With just five models in the review pipeline and the fact I really want to unbox these and start using them, it’s time to review something for the diorama enthusiast.
Now I accept they may be 1:500 scale but who hasn’t wondered what scale Herpa are really making many of these accessories to? The airport lamps are gigantic, their 1:500 bridges too big for even some 1:400’s, and those remote stand gates are easily able to cope with large 1:400 aircraft. They don’t work with a 1:400 737 (because they’re too big!) and only just fit an A320.
Even some of their 1:500 tractors look perfectly OK as small tractors for A320 series aircraft.
The only thing that doesn’t always work so well is the vehicles like a fuel tanker, or the lavatory waste truck, but I’ve only ever managed to get one set of those and frankly, if you don’t know what they are, the casual observer hasn’t got a clue about scale. When you’re talking a 20% in size difference at this scale, only aircraft themselves really start to notice.
With so few options available in 1:400, 1:500 with its oversized accessories seems like a natural alternative.
The Herpa 1:400 Lufthansa Sky Chefs catering trucks are superb, and I’ve already reviewed them. They go up and down, even have a sliding platform to cross to the aircraft and are superbly made. At around £6 ($8.33US) each, so they should be! I’ve got 24 of them and they really contribute to making a diorama look good.
Air stairs have been a constant bind – the awful Gemini ones look like they were designed on something used during World War 2 – pretty much like all of their out dated and hideously priced 1:400 set. Even worse, they’re horrible quality – the catering trucks especially.
The Witty set (also sold and branded in several ways), was another bizarre set of what seems like 1:300 and 1:400 sizes.
So when these passenger stairs became available I thought it was time to try them out. One pack would do as the new diorama doesn’t have much demand for stairs, almost everything now has a terminal gate. However there is a small area for the E-190/145’s, and CS100’s and Fokker 70’s to use hard standing if needed, where they could work. At £15 ($21US) a set, that would be quite sufficient for a pack of just 6.
They’re actually quite cute. Minimalist, but they do work. The upper level of the stairs slides in runners – but be very careful they don’t come all the way out. They go back easily enough, but it would be just as simple to lose one. At these prices you don’t want that.
Judge for yourself if they’re worth it too you. If you have a diorama I suspect you’ll know, that despite the dust and the fiddly nature of small vehicles, they add a degree of life and realism beyond measure. Without them no diorama is quite the same.
They work with an amazing variation of sizes, up to and including the A318/19/20/21 and 737, the Fokker 70, CRJ-900, CS100/300, and ERJ series. They don’t work with anything like the ATR, Dash-8 or BAe146.
Overall I’m really pleased with them and would rate them highly. Pricey yes, but if you can afford a diorama of any medium-large size and all the kit they need to look their best, they’re well worth considering. If you have only room for a small layout, with either hard standing alone or an un-armed terminal building, again, these are ideal.
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