Swiss Bombardier CS100 C-GWXZ Herpa 1:400 562522 Jan 2016

This model was announced in early September 2015 and like everything that comes out of Herpa, took a month of Sunday’s to get here. Not unlike the real-life CS100.

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It took just 24 hours for Herpa’s website to sell out and most seem to have been pre-ordered from retailers months ago.

I’ve been waiting on this a long time, having never received my ordered JC Wings version in the Bombardier test livery, as along with most of Europes order for the model, other than a handful that got to the US, they seemed to vanish.

This is possibly one of the most important new aircraft to come out of the aviation industry in a very long time. Bombardier are challenging the E-jets, the 737 and the A320 series and while in the short term Airbus and Boeing can mostly ignore it, I’m not so sure they’ll be able to do that if the economics start to work out as Bombardier claim. For one this is a new aircraft from the ground up, unlike the  standard revamps of old models Boeing & Airbus have pushed out now for 40 years.

It’s true that incremental, evolutionary change, can be as valid as revolutionary new thinking and both the majors have customers convinced they must be right. If Anything can challenge those perceptions this is it. If it fails, it could well sink Bombardier for good, indeed it’s three years of delays and vast development costs have already nearly achieved that.

It had a long gestation period, all the way back to 2004 and was effectively shelved in 2006. It restarted in 2007 and was officially launched at Farnborough in 2008 with a 60 aircraft order form Lufthansa.

The CS100 is physically bigger than an A319, smaller than the A320 and more akin to the Embraer E-190. Indeed one of its principal competitors now is the new Embraer E-2 series. The larger CS300 is almost a 737Max and A319/320Neo competitor. That is due to enter service in late 2016. Swiss, the launch customer (other airlines had the chance but politely refused), get their CS100’s shortly, taken from the Lufthansa Group order. Air Baltic will launch the CS300. A CS500 has been considered as a direct 737/A320 competitor.

This model is in Swiss livery but is actually the aircraft shown at Paris in 2015, so strictly speaking it’s a pre-production one-off, hence the Canadian registration.

The core success of this aircraft will be the engines, Pratt & Witney’s PW1500G geared turbofan. Testing has indicated greater economy and range than was expected and guaranteed to buyers.

Even in November 2015 Bombardier received $1 billion US from the Canadian government to keep the program going, after having to write off $3.2 billion of its own money in development costs. Airbus tried to buy the whole program but Bombardier, I think wisely decided against it.

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Personally I’d like it to be a surprising success and exceed everyone’s expectations, especially the tedious critics in the industry who try to dampen any enthusiasm for something new, that might mean they have to justify their support for the duopoly that’s existed for decades.

As soon as Swiss start flying them to Birmingham BHX, I’m going to get myself a day trip to Zurich to have a go on one.

Apologies for the long pre-amble but this is a rare moment when a totally new aircraft type enters commercial service. For an aviation enthusiast/model collector it’s got to be a big deal.

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Herpa rarely delves into the 1:400 market these days – a pity I think as it needs quality competition. It’s generally accepted that Hogan produce Herpa’s models, but this looks to me very much like the JC Wings one, indeed with mould costs so high I’d be amazed if it wasn’t. I’m sure someone will take great delight in telling me if I’m in error!

The good thing is that having made this they’ll be inclined to do a Lufthansa one when the time comes – I hope!

1)Fuselage

I’ve even gone to the trouble of measuring up the model for scale and am pleased to confirm across the board it matches Bombardier’s specifications exceptionally well. Now from a model point of view, and the eyeball test, it passes easily. Some of the close up looks a little untidy, especially the Bombardier logo which looks a bit cramped with the FTV5 (Flight Test Vehicle 5) logo just beneath it. That also appears a bit too black, but any fainter it would probably have been almost invisible it’s so small.

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Unusually, the Herpa CS100 comes with a display stand, which includes scale and title detail on the base. The lump on the nose gear tyre is highly visible in this photo.

Other than that the whole thing is exceptionally neat. So much so that slightly surprisingly, as every manufacturer spent an age banging in aerials to everything that moved, on this they haven’t bothered at all. Now I really don’t mind, I think the whole aerial thing as been a waste of time and of such poor quality it just hasn’t been worth it.

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There are a couple of tiny issues, the C in C Series under the SWISS logo is OK on the starboard side, but on the port the top of the C has gone missing. On both sides from an eyeball perspective the registration looks a little cramped, but that’s probably more to do with the font and its perception – in photos it looks fine.

2)Wings and landing gear

I combed through a few photos and in general the wings have to be declared outstanding. Everything about them is spot on. No issues.

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Landing gear however…cheap, plastic, ugly, especially the nose gear which is an indelicate thick lump of plastic and looks disproportionate to this scale of model. Others have done better on smaller models. The tyre on the nose gear is also very lumpy and had to be trimmed. It looks like they stuck large 1:500 gear on a small 1:400.

3)Engines

The aircraft is equipped with Pratt & Whitney Pure-Power® PW1500G engines. Possessing one of the highest by-pass ratios (12:1) of any turbofan engine in the world, the PW1500G delivers reduced fuel burn, noise and emissions from advanced combustion technology and a fan-drive gear system, which has had it’s troubles, but what new technology doesn’t? They claim a 50% Co2 reduction and emissions 20% below the latest CAPEX6 standards for nitrous oxide, which is known to cause complex reactions in the high atmosphere as well as being seriously damaging to health at ground level. But do they look right on the model?

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The answer is yes for the most part, with one exception. Because it’s such a small model, it’s hard to say the silver on the rims is terrible. If it was a GE engine on a 773ER, it would make me cry because it would be hideously visible. However, while they are not good on close up, and you can see they have issues even with the naked eye, being so small, they don’t look so bad as to be a disaster. The exhaust element isn’t technically exact either, as they have a series of white noise reducing baffles close to the core, but how you’d duplicate this at this scale I have no idea. Overall Very Good, but rims let them down a bit.

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4)Nose detail

Such a neatly produced flight deck and detail. What a beautiful little model she is turning out to be. You can pick on the nose shape a little, but it’s not as bad as say, the poor Gemini/JCW & Phoenix attempts at the A350 which have been proven to be out by some margin.

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Neat nose, don’t look at the engine rims
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The SWISS does look a bit washed out in this one but you can blame the type of flash, it doesn’t look that way in real life, honest.

5) Tail & stabilisers

No real issues. On close up the white cross is a little definition free in places but you can’t tell with the naked eye. Neat, precise, well assembled in general.

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6)Colours

No issues at all.

7) Score and conclusions

-7 for the rims, the landing gear and the odd print issue. 93%.

I love it! This model is a very welcome development and I encourage Herpa and others to follow through and give us the Lufthansa and other airlines as time rolls on.  It’s a pleasure to have something so neat, different and modern while also interesting. More please!

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The swiss contingent servicing RLS International, gives a good idea of the size of the CS100.

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