SWISS 777-3DE(ER) HB-JNC Phoenix 11266 May 2016

PLEASE NOTE, THIS WEEKEND IS A UK PUBLIC HOLIDAY. THERE WILL BE NO PUBLICATIONS FRIDAY 26TH AUGUST OR MONDAY 29TH AUGUST. NEXT PUBLICATION WEDNESDAY 1ST SEPTEMBER

This is the third of nine 777-3DE(ER)’s to be delivered to Swiss, and was released by Phoenix as the counterpoint to the highly succesful HB-JNA “Faces of Swiss” livery, which you can find reviewed here: HB-JNA Faces of Swiss

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I admit that I dithered over buying this, but then realised that the one thing I wish I had, and don’t, is a standard liveried A343. If I missed out on this I would regret it so I decided to get one before they vanished, as they inevitably will.

By now of course, they are in full service and HB-JNC is regularly fulfilling her mission by flying to Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Los Angeles. She also took the Swiss Olympic team out to Brasil in early August.

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HB-JNC arrives in Hong Kong

Personally I miss the Swiss livery where the four official languages of the Swiss Confederation, German, Rumantsch (a strange mix of German and Lombard/Tyrolean Italian), French and Italian are displayed next to the large word Swiss. I always liked that this also appeared on the engines, which these days have nothing.  The newer livery is very clean, almost too clinically clean, but that in itself is very Swiss!

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Fitted with 8 First class, 62 Business and 270 Economy seats (340 total), making it fairly high density. Seats in First are in 1-2-1 layout, with business in 1-2-2 or 2-2-1 alternating. Economy is in 3-4-3 with 20 extra leg room seats (10 at the front of each split cabin), and a Preferred Zone in economy in rows 23-30 for Miles & More loyalty customers.

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1.Fuselage

You have to wonder what they can get wrong? It’s the easiest type of livery to reproduce, and yet while it is indeed all white, the red SWISS isn’t the height of definition, looking mildly roller blurred – yes I know I’m picky, but if I can see it with my glasses on it isn’t that brilliant. Now from a couple of feet away it’s OK, but really, it is the only livery on the entire aircraft, except for the tail of course.

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The satcom dome is better that some, not as good as it could be. The attempt at fitting it has gone well, it’s the rubbish dome mould that’s the problem, and it leaves a substantial gap at the back end. In terms of quality it’s about 80%. Phoenix are still a long way from getting this spot on – in fact they never have yet.

All the other aerials and detail are fine.

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2.Wings & landing gear

The wings are beautifully made and perfectly fitted. I still think they use too much high-gloss for the paint on the wings and should think about a more matt finish, but hell I’m just a customer, what would I know?

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The landing gear is well made and fitted, though some of the tyres are a bit lumpy. Far better than we’ve seen on some later versions of the 777 from Phoenix. The main bogies tilt, the starboard one too much and too easily, and all of the wheels roll.

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3.Engines

Rims from a distance don’t look too bad, but get within a couple of feet and the story deteriorates. That weird flakey thing happens and the inner rim of the No.1 engine has white dots. Now you can only see those from above and from the other side, but it’s not superb, although the rim and fan colours are good.

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The exhaust cone paint seems mildly confused, nothing drastic or terribly obvious, just an odd way its been applied, so the two engines are not identical. Again you wouldn’t know unless you looked. All a bit so-so.

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4. Nose detail

No issues.

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5. Tail detail

Above average, everything seems in place although if you were being super picky (don’t look at me I only write this stuff), the base line of the red isn’t quite level, seeming to dip very slightly.

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6.Colours

It’s white. With some accurate shades of red.

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7.Score and conclusions

  • -1 for the comms dome black hole
  • -1 for the lumpy tyres
  • -4 for the engine rims and paint issues front and rear of them
  • -2 for the lack of definition in the logo
  • 92% still qualifies this form MOTY 2016.

As a simple model it may have scored well, but there is something imperfect about it when you look at it, mostly caused by the silver rims, because the engines are so large that a fault there stands out so much – which is why their imperfections are so irritating. I think too, that dome is just a joke really. They’ve never managed to get the mould right, it doesn’t fit properly because somebody cannot be bothered to work out matching the curve of the fuselage to the curve in the dome to make it fit.

When you looked at a Witty 1:400 you could see from the minute it came out of the packaging, that it was something special. I never had one, that even if mildly inaccurate for colour, didn’t look like it was worth every penny and then some.

This just doesn’t have that “X-factor”. The odd thing is that her sister HB-JNA, does.

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