7th Place- Air Lanka L-1011, 4R-ALE
The biggest mystery of the bunch for me was the L-1011. We are on the cusp of many of these 1/400 three hole aircraft flooding the market and there are offerings either currently available or soon to be available by all major 1/400 manufacturers. This is the first round of the Aeroclassics effort (apparently). While there are many parts of this aircraft that seem very good, AC in my opinion has their work cut out for them. From poor printing/panting, lazy assembly, and inaccuracy compared to what NG is planning, this just isn't what I was hoping for. I'm glad to have Air Lanka in my collection, and I'm planning on keeping this model for the time being because there isn't anything better (debatably the Dragon Wings version 4R-ULE, but I prefer all diecast aircraft). Either way AC has made it to the market with theirs first, I'm looking forward to NG's effort.
6th Place- Fiji Airlines 737-Max-8, DQ-FAB
I continue to believe that Gemini's version of the Max-8 is the best you can get. I do believe that AC is still trying to improve their execution of this model and I can see that in some cases there are marked improvements I think that their United 737 Max-9 is phenomenal. The problem though is that there isn't really an upward trend. I will take a closer look at this aircraft in the future, but there are a number of problems again, with the printing. The detailing on the engine cowling while small, is sloppy and noticeable, less so in hand but obvious in photos and up close. Also, the rear doors on both sides appear somewhat translucent as the design of the tail is visible behind. I'm glad to have this, as it's likely not going to be done by Gemini anytime soon, but this one is far from perfect.
5th Place- British Airways A319 "100 years Retro (BEA)," G-EUPJ
I love a properly made retro jet. A good throw back scheme to me however is one that either works or it doesn't. This is an example of one that really just feels great to look at. I was expecting to put this model in first place but some of the worst production errors relegate it to 5th. The worst issue appears to be that the left side horizontal stabilizer was broken off and instead of being replace, was glued into place, either this, or there is a deep crack where it should insert into the tail and while it still looks great from 5 feet away, up close and in-hand it is sloppy compared to the rest of the group.
4th Place- Aer Lingus A320 "2010's colors," EI-CVA
AC didn't quite get this one right in specific areas. The stem of the clover on the tail need to connect to the bottom most leaf and it doesn't the bight green that highlights the forest darker green on tail should climb up the vertical stabilizer and while it can be seen on the fuselage, it can't be seen on the tail. While this new look isn't very exciting and is in my opinion a sad departure from what they had, it does come across as fresh and clean and still sports that giant clover. I'm really happy with EI-CVA
3rd Place- Alaska Airlines A319, N530VA
I am a sucker for anything Alaska Airlines has been putting on the side of an airplane lately, and this is no exception. This model not only looks great but is one of the most soundly constructed models out of the group. After a quick pass, everything looks good. It is also an example of what AC can do when their paint and printing department is putting effort in. Great job, great model!
2nd Place- Aer Lingus A33-300 "2010's colors, EI-EDY
As I said previously, this is not a livery that excites me, but it is, as I've seen stated, the new livery, so be it. There's nothing all that unique about it, but it comes across as clean and new as I'm sure it's meant to. The really victory is the sublime AC A330 mould. Everything on this aircraft is neat and tidy. The model looks phenomenal and is extremely well made. It would be in first place if it wasn't for the Cayman Airways Max-8 which has been on my radar for a long time and is more complex.
1st Place- Cayman Airways 737-Max-8, VP-CIW
Most of my models bring me joy, this one makes me smile. I first saw this aircraft at LAX some time ago, and it is such a vibrant and beautiful reflection of Cayman culture. The complexity and color variations on this model must have been a real challenge to get right not only in concept but in reality as well. I am so pleased with it. It keeps its status in first place but also, it isn't perfect. AC seems to have a new challenge with its 737-Max gears as the mains on this one are twisted.
In conclusion, the selection available to collectors this month was something that anyone who is in the hobby of 1/400 could appreciate. Once again, in my opinion, the only thing that keeps AC from being at the absolute top in manufacturing is the common issue with QC (paint/printing/assembly). On to next month!