Recently, Phoenix Models announced the release of three British Airways 747s in 1:400 scale. A -136 (G-AWNP), a -236B (G-BDXO), and a -436 (G-BNLC). The Phoenix 747-100/200 and -400 molds in 1:400 scale are widely criticized. Some of the faults that have earned the molds their bad rap are well documented by Richard Stretton in an article on his site Yesterday's Airlines. But, are those faults enough of a reason for collectors to blindly ignore every 741/2/3/4 model that Phoenix releases in 1:400 scale? And, can't similar faults be found on other 1:400 scale molds that are not criticized as widely as the Phoenix 747s? Hopefully, you will have your own answer to the first one of those questions after reading through this write-up. As far as the second question goes, I honestly don't know the answer, nor do I plan on trying to find it, but I thought it would be good food for thought.
Out of the three recent British Airways Landor c/s releases by Phoenix Models I added two to my collection (the -136 and the -236) during a visit to Airplane Models @ SG (highly recommended!). I did pass on the -436, but mainly due to a printing issue that I saw on a picture, and taking into account that I already had a very nice example of the same type/livery combo.
So, how do the -136 and -236B produced by Phoenix look? Well, obviously they looked good enough to me as I ended up dropping some cash for them, but here I will offer some comparison shots for you to make your own conclusions.
Unfortunately, I started collecting 1:400 scale models in 2009, which means that by then all the BA Landor 747s that had been produced in 2004 using the BigBird mold (the gold standard for 747s in 1:400 scale) were effectively out-of-reach.
However, I was actively collecting in 2012 when InFlight400 released a pair of BA Landor jumbos. On that opportunity, I did purchase a -236B (G-BDXI). Here I will share some pictures of the InFlight400 model so that we can compare the new Phoenix releases with it.
The InFlight400 classic 747 mold (also used by Aviation400 and Witty Wings) is actually a short-lived improved version of the BigBird mold, and it is considered the absolute best 747 mold that has ever seen the light in 1:400 scale. So in that sense, it is a great reference to evaluate what is considered the worst 747 mold in 1:400 scale. However, the InFlight400 releases suffered from quality and finish issues. The finish on the Phoenix releases is actually very good.
So with all that out of the way let me lets take a look at the models.
All photos were taken under the same lighting, at the same focal length, with the same exposure settings, with the camera in the same exact position, with the models placed almost on the same spot, and received no post-processing other than auto-sharpening (fixed settings).