KLM 737-7K2 PH-BGW Phoenix 10606 2012 Release
My model buying habits are often tailored around what I have flown on or am about to – with a KLM 737-7K2 included in a an upcoming travel itinerary along with a KLM 738 and a very good chance I could actually end up on this specific aircraft, I bought it while I could. I have a fondness for KLM that many of its customers have developed over the years. It’s always been a decently run airline with good staff and a good philosophy. It’s quite noticeable that despite being one half of the Air France-KLM Group it doesn’t suffer from the strikes and unrest so often found in its sister company. While KLM was far from viable in the modern age alone, I would contend that it would be better off in an arrangement where it was an independent airline in a group rather than being the smaller (really only 25% by fleet) – of the larger AF-KLM conglomerate. IAG tried to buy it and frankly I think that would have been a much better fit, KLM and BA would have worked well. It was the failure to buy KLM that sent BA racing off after Iberia and the vast costs that slashing the airline to a viable size then had to be faced. At least Iberia is now turning the corner.
The box for this is undeniably Phoenix 2012 – talk about twee, which is the only single word that adequately embraces it’s packaging. Windmills and Tulips abound – talk about national stereotyping!
KLM are in the process of changing their livery to make it a little more modern – with a few alterations to the coach line position and a slope to the blue at the nose, as well as moving the KLM on the fuselage. Another reason to get pre-2014 livery aircraft now, for consistency.
This aircraft was actually delivered new to KLM on October 11th 2011 and is leased from CIT Aerospace in New York.
1) Main Fuselage
The downside with all the Phoenix 737’s is the nose is just too pointed. It isn’t the end of the world and it is definitely not an “oh my God what the…” moment kind of issue (unlike the Gemini flat nosed dropped on the floor AA 738). The shape is better on AeroClassics latest models. As I’ve said before, the masters, now gone were Witty Wings, whose 738 is the best 737 mould in 1:400 ever made in my opinion.
This one is made worse by a typical Phoenix 2012 production issue – blurred paint on the nose and poor detail lines close up. Now disturbingly compared to their latest advances, you realise how bad these could be on model like this. It actually doesn’t pass the eyeball test either – it’s clearly a balls up and a disappointment. The upside is that the latest Phoenix models are a major leap ahead over this type of production. Even more annoying is the detail around the flight deck, it’s just not very good at all as the photo clearly shows.
The irony is that the rest of the fuselage is well printed and there seems to be an appreciation for near-accuracy of colour rarely displayed on Phoenix models of this period – and even now major colour cock-ups are not beyond them (2014’s Monarch A300 G-MARA for example). The Official colours, which are easily obtained are Light Blue Pantone 299 and the Dark Blue 541, and neither Gemini or Phoenix got this quite right, missing it by a shade or so on the darker side for the light blue. Only Witty seem to have nailed it. However, the only way to tell is stare at them in daylight with a pantone reference book next to them (something I still have and yes, I am that sad that I check).
The two CFM56-7B24’s are well detailed, the paint is good for the year it was made in, but is far from excellent, silver and titanium on the fans looks great on a model this small, but close up there are flaws, however they do pass the naked eye test. The way they are mounted however leaves a lot to be desired, gaps are evident and unattractive.
3) Landing Gear
One thing you can usually rely on with Phoenix is there ability to produce attractive landing gear and wheels and these are excellent, a clearly separate tyre on an axle looks infinitely better than the method used by everyone else. The nose gear wheel is especially good because it’s so small.
4) Tail fin and stabilisers
The tail fin is OK. To be honest on close up the whole assembly looks a bit off but it passes the eyeball test. I’d expect a great deal better now.
5) Wings and underbody.
There is a surprising amount of detail under the wings and body but once again, a little bit too much paint has made it hard to see. The winglets are fine and neat, if a little bit taller than they should be, but the KLM logo is easily discernible and neatly printed on the inner and outer surfaces. The model sits easily on the standard Gemini thin arm stand that fits most Phoenix models. the wings are push-in and flawlessly mounted.
As mentioned above the main body colour is KLM’s famous “Delft Blue” named after the small ceramic (and highly sought after) ornaments that were given to every first class passenger on a KLM flight. They were almost unique and remain highly collectable (if you like that sort of thing), especially from the early years. This model is not quite the right Pantone 299, being a shade too dark. The darker blue seems fine.
7) Overall score – we start at 10.
This will get 6.5/10. Why? The nose is just not right so -1. The winglets are visibly to tall so -0.5 each. The engine mounting is not good enough either side -1. Too much bleed on the nose and overprint/missing print in some spots -0.5. For a nearly three year old model it’s not bad but it’s not that outstandingly good either! It also demos’ again how far thing have come since mid 2012.
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