NG Models as usual had been dropping hints about this month's releases via forums and the like for a few days and made clear that this month would see heavy U.S. and Oceana representation. That was confirmed a few days later through Facebook when NG dropped their concept art in a flurry of posts. Six of the 16 modes are from the U.S. Two Alaska Airlines 737-900's on in 'One World' colors will be the rollout models for the new NG-900 mould and a Southwest and a United both in their respective airline's previous paint schemes will be on the new NG-700 mould. These four U.S. models plus the United 747 SP on United's battleship gray scheme and a C-32B will be hitting American collectors right in the pocketbook this month.
Popular legacy carrier Qantas also gets a strong representation with two SPs and a Qantas Post A321F the likes of which have already been done by others but likely not as well, (Gemini too in fact plans on making their own version). Add in the G.T. DHL and it's a good month for those Down Under.
The first four models being offered from NG Models in May are all Next Gen. 737s. All four of which are currently in active service. All four are from the U.S. and all four of the 1/1s are currently wearing the liveries of their 1/400 replicas. All four have split scimitar winglets, but just two are available.
Alaska Airlines, 737-900ER: N487AS & N434AS
There are currently 505 Boeing 737-900ERs in existance and Alaska Airlines flies 87 of them. They were also the rollout customer of the 737-900 so having NG also represent the rollout of their new mould for the type is a nice nod intentional or not. Out of all the Euro-white schemes out there, this is one of the nicer ones. The colors are bold and nicely balanced and the traditional titles are nicely placed and replicated on the hull. In addition, with Alaska Airlines joining the One World alliance, the recently added titles to N487AS look good in the renderings, and I'm looking forward to seeing it although I'm not sure I ever will. It seems that legal pressure from ADI has somehow influenced this pair. They are not up for pre-order anywhere.
Southwest, 737-700: N252WN
NG models is jumping into production with the 737-700. One of the first two off the assembly line for them is this great looking Southwest registered N252WN. The aircraft first flew in 2006 (line no. 2027) and is actively serving with Southwest, the only airline it has ever worked for. This will be the first 1/400 Southwest 737-700 in the 'Canyan Blue' livery since Aeroclassics released their version with standard winglets in 2014. This was an instant buy for me, and I can't wait to see it in person.
United Airlines, 737-700: N16732
It's rare that things get this good in 1/400 scale. The merger of United and Continental created this livery, and for a long while, it's been one of my least favorites. It has however carved out it's own space in American commercial aviation, and I'm learning to appreciate it. NG Models are now offering a piece of this history in the form on N16732. The aircraft was originally purchased by Continental Airlines in 1999. It then was absorbed by United in the merger in 2010. It remains active with the airline. The aircraft has never changed its registration since entering service coming off the flight line in August of 1999 as line number 352. An oldie, but a goodie.
U.S. Air-force, C-32B: 99-6143
I have few standards that define my 'criteria' in 1/400, but government jets and MACs I avoid at all costs. I have nothing against them, in fact, I usually like them very much, but that would surely be a slippery slope! In the case of this C-32B, for those collectors that are interested, it seems like a winner. The mould is the best in 1/400 and as usual, NG has made sure all fixtures and printed details are correct. As far as I can tell, there are no mistakes. I'm sure this model would look really nice next to any other MACs or diplomatic charters. Between this model and the DHLs, NG is not only demonstrating their versatility, but that of the 757 as well.
DHL 757-200F: G-DHKK & VH-TCA
For starters, I was a big fan of Top Gear before the BBC ousted Clarkson and friends, so it was with great anticipation that I waited for Grand Tour to start off. While I think the cast had their best days on Top Gear, these three hosts have long cemented themselves as some of my all-time favorites and I absolutely had to order these. For starters, G-DHKK devoted most of her career in PAX form. Spending the most time with ATA and the Ethiopian as N513AT & ET-AMK respectively, it was converted to freighter configuration in 2016-17. It carried this Grand Tour livery until 2019. Back in standard DHL colors it still serves as part of the UK freight network ferrying cargo between the UK and mainland Europe.
As for VH-TCA, her life began in 1992 upon delivery to Inter European Airways, a year later, she would become part of Airtours International, and then in 1998 the airframe would begin service for Greenlandair as OY-GRL. (This is the same aircraft that NG Models used for their Greenlandair 757 from May of 2019). The aircraft would be shuffled a few times more and retrofitted for cargo duty in 2011. The aircraft would be featured by NG Models a second time for their DHL Tasman Cargo Airlines and now a third time as "The Flying Orangutan". Like G-DHKK, the G.T. titles are now gone.
NG have proven they can get the DHL livery perfect. The portraits of both tv presenters are a bit questionable in that they appear too yellow-ish. A certain by-product of the Yellow undercoat. All the same, no one else will likely make these, so get them while you can!
Qantas 747SP: VH-EAA & VH-EAB
The stunning close up photographs used to share their latest products reveals a lot about the confidence NG Models have in the work they are doing. I know there are many SPs that collectors are waiting to see on this cutting edge mould NG have developed. It seems though, that NG Models have released the floodgates on many fan favorites with these two from Qantas plus the American and the United which I'll get to momentarily. Both VH-EAA and VH-EAB are displayed with the iconic 1970's Qantas livery. I am absolutely smitten with both of these. Both aircraft were wholly owned and operated by Qantas. They were both dispensed from Bowing in 1981 and were line numbers 505 and 537 respectively. Both aircraft served for a little over 20 years and withdrawn in 1996. They are in effect twins except NG has made sure the VH-EAB is carrying the "Brisbane Commonwealth Games" titles. Both of these SPs speak for themselves and I'm sure they will delight anyone who sees them.
American Airlines & United Airlines SPs: N601AA & N145UA
I can't help but to feel disrespectful for combining the two of these models into one section. They are both independently phenomenal and deserve their own limelight. If there was such a thing as a nostalgia bone, this pair hits hard. As a young man growing up in the Northeast U.S. and traveling by air to places like Chicago, Boston, DC, and Los Angeles, seeing these in person was hypnotizing. Having them both called down and able to fit in the palm of my hand is a real treat. Once again, the AA looks damn near perfect. NG Models look like they have been doing this for decades with their bare metal finish. N601AA came to American Airlines by way of the TWA merger. Once they began to refresh their fleet in the early 90's, the aircraft was sold to Kazakhstan Airways. This may be the best SP NG has ever made.
The only thing worthy to display next to this four engine beast from AA is the same aircraft from the direct competition in United Airlines. I've been waiting as we all have for a long time to see if NG could pull off the true battleship gray colors. To my eye, they have got it close but I think it's a bit too light. As a young boy, I had a matchbox version of this aircraft. To see it reborn in this way is thrilling and I can't wait for my copy. N145UA was acquired by United as a result of the down turn of Pan Am. It stayed in the United fleet into the 1990's. In 1997 in was acquired by NASA and retrofitted for inferred astronomical studies. It is still active.
Sunclass A321: OY-TCF, Cathay Pacific A321NEO: B-HPB, Australia Post (Qantas) A321F: VH-ULD
In an effort to combat writer fatigue as a result of this monstrous release schedule, I'll leave some of the investigating up to you. While versions of the Aussie and the Cathay have both been done, the Sunclass A321 is the first 1/400 model representing the Danish leisure carrier. Sunclass is a splinter cell of Thomas Cook and emerged from the ashes of the collapsed company. I enjoy collecting the European LCCs and charters and while this isn't a high priority for me, it is the only one of the three I don't already have a version of. I imagine I'll be hunting it down one day and perhaps very soon if NG goes on to release wither of the A330s in the Sunclass fleet.
Lufthansa A330-300: D-AIKR "Oldenberg"
Somewhat surprisingly, this is the first Lufthansa model NG has made. The youthful D-AIKR is the 1314th A330 built. It was delivered to Lufthansa in May of 2012 and is one of 15 A330's in the fleet. Everything about the new Lufthansa scheme is very 'no nonsense' as is the sleek looking box that the model comes in. One area of critiquing (again, based strictly on these photos) is that NG is printing the window line too high up on the fuselage. It also seems that most of the other printed elements are moved in unison with the window line and that causes the whole side of the aircraft to look a bit off. Still, there's nothing here that isn't forgivable, and the model itself seems to be very popular as it is already in "Sold out' status on the NG Models website.
Aeroflot A350-900: VP-BXD
Aeroflot placed an order for 22 A350s back in 2007. To this day, they have only received one (VQ-BFY). There are a few reasons for this. One, a good chuck of that original order was for A350-800s. Obviously, the project never got fully off the ground. As a result, Airbus and Aeroflot have amicably agreed that those orders will now be filled by the A350-1000. The other reason is more obviously, the massive downturn in demand for international travel. Aeroflot CEO Vitaly Saveliev has said they have elected to delay the delivery of their other A350's until the travel demand picks back up. This hasn't stopped NG from getting ahead of things. They at least have VQ-BFY to look at in the meantime and have taken the liberty of getting this A350 of the future cast in 1/400 scale. The model looks good, and they seam to have the colors fairly close but the placement of the Aeroflot logo on the tail isn't quite right. Gemini have actually done a better job with that but the fuselage color on the Gemini is too milky. Still, the NG Mould is better so that makes the NG the better choice in my book.
Airbus A350-900: F-WWCF
At this point, NG has proven they can be trusted with turning some of the most niche and outlandish airliners in the world into 1/400 scale models. This means that with a good mould and some excellent graphic design capabilities, recreating this special livery worn by the Airbus testing platform, was a good choice. Most of what I can see looks pretty good. I'm not convinced the engine cone is the right color as it should have more of a purple hue to it. Test aircraft are also not part of my collecting criteria which helps narrow down my top choices this month.
Even without the two Alaska 737s and the delayed Cathay A321, this is still an incredible month. I will be picking up no less than 9 of these and I seriously hope NG slows down some to give me a bit of a break. I am impressed by NG month after month, and it is my top favorite brand at the moment.
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.