Sometimes I see something blast from the past, especially if I haven’t seen it before, and I have to have it. This is one of those models. I think it must be 2012 or even earlier since Jet-X produced anything, and this 2008 model is typical of their range, often the sort of aircraft nobody else would ever do, a little bit niche, but always welcome if you wanted something different. On top of that they were usually fairly good. How we could do with a new Jet-X now!
MNG Airlines was set up in Istanbul, Turkey back in 1997, principally to move cargo. It soon went into passengers but by 2006 it dropped passenger operations and concentrated on cargo. With Turkey one of the few countries that escaped the recession – indeed it positively profited from it, quality low cost clothing product being a big earner globally in depressed markets. Cargo boomed when global cargo went into a slide that it still hasn’t recovered from. Indeed the slow down in Chinese economic growth has reversed even small gains made recently.
The airline actually won an award from Airbus for 100% reliability on A300’s! No mean achievement as most are far from being in their prime.
What’s so special about this model? The bright yellow and blue livery for one, adds a touch of welcome colour to a sea of white. But there are other benefits too. It actually comes with an MNG 1:400 truck and a chrome, MNG engraved stand. Now I haven’t taken the stand out of its unopened wrappers, but the truck, well I had to.
The aircraft itself was built in 1983 and delivered to Korean Air as HL7278 (as an A300C3-203, later converted to the A300F4-203) , and sold to Cargo MNG in 2000, painted in these yellow and blue Danzas colours for whom MNG operated cargo contracts. The aircraft was named Ibrahim Tanyelli.
The colours were removed in early 2011 and the aircraft became N277EF owned by Wells Fargo Bank NorthWest, by October 2011 she was transferred to GCS Cargo as EK30277 owned by Skiva Air, then transferred again as EY-647 for Kation Air, then again in June 2012 as 4L-ABI for Georgian Star International, for whom she still operates out of Tbilisi. 32 years old and still going strong, it says a lot about the quality of the A300 air frame.
The A300 was never a pretty aircraft – the wings especially always looked inelegant, but the quality of this model is pretty high. It puts Phoenix and their rubbish of late to utter shame. Everything is extraordinarily neat and tidy, with crisp graphics and nice detail, no blurring, marks or other distractions. All the detail seems to be there and it’s impossible to complain about it. This is 2008 and they were making better models then than Phoenix can manage with all their technology and advances since then. The reinforcing bar on the rear roof is just a line print, but at least the intent to include has been made. It has to be said the AeroClassics mould is a better one in this respect.
2)Wings and landing gear
This does use the pretty standard cradle wing system and it’s not ideal, but it’s fitted with accuracy and precision. The wings look so dated when we’ve become used to these carbon-polymer creations and aerodynamic refinements, but they do the job and look accurate. The upper surfaces are actually remarkably neat and beautifully detailed without becoming the eyesore Phoenix produced recently, for the split-scimitars on the Thomson 738.
The landing gear, in common with all the other manufacturers at the time is pretty rudimentary. A simple black tyre on a spigot, but they all roll and there are no lumps or bumps.
Now when I saw them I was amazed at their quality and detail. especially the paint finish. It quickly dawned that they were in fact plastic. Yet they don’t look it, they just look amazingly metallic, they are beautifully finished and have see-through fans. On engines of this size the level of finesse is extraordinary and the model looses nothing for them being plastic. It makes you wonder why others cannot meet these standards, nearly 8 years on.
4) Nose detail
Simple and effective, issue free.
5) Tail and stabilisers
The only issue with this is a little to much glue on the port stabiliser join, but compared to some of the travesties that have crossed my desk in recent months, it’s a minor issue. Everything else seems excellent.
There are quite a few photographs of this aircraft in this livery; unsurprisingly, it’s a bit different. The colours are an ideal match.
7) Score and conclusion
-2 for the slightly gluey stabiliser, 98%. So why is it Jet-X 8 years ago could make such neat little models and yet to this day almost nobody can meet these standards? Volume production is partly to blame, but then again that’s also no excuse. If you’re making money enough to justify an increase in production, then ensure that the quality rises with it. Forcing x number of people or machines to produce 1000 quality moulds in the time and with the facilities that only really produce 500 is not the way to advance your cause.
These issues are being faced even by the real manufacturers. Airbus is looking at 60 A320’s a month by 2019. Two full, completed, flying ready for delivery aircraft, per day every day of the year. They can’t afford to make mistakes. It would take massively less effort on a huge order of magnitude, for model makers to up their game. Stop thinking about short term profit and think about long term customer satisfaction and retention. That way we get good models and are prepared to pay to keep buying them and you make more money. These principles have always been true so why the hell do you not see it and do it? Why must we always have to experience the same rotten mistakes and not learn from the past?