*All photos of models are from NG stock photography and have been shared publicly.
Having some kind of digital presence is synonymous to 1/400 scale these days. No matter who you speak to, almost everyone in the hobby has their preferred online community in which to interact with manufactures, distributers, and other collectors around the world. I frequent many groups, from Facebook, to more traditional forums like D.A.C., and when these photos were shared, there was something of an uproar. Very few threads seemed to garner the attention that the recent NG release photos did. There were both fans, and critics, and a few crazies too. This largely speaks to the dynamic force that NG Models have become and continue to be in the 1/400 scale arena.
On a side note, anyone who asserts that the effort NG Models puts into their box art is futile. Or anyone who scoffs at those who take the time to notice the creativity are simply missing out. Whether it be out of jealousy or fear of competition, folks who don't care or are malicious must be in the minority because I don't understand what's not to love. NG Models are back once again with eleven great looking models and I've got thoughts on several.
Pan Am 747SP: N540PA
Obviously, there were supposed to be two SP's this month. NG announced that the American Airlines version would be pushed back a month and this left the Pan Am. There are newer remarks from NG Models themselves that getting the SPs (including the late AA version and the rumored re-run SA version) to market quicker will be expedited as NG Models moves into their new production facility. The mould is of course, brand new and while there have been about 5 models thus far, the mould continues to attract criticism. It is of course a far better mould than anything out there and as the mould is fine tuned, these early releases will wet the appetite of classic and SP collectors.
This particular aircraft was delivered to Pan Am in 1979 and finished its life for the Las Vegas Sands Corporation taken out of service prematurely after being damaged by a hurricane. For more details on the aircraft's history, click here (planespotters.net). This is one of about 4 models I plan on picking up this month and I eagerly look forward to having it in-hand as it will be both my first SP.
American Airlines 737-800's 1990's colors:
This pair looks absolutely superb and they are perhaps the most highly lauded pair of models of this release (by most North American collectors at least). The schemes are the same except the aircraft have different registrations and N955AN is a basic -800 while N936AN has blended winglets. 276 of these aircraft are in operation with the eighty-five year old airline. Chances are if you live in the U.S. or have ever been stateside, you've seen a few of these AA 737-800s, or perhaps even flown on one
N955AN is line number 762. It has been with American Airlines for it's entire career. It appears that the 1/1 version of the aircraft has been fitted with blended winglets. N955AN is currently in storage in Tulsa weathering the Covid-19 pandemic.
N936AN also has a rather unremarkable history. The aircraft is line number 575 and is nearly a year older than its aforementioned winglet-less twin. Delivered in June of 2000, the 1/1 version of this aircraft also appears to be in storage, however, it is more ominously at Roswell. It has been repainted to the current American colors but with Covid, all bets are off. With A.A. expecting many new Max-8 aircraft to be joining the fleet, this bird may perhaps never serve with them again.
Delayed Chinese 737-800s:
If you're into specialized schemes on modern Chinese airliners, then this is certainly a good month for you. NG Models are giving many collectors a chance at procuring a 1/400 example of a modern medium bodied twin jet 737. Examples this month include, Air China, B-5428 "2022 Winter Olympic Games," China Southern, B-1979 in "Home Town Henan" colors, and my personal favorite, Xiamen Air, B-5656 "Beijing Daxing." All three of the aircraft, besides their unique schemes are rather ordinary themselves. Each has the standard 737-800 blended winglets. Each one however is a quiet testament to the amazing things that NG Models is accomplishing in 1/400 scale paint work. All three of these were not originally intended for this release and were delayed. In order to keep my summary as concise as possible, I will avoid extensive details on these airplanes.
The L1011 returns this month with both the L1011-1 and the L1011-500 for Gulf Air and Air Lanka respectively. Based on the chatter on forums, the Gulf Air was really impressing collectors, myself included, and the Air Lanka is dripping in retro goodness. I plan on adding both of these superb looking models and I'm happy to say I will be replacing my Aeroclassics version of the Air Lanka.
Guf Air, A40-TY:
From what I can tell, this aircraft was first delivered to Gulf Air in 1979. It was actually converted to a -200 before eventually being turned into a freighter for the likes of Fine Air and Arrow Air. This 1/400 version captured this airframe in its best form. It appears that NG got the colors quite close perfect. My version is currently in route. It seems that this will be a hard model to catch unless you've had it on preorder. Also of note, Gemini Jets also made this aircraft in 1/400 for Sovereign Models in 2003.
Air Lanka, 4R-ULA:
The second and slightly less eye grabbing L1011 being offered is the Sri Lankan, Air Lanka. There is no doubt they have gotten the tail logo really damn close to perfect and the red tones, cheatline, and printed detail look up to the usual standard. This aircraft stands out to me because even though it is quite simple, it has proven to be very difficult to get right (Lochness Models), and to my eye, this is easily best in show comparatively. More valuable information on the aircraft can be found here. 4R-ULA first flew in 1982. It has served with several carriers including British Airways, and airTransat.
In the world of Eruowhite paint schemes, this has to be one of the nicest. Seeing the flowing shades of blue and aqua stretch across the back portion of the aircraft is both mesmerizing in person and in the scale of 1/400. There's something with the A330-200 and the Garuda scheme that just works. Sadly, this may be the biggest miss this month though. I held out on the A330-300 a few months back to see how NG Model's -200 would turn out. (I currently own the Gemini version from 2009, and I've been eager to replace it with NG's -200 mould). I wasn't able to immediately replace my copy though. The window line and thus, the Garuda Indonesia titles are too high. The model still looks good, and is more than satisfactory, but the window hight needs to be addressed, it shout not appear to sit so high above the flight deck.
Garuda Indonesia, PK-GPO:
This nine year old Airbus has been a main staple in the Garuda fleet since it was delivered in February 2012. Garuda primary uses this equipment on the Bangkok-Hong Kong route. This A330-200 sports two Rolls Royce engines. This is the 8th time a 1/400 model make has attempted a Garuda Indonesia A330-200, it is the only model of this particular aircraft as the registration has never been used.
Military aircraft in the 400 scale are interesting to me, but well outside my general criteria. This month NG also let a single A330 tanker slip out. It is registered as F-UJCG and has been in service with the French Air Force for the past five years. It is also, an A330-200 configured aircraft.
As someone who has collected since 2009, I am amazed each month at what NG Models continues to do. I'm impressed by both the mould selection and the diversity that they've offered collectors. But what's more is that they offer a QUALITY PRODUCT. NG's moulds are modern, their graphic design is from this decade, and the models are even better than the pictures and not the other way around, (a common occurrence these days). There is plenty here for any 1/400 collector. There are certainly areas for improvement on models like the SP and the A330. Regardless, you know things aren't that bad when 1/400 models look like 1/200 models. Life is good in 1/400 scale.
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.