One of the huge pleasures of writing this blog is constantly appreciating how technology and the internet are allowing anyone anywhere with a few dollars and some great ideas, to create something amazing and sell it. At the start of this century, just 16 years ago, which in historical terms is barely the blink of eye, finding anyone with the ability to make, market and deliver the things we see and enjoy today in the aviation model world alone, would have been verging on impossible.
When I wrote about Delta-Groove and the amazing runway display (if you come here often you’ll have seen it in many photos), the response to it was massive. A year later and it still rates as one of the most read articles I’ve produced in almost two years of blogging. Many orders have been made off the back of that and it delights me that you, as enthusiasts are prepared to pay for the quality of such outstanding work.
So out of the blue on Facebook, I received a message asking me if I would review two new 1:400 scale airport accessories from a company in Santiago, Chile. Now I know it sounds daft to younger ears, but when I was 12 (and it wasn’t that long ago) the idea of getting on a plane to go anywhere was still, in our tiny farming village in an English backwater, just fantasy. That this has come all the way from Chile, models from China, runways from Japan, GSE from Australia, still amazes and fascinates me. It’s one of the reasons I have such a fascination with air cargo.
The company is MAQU ALAS and they’ve made a few items in 1:500. There first 1:400 scale item is the blast deflectors. I have never seen these in other than 1:500 before (Herpa did some, which are occasionally still available).
The whole purpose is obviously to deflect a powerful jet engine blast – which can be quite significant even while the aircraft is stationary. Many areas of an airport, especially remote stands and cargo zones often border in close proximity to vehicles, equipment, and a host of other kit that inevitably hangs around an airport. The last thing you want is a lump of flying metal hurtling through a terminal window because Tommy Technical decided to try the engines on 40% and didn’t remember quite what the consequences might be.
Airport deflection systems are usually patented as their design is crucial. Small airports with large powerful aircraft have had more than a few incidents over the years. Several are the tales of something like an A343 blasting a small private plane into a building. It’s essential aim is to divert the jet flow upwards by around 60 degrees, where it will prove harmless. They have to be slatted, to allow some airflow through, but are actually more effective for doing so.
Another important by-product is that they also deflect sound and contribute to a quieter airport, something that is more and more urgent in airports that share urban environments, like Frankfurt and especially, Heathrow.
The items themselves are simply exquisite. I use that word because it’s often the most descriptive when extolling the virtues of something that is both small and beautifully made. I actually don’t really understand how they make them as they do, but I can tell you they not only look the part, fit the scale and seem almost impossibly detailed, but they add a superb piece of high quality detail to any diorama that needs them.
Actually, they’re the sort of thing that you make space for, they really are that neat. I decided to try them up against a spot I use for small aircraft on temporary hold over.
Next to the FlyBe BAe146 and the ElAl Up 738, they look truly superb, multiple units making the easy impression of linking together. Colours and detail are excellent for something so relatively small and detailed. Importantly they’re not that expensive either.
Airport footlights are a rare item to find at the best of times. Most of us have had little choice but to use the Herpa 1:500, and they’re not bad, if a little pricey, or make our own.
These are huge. Perfectly to scale they are equal to 30m (98.42ft) high and they are BIG. Now if you have a lot of remote stands, or a nice cargo area these are for you.
This set is a pre-production range, but they don’t look it. I’d like to see a little bit of detail on the glass side – maybe a pale grey underneath just for some added realism, but what a refreshing change to have something this detailed and scale-appropriate in 1:400 at last!
I haven’t decided quite how to deploy them yet, so just placed them over in cargo for an idea of what they look like.
If you wonder how they travel, they come in a specially created box, designed specifically for the items in question – a first rate card construction that can be easily recycled or used for storage if you have to move/re-do the diorama at some point!
Would I buy another set? Too right. The lights are great but you need to think about where to use them, the deflectors are superb, they just work so well. I look forward to this interesting company producing some more innovative product in the coming months and years.
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All opinions expressed are those of the author; this is a review not a recommendation to purchase which is made at you, the readers discretion. This blog and its owner makes no money from or has any financial interest in MAQUALAS.com.