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Old 05-17-2019, 10:55 PM   #1
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The need for Asian and other exotic airlines in 1/500: A thread

This thread isn't suppose to be about what has been produced in 1/500 scale by Herpa, Hogan, JC Wings, Sky500 or aeroclassics, etc. but more of WHAT COULD BE! Not too sure if a similar thread had been started before but I guess the closest this thread topic could be related to would be the 1/500 wishlist thread.

Nevertheless, what I'm getting at is that there is a huge gap in the number and variety of airlines in 1/500 scale as compared to 1/400 scale. Many users have already mentioned this problem many times (e.g Charter) Yes, Herpa, Hogan and Sky500 have produced many Asian carriers and even exotic ones like Air China, Hong Kong Airlines, China Airlines, EVA Air, Myanmar National Airlines, Nepal Airlines and Thai AirAsia.

However, I feel that there's a lot that's missing - especially the narrow-body aircrafts like B737-800, A320 of some airlines. Chinese carriers, for example, have a ton of airlines that aren't represented in 1/500 scale at all as compared to 1/400. Examples include Spring Airlines, Tianjin Airlines, West Air, and countless of others... Other Asian carriers that are missing its narrow-body siblings are Scoot, Garuda Indonesia, Philippine Airlines, Japan Airlines, ANA, Silkair (just to name a few)

Sky500 used to be a promising company that produced models that no other 1/500 producer would make and that made alot of customers happy and hopeful. However, as of recently, they've gone dark and merely produce 2 models every other quarter - or even year! Some of those models are even duplicates of already made models!

I wish the 1/500 scale community had more producers that made unique and non-conventional airlines (like the ones I mentioned above) One glance at what the 1/400 scale community have on hand (and in the works) really makes me envious... If only producers like JC Wings, NG Models, Panda Models, heck even Gemini or Phoenix had a 1/500 range similar to what they offer for their 1/400 scale, I'd throw all my money at them!

I do understand the business side of things, how 1/500 scale may not be as lucrative as 1/400 scale, licensing issues, low demand, etc. But can't a guy imagine for one second

Just a really passionate model collector ranting out his dreams and aspirations for the future of 1/500 scale collectors and if this could spur on a movement to start change for the better, it would be really great :')

Thanks for reading and let me know what you guys think too!
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Old 05-18-2019, 06:05 AM   #2
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Re: The need for Asian and other exotic airlines in 1/500: A thread

I’m not a connoisseur of the Asian side of our 1:500-scale world as I only sporadically buy models of Asian airlines. But following oddities have irked me for some time past:

Singapore Airlines (KrisShop): Singapore is notorious for its high prices but KrisShop pushes them to the next level. This may be lucrative for Singapore Airlines (and to some extend for herpa too) but saps the credibility of our hobby. I wouldn’t be so critical if the models sold by KrisShop had higher quality standards. But no, they are standard herpa quality sold at higher prices than any, in terms of quality far superior 1:400-scale model.

Cathay Pacific (CXcitement): This is basically the same fleece that is going on at KrisShop with the difference that HOGAN and not herpa serves as accomplice.

Eva Air (Sky Shop): Again HOGAN helps out fleecing diehard collectors, who believe to acquire a particularly exclusive model, whereby the exclusiveness is based on artificial scarcity and not superior quality.

Please, get me right. Every Airline is free to sell whatever they want as »exclusive« product. But if comparable products are elsewhere much cheaper and even of much better quality the overall confidence and customer’s interest in the product is sapped. Imagine we would have to buy all our models via exclusive online shops at exorbitant prices while comparable 1:400-scale models offer much better value for money. (By the way, if this is, what some LOT-managers have in mind, I can only hope that herpa remains firm.)

ANA official precision models: This was a similar »business model« with the difference that these model actually where of (slightly) higher quality. But by now the interest of collectors seems to have dried out and ANA in our scale officially only sells plastic models (correct me if I’m wrong).

Sky500: This obscure brand in the past has helped to close a few important gaps in our scale but has released far more low-selling oddities that it makes you wonder how a model maker with such a bad feeling for the market manages to survive. Especially when taking in mind nonexistent marketing and not very competitive prices (low quantity production).

JC-Wings: This brand in the past has owned and controlled a large part of the production facilities and mould-tooling not only in our scale but in 1:400 too. In 1:400-scale JC-Wings (among other »merits«) »helps collectors out« with the release of above mentioned »brand-protected« Asian carriers. And I openly support this »product piracy«, because I can't see why an aircraft manufacturer or an airline should receive royalties for miniature replicas. Why JC-Wings didn’t show more interest in 1:500-scale in recent years I cannot access. May be they are too busy withstanding new competition in 1:400 scale (NG, HYJL, Panda).

»Exotic« Asian Airlines: Leaving Sky500 beside herpa as well from time to time is happy to release models of exotic Asian carriers which initially don’t generate much purchase interest (the irony is that not few of the initial slow sellers later on become sought after collectors’ items). But if there are so many problems with the mayor airlines (I didn’t mention Korean Airlines and the still in our scale nonexistent 787-9, we don’t even have a decent 787-8 JAL, and so forth) why bother about exotic airlines.

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Old 05-18-2019, 09:44 AM   #3
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Re: The need for Asian and other exotic airlines in 1/500: A thread

Except for some missing models of Eva Air (B787), Singapore Airlines (A330-300) and Korean Air (A330-200 and A330-300, A220-300, B787) there is a giant black hole about the many Chinese airlines, especially narrowbodies! There are about 40 airlines from China, 10 majors, all flying B737 and A320 families, hundreds of possible models with the most various liveries.
Not to talk of Thailandia, Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and their airlines flying with narrowbodies and regional jets (especially ATR-72).
But Asia is also Middle East and the airlines of the Arab peninsula, Russia and all the airlines flying with B737NG, A320WL family but also with B737 classic (-300, -400, -500) and Indian sub-continent.
Many airlines to be released and the typical Herpa slow rhythm in producing them.
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Old 05-18-2019, 11:28 AM   #4
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Re: The need for Asian and other exotic airlines in 1/500: A thread

I think it has to do with the generally Eurocentric demand of Herpa's customer base, hence the long-haul workhorses of some asian airlines usually get released, and if we're lucky the narrowbodies will follow suit. An example being the Xiamenair 787. It leaves out some models, but generally aters to Herpa's targeted collectors. I further agree with Getifero's statements.
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Old 05-18-2019, 03:06 PM   #5
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Re: The need for Asian and other exotic airlines in 1/500: A thread

Sky500, a Chinese manufacturer working without license and without asking licenses from airlines, has been a good competitor for widebodies and for Chinese and some interesting European airlines flying intercontinental routes; unfortunately they produced an handful of narrowbodies (MD-80 and A320) while they had the occasion to realize many narrowbodies of Chinese airlines flying the A320.
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Old 05-18-2019, 03:53 PM   #6
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Re: The need for Asian and other exotic airlines in 1/500: A thread

The only well covered regions are actually Europe and North America...

and even North America have several important models missing.
Asia is well represented (kinda) by widebodies, but so many narrowbody models still need to be released. Latin America and Africa are almost neglected. Australia (Oceania) also have little stuff, apart from Qantas and Air NZ.

Herpa can't keep up with this. We need another manufacturer!
We need Starjets or another unlicensed Chinese maker back in the game. In 1:400, the amazing NG Models have released fantastic 757s and A320s of Asia and other places. In 1:500, we are all being held as hostages by Herpa
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Old 05-18-2019, 04:32 PM   #7
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Re: The need for Asian and other exotic airlines in 1/500: A thread

I think Herpa just only produces what they think they can sell. And maybe it's a coincidence but concerning my (!) collection it fits. Do I buy A320 and B737 of LH, KLM, Air France, Alitalia, Austrian, Swiss and so on? Yes. Do I buy a China Southern B738? No. Not interested.



Leo, I guess you're really right. Another manufacturer can't be bad.



On the other hand: I am not a 1:400 collector, so I'm not an expert. But: Do we have THAT variety in 1:400? Is there a Transall? C17? Q400? Shorts? A400M? TU-144? TU-114? Lots more? Not sure, but we see models which are missing (like smaller planes from Asia), but from time to time I think we forget to see the variety we have.
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Old 05-18-2019, 05:29 PM   #8
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Re: The need for Asian and other exotic airlines in 1/500: A thread

I agree with has been said so far. We desperatelly need at least a couple more manufacturers to seriously compete with Herpa.
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Old 05-19-2019, 11:42 PM   #9
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Re: The need for Asian and other exotic airlines in 1/500: A thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by getifero View Post
I’m not a connoisseur of the Asian side of our 1:500-scale world as I only sporadically buy models of Asian airlines. But following oddities have irked me for some time past:

Singapore Airlines (KrisShop): Singapore is notorious for its high prices but KrisShop pushes them to the next level. This may be lucrative for Singapore Airlines (and to some extend for herpa too) but saps the credibility of our hobby. I wouldn’t be so critical if the models sold by KrisShop had higher quality standards. But no, they are standard herpa quality sold at higher prices than any, in terms of quality far superior 1:400-scale model.

Cathay Pacific (CXcitement): This is basically the same fleece that is going on at KrisShop with the difference that HOGAN and not herpa serves as accomplice.

Eva Air (Sky Shop): Again HOGAN helps out fleecing diehard collectors, who believe to acquire a particularly exclusive model, whereby the exclusiveness is based on artificial scarcity and not superior quality.

Please, get me right. Every Airline is free to sell whatever they want as »exclusive« product. But if comparable products are elsewhere much cheaper and even of much better quality the overall confidence and customer’s interest in the product is sapped. Imagine we would have to buy all our models via exclusive online shops at exorbitant prices while comparable 1:400-scale models offer much better value for money. (By the way, if this is, what some LOT-managers have in mind, I can only hope that herpa remains firm.)

ANA official precision models: This was a similar »business model« with the difference that these model actually where of (slightly) higher quality. But by now the interest of collectors seems to have dried out and ANA in our scale officially only sells plastic models (correct me if I’m wrong).

Sky500: This obscure brand in the past has helped to close a few important gaps in our scale but has released far more low-selling oddities that it makes you wonder how a model maker with such a bad feeling for the market manages to survive. Especially when taking in mind nonexistent marketing and not very competitive prices (low quantity production).

JC-Wings: This brand in the past has owned and controlled a large part of the production facilities and mould-tooling not only in our scale but in 1:400 too. In 1:400-scale JC-Wings (among other »merits«) »helps collectors out« with the release of above mentioned »brand-protected« Asian carriers. And I openly support this »product piracy«, because I can't see why an aircraft manufacturer or an airline should receive royalties for miniature replicas. Why JC-Wings didn’t show more interest in 1:500-scale in recent years I cannot access. May be they are too busy withstanding new competition in 1:400 scale (NG, HYJL, Panda).

»Exotic« Asian Airlines: Leaving Sky500 beside herpa as well from time to time is happy to release models of exotic Asian carriers which initially don’t generate much purchase interest (the irony is that not few of the initial slow sellers later on become sought after collectors’ items). But if there are so many problems with the mayor airlines (I didn’t mention Korean Airlines and the still in our scale nonexistent 787-9, we don’t even have a decent 787-8 JAL, and so forth) why bother about exotic airlines.
Honestly? The lack of quality 1:500 models for multiple airlines have been an issue for years - it's not merely an "asian airlines" problem. Just take a look at all of the models now on offer for companies, like, say, Jetblue or Southwest - did you remember the last time you've seen a good quality 1:500 model of their recent fleet additions from, say, Herpa? Nope. Hogan and Daron bought out the merchandising rights for both airlines at all scales. For Hawaiian (ostensibly an "Asian" airline) there are some (outdated - Hawaiian changed their livery in 2017) Herpas, but the new stuff are all 1:200 or 1:400 from GeminiJets or Daron Skymarks (don't laugh, their ABS models are pretty cheap and good enough for my desk at work).

I am not surprised that there are a lack of vendors for 1:500 - 1:500 models are ess profitable for most manufacturers. Quality control is more difficult than their 1:400 counterparts (smaller components, more delicate prints), they fetch a lower price, and many times they choose to re-color/re-livery rather than get the details right (for a fun exercise, take a look at Herpa 519137 - there is a major issue with it), and the hobby isn't exactly getting new blood - at 35 USD for each new diecast Herpa, this is an expensive hobby akin to, say, model railroads. Frankly, rather than rant about how we need new manufacturers of 1:500 (not happening), we should really talk about how to fix the existing, badly made models, and how to modify the ones we don't care too much about to be the ones that we actually want.
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:51 AM   #10
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Re: The need for Asian and other exotic airlines in 1/500: A thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by ragefury32 View Post
... The lack of quality 1:500 models for multiple airlines have been an issue for years - it's not merely an "asian airlines" problem...
...Quality control is more difficult than their 1:400 counterparts (smaller components, more delicate prints)...

No one said that the lack of quality in 1:500-scale is solely an »Asian airlines problem«. I only stated that the price-performance ratio of certain mayor Asian carriers in 1:500-scale is impaired by monopoly positions that are granted to »exclusive« airline-shops by herpa (KrisShop) or HOGAN (Cxitement, Sky Shop and others).

The difficulty of quality control depends more on procedural measures (for instance structural design of the prototype, accuracy of the mould tooling, training of the employees, degree of necessary handwork versus automation, spray paint and pad printing utilities, quality inspection) than on scale and is ultimately conditional on the quality demands of the involved management. If herpas product management is comfortable with badly downscaled moulds, handed to them by JC-Wings that are lightyears away from modern 3-D data-based mould design, if they have little control over employee selection and training of their Chinese partners, if prenatal templates and preproduction controls are too often overlooked and entire productions lines are spoiled by easily preventable errors then we badly need another approach in our scale. This sadly is not foreseeable at the moment. But something is going on in 1:400-scale (NG-models) and other parts of the (model-making) industry (production procedures becoming more and more automated), so things will remain exciting.
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