time ago. Both airlines eventually destined to be absorbed by Air France. Aeroclassics have been giving us some good lessons on French aviation history of late. Multiple DC-10s, and now some nice DC-8s paint a very nice picture of what the 1960s and 1970s looked like. UTA has gotten plenty of attention in 1/400 scale but this is a first for the far lesser known UAT. This livery however is more symbolic of it's merger with UTA rather than a direct reflection of the airlines actual history as it obviously takes the UTA design and simply adds the UAT titles. The nose on the UTA once again looks very questionable.
American L1011-500s: N509PA & N511PA
I'm not sure what's more head scratching. AC insetting on the continual use of its cringeworthy L1011 moulds, or all the collectors who throw away their money on an inferior mould. Just because the lump of diecast metal in your hand seems to be about right, doesn't mean that it is! There are better options out there for virtually the same price! Nonetheless, if Aeroclassics makes it, we discuss it. On the surface, these don't actually look half bad, and to their credit, these have seemingly sold well. What we don't know and perhaps never will, is how many of each were made. There's just enough fuzz on these photos, and pressured urgency on the collector to make these disappear faster than they should. N509PA was delivered in 1980 and was eventually sold to the RAF, after a lengthy career, its final destination was determined upon her said to GDJ Services. N511PA is still carrying her Pan Am registration but is adorned in her United Colors. The aircraft would go on to serve LTU and then converted to a private transport. The airplane seems to still be situated on the west end of the Fujairah International Airport in the UAE, slowly wasting away in the desert.
KLM Viscount 800: PH-VIB
Rounding out the official models this month is the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Viscount 800. KLM operated a number of these in the 1950s to the 1960s. This one was sold to Are Lingus. The mould as we know is certainly good enough. Although the over polishing of the nose which once again can be seen here brings the excitement level down some. The livery looks smart and properly done. As is usually the case, there isn't anyone else making these old propeller airliners, so if this is something that appeals to you, have at it.
Blue Box (Unlisted) Alaskan 737 Max 8s: N915AK & N932AK
Another common theme of Aeroclassics release sets is to include a few 'masked' models that look specially designed to circumnavigate royalties to airlines. This month, two brand new Max 8s in special liveries celebrating northwest mainstays are available on the sub-par AC Max 8 mould. One carries the logo of the new NHL team, the Seattle Kraken, and the other named "West Coast Wonders" recognizes some of the amazing fauna found of the Alaskan coast, the Orca whale. These appear to be very good sellers, but with the Gemini/JC mould in existence, and a new Max 8 mould from NG on the way, why? Both of these manufacturers are happy to produce Alaska Airlines models. It shouldn't be that long of a wait for something far better.
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.