Qantas (but not Qantas)
Boeing 747SP – Boeing 767-300ER – DeHavilland Comet 4
Branding is an important part of business because it tells us who is providing a product or service we use, or think about using. Companies build up brand recognition and trust in their services so we are happy to use them over and over again. Brand recognition is very important for airlines which use it to establish themselves in the minds of the flying public, maybe as a safe airline, an airline that offers excellent in-flight service, or one that offers cheap fares. Qantas is an airline which has achieved very high brand recognition but it has also flown under other brands occasionally.
Boeing 747SP in 1/144 made from Welsh Models and Revell kits with Hawkeye decals
This aircraft was a version of the Boeing 747-200 airliner with the fuselage shortened by 14 meters (47 feet) to reduce weight and consequently increase range to trans-Pacific Ocean distances. They began entering service in 1976 but were not very popular and only 45 were made. Qantas bought two which entered service in 1981 and were withdrawn from service around the end of 2001. Between March 1994 and June 1996 both aircraft were leased to a wholly owned Qantas subsidiary, Australia Asian Airlines, and painted in a modified livery. This was done for services to Taiwan because the Chinese government was sensitive to a national flag carrier like Qantas flying there. When Qantas was sold into private ownership that problem no longer existed and the 747SPS were repainted in standard Qantas livery.
I made this model using the fuselage parts from the Welsh Models 1/144 kit and the wings, engines and other parts from a Revell Boeing 747-200 kit. The Welsh models kit includes all the parts necessary to make a 747SP but it was a fully vacform kit so I decided to save myself the pain of having to deal with all the challenging problems of thin plastic parts for the wings and engines. These days there is an Eastern Express kit of this aircraft that was published in 2021 and is apparently pretty good. I find Eastern Express kits something of a lucky dip but you can read a long stream of comments and photos about one build of this kit which makes it looks very nice.
Boeing 767300-ER in 1/144 by Revell with Draw decals
This was as very popular airliner made by Boeing from 1981 to the present. It was designed to fill a gap in the market between Boeing’s large 747 and smaller 737 airliners. They were introduced to service in 1982. At various times Qantas operated over thirty of them on domestic and international flights. In 2001 Qantas launched the subsidiary airline Australian Airlines, reviving the name of the domestic airline it had taken over in 1994. It catered to the tourist market, was based at Cairns International Airport and served up to 13 tourist destinations. It has a fleet of five aircraft, three of them Qantas 767-300ERs repainted in new Australian Airlines livery. Although this airline was successful, in 2006 Qantas decided to use its low-cost domestic airline JetStar for international as well as domestic services. As a result Australian Airlines was wound up and its aircraft repainted in standard Qantas livery.
This model was made using the Revell kit which has been around since 1991 and does not feel quite as advanced as more recent Revell airliners. It is a plain and honestly simple kit that goes together with little difficulty. You have to be careful, however, to get a kit with the right kinds of engines in it because different airlines used different engines. The Revell kit should be readily available since the company republished it in 2021 with some new parts. If you are feeling more adventurous Welsh Models offer a kit too, as does Zvezda. The latter company is building an enviable reputation for its airliner kits. ‘Nice model and highly recommended’ says the reviewer for IPMS/USA . The review in the Fine Scale Modeler website concludes ‘For ease of construction and attention to detail, this is one of the best airliner kits I’ve built’. So if I ever need to make a new 767 model I know which kit I’m going to be trying.
DeHavilland Comet 4 in 1/144 by Airfix with Hawkeye decals.
This is a reverse case in which the Qantas brand was placed over that of another airline.
Between 1959 and 1953 Qantas used Comet 4 airliners it wet-leased (that is, crewed by the leaser airline) from BOAC for some services it flew on the Kangaroo Route between Britain and Australia. When Qantas used BOAC Comets a sticker saying ‘QANTAS’ was placed over the BOAC logo and the flight had a Qantas number. Qantas did not want to buy Comets, favouring instead Boeing 707s, but if had a revenue splitting agreement with BOAC for the route so leasing that airline’s Comets when required worked well until enough 707s became available and the leasing arrangement ended.
I made this model using the Airfix kit that was first published in 1961. I also have the Amodel kit which was first published in 2015. It would be hard to say which is the worse kit, what with the Airfix kit being very simple and somewhat crude and the Amodel kit being very fiddly and having some serious fit issues. For me that main problem with both is the air intakes which are just holes in the fronts of the wings rather than inlets set into the wings. I decided on the Airfix kit because there is less that can go wrong with it while the Amodel kit seemed to be tempting providence too much for my liking. I scratch built new air inlets for the engines. I used after-market wing extensions with the leading edge tanks, a set that I bought many years ago which does not seem to be available any more. They were designed to fit the Airfix kit and merged well with the kit parts, I don’t know how they would have gone with the Amodel kit.