A few months ago a loyal reader asked if I would review this model, and there hasn’t been an opportunity until now. So as we wait for new models to arrive, let’s take a look back to 2012.
I recently had the crates in from storage that contain all the model boxes, and it was only then I found out this was a Phoenix. For some reason I thought it was a Gemini. It doesn’t have any markings underneath.
British Airways flew the Olympic torch into London from Athens on a specially painted “FireFly” liveried one-off, but that was quite quickly removed – some time in the later part of 2012.
BA’s other contribution, were what have become know to me and a few (sad) others, as “The Doves From Above”, a brief nod to a long departed, and rather bizarre, British comedy quiz show, where a giant cardboard dove would drop down into the stage at a certain point.
Meant to represent the Olympic doves of peace, they were given a slightly odd-looking feathered livery, and the union flag on the tail was finished in a sort of fudge colour. I’d always thought only one had been done, and realised later it had been at least two, but on the way to Rome a year or so ago, we saw no less than three, two in the outbound taxi queue, and one flew in overhead.
Later on I found that there were no less than five of these in the same livery created in 2012, although the intention had been to paint nine, time ran out before the Olympics started in August..
Originally designed by Pascal Anson, mentored by British artist Tracy Emin, the colour is a specially created mica-resin paint now known as ‘dove gold’. It took a 10-strong team working around the clock, 950 man hours to paint each of the A319’s at Heathrow.
Unusually they didn’t use stick-on vinyl cut outs to create the livery, the intention was to make it last the full six years between major paint re-sprays, so each was a template, and then sprayed to get the feather effect.
Out of the 44 A319’s in BA service, 5 are still flying the livery, G-EUPA, G-EUPD, & G-EUPH were BA from new, and specially repainted. G-DBCB & G-DBCD were painted into the livery on delivery, in May/June 2012. They came from Lufthansa, who’d taken them from British Midland’s fleet, and were part of the deal with BA buying the airline.
With six years between re-sprays the remaining 5 will probably carry them for another 12 months at most. G-EUOH (this model), was re-sprayed late February/early March 2015 when refitted with the new Pinnacle 143 seat layout. She’d suffered some minor paint damage, and had been flying with one blue nacelle for some time.
G-EUOH was originally delivered in December 2001 and is fitted with 2 x IAE V2522-A5’s. Her original configuration was 132 seats until the Pinnacle refit in 2015. She was sold to and leased back from Orix Aviation in December 2002 to raise cash for the airline as it struggled financially post 9-11.
It’s a really neat, well-defined fuselage with excellent print and fine detail. In fact the finesse with which it’s been achieved is a highlight, every last detail is clear, and precise.
2.Wings and landing gear
These are cradle fit wings, but there’s no issue with the fit and finish that isn’t typical of the period. The wings also carry part of the feathered detail and look excellent with plenty of visible mechanical detail, not swamped in paint.
The landing gear is superb, well fitted, neat, good tyres and problem free. Wheels on axles – the whole thing sings quality.
Silver rims, can you believe, titanium fans? Yes, on these tiny little engines they had correctly coloured fans! Not only that but the exhausts are just as good.
All of the feathering detail is there and they look amazingly good.
A symphony of flawlessness.
A gold medal in superlative paint application. Seriously, excellent.
The Olympian heights of colour matching, a truly awesome job.
7.Score and conclusions
It’s a perfect A319, deserves its gold medal and fullest praise.
This was only the 4th model to come out of Phoenix’s ‘special’ range that starts 04. Quality is well above what they were producing generally back in 2012, though it has got better since on larger models. It’s truly superb and it’s now a VERY rare model, almost never seen on eBay or elsewhere, and if they do make an appearance they go for very good money, £65-£100 has been seen in the past.
If you have a BA collection, it’ll never be complete without one of these. I love mine, I purchased it at Farnborough in 2012, and its never going to be sold.
My recommendation: A must have for BA collectors or those who only buy special liveries.
©JonChamps 2017 all words, all photos unless otherwise marked. Reproduction only with permission.