Brussels Airlines A320-214 OO-SNB ‘Tintin’ Aeroclassics May 2015
I’ve been really looking forward to this one, for two reasons mainly – first I don’t have any Brussels Airlines models and second because while not a manic fan of TinTin like some, it’s something I am pretty fond of. There are only four things I think of when Belgium comes to mind, Chocolates, Poirot, the EU and well, TinTin. (You can add waffles, fries with mayonnaise and some rather excellent specialist beers).
Aeroclassics were quick off the draw with this (something they seem to like to do more and more) and I have to say the first surprise was the packaging. Aeroclassics have never been overwhelmingly generous with their boxes, often bland to the point of making simplicity an art form, but this is quite different.
The aircraft itself is relatively elderly having been supplied to LTU in June 2001, then spent time with Air Berlin from April 2007 until going to Brussels Airlines in April 2011. This livery was revealed a couple of months ago as part of a summer tourism campaign and tie in with Tintin’s anniversary.
The fuselage carries the colour of Tintin’s submarine shaped like a shark and Tintin and Snowy can be seen looking out from the dome. The underwater theme is used throughout, including a number of bubble blowing fish. It’s an amusing and clever idea that really, because of the subject matter won’t ever really date. Tintin has fans world wide who will just love it.
Generally speaking the paint is pretty good, though it seems they’ve gotten a little over-thick with it in places, the overall finish is very very good. The window frames are all excellent as are the doors and general detail for the most part, if you don’t look too closely.
Aeroclassics have never bothered to fill up the fuselage with holes and aerials, something that to be honest I don’t really mind.
2) Wings and landing gear
Light, well painted with delicate and detailed effort across the board, these push in wings really are excellent. The join to the bodywork isn’t stunning close up but it more than passes the eyeball test.
The landing gear always is a gripe for me on AC models. It’s just feeble little tyres on spigots, though the actual gear appears to be metal and good quality. The good thing is all the wheels rotate without hinderance. The pale blue under body works well and the and hole is an ideal fit for the usual thin arm Gemini stand.
EDIT: The day after this was posted both the front wheels fell off.
You’ll know how much I hate bad engine paint if you’ve read a review here before. Now this isn’t the end of the world bad, however the interior rims lack a little silver and the forward edge is not the best, even if the colour is OK. These pass into the realm of commercial acceptability rather than can we do our best!
4) Tail and stabilisers
Very fine and very neat, all in accordance with the rest of the aircraft. However the EU flag is pretty rubbish and badly framed and the Belgian flag isn’t much better on both sides.
While often not an Aeroclassics strong point, I have little problem with the base colours. My only observations are that Tintin’s face and the background are very poor, lacking any attempt at flesh tones and Snowy the dog is a feint blue rather than the obvious white. I don’t believe these could not have been managed correctly and it’s a bit disappointing.
6) Score out of ten
-2 for the colour fails on the key characters and 1- for the engine paint. 7/10. This is what always disappoints me with Aeroclassics. They have basically a good model here, with generally high standards for the most part. Then they go and spoil one of the principle areas of the graphics – the very character the whole thing is about is basically green-blue. Even worse the box image shows what the colours should be! That sucks and it’s why I rarely buy AC models – there’s almost always something colour-wise that’s wrong. It’s why I won’t buy their just released A332 in the new Alitalia Livery, just compare it to the published colours and it’s totally wrong!