Air France 777-300ER F-GSQI “JonOne” Phoenix 11216 Feb 2016

I lived in France for over 5 years and have spent probably 12 years of my life there on and off in total. I always have a soft spot for anything French, even when it doesn’t always deserve it.

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Mixing art and aircraft is a typically French thing to do, and New York-born painter/graffiti artist JonOne of Dominican origin, is typical of the zeitgeist France finds itself in. Youthfully minded, but established, classical but mildly revolutionary, conservative and yet a cauldron of change. Marketing people love to leap on anything that looks trendy but conservative and JonOne has given them just that. Rebellious art, for a fee. As it happened it appeared on the scene just as the terrorists attacked in Paris for the second time in a year, and it came to have more significance than was intended. I even used it as my sympathy icon for a month on Facebook and Twitter.

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Having said that it’s a remarkably clever interpretation of a corporate livery; sophisticated while at the same time simple. The aircraft actually has four of the liveries, one large each side and one on each of the two passenger entry doors that can bee seen as you board. The airline also had a whole range of licensed products made to go with it.

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The aircraft itself F-GSQI, a 777-328ER was delivered in March 2005 and the livery was added at the end of her second D-service following a re-spray. She spends a lot of her time rotating through Tokyo, Shanghai, Singapore, Jakarta in the Far East and Yaounde and Libreville in former French colonial states in West Africa, where cultural ties remain strong.

1)Fuselage

I shall not mince words. When credit is due I’m more than happy to issue it by the bucket if it deserves it and this does. The smaller details of course, show up on the white paint and this model has everything. No matter where you look every effort seems to have been made to do it well.

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Print is high quality, exquisitely defined, crisp, clean and ideal. Love it.

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Even the aerials are spot on and the one underneath at the rear which as you know is the waste water heater, is actually painted red, something they rarely bother with.

The JonOne art is beautifully done and a credit to a well executed fuselage.

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2)Wings and landing gear

All of the landing gear is fixed in exceptionally well and has no issues, except some of the tyres are a little lumpy, but not as  bad as we’ve seen in the past. The silver is a little bright but the wheels with tyres look great.

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The wings themselves are well executed, especially on the upper surfaces, but not so good underneath where the paint seems excessively thicks as always, and their is no underbody/under wing detail to speak of. Why can’t Phoenix A330 wings fit this well? They’re verging on seamless.

3)Engines

Now we all now these are the biggest in the business and they’re so large that any errors on them stick out horribly. The engines in the packaging did not have their rims anywhere near being rubbed so why do they both look like some of the silver has been damaged and there is a tiny bit of flaking?

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The fans look much better on the model to the naked eye – the flash highlights the technique they use to make the fans look good on the model but looks horrible on camera, so it’s not as bad as it appears. The oddity is the fans are actually further forward in the nacelles that the red fan line on the nacelle exterior. The Crevette logo is well executed on each engine, a traditional Air France detail.

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4)Nose detail

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Generally well executed, though the flight deck windows are a bit heavy on the silver. The most noticeable fail is the KLM pat of the AirFrance-KLM logo, which is too low and a little feint. I would have preferred a little more strength to the JonOne door logos but it’s a hard thing to reproduce and quite complex that small.

5)Tail detail

The vertical and starboard stabilisers are perfectly fine, but the port side horizontal isn’t properly pushed in to its socket, in fact it’s a bit disappointing as it’s by far and away the worst aspect of the whole model. Even the APU exhaust is beautifully executed.

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Small downside is the usual EU star circle at the top of the tail on the blue is a bit weak, but far from bad.

6)Colours

Superbly done. Accurate and a pleasure to see.

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7)Score and conclusions

-4 for the stabilizer, -2 for engine rim paint, -2 for the KLM slip. 92% Is an excellent score and makes this an early contender for MOTY 2016. So, how is it Phoenix can produce something this well, only to to screw up other models? When they get their 773’s right they are the best by miles (though still not Witty standards), even Gemini’s are rarely as good as this. So what was with the EVA Air? Consistency is what’s needed, Quality Control and consistency.

I love this model and I’m not much of fan of mostly white liveries. But unlike the rest of the world, Air France chose it for a reason that wasn’t about being too cheapskate to paint your planes (which is why China Eastern dumbed theirs down to white). It’s a beautiful model, elegant, it is in every way France, Air France.

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