SAS Scandinavian Airlines 737-800 LN-RGE Phoenix 11346 1:400 March 2017

SAS

It’s rare enough that we get two aircraft from the same airline in the same month, but even rarer to get two 737-800’s. These arrived within a couple of days of each other. You saw the now nearly year old 70th livery version, that JCW finally produced after ten months of dragging their feet, on Tuesday. Today we look at the Phoenix standard version of the 738 that arrived at the end of March.

Collection wise, these join the mildly dodgy flappy winged JCW A343 and A333, a Witty 738 LL-RRW in standard colours (but the real thing is now in StarAlliance livery), and an Aeroclassics A321, OY-KBB, along with a JCW ATR-72-600, OY-JZA.  Without wanting to spoil the undoubted excitement with which you read these words (pretend I’ve inserted a smily face), I have to say that not one is the same colour, indeed they have almost as many varieties as American Airlines models from Gemini do.

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JCW, it has to be said, did a pretty good job of the 70th livery model. Colour wise its superb. So how have Phoenix fared with this test of colour matching, and livery detail?

1.Fuselage

Mould wise, the Phoenix isn’t bad, they all have their quirky little foibles, but overall, I’m not complaining. At least it’s recognisable, and unlike both manufacturers A350’s, is at least based on the right version.

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Except for the salmon pink plus engine colour it looks almost passable at this angle

Technical detail, windows, print, flags, logos, are all pretty good, very much the minimum standard I’d expect to see now. No problems, and no failures, but they’re not the best, windows only just match the surrounding frames.

Two upper and one lower aerial are well made, fitted and problem free.

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One detail that hasn’t quite worked well, is the word ‘Scandinavian’ which is almost invisible, and the ‘Airlines’ below the window line is even more difficult to see. Generally this is because of the high gloss paint, which reflects more light, and makes them far harder to see than on a matt or silk finish.

2.Wings and landing gear

Very high gloss, so very hard to make out detail, although it does have detail in the mould – if you look for it. The SAS on the winglets is well done on both sides. Detail below the wings is obliterated by the gloss paint.

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I shudder inside when I see those engine rims!

One thing I’m not keen on is the fit of the wings, they seem too small for the fuselage socket, not the best fit, and far from seamless.

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Landing gear is very much superior to the AC A321, the Witty, and the JCW versions. In fact on this, the Phoenix excels compared to the others. No wheel rubbing the nose gear door on this model, and it looks all the better for it. The main gear is also generally superior, despite the over-bright silver paint.

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3.Engines

They’re actually better as moulds than the JCW version, and they’re better than the ones on the Witty too. They’re surprisingly detailed, but alas, the colour is the worst I’ve seen so far. It’s verging on smoked salmon orange. The Aeroclassics A321 was bad, but these are almost luminous. They’re supposed to be red.

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The wing fit is far from seamless, the salmon pink-orange colour is light years away from being right. Farmed salmon is fed a combination anti-parasite & food colouring called Canthrazaxin, a legal carcinogen. There is a colour chart of the different colours of pink available as farmed salmon are naturally grey, Phoenix seem to have been using it by mistake, instead of SAS’s corporate guidelines.

Rim paint is poor on the No.2 engine, but the fan colour is good. The exhausts while an excellent mould, are bright silver and lack any attempt at making them the far darker grey they really are. More than a little disappointing, because the silver is the bright, toyish type, we seem to have shaken off on most models recently.

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4.Nose detail

Really rather excellent, superbly detailed for the size of model and fault free.Visible sensors, and dome detail.

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The only angle you can clearly see the Scandinavian Airlines tiles

5.Tail detail

Phoenix still use metal horizontal stabilizers, and they’re far more acceptable and substantial that the ones on JCW’s version.

Detail is excellent, fit first class and it’s a problem free area.

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6.Colours

The engine nacelles are smoked salmon pink plus, and well out-of-order on the accuracy scale. What’s bizarre, is once again, they got it right on the box, and on the diagram of the model! How stupefying is that? One hand doesn’t know what the other is doing. Clearly the paint mixer, and the graphics people who do the box design, have zero contact. Silo mentality is still rife I see, and it’s wasteful, counter-productive, and does nobody any favours. Mind you what do you expect in a communist dictatorship that dissuades individuals from using their initiative?

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The fuselage colour is too dark, but not by much, almost matching the Witty 738 from 2013. Either way it’s not the same as the JCW A333/A343, or the ATR-72-600. However, while they’re close, nothing is as far out as the Aeroclassics A321 – that’s so many shades from accurate, it’s on another planet.

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The good news is the tail on most of them (exceptions the AC A321, far too dark, and the Witty 738, too light), match perfectly.

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7.Score and conclusions

  • -2 for the engine rims
  • -8 for the key colour fail on the engines. These are long-established corporate colours, and inexcusably bad, made worse by the fact they were right on the box, and it’s not the first time that’s happened.
  • -4 for the invisibility of the Scandinavian Airlines tiles, it’s not easy to make happen, but these are very poor.
  • -4 for the fuselage paint being the wrong colour. It’s not a fatally bad error, but it’s still not right.
  • 82% is low pass mark.

Interestingly build quality is all a bit 2012, it seems a bit old tech, and not up to the standards Phoenix usually manage. Most problems are driven by poor colour choice. The reason this is so poor is that SAS are very open about their corporate colours, and anyone can find them very quickly. Indeed if you look at the A321 review, you’ll find them right there: SAS A321 OY-KBB AeroClassics AC1313 1:400 Oct 2015. Anyone can find SAS guidelines with a thirty second internet search. Clearly the box designer did!

My recommendation: I’d think twice about this one, it’s not that good, and for the price, well if you have to choose, buy the JCW special livery, that’s much nicer, and very attractive. 

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