- welcome to the forum.
- being from across the pond, due to the insane shipping costs I´m afraid I can´t help you with the purchase. But maybe you can check dedicated section on this forum For Sale, Trade or Swap
- not sure hows its exactly about AF1 and BLMUSA, but have a feeling that AF1 is a manufacturer (ok, this is for sure
), and BLMUSA should be something like a dealer / vendor / sales company in China who let printed BLMUSA on the boxes for their orders. Thats my understanding.
- yes, AF1 and BLMUSA models are much cheaper than competition, but also often lack in quality compared to other brands (exceptions like F-35 exist).
There actually exists only one 1/72 SU-57 diecast mold on the market - the AF1 mold. This mold is currently being marketed under AF1, Herpa and Unistar brands in "White Shark" prototype colors, but all models come from the same production batch in AF1 (trademark is grey overspray around both tails on all 3 models). Herpa is asking almost double as AF1 and Unistar for the virtually the same model with oversprays. So the only difference is actually just in bort numbers (056 for AF1, 058 for Unistar, 055 for Herpa) and in the packaging. Packaging and outer box isn´t usually the main theme of the discussions, but since in case of Su-57 its the only real difference, here are some notes on packaging: Herpa´s box is the most solid, with camoed outer box. AF1 box looks rather cheap, inner blister is strengthened with waste-quality cardboard piece around. For me, the best box / overall package has SU-57 from Unistar.
Besides Herpa/AF1/Unistar "White Shark" colors, there are also prototype splinter scheme and operational scheme with pixelated edges available.
Hobbymaster is usually the most common collectors choice. Finally they produce more models then all competitors together. In case of SU-35, some collectors have certain reservations against SU-35´s upper/lower front division line, which hobbymaster made only horizontal to make their life easy, which may spoil typical angry drooped look of the Flanker for someone. On some releases HM tried to correct this by painting the triangle of upper color in the front, but this solves the problem only partially. If you don´t mind HM´s wrong division line - your good. Should this be of your concern - AF1 SU35 has much better overall shapes (but production quality is inferior to HM, also scheme choice is limited compared to HM. Also, AF1 Flanker has really oversized rivet lines everywhere on the uppersides, moreover positioned without any logic.
FYI, from time to time on eBay or Aliexpress there appears rare SU-35 from unknown chinese manufacturer
, which looks to be the best SU-35 Flanker rendition in diecast overall. Its actually 1:1 Hasegawa kit copy, just made of zinc.