United Airlines 737-700: N21723
NG Models double down on their commitment to get good use of their new 737-700 mould first used last month on another United 737-700 in the Continental merger livery as well as a Southwest in 'canyon blue.' This month however, the bright blue and grey 2020 United livery looks phenomenal on this sharp little model and for me, the is the best offering this month. The aircraft is line number 253. It was originally delivered to Continental in 1999 and was acquired through the merge with UA. This aircraft received no rest during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
United Airlines 737-700: N13720 "Star Alliance" Titles
In 1997, United Airlines along with four other airlines founded the Star Alliance. In recognition of this partnership a common livery was designed and taken on by select aircraft from each participating airline. This livery has been well represented over the years in 1/400 scale and NG Models have chosen to take on this iteration. I love this as a mate to the other 737-700 United and I only wish United had done the engine cowlings blue as they do with the current scheme. To boot, no one has ever done a United 737-700 in Star Alliance colors before. Either way this 737, line number 214 was built and delivered to Continental in 1999 and like the previous one, was acquired by United through the merger. This aircraft also received no rest thought the pandemic.
Etihad 787-9: A6-BLV "2020Abu Dhabi Grand Prix"
In a hasty decision back in May 2019, I bought the Phoenix version of this airplane. It has looked just fine next to it's kin, but as we all have seen the NG 787-9 mould distance itself from the rest of the competition, so too does this NG example comparatively distance itself from both the Phoenix and JC Wings versions. Thankfully airlines like Etihad still are willing to keep their liveries interesting. The intricacies of this scheme compliment the precision of Formula One racing and I am already scheduling a replacement of the Phoenix version while examining these production photos. A6-BLV in real life is line number 768. The aircraft was delivered to Etihad in November of 2018.
Ethiopian 787-9: ET-AUP "London"
Describing anything NG Models has been doing lately as 'stale' seems strange, but in many ways, this is a rerelease for NG Models. I have to imagine there aren't many people who collect every Ethiopian registration out there. I'm sure most people who wanted Ethiopian representation in their collection via a 787 either got the first NG release, or have one of the other four previously made versions from either Dragon, JC Wings or Phoenix. I will say, the original NG release of this livery is getting very hard to find, and this second edition looks just as good as the original making it the best one ever made. ET-AUP is line number 636, and it was delivered in December of 2017. It frequents Oslo and Vienna.
ANA All Nippo Airways 787-10: JA901A
ANA and the 787 will always be synonymous to me. ANA was the launch customer for the airline and received their first copy on September 25th 2011. Since then, ANA continues to be the largest operator of the type and has thirty-seven 787-8s, thirty-six 787-9s, and two of these regal 787-10s with one more on order. ANA uses this stretched version of the aircraft on high volume trunk routes to Shanghai and Bangkok. Out of the entire current catalogue of moulds that NG uses, this may be my favorite. The ANA scheme accentuates the best physical features of the 787-10 and NG have carried it out well. I expect we will one day see the other two ANAs on this mould, but as there are only three total at the moment, it may be a while. If you're considering it, don't wait too long.
Worldways Canada L1011-100: C-GIES
Of all the Tristars I may have guessed for this month, this wasn't anywhere on my radar. In 1985, Worldways began acquiring L-1011s. These can from PSA and AeroPeru. These Tristars were used as the core of the Worldways fleet until the end of the eighties and the subsequent closing of the airline. Gladly, NG Models has the livery and title fonts well mastered. There has been some question about the belly of the aircraft being grey. This is correct and can be seen on multiple photographs. This model isn't high on the priority list. But it has a certain charm that keeps the viewer coming back. Somewhere out there, you may be able to find a nice little Worldways Canada 707 from Aeroclassics, I'd imagine the pair of these models would look awfully nice side by side. There's still other ships from this little charter operation to be made as well, especially in a DC-8-63.
Alia-Royal Jordanian L-1011-500: JY-ALA
In 1963, by royal decree from King Hussein, a national airline of Jordan was formed. It was named Alia after the King's eldest child. The airline wore a read and gold chatline until the early 1980s which saw the introduction of this somewhat experimental livery which was adorned on L-1011s which were newly added to the fleet to coincide with the steady growth of the airline. It seems as though NG Models have used a glossy white base coat for the model. Looking at pictures, this certainly seems correct, but many folks have deliberated that the base coat on the 1/1 was actually a very light blue. To me, this seems like something that can be dealt with by collectors as it is not likely we will see this scheme made again anytime soon on this gorgeous mould. One final issue is that the belly seems to be painted silver and confirms the suspicion that NG continue to struggle with the polished metal finishing on their tristar moulds. The other details of the model are perfect, the colors and motif representing Jordan look stunning and the 80's flare comes though nicely in both the font and the cheat line. Skipping out because of the base color would be a mistake.
It's hard to rate how NG Models did this month because the missing 737-800s. The Vistara especially enhances the diversity of this month and would be the first Vistara 737 in 1/400 scale. Even still, when you put any of this month's models under the microscope, they all look sleek and top tier. It should be once again noted, that NG are apparently undergoing a move to a new facility. It likely would have been easier to stop releases for a time, but I think most collectors are glad they have not.
The bigger issue to me is the list of models that are getting delayed, or are on the docket for rerelease. The missing SPs, the Cathay A321, and not the two 737s. Am I forgetting any? I think NG Models can protect its integrity with collectors by getting back to solid monthly releases. Over all, I expect next month to be similar for NG with a somewhat more limited release schedule but hopefully, the new TU-204s will finally debut.
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.