Qatar Cargo A300-600F A7-ABX Phoenix 10262 2009

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This model is was released in 2009, it appears to be the only time it was ever produced in any scale and allegedly, numbers were restricted to 600 units.

There have been a few lurking about on eBay of late and going for some extremely odd prices. This one was buy-it-now £19, which I did simply because others had bid up to £24-£30.

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Why did I want it? The need for smaller cargo aircraft for the Cargo Centre at RLSI, which has its own unique (and already full) cargo model storage area. The vast majority (26) are 744F variants, then 12 748F, 9 777F, 12 MD-11F, 6 767F and a handful of DC10F, 757F,  and smaller. There are also 5 A300F’s.  This lot by itself takes up a lot of space and there really isn’t anywhere else to go to make more!

Another reason is that the livery is current looking enough (the Ibex tail livery doesn’t drop onto the fuselage on current liveries), to get away with, and the whole thing doesn’t look especially dated despite the age of the aircraft design.

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The aircraft was delivered as an A300B4-622R to Korean Airlines in March 1990, fitted with C24Y234. For some reason she was re-registered from HL7293 to HL7537 in December 1997. She was sold to the nascent Qatar Airways and named Al Dawha and registered as A7-ABX in November 2000. At the same time she was completely refurbished with an F12C18Y194 layout. In June 2007 she was removed from passenger service, and converted to freight at Dresden Klotzsche Airport in Germany, becoming an A300B4-622RF. She served as a freighter before being withdrawn on 26th April 2013, and sent to the old RAF base at Bruntingthorpe. She must have been broken up because she isn’t there now and there is no sign of her being flown or re-registered since.

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1.Fuselage

The mould is OK though the nose isn’t the correct shape. The paint line of the grey to white around the nose isn’t ideal, something that even now, 7 years later, Phoenix seem to have a real problem with way too often. It’s extraordinary in many ways that the same problems persist for so long! How have they never learnt to resolve it?

For the most part the rest of the print and detail is first-rate, as good as anything we see now. The colour of the grey isn’t really where it needs to be, but this is an old model now and the livery and colours have changed substantially since, if not radically.

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2.Wings & landing gear

The A300’s wings always looked so primitive and while they are detailed, the over-gloss habit that Phoenix still cannot shake disguises the detail.

Landing gear is rigid, but delicate and grey, rather than the toy-like silver they seem to prefer of late, with its nuclear blast flash reaction sufficient to burn the corneas out of any unprotected eyeball.

Even the wheels are good, no different to what we get now in principle, but in those days they never had unsightly lumps and they seemed to care about whay they were doing.

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3.Engines

The pair of P&W 4158’s are exceptionally neat – vastly superior to many of todays hurriedly made quota free models, where simply getting them made to an average standard seems to be the main goal. Fans are the proper colour, intake rims tidy and error free, exhausts properly painted and error free. Those were the days!

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4. Nose detail

Detail is to be frank, minimal. The nose paint isn’t a miracle as I said above. The cockpit glass seems to be more than adequate and the right size.

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5.Tail detail

Correct and well made for the livery of the time, no complaints.

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6.Colours

The grey is a little out, but, over all it’s not bad, certainly not so terrible you’d want to banish it to its box and never see it again!

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7.Score and conclusions

Here we have a nearly 8 year old model. These were the days when they made relatively low volumes, 600 or so. Some mistakes, however minor – the nose paint being an example, are still institutional issues that they just seem incapable of improving on.

Tyres were so much better quality then, than they are now. Engine paint and finish too, just amazingly good compared to some of the low-grade dross we get these days.

As a score, I’d give around 94%. It’s good for its time.

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