Sometimes you wish you might have bought something earlier then chance encounter with the real thing a few weeks back at Manchester Airport made me want it in my collection and it arrived as an early Christmas gift from a good friend.
Aircraftmodelstore.co.uk had one in stock and here we are. Why? The livery, introduced in 2005 is really rather fetching, the desert sandy beige of the upper fuselage contrasting with the night blue of the tail with the crescent moon of Islam, the crossed scimitars and palm tree of the House of Saud, well it’s just all unusual and a tad exotic. One of those liveries that makes the national carrier very much a representative of the state, the epitome of the traditional “flag carrier”.
Delivered in mid 2012 to the airline, she’s a fine example of a current 773. Saudi Arabia has oddly failed to grasp the gauntlet handed down by its neighbours in the doubly endowed UAE who boast both Emirates and Etihad and Qatar also next door and a political rival. Recent liberalisation of the Saudi airline industry may see changes but one wonders if it’s too late for the country to compete – if it would even want to bearing in mind its strict religious beliefs – with it’s neighbours, whose airlines have stolen a huge march in terms of time and business.
There are a number of small aerials and domes. The aerials are smaller than the ones Phoenix now use and frankly all the better for it, they seem less inclined to make a hasty exit never to be seen again. There are 2 aerials at the rear by the tail and another aft of door 2, there is a smaller comms dome aft of door 4 on the roof. Another sits underneath. I spent a lot of time looking at recent photographs of the aircraft and this model is stunningly accurate – all the tiny micro-detail is exactly where it should be and beautifully printed to the highest standards.
The General Electric GE90-115B engines are generally excellent moulds. Not the amazing see through Witty types, but almost as good, high levels of attention to detail. The paint is exceptionally fine, this is one of the great things about these newer Phoenix models, the level of sophistication and print quality is outstanding.
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.
4) Tail fin and stabilisers
They look first class and are so perfectly straight, flawlessly mounted, just as you would hope for, outstanding. Logos and paint detail are all highly accurate and crisp. The tail detail is excellent.
5) Wings and underbody.
Phoenix pioneered the push-in wings and they work so well, better detail, quite above average for 2012 and now. Interestingly on this 2012 model the underbody is more detailed and so are the wings underneath that we tend to find on todays releases. The standard Gemini stand fits perfectly.
Having seen the real thing at Heathrow and at Manchester, I’m impressed with the colour match – it’s not always something Phoenix get right but they seem to have managed it here.
7) Overall score – we start at 10.
No complaints. Not one. It’s a full 10/10. Top marks Phoenix.