For the review, and comparison photos of the two models skip to the Model Review section.
A Bit of Background...
It took a while for European 767s to appear in my collection. They were not common around the airports I frequented as a child, and usually were overshadowed by bigger and more interestingly-shaped aircraft. During my teen years, they became more common as CCS became one of the few destinations in South America served by KLM and British Airways 767s. However, these 767s represented a downgrade as KLM 747s and MD-11s, and BA 747s and 777s were the aircraft these airlines used to serve CCS around the end of the last century. These downgrades eventually culminated with both airlines leaving Venezuela for good in 2004 and 2005 respectively, while the wake of 9/11 was still felt around the world, and amid new levels of social instability brewing in the country. In the case of KLM, the consolidation of many South American routes as a result of the then newly created Air France-KLM group also played a significant role in the Dutch flag carrier leaving Venezuela after having served the country for more than half a century.
So, as you can probably tell based on the previous paragraph, I did not associate European 767s with particularly exciting times in my life as an aviation enthusiast. But the passage of time has a way of making the past look like better days. So with that in mind, in recent times many 1:400 models of European 767s that visited Venezuela started to wink at me.
KLM’s last AMS-CCS-AMS flight took place on May 30, 2004. When a former KLM employee from CCS posted pictures from that day on Facebook I was pleased to learn that the aircraft used, PH-BZA, was still wearing the delivery colors (it never got repainted before leaving the KLM fleet). Since I already had a small fleet of KLM aircraft in that livery, the discovery that their 767s also visited Venezuela while wearing it quickly made me want to add a KLM 767 to my collection.
So, I set out on a hunt for a 1:400 KLM 767 in the old colors. Aeroclassics had produced two in 2004, but they were long sold out. As luck would have it, as I was combing the internet in search of one of these models, and even asking friends to keep an eye for them at collectible shows, JC Wings made their June 2022 announcement and it included KLM 767 PH-BZK in the old colors. JC Wings had been producing some really nice 767-300s after injecting new life into the old GeminiJets mold, so I was really excited to see an old c/s KLM bird in the batch.
Fast-forward some 4 months and the model has arrived at my doorstep from Pandafox Toys. The model did not disappoint. However, when looked at from the side, the cockpit windows seem to have been printed just a tad high. Just out of curiosity, I googled the Aeroclassics version to see how they had done their windows. To my surprise, there was one on eBay going for cheap, potentially devaluated as a result of the JC release (?). The listing had good pictures, and it showed the model had a solid printing job all around. I also realized the model had the “The world is just a click away” titles, which made it more in line with the period these aircraft visited Venezuela, and thus better suited for my collection. So in the end I also got the Aeroclassics version.
This is not going to be a super detailed review, instead I’m just going to give my general observations and offer you some high-resolution pictures to appreciate the models and make your conclusions.
The models in question are two KLM Boeing 767-306/ERs: PH-BZK by JC Wings, and
PH-BZF by Aeroclassics.
The JC Wings one has more printed details, especially around the nose area – I really love how the radome outline looks on models nowadays. The cockpit windows actually look really good on the JC version (as usual on their current 767s), but unfortunately, the slight misplacement gives my model a bit of a wonky face look when looked at from the side and up close (I could very well be looking for an excuse to justify the purchase of the AC one as well).
The Aeroclassics version does not fall short on the printing department, as it has a solid application and a healthy amount of detail also. However, the nose area elements look pretty crude when compared to the JC counterpart. But the windows are properly aligned, so no wonky face.
Ironically, the overwing markings on the Aeroclassics win over the JC version. I particularly like the tiny “no step” signs printed on the Aeroclassics version. The Aeroclassics one also has strakes on the engine nacelles, while the JC does not. They are oversized, but I like the model having them.
I didn’t do an exhaustive analysis of the placement of the livery elements, but at a glance, both models seem to have it right. There is no SATCOM dome outline on the Aeroclassics, and there should be one, but that does not bother me in the slightest. On that note, JC did place all the domes and antennas correctly.
Finally, there is the tone of the blue color on the upper half of the fuselage. The Aeroclassics one is clearly too dark. But it could be argued that the JC one is slightly on the too-bright side. At any rate, I find them both to be wearing fine representations of the basic livery in which they were delivered to KLM. JC definitely wins on the cheatline color though.
These are both very nice models portraying an iconic livery, and I am very happy to have both of them in my collection. It is difficult for me to choose a winner. As of the writing of this article the JC Wings one can still be found on some retailers, so hurry up!
Jorge A. Zajia