Virgin Atlantic Little Red EI-DEO JC Wings XX4337 1:400 February 2014 Release (First published on Aviationdelightforum.com in Feb 2014)
Please note that since this review was first written in February 2014, on 6th October 2014 Virgin Atlantic announced the closure of the Little Red service by the end of September 2015.
This is the second of the four A320’s on wet lease from Aer Lingus to be released. For 36 months Virgin Atlantic are using these to challenge (some say unsuccessfully as we reach the 1st anniversary on March 13th 2014), British Airways almost complete dominance of the UK London domestic routes to Manchester, Edinburgh & Aberdeen.
The first to be released last year was Aeroclassics version of EI-EZV ‘Tartan Lassie’ (always makes me think of a dog in a kilt) now JC Wings have graced us with EI-DEO ‘Queen of the Cobbles’, and they were must have purchases because the two aircraft we flew on on July 16th last year to Edinburgh were these and I see both of them almost daily flying overhead.
EI-DEO MSN2486 was delivered to Aer Lingus on 6 July 2005 and EI-EZV 13th May 2003 MSN 2001.
There is inevitably going to be some comparison because both have their good and bad points.
The packaging on the JC Wings version is infinity nicer than the rubbish “Babybus” affair used by AC.
1) Main Fuselage
The shade of white is a tad out compared to the AC version which is closer to the real thing. There is also a discrepancy on the logo which JC correctly has coming just below the window line and AC doesn’t. In fact if you look from a distance you soon realise the AC version of the virgin atlantic logo is too small.
The quality of the print is good in parts on one and the other – small writing is better on JC, the flying lady looks better up close on the AC but better at a viewing distance on the JC.
Where the JC falls down is using the wrong red – they’ve used the 2006 colour not the 2010 and it notices, in fact it was the first thing that jumped out.
In detail and finish the JC wings version of EI-DEO is otherwise superior overall, the biggest thing that stands out other than the red is the nose shape differs – JC win that one, but loose on the wing to body assembly which is clumsy and more model like, where the AC one is more integrated.
The engines are exactly right for this model and JC is good, though it doesn’t show the pointy bit of the casing at the top rear, and AC does but excessively so! In fact overall despite some washy paint there is no ghastly silver paint on the intakes, though the AC has some issues, when you see them together they are noticeably different with the naked eye. The nacelles are correctly shaped and JC wins the attention to detail on pylons and paint again. the AC version isn’t a patch on it there.
3) Landing Gear
Painted silver metal with struts looks far better, JC wins hands down over the AC version, which because the tyres are so small doesn’t stand high enough either, as can be seen in the photos above. The wheel looks far better with the silver centre. (see picture above with nose detail).
4) Tail fin and stabilisers
There is an important detail difference between these two which JC have carried through – the horizontal stabilisers rotation area on the body is painted red, on the other three it isn’t, both reflect this accurately. There is also a few very tiny differences in the rear tail area that are visible, so well done to both, as DEO is 486 airframes newer build that EZV, mods happen.
5) Wings and underbody.
The JC version has lots more detail, possible because the wing and wing root is one cradle mould attached to the body, where AC use the the wings individually pushed into the fuselage method. The AC method does more for the day to day visual image to be fair, but a little more detail wouldn’t hurt. AC print on wheel hatch detail, JC mould it.
JC have sadly cocked this up, That red is wrong for these aircraft (but correct for the older livery A340’s and so on, why is it so hard to get these colours right? Phoenix too messed up) and the white has a very slight cast to the ivory, you can see it with the naked eye but its hard to spot in a photo. It’s not the end of the world bad, just a tad disappointing.
7) Overall score – we start at 10.
There is definitely something better about the JC version, the wheels, shape, just the overall perception of it comes across as marginally superior.
It has to loose a whole 2 points though for the colour fail, both the odd white with its slight hint of ivory and the wrong red.
To the untrained eye, or the less fussy, none of this will matter and you would put the JC Wings version on top until you do as I have here and pick it apart when you see its not quite as good as first impressions suggest. But then neither is the AC one, which overall is the worst of the two models from almost every point of view and if the colour issue (an AC failing more often than not) was on the AC, JC would win hands down with a 9.75/10.
Instead it has an 8/10.
Would I have bought it if I had seen it first? YES
Would I have bought it knowing the colours were wrong? YES – wrong but not disastrously so.
If I had seen the two side by side which one would I have picked? JC wings no question.