HOP! & S7 E170’s F-HBXE & VQ-BBO Herpa 1:400 2018

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These two models have arrived more or less at the same time and both are welcome additions from Herpa in 1:400. As usual they take months to arrive after their initial announcement, and you tend to find you’ve forgotten about them until the despatch email arrives!

Air France operates the HOP! brand as its regional air line, with 15 of the type operational, mostly domestic but with a few key cities as destinations in nearby EU states and the UK. It’s had various names including the glaringly obvious Air France Régional over the years.

S7 has recently changed its livery and the E170 is a mainstay of low volume “long thin” routes in Russia and neighbouring states.

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F-HBXE is a 2009 aircraft – officially an Embraer ERJ-170STD (ERJ-170-100). She was turned over to HOP! in 2013 when it was created to merge all of AirFrance regional operations into one.

She flies on a pair of GE CF34-8E5’s and carries 76 passengers in an all-economy layout.

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S7’s VQ-BBO is one of 17 operated by the airline.  Like so much of Russia’s aviation, leased from GECAS through the Bermuda register. She’s a 2004 aircraft previously having flown with MidAtlantic Airways and then Republic Airlines under N802MD – as US Airways Express and American Eagle. She spent three years in storage at Rome Griffiss International Airpark (RME) in New York. From 2013-2016 before going to S7 in April 2017.

VQ-BBO has the same type designator and engines as the French aircraft, but is now configured for 78 all economy seats (previously 72).

As part of my collection rationalisation, small regionals aren’t limited, to ensure some variety outside of the major core airlines, but the number of core wide-bodies and ‘unfeasible’ airlines are being pared down massively. These two bring a welcome addition to the collection.

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1.Fuselage

They’re both exceptionally neat, superbly moulded and wonderfully sharp in terms of print and technical detail. No aerials is a bit disappointing, but as you get down to this size of model it becomes progressively more difficult to accommodate them and still maintain quality.

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Overall there’s not much more to be said, they’re simple, streamlined aircraft in the first place; designed as they are for economy flying – OK they’re a bit plastic fantastic on the inside in real life but they seem to have excellent longevity and are much sought after used, although that does inflate the leasing costs.

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2.Wings

Very neat, surprisingly detailed mould, with a good quality matt paint finish, that allows details to remain visible. Both aircraft models have inserted wings and they’re quite seamless which makes for a great quality finish.

Leading edges are silvered aluminium, and each has a black “Don’t Walk” line. Sharklets are excellent and painted green on the S7, with the logo inboard.

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3.Landing gear

Still very cheap looking Herpa plastic, but neat. I know it’s very hard at this scale to produce high quality landing gear, and while they’re not terrible I always think they could be better.

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One of the quirks of this aircraft is it has a slight nose-up attitude on the ground and it has to be said Herpa have captured this detail as well, without over or under doing it on the S7. However, they have over-done it a little on the HOP! version.

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4.Engines

The GE units are very small, but in both cases exceptionally neat and the nacelles are well painted with correct detail, neat-ish silver rims and even dark fan blades. The exhausts are all a bit too bright and the exhaust cone is really dark titanium, but appears silver. Would it really have been so hard to make the colour right?

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5.Nose detail.

Simple, straightforward with good detail, especially of note is the Russian flag on the S7 just behind the cockpit windows. Small technical markings reinforce the detail ethic and they’re both rather excellent for their size.

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6.Tail detail

Both are excellent, in shape, build and paint quality, really nothing to complain about. Even the APU is the correct size and colour.

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7.Colour

Herpa have done an excellent job of capturing the bright greens used by S7 and the bright red and blue used by HOP! The S7 is especially good, as it’s one of the few liveries in use that isn’t mostly white.

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8. Score and conclusion

This is a score applied to both aircraft equally and independently.

Accuracy

  • -4 for lack of aerials
  • -2 for incorrect exhaust colour

44/50 for accuracy

Quality

  • -3 for the landing gear it could be better if they tried

47/50 for quality

Overall score: 91%

I’ve only just realised that these two bring my total E170’s to just 3. The other is the Herpa version of BA Cityflyer G-LCYF. Overall there haven’t been many. I recall an Air France one, a Delta, a United and a recent Aeromexico Connect, but not much else. Good for Herpa to give us something we rarely get the chance to see, and making a pretty good job of it!

 

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