Lufthansa A340-600 D-AIHK Bayern Munich Phoenix 04099 September 2016

lufthansa

Somehow I’ve never been able to get hold of a Lufthansa A346. Used ones are annoyingly expensive, and I hate the whole Fanhansa/Siegerflieger thing. To be honest I’m not overly happy about a football liveried aircraft either, but if it was going to have to be one, it may as well be Bayern Munich, Bavaria is my favorite part of Germany, and Munich a splendid city.

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Note the grey engines and under-body. If you wondered where Herpa got their 1:500 ATC tower from…Munich Franz Josef Strauss International.

Saying that, all of the A346 fleet is due for disposal over the coming 5 years. All of them operate out of Munich, Lufthansa’s only other hub, on long haul, and from early 2017, on a one for one basis, the A350-900 will replace them.

D-AIHK, named Mainz was first delivered in May 2004, and is fitted with 8 First class, 44 business class, 32 premium economy and 213 economy. Four Rolls Royce Trent 556-61’s power her on long haul flights to destinations from San Francisco to Shanghai.

I’m a great fan of the A346. It’s a surprisingly quiet and comfortable ride, yet it has a seriously slow climb rate and uses up almost a full 3,300m of runway when fully laden, almost seeming to just scrape over the runway fence! For many years it was the largest passenger plane in the world. They seem extraordinarily elegant, genteel almost, verging on graceful.

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Clearly the under-body is not deep dark grey.

Generally speaking, Phoenix do have a fairly decent A346 model but it does have build quality flaws more often than not.

So does it this time? Have Phoenix sorted out prior problems?

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In this the dark grey under-body and wing paint looks almost as dark as it is in real life on the model.

1.Fuselage

The graphics and printed detail are certainly very good for the most part but not as crisp and clean as I’ve seen before. The player images are very good, graphics, to be fair that are some of the best Phoenix have produced. The images on the port side are one set of 5 players (the centre figure in blue), while the other payers on the starboard side are all in red.  The club seal is just behind door 4. The newly installed wi-fi satcom dome is unusually very dark grey and this, along with the aerials, is well installed and finished.

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The wrong dark grey paint is very poor around the rear port wing section

What is not right, and is frankly astonishingly bad, is the grey under-body colour. I’ll talk about that more under point six. However to make matters worse the paint line around the back of the port side wing is dreadful, with visible grey in the upper white. worse still the entire grey/white line isn’t very straight, even at a couple of feet the whole thing looks like it’s been applied by hand rather than machine.

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There are times when even a dogs breakfast can look passable until you look more closely

2.Wings and landing gear

The wings are white and very glossy on the upper surfaces, and quite reasonable, but the gloss has filled in the detail and made it almost invisible. The underneath is the thickest dark grey gloss I’ve ever seen on a model, utterly obscuring everything.

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The rubbish in the wing joint is a result of it not being fitted properly or pushed in. Having pushed it in, it still doesn’t fit flush with the body.

The landing gear is poor, although the silver isn’t over done which makes a change. The middle gear set was fine, the outer two sets were not properly aligned, and just after I took these photos one of them dropped off. The entire aircraft rested on just the nose and middle gear, rocking about from side to side even before the set fell off – it was just sat on the diorama, and the model fell over!

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The model wobbled from side to side because the starboard gear wasn’t fitted right and neither was the wing, then the port side gear just fell off.

At these prices I’m really not happy about it. I’m also not happy that the starboard wing was again slightly loose and had to be pushed in. That’s the same problem from over a year ago. It just doesn’t fit right and there is obvious contaminant paint in the join.

3.Engines

These are superb, everything about them is excellent bar the colour, again that’s for discussion under point 6.

The fans are excellent, the rims are great, the exhaust and fit, all bang on, including printed nacelle detail. First class all round.

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The one thing Phoenix did well on was the engines. So you can see the detail, the photo has been lightened – the grey is much, much darker than it appears here.

You know by now if you come here often (and if you do, it’s much appreciated), I hate crappy engines. These really are very good. At last. It’s just a pity the rest of the model is so poor in so many other ways.

4.Nose detail

The under-body grey actually matches up on both sides and for once there’s no blurring or overspill. However the nose has clearly rubbed inside the packaging – admittedly only slightly, but it’s left a mark on the paint.

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Generally OK, but there is minor scuffing on the other side at the nose tip

Small details and logos are spot on and the cockpit windows look really good.

5.Tail detail

First off there’s a 2mm chip of paint out of the rear white just under the APU on the port side. There is visible excess glue on the port side stabiliser-fuselage join. Otherwise it’s OK.

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6.Colours

The biggest cock-up on this model and that’s the totally screwed up dark grey under body paint, used on the under wings, and engine nacelles. It’s so wrong its pathetic. It has to be at least five shades too dark on the Pantone scale. I’ve never seen such a catastrophically mischosen colour. It’s ridiculously bad. Are they using CRT monitors and the colour gun has gone? On what planet did this ever look like it was right? A gibbon in a dress wearing sunglasses, whilst wildly gesticulating at a an A1 sheet of Pantone Grey’s, would have a better chance of getting it right. Just unbelievable.

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The dark grey paint is not Lufthansa!! Even in this photo it looks lighter than it is thanks to almost 1600 lumens of daylight bulb and flash. If you look at the grey towards the nose you can see the line to white, it’s just not right.

7. Score and conclusions

  • -20 for the complete and total under-body colour fail
  • -10 for the landing gear.
  • -5 for the grey paint behind the port wing
  • -2 for the chip in the tail paint
  • -6 for the wing fit fail
  • 57% is a complete and total failure 

The dark grey is abysmal. The landing gear awful.  It’s so wrong it really is a joke of mammoth proportions. This one is going back. I’m very disappointed. Add to that the malarkey over the landing gear, and it’s not fit for my collection. It certainly isn’t fit for my Lufthansa fleet because  quite simply, it looks totally out-of-place, even if it was perfect in every other way, which it really, really, isn’t. The model is being returned, along with the LATAM A350. No way are these good enough.

The wait for a decent A346 in Lufthansa livery goes on.

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