Sri Lankan A330-300 4R-ALL Phoenix 11085 March 2015

Sri Lankan A330-343 4R-ALL  Phoenix 11085 March 2015

The only airline in OneWorld not at RLSI until now
The only airline in OneWorld not at RLSI until now

There was one main driver for this purchase – SriLankan was the only member of OneWorld not at RLSI and these are very new aircraft, currently the subject of a major investigation. The new Sri Lankan Government, which surprised everyone by defeating the highly dubious and authoritarian President Rajapakhsa and his family-filled government (several of whom are accused of war crimes, including him), is keen to uncover the truth about the transaction that led to Airbus getting the contracts, but I suspect nothing much will ever come of it.

SriLankan is based in the countries main airport at Colombo, Bandaranaike International, (also known as Colombo International Airport and Katunayake International Airport (IATA: CMB, ICAO: VCBI). It’s named after former Prime Minister S W R D Bandaranaike and is one of the busiest hub airports in South Asia being a crossroads for traffic from India, the Far East, Australia, Middle East and Africa and ket to the Island chains of the Indian Ocean.

The aircraft is configured as 28 business and 269 economy.

 1) Fuselage

On stand at T1 East
On stand at T1 East

The livery is designed to represent the tropical skies and seas as well as the rich colours of this exotic island nation. The tail colours represent the national flag in a stylised form. The underneath of the aircraft is painted ocean blue with a vivid aqua blue around that with the slogan Visit Sri Lanka emblazoned in white on the dark blue. The national flag is displayed just behind the flight deck windows.

With most of this on a white background it’s a little blander than it sounds, and this raises an interesting question. At what point to the details of aerials become a detail that is more unsightly than welcome?  Those on top of this model are very small, but when seen from above the holes they sit in look unrealistic and wrong. I’d go as far as to say that they are in fact a detraction rather than a benefit. An entirely personal and subjective view I’ll admit, but I am starting to wonder if these things are, unless exquisitely executed (and we know thats never going to happen), more of a burden than a benefit. They drop out, if they’re there in the first place. The Gulf air A332 had one underneath (until it dropped out within a day). This version should have at least three underneath, but has one (which hasn’t recessed down it’s hole as much as the top ones).

The roof holes for the aerials are unimpressive and the aerials have recessed into them too far.
The roof holes for the aerials are unimpressive and the aerials have recessed into them too far.

Generally I think the Phoenix A332/3 superior to the Gemini one and as a mould it’s pretty good. The printed detail is what we’ve come to expect in the last year. The moulded comms dome looks neat on this too.

 2) Wings, Underbody & Landing Gear

The dark blue paint underneath is a little bit rough round the edges but I have to say that’s being picky, you can barely make it out with the naked eye. The wings, slot in types of course, are actually detailed and relatively lightly painted, but it still seems heavier than it need be. Landing gear is solid metal well detailed and only the wheels move – all of them freely including the well fitted nose gear.

The stand fitted well, but I felt compelled to remove it!
The stand fitted well, but I felt compelled to remove it!

3) Engines

2x RR Trent 772B-60’s power this aircraft. While good moulds, dust was allowed to stick to the paint and the rear silver exhaust paint is not well applied on very close examination, but easily passes the eyeball test. The engine detail is generally a high standard.

IMGP7909 - Version 2

4) Tail and stabilisers

This is the one place that doesn’t pass the eyeball test. You can see that the green and red especially have printed on with some excess. I’ll give you that it’s very minor and you do have to look for it but it shows up especially well on a white background. It could be better, but many would consider it adequate.

Blurrr....
Blurrr….

5) Nose detail

The printed detail, including the flight deck is excellent, fine detail for the most part, no complaints

 IMGP7907 - Version 2

6) Colour

I don’t have any issues with colours, it’s a good match largely because it’s basic, standard and uncomplicated.

 7) Out of 10…

-1 for the odd looking overly-vanishing aerials up top, and -0.5 for the blur in the tail colours and -0.25 for the dust in the port engine. So a score of 8.25/10. It’s a good quality basic model that nobody should have problems with. I am though getting fed up with these aerials. Witty never used them and their models were for the most part, stunning. The manufacturers need to get a grip and wither be consistent in using and making them work, or forget the whole thing.

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