Air Canada A320-211 C-FFWI Velocity Models VM004 Launch Model with special box art January 2015

Air Canada A320-211 C-FFWI  Velocity Models  VM004  Launch Model with special box art January 2015

Velocity Models based in Las Vegas not far from their former paymasters at Gemini Jets are a welcome start up that aims to take the views of the collector and hobbyist seriously – in itself this is a major development. Gemini Jets used to take its customers seriously but these day the Mighty Dollar seems to be more of a concern. One of their aims was to produce attractive box artwork too. I like the idea of it but I have to be honest, it’s the model that counts. In the end the box ends up in a plastic crate for storage in the garage. It’s a nice touch but not the reason to buy the model.

As soon as I knew they were available I went on to the Velocity Website to purchase the Air Canada.  Why this one? I really wanted the Spirit in its bright yellow, but it doesn’t fit the parameters I set for my collecting (you have to set some boundaries don’t you?) There was also another reason. The Air Canada Ice Blue livery is almost as hard to duplicate as Virgin Atlantic’s.  I wanted to see how well they would do, what their quality control was like and if they were prepared to argue with AeroClassics who made the models for them if they turned out not to be quite so good.

The model cost effectively £35 ($52US) including £10.44/$16 of international “two day” postage which took 7 days from dispatch – USPS at its best – yes it’s reputation is even known in the UK.

The beautiful art work on the Velocity A320 Air Canada Box
The beautiful art work on the Velocity A320 Air Canada Box

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But first of all the box art work, because it is excellent. A sort of 1930’s style poster image, summoning up surreal skies and a degree of glamour, sits very well even with a modern jet. It’s very neat and a major improvement over what many have done in the past if not exceptionally original. A positive experience when receiving your new model. There is also a printed side and model code showing the contents, though the colour on this is pretty poor. Compared to the box with a sticker AeroClassics normally give us its a million miles better!

The aircraft itself is a 1991 vintage A320-211 and knocking on in years, I doubt she has long to go. Why they chose this one I don’t know. This is the second AC A320 I’ve had, the last one, an AV400 version I sold because the colour was just a glitterfest of the wrong blue.

Fuselage

The mould is standard AeroClassics and as such quite acceptable as it’s one of the best of its type out there though it doesn’t have any aerials. The general print detail is quite good, with flight deck and doors/windows all neatly printed. The Air Canada logo is as it should be and the print appears to be the correct colour.

And thats about all that is the correct colour. Frankly, and I am deeply disappointed by this, even saddened to be honest because I wanted this to be so much better than it is, it’s a terrible shade of what looks tobacco stained green. It really does look like the whole thing has stood in the sun or a smoke filled room for a couple of decades and the colours gone off.  In natural daylight it’s just a really horrible colour and shows absolutely no quality control whatsoever. What did the guys at Velocity think when they saw this? I’d really like to know – I know for a fact they took it out before despatch to look at it because the box had clearly been opened (and no it wasn’t customs, the outer container was untouched).

Take a look at these photos – no direct sunlight (its a pretty cloudy day here) compared with the superb Witty 787-8 and Gemini’s ancient model of C-GKOM, an A345 (which was never painted in this scheme in reality).

C-FWWI to the front with the Witty and Gemini in natural light
C-FWWI to the front with the Witty and Gemini in natural light

You really do have to look at this in the context of any attempt to match the colour. AeroClassics have had a reputation for massive colour errors – I’ve been a victim of them myself on the Lufthansa 735, but this is a really not good. My question is why did Velocity who must have seen this let it go out? Did they think we wouldn’t notice or just be so excited about another source of models we’d pretend it didn’t happen?

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IMGP6840 - Version 2The natural daylight is the worst enemy of any colour match and I suspect the camera flash may be to blame for creating deceit.  You see if you use a flash – this is what you get:

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IMGP6852 - Version 2However these things work, the flash gives a far better feeling for what the colour is supposed to be. I wonder if Velocity saw photo images before approving production? If they saw a hard model and it was the daylight colour they’ve a lot to learn.

There is another issue too and that is the colour of the print of the registration. It’s green in natural daylight on the model. In reality it’s actually a mid blue. Have a look at the real thing here:

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 Wings and Underbody

Push in wings give a much better finish and this is no exception, the level of paint and  detail is very good and I have no moans about this models wings and underbody detail, they are very good. Landing gear is AeroClassics “tyre on a spigot” – they all rotate but the tyres are often lumpy – especially the nose gear. It’s time they moved on to tyres on wheels rather than these cheap alternatives that even 1:500 models often avoid these days.

 

IMGP6843 - Version 2Engines and pylons

The moulds on these are very good. The colour is as with the fuselage off, but the pylon paint isn’t too bad at all. The silver paint on the intakes and fans is a little bright for the fan blades. The exhaust paint is good too, with a nice titanium colour used.

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Nose and tail detail

The nose is OK, minimal detail, the flight deck paint is excellent and at this size better for being simply applied. The tail is also quite neatly done and works well.

 And out of 10…

I have to be frank and not allow the newness of the the company to unbalance the score. These guys are experienced and they should know their stuff. The colour is hideous, really truly bad. They probably had to pay to get these made before they could sell them so once delivered they had no choice, but really, in an ideal word this would be going back. -2 for the colour.  -1 for the lumpen tyres. And really that’s all, because other than that this is quite a good model. 7/10.

I have to commend them for their efforts with the box too, while it isn’t essential it makes a refreshing change. I wish Velocity all the best, I want them to succeed and I hope very much that they do. Let’s hope that as time passes they can have the control of resources to make sure colour botches like this never happen again. I would buy direct again, if it was the right model and I would have to buy at least two to justify the postage costs. However with http://www.aviationdelight.ca now the official Canadian importer and retailer, it’s cheaper to buy from there, even from the UK.