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It is Okay to Buy Phoenix's 747s, If You Feel Like...


For a comparison between a Phoenix 747-200 and the same model on the Big Bird mold please visit: Viasa 747s in 1:400 - Part 1, PH-BUG



Recently Phoenix Models announced a set of releases that included many 747s 100, 200, and 400 series wearing some of the most sought-after liveries in 1:400 scale. The list includes the following subjects:


  • Air India (Polished belly) Boeing 747-200 VT-EGA

  • Air India (Polished belly) Boeing 747-200 VT-EFU

  • British Airways Boeing 747-100 G-AWNP (Landor livery)

  • British Airways Boeing 747-200 (Landor livery with “The World's Biggest Offer” titles) G-BDXO

  • British Airways Boeing 747-400 (Landor livery with “The World's Biggest Offer” titles) G-BNLC

  • Japan Airlines (JAL) "Aloha Express" (Polished belly) Boeing 747-200 JA8149


The Phoenix Models 747-100/200 and 747-300/400 (referred to as PH74 mold from now on in this article) are regarded as the worst series of molds available for the type in 1:400 scale. At the same time, there has been a drought of classic 747s in the scale for some time now, at least on a decent mold. Furthermore, opinions have historically been radicalized in the world of 1:400 scale model aircraft collecting, with some collectors strongly advocating for an ever-increasing level of quality – and seeing those that settle for subpart molds as an obstacle in their way. While those that are easily pleased claim that the highly critical “ruin the hobby” for them with their seemingly never-ending dissatisfaction. And of course, those that fall somewhere in between the two groups.


Needless to say, this batch from Phoenix, which includes many grails (particularly the BA Landor trio), in a highly criticized mold, has stirred the pot a bit. I have to say that the discussion has remained civil, which is good, given the fact that we have been enjoying a peaceful stretch in the hobby, let’s keep it going!


Every Collector has Different Expectations


I would assume that by now most collectors are familiar with the shortcomings of the PH74 mold, and have already made up their minds in regard to these releases:


- Some will just ignore them, and not touch them even with a ten-foot pole.

- Some will see beyond the critics, buy them and enjoy them anyway.

- Some will wait and evaluate things such as their particular financial situation when the models hit the stores, how the liveries turn out, and how quickly are the models selling out, etc.


Then there are some collectors that might be struggling with deciding how to go about these releases. Boeing 747s wearing iconic liveries are hard to resist, but everyone is saying to stay away from that God-awful PH74 mold, what should I do? This last group is who I have in mind as I write this article.


Expect a Very Vocal Response Advising You to Stay Away from These Releases


Passions will be high in the wake of this announcement, and the anti-PH74 group will likely be very vocal in expressing their disgust with the batch and will try to steer you away from buying any of these Phoenix 747s.


They do have a valid point as the PH74 mold is indeed very poor, and unarguably the worst of all the 747-100/200 and -300/400 molds that are available today. So, when an iconic livery that many people want is released on that mold, the model is bound to trigger intense frustration in the anti-PH74 group. This batch is particularly irritating to them because it includes not one, but three BA Landor jumbos, in addition to other beautiful classics from Japan and India.


However, never forget that because a mold is not the best in its category, that does not mean that none should buy it.


It is Important NOT to Fall Prey to Peer Pressure


Seems like both groups include many well-known collectors in the 1:400 online community, but one of the most prominent anti-PH74 advocates is the owner of the site Yesterday’s Airlines: Richard Stretton.


Yesterday’s Airlines has become a household name in the hobby thanks to the tireless work that Richard has put into it. And the site really does offer an unmatched amount of high-quality and well-researched literature on the hobby, as well as – for the most part – very objective and unbiased mold and model reviews.


I have personally used Yesterday’s Airlines many times before when deciding on buying a model. I also enjoy reading Richard’s articles in my free time and consider him an inspiration for my own site. However, in the previous paragraph, I said that Richard is objective “for the most part” because at the end of the day, he is a very passionate collector – like you and me – and emotions invariably get in the way sometimes. One topic that seems to make Richard particularly emotional is precisely that of the PH74 mold. He has publicly acknowledged that he would like Phoenix to straight up stop making 747s, and people to stop buying them.


So, while the PH74 mold does leave much to be desired and its critics are by and large well-deserved, I think it is important for each collector facing a dilemma on whether to buy or not to buy a PH74 to understand the information that is available to them, and use it wisely to make their own decision, but don't let the community make that decision for you. At the end of the day, it is you who will regret getting or not getting a given model, and not the people affecting that decision with their online opinions.


It is Mostly an Online/Social Media Problem


I think it is important for all of us to remember that the majority of diecast model collectors are not active on online forums and on social media platforms. So for these collectors, it is a bit simpler of a dilemma: they either buy what they like, or not. The whole “what are people going to comment if I post a photo of this model?” argument is out of the table. Boy, it must be nice to be one of those collectors…


What are our Alternatives Anyway?


Let’s take a look at what 747-100/200/300/400 molds are currently available on 1:400 scale:


JC Wings owns and seems to have access to the GeminiJets 747 classic and -400 molds, as well as the former BigBird molds. Both molds are superior to the current PH74, but the latter is considered the gold standard for 1:400 747s; excluding the -8 series.


However, there are some problems:


First, JC Wings/GeminiJets have indicated with their actions that they do not have any desire to fulfill the demand for classic 747s on 1:400 scale. Second, those molds, while better than the PH74 mold, are also dated and have plenty of room for improvement. In fact, I will go on a limb and argue that, beyond the beautifully shaped nose of the BigBird 747s, their molds are not all that much better than the PH74 mold.


For a comparison between a Phoenix 747-200 and the same model on the Big Bird mold please visit: Viasa 747s in 1:400 - Part 1, PH-BUG


So, again, what are our alternatives?


Well, NG Models is likely to be the next manufacturer to step up and fill the “classic jumbo void,” and they seem to be getting closer to that goal with their recent release of the 748i and 748F samples. However, the problem that I see is that NG is trying to please everyone and is struggling to do so. With that in mind, it might take a while before NG comes to the rescue in the classic 747 1:400 business. I could, and hope to, be wrong.


Hey, and what about Aeroclassics?! With China open back again Andrew Klein could very well pull some tricks and, say, borrow some blanks from Johan Chan and surprise us, right? Haha… that would be a dream, everything is possible.


There is something to be said about living in the present though. The worse that can happen if you decide to get some of these – hopefully – nice PH74s, is that a better version comes down the line. And what’s wrong with that? I would happily display them all together.


So, Am I getting Any?


And speaking of me, where do I stand in all this? Well, I’ll be honest: I will likely get two of the Landors (the -400 and -200). I will say that if it was the BigBird mold I would have pre-ordered all three of them already though. But I’m also not going to the other extreme and avoid the PH74 mold altogether just because society says so.


Let’s all remember that at the end of the day, when you look at these 1:400 models from 8 feet away, you can’t tell the difference. In my case all I would see is a bunch of Landor tails together; a beautiful sight.


1:200 Anyone?


One last thought that I’d like to share before hitting the submit button. Say that you have been hunting down one of those all-so-coveted BigBird/Aeroclassics Landor 747s from 20 years ago (which have the wrong font anyway, and again, are pretty crude beyond the nose area). You probably know that you likely won’t come across one for less than 100 Dollars/Euros/Pounds.


So, how about 1:200? You can currently find InFlight/ARD BA Landor 747s retailing for 150 Dollars/Euros/Pounds and they will blow any 1:400 away! Yeah, you might not be able to use them in 1:400 dioramas (I'd say get the Phoenixes anyways if you are into dioramas!) but if beauty is what you are after, it is the same (or less!) of what a BigBird Landor Jumbo will cost you, and much more accurate and impressive!


Above all: Happy collecting!


Jorge A. Zajia

3 comments

3 Comments


Andrew Martin
Andrew Martin
Mar 19, 2023

I think Richard Stretton makes some very valid points in his criticism of the Phoenix Boeing 747. Not only is it glaringly inaccurate its release also has the effect of perhaps preventing another manufacturer from releasing a superior product in the same livery. Fortunately in this case it seems that NG will hopefully remedy the situation with a 747-100/200 mold of their own which will solve two major issues, the high cost of second hand Aeroclassic 747's and hopefully be a significant improvement over the Phoenix mold. If that's not a win-win situation for collectors then I'm not sure what is! If, however, you happen to be the type of collector where accuracy is of secondary importance then by all means…

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Jorge A. Zajia
Jorge A. Zajia
Mar 21, 2023
Replying to

Correct the Phoenix 747 is subpart. I am not so sure if Phoenix releases will discourage other manufacturers from releasing the same model in a potential better mold. Historicaly multiples models of the same aircraft/livery combo have been released and rereleased by many manufacturers. Finally, one thing is to provide information to the collectors and another thing is to provide instructions on what to do.


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Kamran Sekha
Kamran Sekha
Mar 17, 2023

Excellent article with well balanced views. Thank you.

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