TAM’s 77732W(ER) PT-MUD by Phoenix, late 2012 but still exceptionally good for its day.
This model is of “The Magic Red Carpet” PT-MUD and while it dates back to 2012 (and late 2012 at that if I’m not mistaken), it shows you who good Phoenix were trying to be then and how much better they’ve since become with releases like the EVA Air version of the same 777-300.
This particular version of PT-MUD (a 2008 build aircraft delivered in 7 January 2009) is prior to the integration with LAN Chile (to form LATAM), still has the Star Alliance logo on the nose, though the airline has since moved to OneWorld. TAM (Taxis Aerilio Marilia Lineas Aerehas) is the de-facto unofficial flag carrier for Brazil, based in Sao Paulo. Intense global competition forced the two South American giants to face the international music and they merged to strengthen both of their positions without loosing their individual identities. This is important as TAM, being Brazilian is officially a Portuguese speaking airline and LAN Spanish. These aircraft would have been fitted with 4 First Class seats at the time, but they have since been removed and the airline no longer operates a first class service, which to be fair wasn’t exactly brilliant in the first place.
The model was obtained on Ebay for £25. They are quite hard to find in the UK, so at the equivalent of $40US it seems like a good buy and it is one major airline that’s been missing from RLSI – it’s going to be used to set up a Brasillia-RLSI service for the airport.
The fuselage is straightforward and not as complex as the later moulds have now become with aerials and satellite communications domes. It is excellent quality and the paint and finish all seem to be very very good. Compared to some other manufacturers models of the period, this is excellent.
The General Electric GE90-115B engines are excellent moulds. Not the amazing see through Witty types, but almost as good, high levels of attention to detail. They are not by any means as well painted as the latest versions we have seen though and they show how much further Phoenix have come in recent months, each release keeps seeming to get better and better. The worst part is the pylons, which just look poorly mounted to the wing at the edge. The silver paint is also the old large flake variety and looks poor if you look for too long or too closely!
3) Landing Gear
Painted metal with detailed struts and hydraulics, fully rolling wheels and the bogies tilt for added reality! Excellent wheels, everything is to scale and quite superb. No messy glue or stupid plastic garbage here. The only downside is the bogies seem excessively loose, but this is a second hand model at the end of the day, not I suspect that made much difference. Some of the tyres are a little ropey – and leach chemicals into the airport foil, not the first time that’s happened, but also suggests it was never displayed as once they’ve leached out it doesn’t happen again.
4) Tail fin and stabilisers
They look so good and are so perfectly straight, flawlessly mounted, just as you would hope for, outstanding. Logos and paint detail are all highly accurate and crisp.
5) Wings and underbody.
Phoenix pioneered the push-in wings and they work so well, better detail, quite above average for 2012 and now. The underbody is plain but with just enough detail. The standard Gemini stand fits perfectly.
Standard white with red and a little blue and black, all crisp and neat. BRASIL is stamped on the engines, though its a little wooly in blue, lacking crispness. Phoenix were also still using the silver paint with the glitter sized flakes at this point and wherever there is silver it doesn’t look as good as it could as the flakes are so big. I know that seems picky, but really a smooth metallic finish is easily achieved with fine particles – Phoenix now use them on heir latex models and the difference is noticeable and appreciated.
7) Overall score – we start at 10.
Based on the models of 2 years ago, this is very very good, but Phoenix have moved onward and upward, at the time I might have scored it highly, but now around 8/10 as some of the silver paint is not the best and the print is in places not so good. Overall I am very pleased with it, its been a long time finding a good version and this has proved to be more than satisfactory. Of course it could be better, but at least with Phoenix that is what you’re getting with almost every passing month, things that are generally better. It’s a good place to be and long may it continue.