Austrian 777-2Z9ER OE-LPD New livery Phoenix 04109 December 2016

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It’s been a long time coming, a new myAustrian livery.  Personally, while I like the new livery, I think losing the sky blue completely was a mistake, but the airline seemed to place more on the need to have the gigantic ‘Servus’ logo in red on the underneath of the fuselage.

Austrian has had more than its fair share of industrial relations problems, especially with its pilots, and Lufthansa Group, who of course own the airline, finally had enough. So they swapped all of Austrian’s aircraft to its subsidiary Tyrolean, told the pilots they would be made redundant – the idea being to employ new pilots on Tyrolean contracts, and all of a sudden things improved. Pilots got the message and the airline swapped back all of its aircraft to Austrian, in the process shutting the Tyrolean airline down and merging it with Austrian.

All of this left some bad blood of course, and it was felt the airline needed a long-awaited make-over. Lufthansa wouldn’t invest new money if the airline wasn’t going to adapt. The first part of the change was to make Customer Service a focal point, and make the previously rather aristocratic attitude of the airline more friendly.

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OE-LPD in Hong Kong, Nov 17 2016. The Servus Hong Kong tiles are only on the port side

The result was the myAustrian programme. The word ‘Servus‘ plastered under the fuselage is a Central European word used widely from southern Bavaria in Germany to Poland, Rumania, Slovenia, Croatia, the Ukraine, and Hungary, something like Ciao! is used by Italians, as a parting or greeting. In Austro-Bavarian German-speaking areas Catholics predominate and the word also means ‘service’. The ‘Hi! and Goodbye!’ application is a happy by-product, so you can understand the friendlier, more personal approach the airline is going for.

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The starboard side of OE-LPD

This aircraft also has the additional ‘Servus Hong Kong‘ tiles, following the return of direct Vienna to Hong Kong flights in 2015.

The five 772ER’s are the largest aircraft operated by the airline on long-haul, along with six 763ER’s. Everything else is short-haul or regional. 772ER OE-LPE was added in 2014, and is ex-Vietnam Airlines. OE-LPD, this aircraft, was one of the last passenger 772ER’s delivered as the transition to 773 production began in 2007. She’s named ‘Spirit of Austria‘.

She was repainted into the new livery some time during  early December 2015.  Fitted with 48 Business class and 260 economy, she’s powered by 2 x GE90-90B’s.

It’s quite rare to get a Phoenix 772 into the collection, so how does it compare? It arrived too late for MOTY 2016.

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Servis Hong Kong tiles only appear on the port side

The box is an Austrian lakeside scene near Salzburg with the aircraft technical diagram over-printed. Typical of the 04*** series models.

1.Fuselage

It’s generally superb. High definition printed technical detail, graphics, doors, windows, give an air of immediate quality. These are printed on a flawless white gloss that is completely issue free.

The red ‘Servus‘ underneath is excellent and some finely printed gear doors don’t detract from it in any way, just making it look more realistic.

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Servus underneath – and the very difficult to fit stand. You can clearly see the unpleasant landing gear door. Why have Phoenix not resolved these yet?

The Servus Hong Kong tiles are perfectly printed in full detail on the port side, the starboard side doesn’t have them. The ‘Lufthansa Group’ tile just in front of door 4, only appears on the starboard side, not the port.

Three roof aerials are installed and beautifully painted, the rear dome above door 3 is also neat and tidy as it’s moulded in. There is one rear white aerial visible and correctly fitted between door 3 & 4  underneath. It isn’t red on the real aircraft, so white is accurate.

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Comment on the correctness of the red-to-black of the logo needs to be made – it’s excellent. Colour and the nuance change in shading; the reproduction is completely spot on.

One poor element is the stand hole. This had to be forced too much for my liking, it barely accepted the thin-armed stand. I know stands don’t bother some people, but quite a few use them for diorama take off’s, landings and general display.

2.Wings & landing gear

Flawless paint, though as always over-glossed. Markings are excellent, red tips to the wings perfect. The join to the fuselage is almost seamless.

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Hi-gloss finished wings obscure detail

The underneath though, is utterly devoid of detail because of the heavy gloss paint. The engine pylons are excellent however.

The landing gear doors are showing the usual signs of poor production. They have that hammer-beaten look to them and are only just painted enough to scrape by as not a disaster. These really are the “spoil the ship for a ha’penny of tar” item, and are seriously unacceptable Phoenix!  Their quality is undermining the rest of the model.

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Gear doors are bent and dented, typical low production standards that bedevil this component, and Phoenix seem incapable of resolving it. Only A380’s seem not to suffer from it on widebody aircraft.

The wheels and tyres though, superb. No lumps, bumps or other problems, and the silver painted hydraulics have been done with a light, and appropriate silver touch.

Nose gear is first-rate.

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3.Engines

Side on they look outstanding. Exhaust cone, core jet, nacelles all superbly done. The fan colour is a gloriously correct titanium colour that looks realistic. No.1 engine though, the face-on rim isn’t very nice, looking a bit rough even to the naked eye.  I think the silver was running light, and the thinners have weakened its bond to the colours below. No.2 isn’t quite so bad, but not perfect by any means.

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Engine rims are not a highlight, especially the port side No.1

4.Nose detail

Excellent, the Star Alliance logo is clear, the aircraft name is actually legible even at what looks like 0.1 point, and the cockpit windows are perfectly printed, though I don’t get why Phoenix like to put such thick sliver frames around them.

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5. Tail detail

Everything is spot on for detail and clarity, especially the tail logo. The paint though, is too thick. The real downside is the port side stabilizer again, not quite properly inserted, and I soon found out why not: No glue to hold it in. I wondered if I could push it in, and adjust it. It obliged by falling straight out. The other side is fine. It was easy to fix and I may easily not have even noticed, but I did, and it’s mildly disappointing though not the end of the world. If it had been an engine it would have gone back, they’re far to bothersome to fix.

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Tail paint is too thick on the vertical. Lufthansa Group tile only appears on the starboard side.

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6. Colours

Perfect.  A superb job. Phoenix have really nailed the colour selection issue this past few months, and this is no exception.

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7.Score and conclusions

  • -5 for the stabilizer falling out. All it needed was glue.
  • -2 for No.1 engine rim silver
  • -1 for No.2 engine rim silver
  • -4 for the landing gear doors – not acceptable. They aren’t disastrous, but they’re not good enough either.
  • -2 for the stand hole not being wide enough
  • 86% is a very good score but as always, small component issues let the side down.

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It’s a really nice model overall, and to be honest the one imperfect thing that constantly catches my eye with it, is the engine rims. They’re too bright and too large not to be noticed. The fact the stabilizer fell out is unamusing, but it was very easy to fix, not that I should have had to.

An above average pass.

My recommendation: I’d still recommend it as a buy. Not everyone will have the stabilizer issue, and it’s far too nice a model of an airline that gets relatively little attention, to be ignored..

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