For clarity, Gemini Jets and JC Wings have perhaps the strongest co-dependance in 1/400 scale. In the last four or five years, collectors have seen a steady merge between the two companies with JC Wings relying strongly on Gemini's distribution network and a good collection of their existing moulds, like this month's 767-300 for example. Similarly, Gemini has relied on newly developed moulds from JC Wings in order to keep their products fresh and current. This has made it quite apparent that the two share a means of production. My biggest issue is that while JC wings tends to have fewer Quality Control issues than Gemini, chipped paint, loose parts, and cooked gears are just a few of the disappointments that may come with unboxing a brand new JC Wings model.
Either way, the best thing about JC Wings is that while they put out a lot bearing models, they also make some really obscure models that you most likely will never see other companies create. This month has it's fair share of snoozers, but there are a few eye catchers as well. I was able to gather a handful of production photos to take a look at, and some of what I see is worth making a note of.
Air Berlin A320: D-ABNW "Last Flight"
When I first started collecting in 1/400 scale. I didn't know a lot about airlines in Europe. But around that time, Gemini Jets released an Air Berlin A330 that I really liked. I acquired the model and that in part spurred my interest in European aviation. For many years, Air Berlin was tragically underrepresented and it wasn't until the airline neared its end in 2017 and in the time after that more Air Berlin models were made. This model looks pretty good. It's surely on the more recent slot in version of the Gemini A320 mould. It has its faults and it isn't the sharpest representation of a A320 in 1/400. But it does look best without the NEO engines and sharklets that are slapped on it from time to time. Obviously the marketers chose a properly constructed copy to take close-ups of. Considering the airplane itself is quite historical, it makes the model certainly considerable.
*One interesting side note, is that if you take a look at the box, printed on the side are the other Air Berlin A320s, two of which have been made, but D-ABFK has not. JC Wings did make the airplane in 1/200 scale. But not 1/400, so perhaps this hints at another Air Berlin A320 yet to come.
Arkia A321NEO: 4X-AGH
In the first of several instances this month, the Arkia has already been produced by Aeroclassics. The airframe built in 2018 is on lease to Arkia and is one of several A321s they operate. Once again, as can be seen on the box, more Arkia Airbuses in various colors will likely be soon available. While there are three pictured, Arkia inly operates two of these. So it will be interesting to see how that pans out as well as I'm not sure if Arkia have more A321s on order.
Here is a close comparison to the Aeroclassics version which was released back in January 2020. Aeroclassics is on the left, JC is on the right. As you can see, the Aeroclassics version is an abomination. The colors are wrong, and the tricky stripes on the fuselage and the vertical stab are way off. While the AC version mould is stronger, the JC Wings version is the one I'd have.
Cathay Pacific Cargo 747-8: B-LJA " Hong Kong Trader"
The queen of the skies in her final form continues to necessitate reproduction. B-LJA has already be released, specifically, it has already been made by JC themselves and perhaps this is more of a situation where an extra couple of cases were located in the warehouse. The positives here are that the model is really good looking for the most part and it is interactive. If you're not into that type of a thing then there is little that's going to grab your attention here. Cathy always sells well and this particular logo jet has its own interesting style and will likely be bought up.
China Air Force A319: B-4092
This is a re-hash of something already done by Panda Models. Really, there's not a ton to speak of here. The Panda/ Aeroclassics mould is far stronger in my opinion, but there also looks to be very little wrong with this copy. I personally still consider this strictly a military aircraft, and so it is in the no-fly zone for me. We must have boundaries in this hobby of some sort. The airplane was built in 2013 and is eight years old at the time of this article. Not bad looking, but not remarkable either.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines 767-300ER: PH-BZK
In this set, we get to see JC Wings do something it usually doesn't. That is, it's nice to see JC dip into the older, more classic liveries and airplanes. About a year ago or so, JC Wings delivered a very nice Iberia 767-300 on the Gemini mould. It seems they are back at that this and its a good idea. PH-BZK was delivered new to KLM in 1997. It seems to have been on a ten year lease as in 2007, the airplane was collected by Air Astana, and then seven years later, in 2014, it changed hands once more to UT Aviation. It is now currently still in Russian hands and is registered as RA-73032. Gladly we get this airplane in it's finest form. The only drawbacks are that the mould continues to age. Wing seams, thicker features, and perhaps even some suspicious flight deck window printing are detractors.
Lion Air A330-900NEO: PK-LEJ
This is certainly a repeat. JC Wings have already produced a Lion Air A330-900NEO as the box below clearly illustrates. I have a handful of the JC Wings A330-900s and they really are very nice models. This once again begs the question, what exactly are JC building now, as this is easily another model that could have been sitting in a warehouse for a long, long time. Coming in at just three years old, PK-LEJ is an important part of Lion Air's efforts to explain to the world it intends on keep a modern fleet and that the airline is here to compete well into the next decade. While the livery itself is notoriously bland, the mould's elegance keeps the model in eye catcher territory.
LOT Polish Airlines 767-300: SP-LPB
A strong looking 767 here. It is a nice compliment, perhaps even a stronger example of what JC Wings are capable of. LOT models are not commonly done and I'm really looking forward to picking this one up. We run into the same issues with this model as the last one, the mould, the features, etc. But all in all, if you've been hoping for one of these, here you go. The airplane spent it's entire commercial career with LOT until about 2005 when it was outfitted for private charter service. It seems to me this airplane is now used to transport the Sevilla FC.
Maleth Aero A340-600: 9H-PPE "Support Our NHS"
A simple description for a simple livery. This is obviously an ex-Virgin Atlantic airways airframe. Originally delivered to them in 2006, the airplane served with Virgin until 2019 when it was pulled from service and taken up by Maleth Aero. The Malta based company has been in operation since 2011 and has made a habit of using thrift buying tactics to build its fleet. I find this to be a particularity plain and boring livery. I couldn't imagine many people have a need for one of these.
Royal Air Maroc 787-9: CN-RGX (Flaps up/Flaps Down)
While the Good Ideas Department in some cases succeeded with this release set, it isn't impressing in others. Royal Air Maroc has been done several times between JC and Phoenix in the past. Apparently the creation of a flaps down mould constitutes a situation worthy of a rerelease. At least JC worked to make sure the registration was different. I admittedly don't have this particular airplane with this particular livery but it isn't one that is hard to come by now, and probably won't be for a long time to come. NG Models will likely take this representative onto their production line one day and with AV400 having a 787 in the works, will likely cover this as well. It is a nice looking model.
The following models were announced without the supply of any stock photos. They either appear on a published listing, or are already listed for sale at some retailers with the use of 1/1 photographs. Only the Etihad A380 is expected to be available in September while all the rest will arrive at a date not yet disclosed to customers.
- Airbus Industries A321-200 F-WXLR Testbed
- Airbus Industries A300B4-600ST: F-GSTA (Interactive)
- Conviasa A340-600: YV3533
- Etihad A380-800: A6-APE "Choose the UK" (expected in Sept)
- Etihad 777-200LR: A6-LRB *comes with LE aviation tag
- ITA A350-900: EI-IFD "Born to be Sustainable"
- ITA A350-900: EI-IFD "Born to be Sustainable" -Flaps Down Varriation
- Orbest A330-900NEO: CS-TKH
While JC Wings seems to be able to manage a very steady supply of models and it they sure look competitive on the surface. But with a closer view, there are only a few subjects from this set that are truly exciting. The 1/400 scale marketplace remains flooded with models and taking a critical look at what everyone out there is making is really important. There are certain details that should not be understated. While there was once a time in 1/400 scale where the arrival of a new mould would achieve unprecedented fanfare, these days it is commonplace. That isn't a reason to lack appreciation. The announcement of a new A300-600 Beluga is exciting, and is the true highlight.
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