First off, this was actually announced back in January 2016. It finally arrived in Amsterdam by the end of June and it still hasn’t got much further – the UK like many other places waits. If you even bothered ordering one. My A343 is still pending. I cancelled the Cargolux 748F that’s been pending since October 2015.
This is the new mould JCW introduced and now make for Gemini too. The Thomas Cook A332 (review published last Friday), didn’t suffer the horrendous wings-up problem that the Delta A333 HGW version had. Interestingly nor does this one – but for quite different reasons…..
When the box is rattling…
When it arrived, the wings and port stabilizer had fallen out – totally detached in the box – not a sign of glue anywhere. I negotiated a 35% discount on the model with AMS in Amsterdam – they were in fact willing to take it back and replace it but, only send the replacement if I ordered more items which I wouldn’t agree to. Besides by then I’d worked out what the problem with this mould is. Clouds with silver linings and all that!
The rear stabilizer just wasn’t fitted and that was resolvable easily. The wings though were quite a different issue.
As soon as they were pushed back in they assumed the “sieg heil” position, ludicrously high and over-elevated, even beyond flight position. I didn’t use glue at this point, trying to find out what was wrong.
It transpired that, after pushing them in, if you pushed down on the port side wing near the root there was an audible click. That wing was then in a much lower position. I did the same to the other one, another click, and the wing dropped to match. I took them out, glued them in and did the same thing. The result was that while not perfect for height, rather than being almost 5mm too high, they were now only about 2mm too high and don’t look anywhere near as stupid as the Delta A333 did. Bare in mind that at this scale a 3mm difference is the equivalent of 1.2m or 3ft 10 inches in the real world; not something you won’t notice.
So it’s clear that the manufacturer has the ability to fix the problem, but they don’t bother to do so. If this one hadn’t had its wings fall out I’d have sent the model back as defective, I just cannot abide that ludicrous wing angle on my diorama and I’d rather go without as I did with the otherwise rather good Delta version.
I’d like to tell you that the problem is only one affecting the A333 from JCW. However it has spread….more on Wednesday!
SAS Scandinavian Airlines is the joint Flag Carrier of Denmark, Sweden and Norway. At one time or another Sweden or Denmark have both ruled Norway, or Sweden the Danes, and the three now have a democratic, cultural and high level cooperation – even down to sharing Embassy facilities abroad.
SAS has had, and still has huge problems – competition in Europe is vicious, Norwegian has proven to be a formidable competitor and SAS faces them not just on domestic routes, but even long haul to the US and Far East. It isn’t getting any easier.
This specific aircraft, LN-RKH named Edmund Viking is actually the second oldest of 8 in service, dating back to 2002. The follow on 6 are all 2013-16 deliveries , 4 of which were delivered in the last 12 months. Fitted with 32 business class, 56 SAS Go Plus (ordinary economy seats with more leg and elbow space, bookable window or bulkhead positions) and 174 standard economy seats. This particular aircraft spends most of her time servicing cities on the US East Coast and Chicago.
As a general mould it’s perfectly good, but the wing mount internally, where they slot-in, is clearly at issue along with the mounting arms.
The one thing on this model that stands out is the rear satcom dome, which yet again, the manufacturer seems oblivious to in terms of quality, it has a very visible nick in the paint/mould fitting to the roof one the port side. The rest of it is fairly good, although I don’t think the print of the Scandinavian Airlines wording is strong enough.
2)Wings and Landing gear
The wings you’ve mostly read about above. There is a fundamental problem with their design and fit and JCW need to address it NOW, and Gemini for whom they make the same mould need to push back and express their unhappiness with it and get something done.
I find it difficult to comprehend that any of you would buy these in any number now. Having proved conclusively there is a problem and how stupid the models look, are you all so unconcerned you just buy it anyway? No serious collector would accept it, and even though I know what the problem is, I have no intention of snapping the wings out to fix it in future. This is the last A333 I’ll be buying from Gemini/JCW until the issue is corrected.
As to the landing gear! Well both main sets are barely average to be honest, a problem that has come to the fore in the last couple of batches of Gemini’s too. They seem to have gaping gaps in the front and rear of the assembly and the tyres are very lumpy, one set barely rotates. The nose gear is perfectly fine.
Same issues as with the Thomas Cook, flimsy ailerons, rims that look misshapen. The silver paint has been put down over the red which has leaked through, and the paint hasn’t been mixed properly leading to poor distribution, excess silver paint in some places, to thin in others. The red is a good colour and the printed detail on the engines, while good from an eyeball perspective don’t look as fine in close up.
The back of the engines shows excess silver, excess flashing, and just come over fairly poorly.
All fairly good with the exception of the silver-grey airline wording, it just seems a bit weak and you can see any radome detail.
Perfectly fine if you forget about having to glue the stabilizer back in!
A remarkably good effort all round.
7)Score and conclusions
- -20 for both wing fails
- -5 for the stabilizer fail
- -4 for the main landing gear
- -2 for the dome
- 69% is the score – a total fail on what could so easily have been such a good model. It’s way too flawed to be anything near successful. It has fundamental attitude problems to deal with at the manufacturer; that they would produce something so badly flawed before the wings fell out and keep doing so, tells you they don’t care. That they think they can just pump it out and you’ll keep buying it without a complaint speaks volumes. Anyone who buys these models like this and thinks they’re OK must have money to burn.
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