Eurowings A320 OE-IQD ‘Holidays’ Aeroclassics 1/400 Dec 2017

Seasons Greetings! This is the last review of 2017. Friday 22nd December will have news of some positive changes starting in January 2018. The first review of 2018 will be Friday 5th January.

Please don’t forget the Model of The Year and Manufacturer Brand of The Year awards are revealed at 1200UTC 29th December!

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Eurowings as a brand goes back years, but it was resuscitated then exploded into the main operation after the tragedy of the GermanWings flight back in march 2015, when the co-pilot crashed his aircraft deliberately into mountains in France, killing everyone aboard.

The Lufthansa strategy was to use GermanWings as its domestic based arm, flying any route that wasn’t going to originate from its hubs in Frankfurt and Munich, but did originate inside Germany.

German domestic flights are very much in demand and aviation plays a big role in the country, with even short domestic flights operating over barely 50 miles on some routes.  My shortest ever flight was 17 minutes from Frankfurt to Nuremburg (also the most expensive flown at €3.20 per Km). That would be about the same as flying from Heathrow to Birmingham – most Brits would laugh at that idea.

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Original delivery livery and registration

Eurowings was going to be expanded to operate outside of Germany and take up the role of being the airlines true low-cost arm, flights would originate in the EU open skies market and compete with the likes of easyJet and RyanAir.

That part didn’t change, but the GermanWings tragedy widened Eurowings brief to include everything that the damaged beyond repair brand was going to do. In some ways you have to ask why that wasn’t the original idea, because when you’re competing in this market, scale, size and costs are essential prerequisites to success. That’s why AF-KLM’s Transavia has fallen flat on its face as a real competitor.

The Eurowings roll-out had to take a breather as Lufthansa reorganized its priorities, but it’s now well under way.

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As she is now in Austrian registration, and note the addition of a huge rear roof dome for the satellite wi-fi system.

Originally Eurowings was based in Germany, but since then a subsidiary company Eurowings Europe, based at Vienna Schwecat (where easyJet has also based its European AOC HQ), has been set up to run the non-domestic and non-German originated EU short-haul routes. Eurowings will be setting up bases all over the EU as time rolls on and new aircraft are delivered. The Austrian base already has 3 A319’s and 6 A320’s.

An interesting statistic puts Eurowings costs at 54% higher than RyanAir and around 48% higher than easyJet’s, but amazingly, some 30% less than Lufthansa’s main line operations. Lufthansa sees that as the key profit point – it’s cheaper than its mainline services, but offers better quality than RyanAir and easyJet.  I’ve managed to avoid Eurowings so far, as Lufthansa serves Frankfurt direct from BHX. Most passengers I know who have flown it, don’t rate it very highly. It has a habit of losing luggage.

This Aeroclassics model, was the only one of two A320’s recently released I could get. Shortages of supply meant that retailers simply couldn’t get the standard livery version (or much else of that months release by all accounts).

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So, OE-IQD an A320-214 is in the Eurowings Holidays livery, as the company is operating its own all-inclusive holiday deals to the Mediterranean and elsewhere from 2018. The aircraft was delivered new to Eurowings as D-AEWE in April 2016 and transferred to Austria in April 2017. She’s fitted with an all economy 180 seat layout and powered by 2x CFMI CFM56-5B4/3’s.

1.Fuselage

It’s Aeroclassics so when it comes to basic mould, it’s the best there is. However, AC’s refusal to step up to the plate and join the universal trend towards aerials and domes, is starting to make them considerably less attractive. Especially when they’re now more or as expensive as a Phoenix, and as much as a small Gemini. Far fewer are made of course, but I’d pay a little more if they could have the detail.

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In the real world this model has a huge – and totally un-catered for on the model – dome, as well as three roof aerials, an altimeter aerial and the waste water heater aerial underneath. AC don’t even try to pretend they are there.

The pink flamingo and palm tree aren’t too bad to be honest, often these things loose colour in the printing process, but they’re actually showing considerable resilience and are quite bright.

Similarly, the rest of the graphics and technical details are very high quality and superbly detailed.

2.Wings and landing gear

The wings fit seamlessly into the fuselage from above, but there is a fundamental issue – ironically one copied into Panda’s moulds, where underneath, the wing root doesn’t fit the body.

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The wing mould is generally a good one, the paint is neat and accurate on top but obscures detail a little. The underwing is just heavily over glossed and detail free.

Landing gear – the usual hyper-cheap Aeroclassics 20th Century rubber on a spigot approach. As usual I’ll glue the nose gear tyres on because there’s no way they’re there for life. But it seems the JCW/Gemini moulding disease has spread to AC, with lots of unsightly flashing filling what should be empty space in the hydraulics.

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3.Engines

The colour is right, the rims are neat, the fans are still way too bright, because let’s face it they’re toys aren’t they Aeroclassics? Not collectors models? The biggest issue is that both engines tilt downward very slightly and they shouldn’t at all.

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4.Nose detail

Essentials are present but they are technical detail free, an AC trait that needs improvement. The essential livery graphics are excellent.

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5.Tail detail

Print and quality is excellent, however ….

6.Colours

The darkest purple-ish colour on the logo itself and the tail are fine, the tail grey should be the same as the engine grey, but is too dark. All three shades of blue are wrong, mostly too dark. The same applies to the lighter pinkish-purple.

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7.Score and conclusions

  • -8 General colour issues across the board. They’re not drastically bad, but they’re not right.
  • -4 for the under wing fit, it isn’t good.
  • -4 for the tilting engines
  • -6 for the messy flashing-filled gear hydraulics
  • 78% is only just above average

This model suggests that when it comes to the Babybus range Aeroclassics have sat on their laurels for too long. Panda may have stolen their moulds – and the similarities are so great as to suggest they did, but Panda are doing a far better job with what they’ve got.

Aeroclassics can flap all they like about the world not being fair, and the travesty of it all, but welcome to Chinese trade practices, we’ve been moaning about it for thirty years! The fact is the AC A320 has not kept up and it’s no longer OK to say that it’s excellence as a mould, alone, makes up for everything else that’s not only not there, but they don’t even bother to print on in outline.

Stand alone it’s a perfectly OK model that passes all the basic tests, but, and this is the real issue, it’s not accurate enough or outstanding enough to be realistic, it’s not anything more than a flippant representation of what the real thing looks like. And that’s not good enough.

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AC have done a good job this year bringing basic quality up, and that’s admirable and very welcome. We need more now, we need the brand to move forward, to bring it up to the standards everyone wants and expects. AC I would hasten to suggest, think that they sell out every month without doing any of this. Like Gemini they think that because they sell, its OK to do nothing about investing in the future, or caring about what collectors want, because they buy it anyway.  Good business’ that truly develop, and are loved and admired never stop improving, it should be in their DNA. Restricting production and selling out every month is one strategy, but its a stale one, and eventually a dead-end.

My recommendation: I couldn’t in all conscience recommend this model and I’m not happy with it at all. 

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