Transavia 737-8K2 PH-HSI ‘Peter Pan’ Phoenix 1:400 04170 Feb 2018

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Transavia Airlines, originally founded back in 1965, and operational by 1968, is a wholly owned subsidiary of AirFrance-KLM group, but is principally Dutch (strictly speaking it’s legally a 100% subsidiary of KLM), and based at Amsterdam Schipol. Transavia operates as a separate company outside of KLM.

Transavia owns a 40% stake in Transavia France S.A., the other 60% of that is owned by AirFrance.

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The two legally separate, but operationally unified Transavia, have a reciprocal agreement with Minnesota based Sun Country Airlines in the US, each leasing in the others aircraft to balance strategic needs during the year. Indeed I’ve even seen Sun Country fly into BHX in the summer of 2017.

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The livery isn’t the same on both sides

In recent times, AF-KLM has tried – so far with minimal success, to create its own version of Lufthansa’s Eurowings out of Transavia, to operate a low-cost carrier and scoop up the market in the Netherlands and France. The first efforts to set up a base in Munich, to expand into Europe more generally, announced in February 2016, were a disaster and the base was shut down in October 2017. A similar attempt had been made in Copenhagen ten years prior and that was killed off by the 2008 financial collapse.

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Having stumbled with the usual expensive deals on labour in France (Transavia pilots had to be paid the same as AF pilots, because nobody would volunteer to fly Transavia, as they saw it as a demotion), the French side has been stuck with just 8 aircraft and regularly under performs. Its actually pretty much understood that the failure of the Transavia brand to catch on and its overall cost base being so high, tipped Air France into creating the JOON brand.

The main Dutch element, flying from Schipol, Rotterdam and Eindhoven and The Hague, is a sort of Dutch version of Monarch airlines, heavily biased towards Spanish destinations (some 35% of all its passengers fly there), but with other Mediterranean destinations being the bulk of its routes.  Other than the odd charter, it has no permanent route to the UK.

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The airline operates 31 737-800’s and 8 737-700’s, indeed during its history it’s operated a total of 119 737 versions.

This model, PH-HSI was delivered new on April 4th 2013 have been originally intended for KLM as PH-BCC. She arrived in Transavia’s now old livery, but was repainted into the “Peter Pan Vakantien Club” livery in November 2017.

This is Phoenix’s second attempt at a Transavia 738. The last one was a special production run, exclusively for the Aviationmegastore.com (based near Schipol), which was frankly mediocre. You can see that review here: Transavia 737-800 PH-HZE Exclusive Release for AMS by Phoenix item: 04402

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The aircraft’s interior

The new logo jet is part of the Peter Pan Vakantien Club which was set up in 1996 by Transavia staff. It organizes holidays for young people who are unable to go on holiday independently because of an impairment, disability or chronic illness. The special scheme is in celebration of Transavia’s 50th anniversary and was specially designed by Studio Dumbar, which also designed the airline’s livery.

The livery is quite striking and very much in keeping with Transavia’s overall image. Indeed I find myself oddly liking it. It’s very off-the-wall Dutch, which is one of the reasons I love the country so much!

PH-HSI is named Wilee van Elk, seats 189 in an all-economy layout and is powered by a pair of CFMI CFM56-7B27E’s.

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1.Fuselage

Phoenix haven’t been using their 738’s a lot of late, the only recent one was the Jet2.

I quite like the fuselage mould – I know everyone has opinions about the nose, but it’s passable.

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The first thing is that the aerial at the rear has fallen out and vanished during photography. The hole is in a dark blue section of the roof so it’s not causing some eyesore by missing, but from a quality perspective just wholly unacceptable. There are three aerials underneath and this is the second one of late to incorporate an off-centre aerial amidships, which although it should be painted green, is present, and that in itself is welcome additional detail.

The overall livery, from an eyeball test perspective, is well painted, printed and detailed, all the way down to the smaller escape-type door at the rear end. Transavia tend to do most of the intense livery work underneath the aircraft and this is no exception.

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2.Wings

First thing you cannot fail to notice is they’re over-elevated for a landed aircraft. They fit properly, the winglets are appropriate, but they’re definitely too high by about 2mm. It looks a bit odd.

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While it seems ok in flight, the wing angle is far to high for a ground model

Otherwise the wings are correctly marked up and despite an over-glossy paint that obscures the detail, they’re OK.

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3.Landing gear

The nose gear is horribly wobbly, both of the tyres have lumps on, and they’re too close to the doors. This is a running problem with all 737’s – I wonder how they’ll deal with the Max 10 and its higher gear?

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The main gear is really nice but not entirely accurate. Quality wise I have no issue with it. Accuracy wise it’s too silver and oddly enough, Transavia have painted the wheels pink on the real aircraft, a piece of detail too much like hard work to replicate for Phoenix it seems.

4.Engines

Tiny, but extremely accurate and neat, with dark fans and reasonably neat rims and exhausts, rather good in fact!

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5.Nose detail

Overall a fist class job, entirely in keeping with the real thing. Quite impressive on such relatively small models, even the aircraft name is legible.

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6.Tail detail

Vertical and horizontals are good, not quite as well pushed in as I would like, but nothing to complain about overall. Looks much worse close up.

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7.Colours

I have to be fair, the green is too dark by a shade, the blue is fine, but the darker fuchsia pink is way out, and needed to be brighter. The light pink around the star and heart is actually spot on.

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8.Score and conclusion

Accuracy

  • -4 for colours: they’re not terribly bad, indeed they’re very close for the most part, but not spot on.
  • -2 for the lack of pink wheels. Detail is detail.
  • -6 for the wing angle, who knows why or what that’s about?

Score for accuracy: 38/50

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Quality

  • – 1 for blobs on nose tyres
  • -5 for missing/falling out rear aerial
  • -3 for the not perfect fit of each of the tail stabilizers

Score for quality: 41/50

Overall score: 79%

That score puts it at the high-end of the “Good” bracket despite its missing aerial. I’m still asking for a replacement model though.

My recommendation: I’d still say buy this, it’s a random one-off that represents a quite small airline too often overlooked. A definite buy.

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