To review this month's releases, I'll split the review in two. Part one will focus on the releases formally announced via the usual flier which is what Aeroclassics typically posts so forums and social media sites. In part two, I'll dig into the various non-publicized releases which were available to all collectors provided they were online the moment the May releases launched.
Turkish Airlines A310-300: TC-JCL
Aeroclassics have included a A310 in every release so far this year. In some cases they've released more than one. This makes for the 7th A310 this year. The mould itself is really good. I've added two so far, the Sabina and the Sudan Airlines. This will potentially be my third. I'm not committed yet. It seems as though Aeroclassics have straggly forgotten to add any paint to the turbine fan blades.
Turkish Airlines have operated a total of 19 A310s in its history. Eleven of them were -200s and the other eight were -300s like the one here. TC-JCL was acquired by Turkish Airlines in May of 1985 and was named "Seyhan" after the river running through the Mediterranean region of Turkey. The model itself looks pretty good. There could stand to be more red paint on the tips of the flap tracks. There also appears to be too dramatic of a gray border around the elevator mountings. These are smaller issues though and to my eye, this model seems to fairly issue free. The A310s have been some of the most accurate models from AC this year. This model is another addition to the pile of good-lookers.
Air Seychelles A320NEO: S7-VEV
There isn't much left of what was once a substantial Air Seychelles fleet. The government owned airline is down to just two A320neos after a larger restructuring effort in 2018. The airline has been forced to consolidate due to competition from likes of minority stake holders Etihad, and as a result are focused on their domestic routes. The only other aircraft in the fleet are 5 DHC-6-400's.
S7-VEV is the first of two news for Air Seychelles. It was delivered to the airline in 2019 and seems to be most commonly found on the Victoria-Johannesberg route. Aeroclassics has the right idea here. They have a very good A320 chassis, but I'm not confident in the neo engines. They certainly don't drag like the Gemini or JC Wings versions can tend to do, but the detailing and the printing on the cowlings is really rough around the edges. The overall details of the livery seem to have been done properly, but several of the colors that make up the eye catching scheme seem to be a bit off. I'm also quite convinced that that the main titles are not quite thick enough and Aeroclassics looks to have missed the 'Airbus A320neo' titles on the rear port side. Overall, if you're one of those folks who enjoy your models from about 5 feet away, this shelf sitter will look great.
P.I.A. A320 Retro Jets: AP-BLT & AP-BLA
Retro schemes in 1/400 seem to come in waves. Clearly Aeroclassics has been saving these ideas. This month there are four retro schemes total, two are from P.I.A. one from M.E.A. and one from Austrian Airlines. More on those other two in just a second.
P.I.A. painted both both these pre-owned aircraft in retro schemes in 2015. Of the two, only BLA seems to be active. There isn't anything all that remarkable with either of these aircraft. Both airplanes were built in 2007. BLA did have a single career incident in 2006. A hydraulic failure after leaving Islamabad caused the aircraft to return to the airport. Once there, it veered off the runway. The aircraft was repaired and returned to service.
As previously stated, these liveries are a throw back to variances of the P.I.A. 1960's color scheme. There are really only two main differences between the two and one of these differences is a point of error for Aeroclassics. The first difference is the font. On AP-BLA, the titles are taken from italics and switched to boldface. This seems to have been done perfectly. The same can be said for the P.I.A. logo on the tail. The other difference however is the cheat line. In the photograph below, the cheat line on AP-BLT should clearly curve down towards the nose and instead it stays straight. This is actually correct on BLA. Sadly, this is another occasion of a lack of attention to detail and a lack of organization. (AC also neglected to post front and back pictures for both of these on their website).
Austrian Airlines "retro" A320: OE-LBO
Austrian Airways currently operates or possess 29 Airbus A320s. OE-LBO, line number 776 was delivered to Austrian in 1998. The aircraft is now nearly 24 years old, but it has spent its entire life with Austrian. The aircraft primarily operates Austrian trunk routes in and out of Vienna to mainland European destinations. The aircraft has worn three liveries. The 90's livery, the current common livery, which was completed in 2004, and finally it was given this featured retro livery in 2019.
It honestly seems as though Aeroclassics has done a very nice job recreating this tribute scheme. The gray fuselage belly looks to be spot on color wise. The Austrian arrow logo is well placed but a bit on the small side as the top edge should line up with the top of the main titles. The starboard engines look good and the Austrian arrow logo is about the right size on the model an in the right place, but in the sample picture the port side engine is missing this logo. If you're into gimmicky satnav domes (sarcasm) that you will be let down by the absence of this on your model, but everything after that including the registration, cargo bay doors, stabs and tail paint/logo look to be quite good.
MEA Middle East Airlines A320: OD-MRT
Lebanese carrier MEA has a respectable fleet of 16 A320-200 aircraft. This one, OD-MRT joined the fleet in February of 2009. The aircraft is msn: 3736 and has only ever served with MEA.
MEA typically utilize this aircraft to provide service to major European hubs. The 1/1 was decorated in this 1970's retro themed livery in 2020 in celebration of the beginning of the airline which happened in 1946. Aeroclassics has taken their shot at capturing this aircraft in 1/400 scale. They have done a good job with the mould of course as it's one of the best in 1/400 scale, and the engines are the proper IAE V2500 which are also used on the MD-90. The overall tooling of the mould is good, but the recent errors that have plagued Aeroclassics lately in the printing department persist on this model. Reports are coming in that some of these have a crooked or misplaced tail logos. It's also crystal clear in the ironically fuzzy production picture that the "MEA" titles on the port side are italicized when they should not be. If you're considering an A320 from this month's crop, I'd look elsewhere or wait for this to show up on the secondhand market for less money.
Aeroflot A321: VP-BRC
While Aeroclassics maintains a nice A321 mould, it's not the construction that lets down this model. As has been widely discussed on forums, this aircraft has the new cabin flex door configuration as opposed to the standard A321 setup of non-neo options. There looks to be some fairly significant printing details left out as well. If Aeroclassics is going to be so stubborn as to not include satnav domes and antenna, they may as well print on the details. VP-BRC has these features and they should at least be painted onto the model as well. VP-BRC has yet to be delivered to Aeroflot in the same vein as the A350's still on order. The aircraft is one of three Neos total that Aeroflot will use to slowly phase out and replace its current fleet of 33 first gen A321s.
It looks to me that this is another case of Aeroclassics getting the colors bit too dark. The paint applied to the winglets doesn't look crisp either with several visible spots where the coverage isn't complete. I'd be happy to wait for this registration from another model maker. I think it was a good good choice, just not good execution.
British Caledonian DC-10-30: G-BGAT
After getting through the plethora of Airbus models this month, the other offerings get exceedingly slippery and many have already become exceptionally rare. Following last month's B-Cal 747 is a DC-10, G-BGAT in the same livery. The aircraft was delivered to B-Cal in 1979 just in time for the high point of the tri-jet era. The aircraft was completed at the McDonnell Douglas Long Beach completion facility for B-Cal and served with the airline until 1987. At that time, the second and final operator would be Continental. The aircraft would wear the 'meatball' livery, then the final Continental livery. Interestingly, in 2001, Continental would give this aircraft the dual livery treatment leaving one side in Continental colors and applying VASP colors to the starboard side. Considering Aeroclassics' current amusement with the VASP livery, it wouldn't be shocking to see this released in the future.
This looks like your typical A+ for Aeroclassics. Everyone knows how good their DC-10 mould is, and it seems as though the production was executed very well. The colors seem to be spot on. The fonts, fuselage printing and logo placements are all very good. I'm sure this was long awaited by many. If there's anything to be skeptical on it's perhaps the continuation of the use of metallic paint instead of actual polished metal on some of the base metal liveried aircraft.
Ecuatoriana 727-200: HC-BXU
After the first bunch from this month's flier, the last two on the flier were made in exceptionally small numbers. This Ecuatoriana and the Aero Peru were immediate sellouts and are already commanding some astounding prices on the second hand market. This particular aircraft is a bit tricky. There isn't much documentation. This model depicts the airline after the VASP takeover and thus wears the livery which very much is stylized to the standard VASP look. This one sat in the Aeroclassics direct site for a short amount of time but was gone within hours. It seems to have fewer errors than some of the other VASP and VASP related 727s that have come out this month, but it still lacking in overawing coroguard. Either way, the model is unique and looks good.
Aeroperu F-27: OB-R-1082
Peruvian models have been a bit of a fascination in 1/400 lately. When one thinks about aviation, Peru is usually not the first place in mind and most people wouldn't be able to tell you a single airline. None the less, this is the second Peruvian for Aeroclassics this year. The country has been getting pretty consistent representation over the past few years and if you were quick enough, and in the mood for it, you would have picked up a dashing AeroPeru F-27. This aircraft looks great in the standard early 70's livery and is a beautiful representation of the early days of AeroPeru's expansion.
The model itself looks fantastic. The mould itself is really good and if there are any issues it's with the paint and printing. The AeroPeru titles aren't as sharp as they should be. Some edges of the lettering are a bit blurred. The gray paint used to color the belly of the model is a bit too light and the same gray seems to have been used to color the shoulder mounted wings.
PART II, Unofficial Releases:
There were also a flurry of models not included on this month's banner which crept out to the market. A Bolivian LAB 727. A SASHA Cargo Electra. Another VASP 727 freighter, and a pair of American DC-10s. I saw able to snag a few screenshots of the LAB and the VASPEx and I captured a screenshot of the listing of the SASHA. (I presume the SASHA was released somewhat as a result of the collaboration with El Aviador Modes as they released a passenger version last month. It would have been quite simple to double the order and make half a cargo version). Other than that the American DC-10s were long gone before I ever saw them.
With the release of the VASPEx or 'pizza plane' as I've heard it referred as, no doubt due to the massive advertisement on the side of the fuselage. As well as the Bolivian LAB. This should polish of what has been a run of 5 total VASP or VASP influenced liveries on 727-200s in the last two months. Shown below, one collector, successfully procured each. Special thanks to him for the photograph.
By my count, Aeroclassics released a total of 15 models this month. While ten made the brochure, another 5 or so were sprinkled around the globe in exceptionally small numbers. This month I didn't buy any as a result of major errors and defects on the models I bought from Aeroclassics last month. If I was throwing my cash into the wind, I could have easily picked up about a dozen of these. The offerings are wonderful. As usual, they cover a multitude of eras, regions, countries, and airlines. There seems to be fewer errors and omissions this month and I'm crossing my fingers that some of the models that remain on sale at Aeroclassicsdirect stay that way until I can get around to ordering.
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.