Following my recent purchase of the 2nd Edition of AirWar: C21, I have been looking for some suitable models to game with.
Whilst I’m a big fan of the 1/600th scale aircraft from Tumbling Dice – I own quite a few US Jets and MiGs for Vietnam – (and the new modern jets are very nice) I wanted something with a little more visual impact. I had a look at the 1/300th scale jets from Scotia-Grendel at Hammerhead, and they were still not quite what I was looking for.
The aircraft used in the AirWar rules pictures look very nice, and whilst I was scanning through eBay I came across something similar – though maybe not quite the same – and these are 1/144th modern jets from the JWings range.
These are a set of pre-painted plastic models, which require some assembly (typically the tail-planes, hard-points and weaponry/extra fuel tanks need attaching) but actually look pretty nice.
The above example is an F14-Tomcat.
Whilst the paint job is nothing exceptional, it certainly beats the other pre-paints that I’ve seen from Revell before (their Star Wars and 1/100th Jets ranges) and it’s certainly good enough to game with.
The other thing that’s difficult to beat is the price. These come in at about £4.50 ($9.00) a plane – and that includes shipping from Hong Kong! QQmodels is also an excellent seller to do business with, and I’ve received all my purchases (yes, I’ve made several) with 3 or 4 days.
In comparison, I’ve bought some Academy, Revell and Minicraft 1/144th scale aircraft kits in the last few days, just to fill some gaps in the range, and I’ve paid £1.00 – £3.00 plus postage for these – and I’ve still got to assemble and paint them!
Two slight down points though.
Firstly, the scale. Though the entire range is advertised as 1/144th, it’s not entirely true across the range. Whilst the larger fighters (like the Tomcat above) are probably 1/144th, the rest of the range are more ‘box scale’ – which means that they are designed to fit the packaging, rather than exactly to scale. This means that the Hornet is the same size as the Tomcat, despite being a smaller aircraft in real life. This is especially apparent if you put the JWings aircraft next to a 1/144th model kit. My JWings Hornet is about 2cm longer than an Academy 1/144th Mig-29 Fulcrum, which can’t be right.
Whilst this is slightly troubling, and possibly even a show-stopper for the purist, when playing on the table I can’t see it being a huge problem.
Secondly, the range. They have just released their 3rd range of 12 aircraft for JWings, which focuses on the Vietnam Air War. The previous 2 ranges focus on more modern jets, but tend to be US focused, with F-14s, F-15s, F-18s and F-4s dominating the range. Other aircraft include the MiG-27, MiG-37 and Dassault Rafaele. There are 2-3 variants of all these aircraft, as they have different paint jobs (being pre-painted).
The lack of Russian kits especially is a slight problem. As I mentioned, I’m getting around this by buying some 1/144th plastic kits, but this is not a perfect solution.
However, as something that is cheap, quick and easy to get on the table, JWings certainly hits the spot.