SAS Scandinavian Airlines get few models made for them and when they do, I like to seize the opportunity to get one. Aeroclassics availability in the UK seems somewhat intermittent, it’s been suggested to me that the wholesaler fails to get an adequate allocation, but who knows? Either way I find more often than not that Hong Kong or Europe are easier sources.
AeroClassics is not my favourite manufacturer. They seem to like to make only commercially acceptable models, have little concern for accuracy of colour and no real aptitude for quality. At the same time they like to charge premium prices. This model was €40 – thats $43US/£29.
The box was the usual Baby-Bus range with a stuck on side label that was almost illegible.
SAS has had a very hard time over the last few years, twice on the brink of bankruptcy. Its base operates in three of the most expensive countries in Europe; Denmark, Norway and Sweden, and it’s far from being a fully competitive airline. Norwegian’s appearance in the market has hammered it’s margins and forced it to take drastic action. It knows it’s a full service airline, but it has to compete, even more so now that Norwegian is deploying shiny new 788’s and 789’s, Finnair has A350’s, and all on long-haul. Old A346’s, A343’s, A330’s and the like just don’t cut it, though refits are under way. Meanwhile A330E’s, A320Neo’s and A350’s are all on order. SAS has had to cut it’s fares to compete with Norwegian and Ryan Air/easyJet on European short-haul with the advantage of being a member of Star Alliance for connections.
This particular aircraft OY-KBB, an A321-231, dates back to 2001 and is now probably two thirds of the way through her life. She tends to operate the longer short haul routes such as the Canary Islands or high density city pairs like London, Munich and Milan, and busy domestic routes like Aalborg-Copenhagen, from her base in the capital.
In terms of mould, AC have some of the best Airbus models going. It’s the details that lack any quality. While they pass the long range viewing test, the way they are produced is not good for any close up. Lack of definition would be the descriptive.
The windows, even at a distance clearly aren’t in line with the frames. The doors are made up of some kind of dot-matrix affair. The StarAlliance logo at the front door isn’t easily made out unless you know what it is, the body colour isn’t right and the ‘Scandinavian’ in silver above the windows is almost invisible. The ‘Airlines’ below the window is so hard to see it may as well not be there.
2)Wings and landing gear
The wings are excellent, push-in types, they work really well with lots of quality detail and the right level of paint.
As always with AC my main gripe in this section is the flimsy landing gear. The wheel/tyres are just a black rubber-on-a-spigot, there’s no attempt at making them look the part. The nose gear tyres are so small – and so often go AWOL, that I suspect I will have to glue them in.
The official colour for these is Pantone 172, and while it looks a bit pinkish in daylight, overall it’s just OK. The front silver rims are well applied but have suffered from packaging rub. The silver is also excessively bright and the type of paint used is hardly refined. On closer inspection none of the three-band paint is particularly well done even from a distance you can see it’s lacking crispness and definition, and shows blurs.
Easily passes the eyeball test and looks pretty neat overall. Just don’t look at the door print.
5) Tail and stabilisers
Well fitted and the horizontal stabilisers are good. The tail however is less well defined, the wrong blue by a huge margin and the lettering is weakly applied, verging on transparent.
The logo was designed in 1947 and updated in 1988. The dark blue colour is Pantone 2738. This is from an email from SAS Corporate only this morning showing the precise colour:
The tail on the AC A321 is closest to Pantone 288 – in colour terms, an ocean away from where it should be.
The body colour should be Pantone Cool Grey 1 but this much more like Cool Grey 2, the Pantone 172 on the engines is OK.
If you look at the other two here in this photo, the Witty 737 and the JCW ATR-72, only the Witty at the back, has the correct blue and body colour.
You’re probably saying ‘so what?’ The point is these colours are internationally accepted absolutes with universal application. Anyone can find them out and anyone can acquire the means to match them digitally or physically. It really isn’t hard, so how do these manufacturers screw them up so often? If I can find them out in 30 seconds of internet searches why can’t they?
7) Score and conclusions
Tail colour fail -5, body colour fail, -10, poor detail definition -6, Engine paint detail/quality -6. 73%. Below where I’d like it to be by some margin, but pretty typical for AC. If there wasn’t a colour fail I’d be amazed. As a stand alone model, it’s alright, nothing special, but too expensive to just be OK really. If it was $10 less I’d be more sympathetic.
The fact remains though, that AC randomly generate models few others will bother with and for that there is a price. They are not exact, they are a representation, an ‘almost like the real thing’, but not. If you can accept that, so be it. If you can’t AC isn’t a brand to invest your money in.