Icelandair 737-8 TF-ICE AeroClassics AC419304 June 2018

 

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Icelandair has recently rebranded, bringing a lighter set of colours, a small amount of simplification to the graphics, and continued the current trend for concatenation by keeping Icelandair all one word. Partly this was spurred by the delivery of the new 737-8’s – nine of which are on order, 3 have been delivered at the time of writing (July 2 2018). There are also 9 737-9’s due during 2019.

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The model is of this aircraft, TF-ICE

The other aspect to the rebrand was one of Lufthansa’s big excuses/reasons – mobile apps look better with simplified colours and graphics.

The rather bizarre side effect to all this is that Phoenix’s 767-300ER that was so horribly wrong colour-wise when released back in November 2016 is now almost exactly right! The yellow isn’t quite there but its close! The blue you’d be hard pressed to tell apart.

Icelandair are looking at major fleet expansion – they’re under pressure from WOW especially, and easyJet and Eurowings are pressing home routes into the country. The 737’s will make life more economically viable for the airline and allow them to concentrate using them on medium-shorthaul while using the larger aircraft, 757-200’s and -300’s plus the 763’s – on medium-longhaul and higher capacity routes.

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Sister TF-ICY – presented as a good side-on shot

Now the model, wasn’t one I’d seen advertised anywhere and I had a shipment coming from Europe that needed one extra model to make it viable – so I saw this and bought it, without looking too hard. Silly me.

I’d also recently purchased quite cheaply the Air Canada one from another source, simply to have a look at this new offering from Aeroclassics.

First off, the boxes are a big improvement with good branding, an open window and proper printed stickers that show a model code number – all ideal for tracking them historically. There’s also a good line-colour description label on the side of the box.

As models go, in principle – there are exceptions – I think it’s a better model than the JCW/Gemini version, but this example does it no justice. When we look at the Air Canada version later on, that’s very different.

For one, it appears to be all metal – no plastic tail or horizontal stabilizers. The overall appearance is pretty good on first impressions and the colours look positive.

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The wing, the dome….

1.Fusleage

As moulds go it’s pretty impressive. Theres a little bit of inaccuracy around the horizontal stabilizers fitting point, mostly the area isn’t quite as indented as I would have expected to see. The nose seems to have a very slight flat spot, but it’s not the end of the world.

The big issue is that it has actually got a wi-fi dome. Finally you might think, Aeroclassics have realised that ignoring such things is not the right path. Well, that’s a nice sentiment, except that TF-ICE doesn’t have one in real life.

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AC have also continued to persist with refusing to add aerials, so this super-modern airliner is devoid of crucial detail while at the same time, has a massive wi-fi dome it actually doesn’t have in reality.

The aforementioned dome is well seated into the roof but the paint is a bit thin and there’s a visible hole at the join line on the port side. So while it doesn’t have one, the one it has isn’t really that good.

The underneath is no longer blue but a sort of gun metal grey, and the colour is good. The definition goes a little awry with two odd lines on the underneath port side rear quarter, but the rest of the technical and other print is very good.

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2.Wings

The mould is superb. Very impressive. However, the slot-in wings need some tweaking, and that’s being very generous. I’d estimate the inserts into the fuselage need some refinement because they don’t allow the wing mould to properly join the fusleage. This isn’t even noticeable from above, but turn it upside down, or look at it from the front, and it’s patently obvious. Oddly, the stabilizers have the same problem in reverse, clearly not fitting above but being perfectly flush with the fuselage below.

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That’s how bad the wing is, just atrocious really….

The problem the wings have on this model is a bizarre; it’s the way the port wing has failed to fit. It’s not gone in properly because of some obstruction – again visibly mostly underneath. That in turn has left the wing over-elevated and the landing gear doesn’t have the correct height, so the model slopes to the left (right from the front). Very poor quality.

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It’spossible thios is just a one-off failure, the Air Canada version doesn’t suffer from it

The other issue is that while the mould is excellent, the grey wing surface paint has almost completely obscured all of the very fine detail. Underneath there is nothing to see – at all.

Technically, the split scimitars are excellent but the lower one should have had the outer surface painted white, not wing grey.

3.Landing gear

Sub standard and quite poor. The Gemini/JCW versions wheels and tyres are superior in every way. These continue the Aeroclassics being cheap and nasty methodology. It seems they think it just doesn’t matter. Spindly little nose gear tyres that look like they’ll last five seconds and huge fat tyres on the main gear stuck to an axle. Not nice. Nor is thin and missing paint on sharp edges, nor the excess flashing in the hydraulic gaps.

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4.Engines

A prescise neat mould that looks like the standard version used by everyone else. Detail is generally very good, and most of the paint quality is high, except on the rims.

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The intake rims on the real thing are huge, they must be at least 1.5m/4.5ft wide from the side and yet they barely exist on the model. From the front the rim paint is not good.  the fans are however, possibly for the first time ever on an AC model, the correct colour!

The exhaust and serrations are all excellent moulds and colours.

5.Nose detail

Other than that slight flat spot, it’s all pretty good, right the way down to the aircraft name Jökulsárlón (yo-cul-saar-lo-en is the nearest I can get to). One good thing is that AC haven’t fallen into the trap of framing the windows with thick silver frames like JCW have.

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6.Tail detail

The mould at the horizontals isn’t quite right as I’ve said, and the APU cone isn’t painted on sufficiently well.

The vertical tail is outstandingly good, in detail and colour.

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7. Colour

Other than the one small issue of the lower split scimitar, perfect!

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8.Scores and conclusions

Accuracy

  • -5 for the dome that is there but shouldn’t be, and isn’t very good anyway
  • -3 for missing two upper and one lower aerial
  • -2 for rear mould inaccuracies
  • -3 for very poor landing gear wheels and paint
  • -4 for engine rims – way to thin and far too obvious
  • -1 for lack of APU cone paint

32/50 for accuracy

Quality

  • -10 for wing fit/mould issues – exceptionally poor
  • -2 for horizontal stabilizer fit/mould issues
  • -2 for slight paint issue under the port side
  • -2 for engine rim paint – very poor
  • -4 for all sorts of incomplete and rough paint finishes across the board

30/50 for quality

OVERALL SCORE: 62%

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Here we are, 4th July now – again I say, it’s now JULY – and we’ve barely seen anything outstanding all year. What is going on this year?

This does have some serious flaws (but it looks like they’re just on this model), some are livable except for that whopping great dome and the ridiculous wing fit, and some of the poor paint in detail areas on the wings and engines.

Overall – the new 737-8 product and packaging should be very good. It would be excellent if a little more attention was paid to quality and detail aspects. Otherwise, AC, yet again, will be outclassed by everyone else because of silly cheap skate issues and what seems like pedantic attitudes towards important details. “Either do it properly or don’t do it all” – that was the mantra I grew up with, and while it seems tiresome when you’re young, the value of it, the reality of it, as you get older and appreciate really what it means, just keeps coming back.

 

 

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