You may remember this barely average Gemini version of a Vueling A320 reviewed here in July: Vueling A320-232 EC-MEL Gemini Jets GJVLG1491. It was at best a mediocre model, and because I’m perfectly happy to have a second Vueling at RLSI, I jumped at the chance to get a Phoenix version, also with sharklets. They also produce one without, but that seems a bit retrograde, so I left it.
More information on the airline, its history and so on are in the EC-MEL review.
Like the Gemini one, she’s in a standard livery, she isn’t named (most aren’t, why they choose to name some and not others I don’t know).
Delivered on the 21st May 2013, she’s the same specification as the Gemini version right down to the 180 seat capacity (EC-MEL was the last before the 186 seat versions came in).
Both are fitted with the same engines; 2x IAE V2527-A5’s and both are in the standard livery, so if ever there was anything to compare against, these two are it.
The fuselage is fine, as a mould it passes. Three aerials on the roof rather than two on the Gemini. The downside is the rear most is really quite small and the hole looks bigger than the aerial. To be honest I’d rather they’d left it out; there’s no scaling it down well that works sufficiently, to carry it off.
The print detail is very good. What is wrong is the size and colour of the logo and all of the grey is far too dark.
2.Wings and landing gear
The wings are superior to the Gemini version because they aren’t a badly assembled old cradle mould that looks mildly ridiculous compared to the inserted and technically more accurate Phoenix wings.
Both models upper surfaces are different in colours but not technical layout. Without seeing a wing from above its hard to know whose is right. My money is on the Gemini for that detail; it’s not usually a Phoenix strong point.
The paint on the Phoenix sharklets is far better than the Gemini, though too dark a yellow.
Landing gear on the Phoenix is really average. Now because they’re small you can’t really see that even on this model, the quality of the doors is not good. They’re showing signs of the same zinc rot underneath that affects their larger brethren.
The nose gear is an indelicate rather thick mould when observed from the front, and the tyres on the nose don’t rotate, appearing to be stuck in the paint.
Gemini win the landing gear, but Phoenix the wings overall. The difference slot-ins make on such small models is huge. The Gemini just looks odd and dated.
The Gemini engines are truly superior in paint and finish. The rims on the Phoenix are average to poor at best, the colours look better form a distance on the fans, but don’t look too closely.
The exhausts on the Phoenix are awful, truly, truly horrible. Not only do they look like a suppurating, seeping, sceptic, sore, with yellow puss-like paint running out of the back-end, it’s almost as though it was done on purpose. It seems someone pushed a yellow brush of blobby paint into the hole, after they’d put the silver on the rear exhaust fans, and rims, and thought to themselves, “oh good, that’s spoilt that one, I’m still on target to keep standards down”.
Yes it is a small detail and yes it is not easily visible, when looking down on the model because the exhausts are under the wings, but this is just a mess.
Gemini’s colour for the nacelles is also more accurate.
In honesty, the Phoenix radome is over detailed. The circular line showing the join to the fuselage is one thing, but the lines in the dome just cannot be seen on the real thing, never mind at 1:400.
The nose gear is a real lump from the front, quite inelegant and rather blocky. Other than that it’s all perfectly fine.
Something that should stand out to anyone here. Gemini have it right, Phoenix have simply ignored or failed to do the research necessary. The horizontal stabilizers upper surfaces are grey like the tail cone – Phoenix have left them the standard grey they use, not the correct matching Vueling grey they should be. An irritating omission.
You might say they are passable, and from a distance, and passing view that might be true, but they are all of them, wrong, excluding the base white. Officially they are lighter, like the Gemini, but depending on the camera and light conditions, can appear darker.
The yellow is too dark by 1 Pantone shade (it looks worse in photos), being too orange. The grey is out by 1 shade, being too dark. To the naked eye, the grey stands out as painfully obvious compared to the Gemini.
However it’s a bizarre world and you can see why they chose this colour as they never do any real research, or talk to the companies who actually created the livery or corporate guidelines. Phoenix always use photos which is why they make so many mistakes. Colours, especially when the shades are close, are not reliable on all but the most well calibrated retina level monitors, and sourced from the finest cameras. Even then you can’t be 100% sure.
7.Score and conclusion
- -8 for paint colour fails, they’re not right it’s that simple, and the grey especially notices.
- -6 for the stabilizer colour fail, just points to lack of research.
- -6 for those engine exhausts that look like smallpox escaped a Russian bio-weapons lab
- 80% Too expensive to be this poor.
If you could take parts of the Gemini and the Phoenix and merge them, you’d have a fairly good model. The Phoenix by itself rates no better than the Gemini for mediocrity, yet at a distance, when you can’t easily see the faults, because of the wings system, it looks the better model.
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