Qantas A330-303 VH-QPJ New Livery Phoenix 04115 1:400 Jan 2017

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It’s been a long time since Qantas changed their livery, and when most of its white in the first place, all you can do is change the famous kangaroo tail and the font. So that’s what they did. It’s the fifth iteration of the Qantas livery since 1944 when the Kangaroo was first introduced on its aircraft.

I have to say up front that Phoenix have made a mistake – the registration under the port wing is VH-OPJ, not QPJ as it should be.  They’ve made the same mistakes on the rear fuselage registrations, even though they made the box with the correct reg!  Left hand, right hand not knowing what the other is up to again.

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This and real aircraft images below ©Seth Jarowski, under-aircraft view ©Kurt Ams

The aircraft is named Port Stephens and just before being repainted she was given a major refurbishment, and had 2 business seats removed and 2 economy added, for a C28Y269 layout.

The new livery was inspired more by the upcoming 787-9 deliveries due this year. Many airlines have used the introduction of the 787 to show they’re investing in the future, up to date, and basically renewing their whole brand, and importantly, the brand experience.

The new livery is quite a subtle change, the angles of the kangaroo have been changed, a silver line added as the forward border to the white with the red of the tail, and a new, custom font used.

 

The aircraft was repainted at Victorville, California. Here’s a list of the changes made to the livery, supplied by Qantas.

  • A streamlined kangaroo on the tail of the aircraft, with shading to give it a sense of depth and movement. The kangaroo itself has been simplified for a cleaner, more modern look. It’s lack of arms has caused some consternation with Qantas fans.
  • A silver band has been added to the rear of the aircraft, flowing from the tail through to the rear of the fuselage for a more premium feel, and more contrast between the red tail and the rest of the aircraft.
  • A new, slimmer font for the world ‘Qantas’ on the side of the aircraft and the colour made slightly lighter.
  • The word Qantas is added to the belly for increased visibility when aircraft are flying overhead.
  • Adding the kangaroo to the inside curved edge of the wingtips so that they are visible in-flight and meaning they will also appear in pictures people take out the aircraft windows.
  • Replacing, centring and enlarging the kangaroo that appears on outboard engine cowls, so that it is more prominent and identifiable.
  • Re-introducing the iconic ‘winged kangaroo’ that featured on Qantas tails in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s by placing it under the cockpit window and integrating it with the aircraft name currently in this position (note: the actual aircraft names are unchanged).
  • The classic ‘Qantas red’ and white of the fuselage are unchanged.

Now it has to be said, that Phoenix have managed to take all of these details onboard and the result is generally OK, if tainted by the incorrect registration. I mean, after all, the O and the Q aren’t even slightly close together on the keyboard, so it’s someone being an idiot.

Those of you more familiar with my collecting criteria will also wonder what I’m doing with an A330 used on domestic or regional flights, that couldn’t possibly reach Europe non stop. It’s Qantas, and it’s a new livery; I was intrigued.

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England in January; wet, and grey, and cold…

1.Fuselage

There are no issues with the Phoenix A333 mould. The paint and print are first rate, high levels of quality all round, from the windows to the technical print, all the way to the superbly finished silver line that separates the red from the white now, and which widens considerably underneath.

I wasn’t sure about the shade on the new Qantas logo, but I’ve seen enough images now to consider it a pass. In certain lights it looks black, but give it enough daylight, and it’s clearly not deep black, but more grey, as it should be.

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Sadly, both sides show the registration incorrectly as does the under-wing

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The aerials, three up and one under, are all more than satisfactory, painted and installed. Long gone it seems, are the days where these were so problematic.

Overall a very good fuselage.

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2.Wings and landing gear

Over glossed but there we go, Phoenix don’t know any other way. Mould detail always suffers, and it has again, but the printed and painted details are first-rate, up and under.

It’s just a monumental pity that the registration is wrong, and far too big not to notice if you look underneath.

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The wing sharklets are superbly done with highly accurate kangaroo images in them on the insides.

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Wing root fitment is excellent, long gone are the issues of the past with bent wings and poor fit.

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Landing gear is excellent, good doors, decent paint, but three tyres are awful, one especially so. Lumps and bumps is an understatement. If these things were easy to come by and replace, you’d be less bothered, but they’re not unless you have a spare wreck lying about. In this case I do have an Asiana A330 set that is better, left over from a failed model in 2015, but not everyone does.

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3.Engines

GE units, these are really nicely done, exhausts are excellent, nacelles spot on. The rims are technically too bright, they’re more of a titanium on the real thing. Fan colour though, is excellent.  Rim paint passes the naked eye test, but looks worse in well-lit close-ups, so don’t worry about it. The reality is they’re fine.

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4.Nose detail

It’s all exactly as it should be, and best of all it’s so high-definition. There appears to be nothing out of place.

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Sufficient light ensures that the grayer tone of the Qantas font is accurate.

5.Tail detail

Just perfect. Really, it’s hard to fault it any way, I can’t find one. With one exception…

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Well magnified the red at the rear of the fuselage looks a little wobbly, but you can’t tell at normal magnification.

6.Colours

And here is the sad part. That red is too dark by about two shades. It was the one thing they didn’t change, and it’s the one thing that is quite clearly different on this model.

7.Score and conclusion

  • -10 for the wrong red
  • -4 for the wrong registration
  • -3 for the bad tyres
  • 83%

Now it’s either send this back (it’s still above the 80% mark which is an auto-return), and get the over-priced flappy winged Gemini or keep it. There is no way I’m paying £42 for the Gemini version with its idiosyncracies – those wings are not acceptable. So this stays. It could have been perfect with a little more patience, and quality control on the detail. The registration fail is inexcusable.

So yes, it is in the end something I demand solace for Phoenix; the rare moment when you have a chance to demo a first rate livery for Qantas, spoilt by minor inaccuracies and a rush to market.

My recommendation: demand a discount from your supplier for a flawed, if well-intentioned model. 

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On a closing note, I simply cannot find anything I want from Gemini’s latest release. That Tiger nosed Rossiya is just an expensive disaster waiting to happen, and the rest is so boring I almost slipped into a coma looking at the list…Emirates shemirates YAWN!

I recently cancelled 3 models on order from JC Wings for over 8 months. They’re no longer reliable, and we have no means of ever knowing if we’ll ever see them. If ever there was a time for a new manufacturer this is it.

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