FedEx Fokker F-27-500 N709FE AeroClassics 1:400 AC19160 Feb 2018

fedex_logo

I know that’s not the correct logo for this aircraft, which comes with a FedEx Feeder logo, but I just couldn’t find one online after ten minutes of searching.

Why did I even buy this model? I ordered it back in November and it arrived in February. It was allegedly shipped on 29th January, but when I rang ARD they said that was the date the label was printed! The guy told me on the phone it had been sent. This is a Tuesday, a week since label printing. “Oh no, we don’t have it, its been posted” he said. I’ve been ordering things like this since 1979, I know that means “its in my hand, I’ll post it today”. Two days later it arrives with guranteed 48 hour postage label. Really who do they think they’re kidding?

As almost nobody wants to stock AC in the UK because (so they tell me), of “patchy or just unreliable supply”, ARD are just about the only people doing so without going abroad for them.

The aircraft was in service for a lengthy period, delivered to FedEx in April 1988, and had before that, flown for Air Inter and probably many more. The fact is I remain fascinated by small cargo aircraft, and these feeder aircraft are rarely produced. As it managed to get into the 21st Century, it’s entitled to a place in the collection.

This is one of those aircraft that a network of on-line resources fails to provide basic details, but one or two finally yielded some information. Models like this are actually really hard to research on-line when it comes to history, the amount of data prior to the mid-1990’s drops dramatically.

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A very different place compared to the modern cockpit! This is the actual interior of F209FE

Most data points to it being a Fokker, rather than a Fairchild version built under licence in the US, but I suspect it’s the latter. It had one very long life, having been built in 1968, and not being finally de-registered and presumably scrapped until March 2005. It appears she was in use until January 3rd of that year. Construction number 10375, she was powered by the highly successful Rolls Royce Dart engine, in this case the Dart 528

This version is supposed to be 1.5m (4ft 11″) longer than the standard version, but the length of the model doesn’t seem to reflect that and it measures a little short.

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Miami in 2003

Having managed to get into the 2000’s operational, the digital camera and phone age was just in time to ensure some decent photos of her ended up on one or two databases.

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Taken in 2002 at the Arctic Thunder Air Show, Elmdorf Alaska, she looks in remarkable condition for her age – she was 34 years old here. ©Niall Grant

1.Fuselage

These are very small models, and AC have a good reputation for producing quality small 1:400’s.

With the fuselage being a bit short I’m already wondering why. Research indicates there was a bigger mould that’s now long gone, so I suppose costs make it unviable. Gemini did this with one of their ERJ’s hoping nobody would notice as well. Most people probably wouldn’t even realise. At £30 a pop I’m not sure that’s entirely acceptable.

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There are two things that stand out as not being very accurate on this model straight away. The first is the nose shape, it’s far too round and not pointy enough, and the angle to the cockpit isn’t right, making the windows too small by about 30%, in height, although the layout is correct.

While The FedEx logo is correct the “Feeder” is printed in black and far too prominent. Likewise “The World on Time” on the nose is black, the wrong font and too prominent, and the ‘e’ at the end of Time isn’t printed properly either side.

Additionally the red vertical marking behind the logo on both sides should reach the grey under body, and doesn’t.

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The registration is also black and again, should be grey.

The few markings for doors and associated detail however appear excellent, and the under body paint is applied with some finesse despite being the wrong shade, it’s far too pale.

2.Wings

Great shape, great mould, superb detail, but silver wings?

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Only the rear aerofoils are silver and the top and bottom of the wings should be grey. The only colour that is right is the black leading edge. What were AC thinking?

3. Landing gear

The landing gear is very silver, and should really be pale grey, but the moulds for the nose gear and the gear dropping from the engines, is all very neat and accurate looking. Hopefully the tyres will stay on without me having to glue them in place.

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4.Engines

Great looking mouldings and the propellers work, but the engines should be grey, not silver, the spinners grey, not silver and the propellers are black and white, not silver.  There’s no saying this sort of detail is impossible because I’ve got a four year old JC Wings ATR in SAS livery that’s got all of this type of detail.

Frankly the silver looks like default setting amateur hour. Not impressed, however neat the silver appears to be.

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5. Nose detail

As I said above, the shape and detail is wrong. It doesn’t take much to see that.

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6.Tail detail

The majority is excellent, it’s the horizontal stabilizers that don’t come over accurately – black leading edges is good, but they’re black at the rears and that’s missing. They’re also again, pale grey, not bare metal silver as they are on the model. Come on AC where’s the research? We pay you to be doing this right and you’re not. If I can find that out in 10 minutes what’s stopping the people who develop these models?

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7.Colour

The principle colours, white, purple, the FedEx logo, are perfectly good. The Grey underneath is a little light, the engines wings, props and horizontals are all just wrong. Most of the rest of the sub-logos are wrong, black rather than grey.

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With the ATR42-500F by Gemini

8.Score and conclusion

Accuracy

  • -2 for wrong grey under body
  • -10 for the wings/engine/prop colours
  • -4 for the wrong stabilizer colours
  • -2 for the black missing rear of the horizontal stabilizers
  • -6 for the black instead of grey reg no’s, and sub-logos/strap lines
  • -5 for the poor nose shape, cockpit zone, short fuselage.

24/50 for accuracy

Quality

  • -1 for the ‘e’ in Time not being properly printed both sides

Overall its well painted and put together.

49/50 for quality

Overall score: 73%

Lack of research seems to be the issue here. It’s as though they’ve got a stock set of parts and just modify the minimum amount to adjust the livery. If I can find this out, so can AC. However it’s really nicely made and put together. And yet superbly made and inaccurate isn’t really what I expect for £30 ($41.43US). Frankly those bright silver wings look stupidly toy-like and a fool could tell you they were not meant to be that way.

My recommendation: It’s different, a must have for FedEx collectors certainly, but I’d not buy one with these silly silver painted wings, engines and props, they seriously spoil it.

PS don’t bother looking up aeroclassics.net or “powered by” 400scalehangar.net as per their model boxes. Nothing comes up except a legal page on the former and nothing at all but an error on the later! Nice to see they’re staying current!

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