New to 1:200 Collecting? - Some Things To Help!

GeminiJets - 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 - 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 over 8 Phoenix Models 1:200 aircraft, and adore all 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 - 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.

JC Wings - Like all manufacturers there are quality control issues with JC Wings, but over my years of collecting they have really improved recenlty. I now own multiple JC Wings model in 1:200.  And they are all stunning.  I'd say they have fixed most of their problems and now would put them up on a scale like with Gemini. 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.  A good majority of the JC Wings moulds are GeminiJets moulds.  GeminiJets uses JC's A300, and BAC 111 mould, and they use a lot of Gemini's moulds. They are probably closer in price to what Aviation200 would charge, so a bit higher than Gemini, but at the same time JC Wings is basically Gemini.

Herpa - 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 - 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.

InFlight200 - 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.  So InFlight makes good planes in the end and they are really nice releases sometimes.  I do own a few InFlight 1:200 models, but they are simply so expensive.

SkyMarks/Risesoon/Ever Rise - 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.

Jet-X - 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!

Hobby Master - Hobby Master mainly does older stuff like the DC-3, DC-4, etc. Their models are all diecast metal, and have just recently started with a newer aged aircraft mould of the A310. Their prices are a bit high for their aircraft, but then again I don't think there is as much demand for older aircraft as newer ones. I've never owned a Hobby Master aircraft, but have inspected many by hand at my local hobby store, and am good friends with another collector who has several, and I've seen his in person. Here is what you should know about them in one sentence. Good quality, ok prices, great for collectors of days past, but do not buy their A310 it is simply very bad. Until they fix the huge problems with their A310 mould it's not worth the money they want for it.

StarJets - Is now out of business. They basically turned into GeminiJets. Their models were plastic. Their prices are comparable to Hogan. Overall very close to Hogan. They just don't make them anymore. But if you find yourself wanting a model that they made and no one else has you can usually find them on Ebay for around $20-$30. I have a US Airways A321 made by StarJets and it's well worth the $25 I bought it for on Ebay. It's a shame Gemini didn't continue using this brand too when they branched to diecast.

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Comment by mario jimenez on October 21, 2012 at 5:12pm

Having only a handful of 1/200 military diecast,i may say that Herpa does fair well with some moulds they have like the B-2, SR-71 and F-4 Phantoms being well detailed for their size. The only Gemini I have is the C-17 which Im really deeply impressed by its weight in relation to its size.I wish that more manufacturers in 1/200 focus their future molds on larger military aircrafts like C-5 Galaxy, U-2, and most bombers that probably will not be made in larger scale because of their big dimensions

Comment by Marcus on October 20, 2012 at 10:56am

i like to collect rare and unusual planes and find that you won't get a choice of manufacturer, you take what you can get and if a better quality model comes along or a recasted mould done, you take it.I only collect military and bought the HM French airforce A310, it's bearable until a better one comes along!

Comment by JEAN-FRANCOIS QUILLIEN on April 8, 2012 at 4:47am

Serious job for 1/200 Brands classification ! Thank you, Bryce !

Comment by Sergey Korolev on April 7, 2012 at 2:39am

Very good overview indeed. Nothing to add. The only thing I am personally disagree with is Herpa quality. Herpa stuff from my prospective is more toys than models. Herpa Premium was good and even excellent (A300, 727), but sadly it's long gone now.  

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