If you’ve ever watched the amazing, and deeply chilling Amazon Prime TV series The Man In The High Castle (if you haven’t, it’s worth it for the astonishing hydrogen powered hypersonic jets the Nazis use to get from Berlin to San Francisco in 3 hours), a particularly sinister version of the song Edelweiss is the title music. It has nothing whatsoever to do with this but what does that matter!
For many German speakers the edelweiss flower has a strong resonance with home, alpine purity, familiarity and good things. Even, in a small way, for patriotism, which is why Ridley Scott chose the music for the programme, the last line being particularly poignant. It’s origins as a song are entirely Broadway from the original Sound of Music though, there’s nothing German about it.
Edelweiss is a delicate looking but extremely hardy alpine flower of simplicity, purity and great beauty. Airlines don’t pick names out of the blue and branding and meanings matter.
The airline was started only in 1995 by seriously up-market travel company Kuoni, with an MD-83, and quickly migrated into long haul holiday and charter with A332’s in 1998-99. From 2001-2008 it won the Golden Travel Star Award for best airline service. By November 2008 with the world hurtling to finanacial oblivion, Kuoni transfered operations to Swiss International Airlines in exchange for it’s hotel booking operations.
An A333 is to be added in 2016, and in July 2015 it was announced that as Swiss aquires 773ER’s, three of it’s old A343’s will transfer to Edelweiss during 2017-18 to add new routes. Technically a wholly owned subsidiary of Swiss, it is of course, part of the Lufthansa Group.
This particular aircraft had an uncontained engine fire in Miami in 2003, having only been delivered in November 2000. She’s since been retired in 2010 by Edelweiss and now serves as C-GSTN for Air Transat.
Now the box looks like it says 2008, but it may well be 2005 according to Wings900, and only 600 may have been made. Those were the days.
From a cursory point of view this is a typical period model. Phoenix were still using cradle moulds, but from the eyeball perspective she is actually really rather good. The mildly disturbing facts are that while there is a slightly less model-like look to more modern types of 1:400 aircraft, it’s hard to explain. The paint and print are heavier on this, yet the detail is just as good as we see now. In many ways some of the very small detail is better now, but in terms of the big ‘edelweiss’ logo (which is almost imperceptibly blurred) and the way red layers over white where they meet, nothing has changed.
However, it has to be said, there is an attempt at quality here that Phoenix are sadly lacking these days.
2)Wings and landing gear
The wings are excellent, the cradle mould actually fits better and is tighter than we often see now. In fact the wings are a btter fit on this than on the current Phoenix A330 series, which has so many problems getting them to sit right and fit it’s almost a shambles. The wing detail is obscured by paint as ever, the winglets though have the tiny edelwiess flower neatly printed into them.
Landing gear is dissapointing but of its time. Tyres on plastic spigots, somewhat unremarkable.
They pass the eyeball test, but considering age, they’re really quite good. Not if you look too close though.
All very period and more than passable for 8 years ago. I’ve seen much worse recently. How sad is that fact?
Heaviness of the paint has been the thing that stands out and it does slightly obscure some detail, but it really isn’t a big issue.
7)Score and conclusions
Based on todays standards, I’d mark it down for the poor landing gear and over-thick paint, but that wouldn’t be fair as those were typical of standards then. I would pick the engine rim paint and inner as an issue from manufacture and knock of 6%. Other than that It’s a neat quality model and vastly superior to some of the trash that’s come out of Phoenix in the last year. 94%.