Norwegian 737-86N LN-NOM “Greta Garbo” AeroClassics January 2015 Release
Well here we go again – AeroClassics are the first to market with another livery, this time the 737-800 of Norwegian Air Shuttle. Phoenix did a really nice job on the 787-8 and again, I’m a little surprised Gemini or Phoenix didn’t get their finger out a bit sooner with this one, but there we go. Norwegian branding has been exceptionally well received. Despite its oddly phallic appearance it’s based on the Norwegian National Flag, simple enough in red white and blue, but Norwegian went a step further. Rather than slap a flag on the tail which would have been monumentally predictable, they chose a different path. To understand it you have to know that Denmark/Sweden/Norway while three countries have at one time or another, been either under Swedish or Danish rule. In the early 20th century Norway voted to split from Sweden peacefully. The three countries wherever possible share Embassy facilities globally and act in unison – to a point, happy to share a regional identity. SAS operates as the flag carrier for all three, Norwegian decided if it couldn’t carry a Scandinavian flag it would carry culture – famous Scandinavians from all three countries on the tails of its aircraft. Greta Garbo for those not familiar, was the great beauty of her day and Hollywood took her on board with few qualms despite her heavy accent. For many years she was probably the most famous Swede in the world.
The box the model arrived in is AeroClassics standard 737 box with a window. The usual poorly printed sticker on the side the only differentiator.
Originally a 2001 aircraft she was formerly with Pegasus, AeroLink and Nordic Air Link of Sweden before Norwegian Air Shuttle leased her from GECAS in February 2009.
1) Main Fuselage
This looks quite good I have to say and on this model AeroClassics have used the push in wings, a welcome and very noticeable improvement Gemini could do well to adopt. The shape is very accurate compared to the real thing as well which is welcome, so many have been less than ideal. The fonts and colours all seem to match and there is no bleed, it actually comes across as looking extremely competent. What is missing – and there is not even an effort to outline its existence, is the huge comms dome toward the rear of the real thing and none of the aerials (there are two underbody and two on top) are to be seen. Some images show her in the early Norwegian.se website tile, but this was later changed to Norwegian.com and is correct on the model.
The two CFMI CFM56-7B24’s are reasonably well reproduced. These have a quite noticeable exhaust cone but AeroClassics have probably doubled the length of the tailpipe to the point where it looks mildly stupid. Generally they are fitted fairly well and painted to quite a high standard, but not as good as the recent SouthWest – there is heavy over paint behind the nacelles at the top of the engine. This is only visible under high magnification so it can’t really be used as a mark down. Overall fairly impressive but that tailpipe spoils it. The fans being painted silver is a little bit much as well but its not the end of the world and at least the paint is a fine type rather than looking like a clear coat with glitter embedded in it!
3) Landing Gear
This time there seems to have been some effort with the landing gear. It’s way better than the 737-700 versions. Rather than low grade plastic toy-like fittings they were made to look like with too much paint, these are actually metal lightly painted for the main gear and a reasonable effort has been made at the nose though it still looks plastic.
4) Tail fin and stabilisers
The tail fin is outstanding. The crisp, excellent print is superb and all of the detail sings out, it’s a really nice graphic, looks first class and really makes the model. Sadly the same stress cracking seems to have happened in transit again – the stabiliser paint on the post side where the horizontal meets the fuselage. AeroClassics need to look at the packaging again.
5) Wings and underbody.
Underbody detail is minimal in the extreme, wing detail has been obscured by an excess of paint. The hole for a stand is one you should try to avoid using – it’s very shallow and getting the model to even sit on the thin arm Gemini stand for a few seconds for photography was not easy, it wobbled worryingly! The Sharklets incidentally are really very good, thin, and well detailed with excellent paint definition.
These are easy enough to match, all are from the extended Pantone range and look an excellent match for the Phoenix colours on the 788.
7) Overall score – we start at 10.
I can’t score it down for what isn’t there, but for what is – the engine tailpipes are just way too long and look wrong, so -0.5 heavy handed paint in some areas has been mildly detrimental in a few areas, so -0.5 for that too. Yet overall the entire thing is actually really rather good. It’s a pleasing model of a great livery and I’m delighted to have it my collection, despite its cost at £29 ($48 US). 9/10.
Now I have to say that I liked it so much I’ve ordered the Hans Christian Andersen version as well! A pair of 738’s feeding a 788 for Norwegian Long Haul at RLSI, well it seemed like a good idea to me. Edit: Well that was the plan except the supplier knowing how picky (Me? Picky?) I am checked out each model and found them all broken – the landing gear having snapped off! So I’m now having the “wireless on board” Jorn Utzen version. These aircraft will be flying over me in a few months as they start services to BHX – I’m looking forward to seeing them for real on a regular basis.
NOTE: this aircraft was withdrawn from service on 16th March 2016 and stored at Budapest. The Greta Garbo image was transferred to Norwegians first 787-9 the same month.