Originally Posted by AnonCollector
Clear things up - I take it you are a military collector, but are thinking about branching out into civilian airline models? I can't quite tell.
I believe that's what he was saying.
I would recommend 1:200 scale, as I've tried both 1:200 and 1:400 and the 1:400 was simply to small. I now have over 100 1:200 scale models and am adding more all the time. I love collecting 1:200 scale and don't think I'll ever switch to a different scale. Like I just mentioned 1:400 is to small, and 1:100 is to big haha.
Well lets see. This is what I feel about the 1:200 manufacturers. Hopefully it helps. (Only my opinion)
- Probably the best known 1:200 manufacturer. Their models are all made of diecast metal. They are also probably the most reliable in "monthly" releases. They do seem to have some quality control issues from time to time, but my personal experience with Gemini over the years has been pretty good. I once received a 757 that was bent. There is the American Eagle ERJ-145 fiasco. And sometimes the cockpit windows get messed up, like on the United/Continental 757. But again overall this is probably the, most reliable and well known manufacturer. Their prices are also pretty fair I think.
- Phoenix Models focuses more on 1:400 than 1:200, but has some pretty good releases when the do come out with a 1:200. If memory serves me correctly they usually release only 1 or 2 1:200s every time they announce releases. However I have never had a problem with any Phoenix Model I've ever received. I have 6 Phoenix Models 1:200 aircraft, and adore all 6 of them. You would be happy with Phoenix Models. Their models are also all diecast metal, and are generally slightly cheaper than Gemini especially after the newness of a release has worn off.
- Aviation200 if I'm correct, and I'm not 100% certain on this, but most of the moulds if not all the moulds they use are owned by other manufacturers. I know for sure they use InFlight200s 737, 747, DC-9, and DC-10 moulds. I know they have used Gemini's ERJ-145 mould too. So when buying from Aviation200, which I have bought a few it really depends on the mould, and weather or not you feel it's worth the money. Aviation200 is from my experience slightly more expensive than Gemini or Phoenix. Also to my knowledge their models are all diecast metal.
- Like all manufacturers there are quality control issues with JC Wings, but over my years of collecting I've heard more complaints about JC Wings or criticism than any other company. I've only ever owned 1 JC Wings model in 1:200. It arrived with one wing higher than the other, and a very noticeable scratch on the fuselage. So after that and the criticism I'd heard I decided to stay away from JC Wings. However all of that aside! They do release a lot of stuff other manufacturers don't seem to want to touch, which could be a good thing. They like Aviation200 seem to do a lot of mould sharing. GeminiJets uses their A300 mould, and they use a lot of Gemini's moulds. They are probably closer in price to what Aviation200 would charge.
- Some of Herpa's stuff is plastic, some of it is diecast metal. Most of their larger models are plastic like the 747s, A380s, A340s etc. And the small stuff like the ATRs and Saabs are metal. I know their are some exceptions, but you'd have to ask someone who has had more Herpa's to know for sure which ones are metal and plastic for sure. I've owned several Herpa's over the years, and own two right now. I have a ATR-72 and a 737-400. The ATR is metal. The 737 is plastic. Herpa is overall good. Their Quality is good from what I've dealt with. They also release pretty regularly. Their new releases in 1:200, even the smaller plastic ones like the A320 have had antennas and such, and rival some of their diecast metal counterparts. If their is one thing I don't like about Herpa is that their prices seem awful high for plastic models. Herpa wants around $50 for their A320s when you can get pretty much the exact same model from Hogan for around $20-$30. Or you can get a diecast metal A320 from Gemini for about the same price. That is probably the main reason I don't own more Herpa's. I don't feel like it's worth it.
- Hogan has to be one of my all time favorite manufacturers. Most of their models are plastic. A few of their new ones like the DC-3 are metal but 95% of their models are plastic. They have some really good moulds that rival any metal manufacturer like their A300 and MD-11 moulds. They also are very cheap. I say Hogan has the best value for money of any manufacturer. Herpa wants upwards of $60 for their A346s when released. A Hogan A346 when new is around $39, and you basically get the same exact thing. Their quality control is also very good from my dealings with them. I own 44 Hogan models, and can easily say they are good value for how much they cost.
- Way overpriced. It's as simple as that. InFlight charges over $70 for a 737! You can get Gemini 737s for as little as $50 sometimes. InFlight also releases a lot of stuff, and doesn't seem to keep up with their releases. They released a AA 747SP a while back and it's yet to come out. They also have problems with paint cracks, and their 737, and 727 moulds are really not very good at all. I have never owned a InFlight model, and I never plan on it. I simply will not pay that much for a model. Their prices are simply ridiculous, and in my opinion are not worth it at all.
- This is your "we make everything" 1:200 plastic manufacturer. They have a ton of moulds, and a ton of releases. But their not the best quality. I've quite buying from this brand unless no one else makes the model. Many of their 1:200 models don't have landing gear either. The best upside to this manufacturer would be the fact that they make so much that others don't make. I have a Risesoon Singapore Tropical 747, and it is one of my favorite models, but compared to Hogan the quality simply isn't as good. Now some of their corporate releases or "Airline Ordered" models are actually pretty detailed, but I'd still prefer Hogan over them. Prices are good to though. Comparable to Hogan's prices.
- I love Jet-X. Their prices are a bit higher. Around $65 for a MD-90, but considering it's around $55-$60 for a Gemini MD-80 then they aren't to far off. Their quality is good. Their models are all diecast metal, and at least for me they continually come out with new releases I want. I just recently got the Delta Widget MD-90, and it is one of my favorite models. I just recently bought the new Delta 2007 livery MD-90 and can't wait to get it. Overall good prices for what you get, good quality, and I'd put this one like Phoenix Models. Not as many releases as Gemini, but a good manufacturer!
Hope this all helps, and again there are some who will probably disagree with some of what I've said, but this is just my opinion on each of the manufacturers.