MODEL OF THE YEAR & BRAND OF THE YEAR AWARDS 2017

WELCOME TO THE 1400REVIEWS

MODEL OF THE YEAR

&

BRAND OF THE YEAR AWARDS

2017

First a reminder of where we left 2016

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Phoenix pulled off a remarkable turnaround in 2016 and produced the stunning AeroMexico 787-9 Quetzalcoatl livery at years end. They knocked Gemini off the top spot by a wide margin.

The Rotten Zinc Award for worst model of 2016 was won by Phoenix for the appalling EVA Air 773ER new livery.

The Brand of The Year was also won by Phoenix. To be able to make the best, the worst and having at the same time made the biggest overall improvements over most of their ranges was quite an achievement, if slightly bizarre! Quite simply, they had gotten better as 2016 went on.


THE ROTTEN ZINC AWARD

FOR

THE WORST MODEL OF 2017

You really have to get it wrong to be down here in the dirt of the Rotten Zinc Awards. This is where the skip of low-grade detritus that should never have seen the inside of a model box reside, in fact a skip was probably too good for them, melting down and recast would have been better…

Here are the TOP THREE WORST MODELS of 2017:

In third: The Phoenix Conviassa A340 YV1004, once fixed it wasn’t bad, but arrived as a DIY model. Not a drop of glue held it together. It scored just 65%.

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In second: Gemini Jets Air India 744 VT-EVA. Gemini have a recurring problem. Some or many in their approvals process are colour blind (or just don’t care). This wasn’t just the wrong colour (joining a host of badly coloured models from Gemini in the last year, and recently added to by the Qatar A35K which is so pale it’s a joke), this model also had multiple quality issues from jammed landing gear, to black roller marks and a cradle that didn’t fit. It scored just 62%.

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Matched against the correct 788 colour, 744 VT-EVA’s looks way out, in real life it looks even worse.

The BIGGEST LOSER – with a dismal score – even worse that last years biggest loser from Phoenix (48%) at just 42%, and yet again a 777-300ER, Gemini Jets run off with the award.

Welcome to a shambolic piece of badly made, rubbish of the lowest kind. A twisted piece of junk not worthy of anyone’s money never mind being fit for retail:

The ROTTEN ZINC AWARD 2017: Gemini Jets Virgin Australia 777-300ER VH-VOZ 

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The ultimate in terrible model making, this appallingly made travesty of junkyard proportions cost an outrageous amount of money £48.50/US$65.51, and totally defines what has become of Gemini in just two years. It’s everything that can go wrong on a model, and simply outlines a total lack of concern for quality or value. It’s the pits.

See the full depressing review here: Virgin Australia 777-300ER VH-VOZ Gemini Jets 1:400 GJVOZ1677 Oct 2017


1400REVIEWS MODEL OF THE YEAR 2017: OVERVIEW

  • 62 new (not older or used) models arrived from Dec 21st 2016 to December 22nd 2017 and were reviewed and scored.
  • Panda and Herpa only had one model each so are not eligible.
  • 1,842 photos were taken for reviews
  • The notable take aways in 2017:  a seismic shift in innovation from one brand and a dramatic upswing in quality from another.
  • There were far fewer high scoring models this year

THE TOP TEN MODELS THAT

QUALIFIED, BY BRAND,

IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER FOR

1400 MODEL OF THE YEAR 2017

The winner must be able to reach these lofty standards:

To win it has to be more than excellent, it has to surpass every single marker for quality. That includes, satisfaction, and delight. It has to be an experience to see, touch and own, as well as technically perfect.


Aeroclassics: In 2016 they didn’t quite get into the finals, this year they got THREE models into the TOP TEN.

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TAP Portugal’s retro liveried A333 CS-TOV is stunning

Aeroclassics CS-TOV stimulated the senses, it looked, felt and exuded a level of quality we rarely see: see the original review here: CS-TOV TAP Portugal A333 retro

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Spain’s Plus Ultra A343 is another gem of perfection from Aeroclassics – and one nobody else has bothered with

Another truly excellent quality model from Aeroclassics, simple but effective and sometimes that’s all you need. Faultless. See the review here: Plus Ultra A340-300 EC-MFA

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A real surprise – Aeroclassics pulled off an outstanding model of the Virgin America A321neo

My expectations were low, but they pulled off an amazingly high quality model for this soon to be vanished brand, a fitting tribute to a splendid airline that deserves better than to be submerged into Alaskan. The best A321 model of 2017. See the review here: Virgin America A321neo N921VA

JC Wings – two models in the Top Ten this year, last year it was one

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MAS Kargo A332F 9M-MUA Not only a wonderful long missing type that’s made it into production – the A332F, simple but superbly made.

You know white paint is often the hardest, because any dust, flaws or marks leap out at you instantly. Production quality was remarkably high, and look an A332F at last!! See the review here: MAS Kargo A330-200F 9M-MUA JC Wings LH4046 1:400 2017

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JC Wings flaps down 787-9 JA830A – Photographing this was a special challenge

JC Wings made a remarkable model here. It was superbly made, it was novel and interesting, and it surprised me with its excellence. ANA 787-9 JA830A JC-Wings 1:400 XX4697A “Flaps Down”

Phoenix hold all five of the remaining TOP TEN spots. If you’re looking for a Gemini, sorry they didn’t even get close, only one model scored 95%, not enough to get it into the TOP TEN.

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Phoenix’s top model of 2017 – Mexicana A332 XA-MXQ, a TOP TEN entrant

Original review: Mexicana A330-200 XA-MXQ Phoenix 1:400 11390 sept 2017

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Phoenix’s TOP TEN entrant Kuwait 773ER 9K-AOC

Original Review: Kuwait Airways 777-300ER 9K-AOC New livery Phoenix 11338 1:400 Jan 2017

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It’s like this years theme is what shade of blue to deploy!  Phoenix Air Caraïbes A330-323 F-HPTP Phoenix 11329 1:400 Jan 2017A333 F-HPTP Air Caraibes, a TOP TEN entrant

Original review: Air Caraïbes A330-323 F-HPTP Phoenix 11329 1:400 Jan 2017

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Aeromexico XA-ADD – Phoenix TOP TEN entrant

Original review: AeroMexico 787-9 XA-ADD Phoenix 04138 1:400 July 2017

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Qatar A380 A7-APC Phoenix’s TOP TEN entrant

Original review: Qatar Airways A380 A7-APC Phoenix 11374 1:400 July 2017

So, once again, the second year in a row, having won hands down in 2015, Gemini haven’t even made the TOP TEN. I’ll tell you something else now. They didn’t even get in the top 20. What is going on?

There were some exceptional models this year, and some genuine surprises. I’ve sat and looked at the top models for an age, I struggled with some simple feelings about what truly makes a good model, re-read my own notes, ran it past several friends, including a pilot for Virgin Atlantic and a curator at The British Museum, both of whom are avid 1:400 collectors and aren’t swayed by my opinions.

In all honesty the winner could only be one model, it was the one that stood out for its flawless finesse; never had I, or they, seen so much silver painted to such a finish. Not one thing on the model was flawed, it exuded the quality, joy and pleasure that makes a model exciting, a prize, drives enthusiasm, it has what those Witty models have; class and poise. It has that special, exciting ‘thing’ that makes you appreciate excellence. 

1:400 MODEL OF THE YEAR 2017

AEROCLASSICS TAP PORTUGAL A330 CS-TOV RETRO LIVERY

I know it doesn’t have aerials, or domes, and that’s something that from 2018 will be refelcted in the Accuracy score. These are now part of what we expect and all but one manufacturer provides on most models. Yet as a model, it’s wonderful and we all agreed it deserves to win.


THIS YEAR THERE ARE TWO SPECIAL AWARDS – THE “THANK YOU” AWARD FOR THE MANUFACTURER WHO MADE THE ONE MODEL NOBODY ELSE HAS, AND THE NEW “INNOVATION AWARD”, WHICH GOES TO THE MANUFACTURER WHO ADVANCED THE CAUSE OF 1:400, AND PUSHED IT FORWARD IN TERMS OF NEW IDEAS AND BETTER PRODUCTS.

THE ‘THANK YOU’ AWARD 2017

There was one model nobody seemed to want to produce – largely because so few were made, and only two companies had a mould – Herpa and Dragon Wings. It came just as British Airways started to run the service down, reducing it to one aircraft, selling one to Titan, and it had only had two to start with.

So thank you Herpa, for producing the British Airways A318 G-EUNA, a long hoped for and quite neat model, those of us who collect these things were delighted to add to their collections.

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THE INNOVATION AWARD 2017

Only one manufacturer could possible win this award. This year they fully introduced “flaps down” options for the 787 and A350’s in their range. A welcome development that coincided with the introduction of an an awesome new 787-9 mould. The model came painfully close to winning Model of The Year.

Not only did this manufacturer provide us with genuine innovation, and new moulds, they used some common sense to create a solution to cheaply create the long wanted, and yet relatively rare A330-200F. By adding a dome to the nose gear housing in a simple yet innovative way that works, a variant we thought we’d never see has finally made its way to us.

So congratulations to JC Wings – for bringing genuine innovation to 1:400 scale models.

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Etihad A332F A6-DCE by JC Wings
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The outstanding JC Wings ANA JA830A with flaps down, a stunning new mould

1400REVIEWS BRAND OF THE YEAR 2017

Of all the models, the thousands of photos, the hours of writing and editing, you actually do loose track of who is actually doing well, and who is not.

These are this years most important overall score stats, they tell me who is going up, down or breaking even. This year has been a bit of a shock.

  • Phoenix came in first in 2016 but dropped 2.11% from that high point in 2017
  • Aeroclassics came in second last year – and they jumped 6.33% this year – beating Phoenix’s 2016 high but not quite enough to take top spot in 2017
  • Gemini Jets were third in 2016 (first in 2015), but dropped 2.0% this year to a new all time low
  • JC Wings leapt 10.03% in 2017 having come in last in 2016

THE WINNER OF 1400REVIEWS BRAND OF THE YEAR 2017 IS

  1. JC Wings with a score of 90.14%
  2. Aeroclassics retain second place with 89.33%
  3. Phoenix drop to third place with 84.92%
  4. Gemini Jets drop to last place with a new low of 78.47%

This has been a year where Aeroclassics A330 & A320 ranges have improved in many qualititive ways, the A330 especially. The A320 series needs new landing gear, AC needs to step up and accept that domes and aerials are here to stay. The answer shouldn’t be “we’re never ever doing them”, it should be: “how can we do them right and better than anyone else?”

Phoenix: lack as they always have, consistency. They’re as capable of screwing up as they are as shining brightly. Their A330 is now as good as Aeroclassics, but they still lack a 744 that’s credible and the A359 has gone from not good, to really good, to utterly terrible, back to OK and then back to utterly terrible, in the space of two years. It’s the A359 that is dragging them down right now.

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One of Phoenix’s better models in 2017 has a superb paint job

Gemini Jets have raised their prices, in a deluded cloud of self-generated mystique and think they’re brand leaders. They may have the most recognised name, but that’s changing.  Prices cannot keep rising while quality keeps dropping. Dealers tell me privately, sales have slowed – you can see it by the level of discount they apply, which is climbing upward slowly month by month, especially in the UK and Europe, never mind the growing number of under-retail priced models from third party sellers on eBay.

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The wrong nose mould, bad landing gear and a weird yellow tint to the white paint ruined this much-anticipated Lufthansa model from Gemini

Gemini’s colour fails of the last 12 months alone have been monumental, the yellowish Ivory Lufthansa A359 that should have been bright white, the dreadful toffee-coffee coloured Air India 744 that should have been ivory, the latest A35K for Qatar that’s about four shades too light, the broken off wings, jammed gear, and for many with the CRJ-900 Air Canada Express this month, apparently the landing gear is backwards on both, or, one side is and the other isn’t! When you slap “as real as it gets” on every box, and your brand name is Gemini – the twins – suggesting the model is a direct twin of the real thing, scrutiny is what you will get.

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This sort of quality fail is slowly destroying Gemini’s reputation – twisted cradles, flashing on the gear doors, nose gear that’s bent and not fixed in right, bent wing, enough rubble to fill San Francisco Bay in the paint…not good enough.

Panda – intellectual property issues aside – because to be fair this business is filled with more than its fair share of that issue, and if aggrieved parties cannot sort it out legally inside China, it’s not our problem. I don’t condone IP theft, but if a countries legal system cannot resolve it, it’s not up to you and me to police it. If I can get a Panda model I will buy it if I want it, especially as their impressive range of models and airlines continues to grow – aerials, domes and all!

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Panda have done a great job, like it or not, and they keep getting better, if only the were easier to get hold of.

Herpa – Please come back to 1:400. It needs you. I don’t mind if it’s a tad expensive as long as it’s quality. Looking forward to the CS300!

AV400 – was once a major pre-recession brand and it’s on its way back. Look out for them in 2018. All we need is a retailer prepared to dive in and sell them! Yes it’s more complicated than that, but not by much.

Jet-X – a variable reputation but already 1:200’s are being made under that brand name again, so will it make its way back to 1:400 in a sustainable way?

JC Wings. You have created some superb models this year, the new 787-9 is outstanding, the A332F a much wanted asset, (except for those over elevated wings), the 744 a class leader. The 737 isn’t too bad. The inaccuracies in the A350 mould are unacceptable, the over-elevated wings on the A330’s a joke and the joint A320neo mould with Gemini is laughably over wieght and the engines on the Neo? Really?

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Best seen in in-flight mode with those over-elevated wings, but the A332F is a welcome innovation

And yet…the finished quality has improved no end, and the innovation, is simply excellent. If only you could find a way of delivering models on a timely basis, not months and months of waiting? This lack of certainty is dissuading retailers from stocking or listing your models in the way they used to.

All we want as collectors, is better models.

In any event, who would have thought these two would have won this time last year? Certainly not me.

So congratulations to this years winners: Aeroclassics for the 2017 Model of the Year and JC Wings for the 2017 Innovation Award and Brand of The Year 2017. 

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Ironically that background was caused by Portuguese forest fires and sand from North Africa blowing over the UK during the summer
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JC Wings quality improvements, along with general innovation, earnt it Brand and Innovator of the year  awards in 2017, an outstanding achievement

And finally, it’s been an honour to have you all read and comment on reviews, keeping it civil is what it’s all about, helping each other understand what manufacturers produce and what they try to do to get our money, at least part of the purpose.  Thank you, for making 1400reviews.com and it’s Facebook page worthwhile.

Here’s to 2018!

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5 thoughts on “MODEL OF THE YEAR & BRAND OF THE YEAR AWARDS 2017

  1. Jon – OK, 2017 is history, and has treated us well, 1:400 die cast airliner wise. Gemini down, Panda/Skywings on a charge. Looking forward to your review of Skywings Lufthansa A330-300 D-AIKC – it’s good, very good, not quite perfect. Keep ’em flying, Doug

  2. Jon – Ebay seller 149131 has two currently listed at $68.50 (incl. shipping/handling) – not cheap. Doug

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