Finnair A319 OH-LVD “oneworld’ AeroClassics AC1334A Jan 2016

I like Finnair, it’s the sort of airline I’d choose to fly on. Clean, modern, classy looking interiors and lots of that Scandinavian purity of style.

The Phoenix A350 suffered from those rotten gear doors – but the A321 from early 2014 with sharklets was pretty good and as luck would have it, I spent some time up close with it in real life at Heathrow that July.

As a member of Oneworld, it seemed like a nice idea to grab one of these to finish off the small Finnair contingent at RLSI. Aeroclassics does have the best mould for the A320 series after all.

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The models are relatively expensive (£30/$43US) for a tiny A319 is a lot of money. So the question then has to be the basic principle of consumer law; the more expensive something gets relative to its peer market, the more you as a buyer are entitled to expect, in terms of either quantity or, if quantity is not the issue, then quality may be assumed. So what happens when you get neither?

The aircraft itself is a lifelong, 2000 build unit in Finnair’s fleet. In many ways, she’s probably not far from retirement at 17 years in service.

Part of the “baby-Bus’ range from AC she comes in the now standard toy-like box with a stick-on label. Let’s spare no expense here eh AC?

1)Fuselage

As I said and is generally agreed, AC do make the best mould. What they don’t do is everything else other than in a fairly average way. It’s been leveled at me that their old, by which I mean the ‘classic’ end of the market models, are an exemplary feast of articulate and special model making. So what? I’m not buying one of them I’m buying this and there is no way that reputation applies here.

This is a small model, fair enough. But many of the older aircraft are just as small. It’s overall quality in terms of definition for the wording and logos is no better now than Phoenix on a rare average to good day.

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Take a look at the port wing-fuselage join. Great wads of paint missing. Marvelous. This is the sort of money you pay for a much larger Phoenix or Gemini model, so you have the right to expect a better level of quality. Er no, not happening.

2) Wings and landing gear

The usual very basic landing gear with mini-tyres on spigots. Now at the moment they are all still on the model, but my experience of AC is that you have to keep a careful eye on them as time goes by, because they just fall off. They’re unique to AC and very small, so finding one if it falls off is a painful experience. It’s actually easier to just glue them on before they go missing.

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The wing mould and paint is actually really very good, lots of nice detail and a good paint job up top, but the underwing, as so often on these models, is swamped with glossy paint.

3) Engines

The engine moulds and basic detail are very good, but the intake rims are shoddy, especially on the port side, where paint is both missing and has been chipped/rubbed off.

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The fan color is excessively bright silver. Has anyone who makes these models looked inside a turbofan engine? Ever? In a photo, in a video? Have you not noticed they are, at best titanium in color? Silver doesn’t come near it.

4) Nose detail

Again, one of the best moulds, it notices here more than anywhere. If fairness the nose and flight deck details are excellent.  You can, on close up see a few tiny hairs in the paint, something that also crops up now and again on the rest of the fuselage. Not as bad as on the JC Wings models of late though, by far.

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5) Tail and stabilisers

All neatly fitted and painted. The F logo is not well defined, but from an eyeball perspective it passes.

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6) Colors

White. No issue. The blue however is too dark. Phoenix got the blue the right shade, AC as usual, have missed it by a wide margin, far too much on the dark side. Because it is small, it tends not to notice as much but it’s still wrong. Little differentiation has been made for the Oneworld blue which is not the same and should also be lighter by a quite a few shades. And yet they got the Oneworld oval on, but in a color that was much too light! All they did was print in the vaguely lighter blue the airline uses for its EU flag/registration lettering.

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Finnair Blue is Pantone 2757C, the AC one is closer to 2767. The information is available on Finnair’s website – and in Chinese! You can even download the data in pretty much any format required. So how AC did you get it so wrong? The Oneworld is Pantone blue 2735 – in color terms a mile away from what’s been used. Again, 30 seconds on Oneworld’s website and I had their entire corporate guidelines, color shades, downloads rules and regs etc etc.

To make the colour differentiation visible – it’s so minuscule – I had to use some clever photo processing tricks, something I am loathe to do. If it isn’t visible to the naked eye it’s a fail. Even processed, it’s almost impossible to tell.

7) Score and conclusions

Overpriced and inaccurate in the livery detail – and when all there is to this model is the color and a very simple livery, that’s not a good enough for this kind of money by a long way.

-10 for the Finnair livery color fail, -10 for the Oneworld livery color fail, -8 for the cracked/missing paint on the port wing-fuselage assembly and -3 for the intake silver.

69% is a fail and the model is being replaced by the retailer after a thorough inspection. It won’t change the color issue but it will make up for the cracked paint.

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You probably wonder why I buy AC models at all? When they get it right they do it really well. When they get it wrong it’s very disappointing, especially when they are the only people who make these more unusual, not quite mainstream models of airlines that Gemini/JCW rarely even think of and would see as commercially unviable.

If they’re going to charge top notch money they they should be delivering top notch product. It’s that simple.

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