Eurowings A330-200 D-AXGA Phoenix 11200 Jan 2016

No fanfares. This is the Phoenix version, technically a replacement for the laughable JC Wings version reviewed last week.  I’m not a fan of Phoenix A330’s, their quality is  variable and they’ve had enough wing issues to make you ever think about buying another.

As with the EVA 777, I’m not repeating the history of D-AXGA and Eurowings, you can find that on the JC Wings review of the same aircraft, HERE.

I made a few bad calls on the JC Wings review. I wrote the review on Virgin Atlantic crossing from SFO to LHR, without the model in front of me, something I never usually do, and did it from photos. The fact is that the JC Wings version is actually even worse than I said it was. Especially the colours and wings.

Again, I turned to Phoenix, as I did with the EVA Air 777, expecting them to have made a better job of it. Well the EVA Air was a catastrophe. The Eurowings, well it’s not so bad by far.

I have discovered why the JC Wings ‘researcher’ made the wing paint mistake and missed off the rear dome. It’s something all to easily done, especially if you don’t read English well. There are a number of extraordinarily good flight simulator renders that look highly realistic. Only judgement would tell you that a photo like that is extremely unlikely. Early photos of the aircraft also didn’t have the sat comms dome at the rear, again it’s missing on the JCW.  Here’s an example I found after a few seconds searching:

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Now I have for a brief moment both models in my possession before the JCW goes back to the retailer, I now also understand why the wings are wrong and look so stupid. It’s fairly complicated so bear with me.

It seems that the wing root is too low in the fuselage mould. It’s only out by a small amount, 1mm or so (but that’s scale equal to 400mm/16″).  Add the over-sized winglets, and the fact that A330 wings have the tiniest change of angle in the last third of the frame – it’s almost non-existent but in certain images you can see it. Phoenix have caught this in their mould (often it becomes over exaggerated and appears to be bent downward, an issue I’ve raise in the past). JCW did not and that’s why their low point of mounting, ultra-straight wings and over-sized winglets give the whole thing that ridiculous hands-up look.

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The above also makes you realise why the entire window line looks like it’s in the wrong place. It actually isn’t, but the wing roots are too low so they look like they are. The conclusion has to be that the JCW mould for the A330 needs to be disposed of and remade. At up to $75k for a new model of this size I doubt that’s going to happen. Unless of course nobody buys it. If I were Gemini I’d stick to the old mould for now.

As a direct comparison, there are other really big issues that stand out a mile. For one the difference in tail stabiliser size – the JCW one is wrong, it’s not even the same as their old mould. Against the Phoenix the difference is extraordinary to see.

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It doesn’t stop there either. JCW failed the colour in the tail, the burgundy is fine but they lost the lighter pink. Phoenix on the other hand have done unusually well, getting the colours pretty accurate, including the blues and greys. That also includes the underwings and engines.

JCW’s big problem with this model is bad research and being too quick by half to produce it  without getting all the details right – and verified. All that has given them is a bad reputation, never mind the laughable mould. Add the two together and it’s verging on incomprehensible how this cock-up ever got into production, never mind into the public domain. Evidently our long held view that quality control doesn’t exist has been proven conclusively.

Now that was a long preamble into the Phoenix review, but with so many people so annoyed by the JCW model and it’s mistakes, I couldn’t just ignore it!

1)Fuselage

I’ve never disliked the Phoenix mould, it’s perfectly good. It has a different level of quality of detail to the JCW. Like it or dislike it, that’s a personal choice. The thing is is, is what’s supposed to be there present?  For the most part yes.

While Phoenix have gone to the trouble of putting the rearmost dome on, they would have been best advised not to have bothered. I’d rather have had a painted outline than this rubbish pin head.  It, like the one on the appallingly bad EVA 777 from Phoenix, is little more than a blistered failure that hovers over the fuselage. What is wrong with these people? A troop of monkeys could assemble these more effectively.

The paint however is at least the correct bright white and isn’t filled with garden rubble like the EVA.

At least the aerials stay in these days. Well they do at the moment.

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2)Wings and landing gear

Just a moment while I get my RayBans. You’ll need yours too, the silver couldn’t get any brighter if you tried on the Phoenix gear. However it all rolls and nothing has gone missing, fallen off or dropped out. Even the tyres are not covered in lumps of blobby rubber. the nose gear has a blur on the starboard door that is not pretty at all.

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The wings themselves are a general improvement, having lost the starboard side pressure bend of earlier last year, but as usual, the port wing is not inserted as far into the root as the starboard one. They still haven’t fixed the mould issue inside the fuselage, or the cross links for the wings that go into it.

The good thing is the wings are white up top and the winglets a more accurate size than the JCW. The livery on the winglets is also accurate, on the JCW it isn’t.

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3)Engines

Other than the colour, which is lighter grey on the Phoenix and more accurate, you wouldn’t know any difference. Unusually neat and tidy.

4) Nose detail

The type of detail is more accurate in some way on the Phoenix. the way it’s been printed is probably better on the JCW, but that’s really a personal choice thing and you could argue over it for days. I prefer the flight deck on the Phoenix and it has radome details the JCW doesn’t. The tiny livery colour logo is also better on the Phoenix version.

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5)Tail detail

And if ever there was a massive, undeniable difference this is where it lies, in fact even more so than the wing surfaces. Colour, size, quality, accuracy. Phoenix has done a good job, the JCW is even more dire than you’d ever imagine. Who was responsible for getting it so wrong? Do I care? Not really, but whoever they are, they’re in the wrong job.

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6) Colours1400Reviews-Eurowings-D-AXGA-A332-PHOENIX-CpywrtJonChamps 4.jpg

A hands down Phoenix win across the board, far more accurate, something they often fail miserably at this time is a success.

7)Score and conclusions

It is a much better model than the JCW version in terms of accuracy, mould, and color.

However, despite everything that is wrong with the JCW – pretty much all of it, the JCW is better built, better finished and a better production standard.  Phoenix still have issues, though most of them on the A330 seem to have been fixed. The wing fit and that ridiculous dome though…

The problem with Phoenix is they do it right one minute, then its back to square one the next. This whole business is permeated with inconsistent manufacturing standards and the brands who commission these models seem to do little to fix it permanently.

-8 for the dome fail, -4 for the wing fit, -2 for the blur on the nose gear door, so 86% to Phoenix for this one. 

And finally, can I tell you something? I wish I had never seen either the Phoenix or JCW EVA and Eurowings models. I actually felt like putting them on a bonfire and burning their metal carcass down to molten scrap and sending them to China, with a note that says, “they look better this way”.

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