Lufthansa 747-430 D-ABVA Herpa 1:400 Year 2000 Release No:560139
This is a model of the now delisted Lufthansa 747-430 D-ABVA named “Berlin”. She was registered in 1994 as Lufthansa’s first 744 and taken out of service on Jan 3rd 2012 having completed 110,000 flight hours, which averaging 400mph is an estimated 44,000,000 miles, so I think it fair to say they got pretty good use out of her. As with all Lufthansa aircraft she was dismantled.
Why am I reviewing this model? It was sold in reasonable numbers for three years but it’s almost 15 years old now and I wanted to highlight how things have changed
The box is a standard Herpa one, nothing special but it does come with a very nice black stand. Something you don’t get these days (though Apollo/Witty do provide a lightweight small plastic one).
Despite the many modern methods and technologies that have developed over the last 15 years, there is very little to differentiate it from a modern model from the Gemini or Herpa stables of today. The print is precise, accurate and, frankly in many way,s better quality than we saw from many manufacturers in the last 5 years until Phoenix/Witty/Apollo started to up their game in the last two. It is die-cast, and it’s ideally shaped and free of flaws.
These are a three-part plastic assembly, but they look really quite good. The engine colours and mouldings look like metal and from that point of view you have to admire the fact they get away with plastic. Fact is they look a lot better than some of the poor metal moulds I’ve seen hanging from some of the older JC Wings and Gemini’s of the recession years 2008-12, which seem to be awful on some models.
3) Landing Gear
These are a revelation! OK they are not metal and yes they are plastic, but they are very novel and something long gone from model making (I know Dragon Wings did them for a while for in flight mode and I have a couple on A340’s). Not only are they completely removable and the model comes with a never used set of blanking plates to put it in flight mode, but the nose wheel and forward main gear actually pivot on a metal spindle inside the plastic moulding – yes, it’s actually steerable!
4) Tail fin and stabilizers
The whole assembly is very good, no complaints. However the tail fin and stabilizers are plastic. The trailing edge of the blue fin gives this away in the photos as it shows the blue light passing through, but to the naked eye, it doesn’t seem to notice.
5) Wings and underbody
These, as with Herpa even now, are plastic. This has its plus points, they are very detailed, making the metal winged compatriots look over painted and slightly clumsy. At the same time that makes them look like they must be plastic! They also have the look of being slightly too highly angled, almost as though they are in flight position but not, which of course with the swappable landing gear, it could be. The wings are slotted into the body, not perfectly for the rear part of the join, but acceptable, and it is 15 years old, so give it some leeway.
The base colour is white so no issues. the other colours all look highly accurate.
7) Overall score – we start at 10.
It’s a great model, it looks amazing and for £12.50 on E-bay I really am not complaining. It shows though that different standards have been lost over the years to the cause of cost cutting and profiteering and we are the poorer as collectors for it. The stand is a nice bit of kit, removable, steerable landing gear, in flight mode, not even the best offer these details any more.
Even by todays standards it would justify a 9/10. I take a point for over-use of plastic, but at least what they did with it was exceptional and it’s inexcusable that these details have been lost when you look at the prices all manufacturers models command from retailers and we know the margins retailers have to play with are quite small.
Would I have purchased it seeing it first? YES, it’s a great model.