Icelandair 737 Max 8 TF-ICU Phoenix 04220 1:400 Nov 2018


With the news that Icelandair is buying its local rival WOW, the airline is again current news.

Icelandair has long been a Boeing customer and the replacement of its older 757-200’s with the 737-Max 8 might be considered long over due.


However the pace for now may well slow, as the airline suffers from over capacity and the harsh competitive environment with WOW and others. Add to that fuel costs on the rise and a drop in crucial stop-over tourism to the country because its currency is valued too highly, never mind the fact it’s one of the most expensive countries in the world, it’s hammered both airlines.


The last 737-Max 8 review for Icelandair TF-ICE, was the shambolic Aeroclassics model. What a diabolical piece of crap that turned out to be. This one is the Phoenix and while it as a mould originally didn’t go down so well, the LOT 738 was actually quite good, lots better than was generally expected.


Delivered in March 2018 and fitted with 16 business class and 144 economy, the LEAP-1B powered aircraft is named Dyrhólaey and leased from SMBC. The name is what was formerly known as Cape Portland, a promontory of the southern Icelandic coast near Vik.

These 737-8’s are all in the new Icelandair livery, which while similar, is actually quite a departure from its previous iteration. It’s brighter and lighter and I’m going tell you right now, its a serious bone of contention with this model.

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Mould wise, I’ve nothing at all to complain about again. In terms of mould and assembly, the model is really excellent with two aerials up and two under. Graphics and detail are all superbly printed and there are lots of it, all the way down to the tiny blue-black square next to the boarding door.

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The first failure you’ll notice just on the fuselage is that the belly, which should be a sort of gun metal metallic, is a very dark grey; it’s just not right. In addition the stand hole is not a good size, and the model was very reluctant to stay on it.

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If I was being picky – I would tell you that the grey to white line is little rough, but that’s only visible under magnification.


The mould, the wings, all the way to the MAX AT winglets are excellent, just as they were on the LOT version. The upper surfaces paint seems to be accurate although it’s again, very glossy and obscures detail because of it. The underneath looses much of its definition and moulding detail because of the excessively reflective gloss paint.

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In any event, they are well fitted and appear seamless with the fuselage.

The issues come with the blue paint on the MAX AT upper winglets – the blue paint is shoddy and intrudes on to the wing surface.

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3.Landing gear

Silver paint is wrong, as they appear to be a matt light grey in every image I’ve seen, but it is neat. Wheels and tyres are very good.

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4. Engines

Very clearly the engine rims seem to be a separate piece pushed in – not quite perfectly, to the nacelles. This has enabled a better paint finish but underneath there is a quite sharp bit of mould sticking out.

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The ugly (and very sharp) mould under the engine rim on both sides is unacceptable

The engine fans are still far to bright and need to be the correct colour. I don’t give a monkey’s uncle about the fact they’re see through – barely – if they’re the wrong colour! After all who sits there and holds them up at exactly the right angle to see if you can see through the minuscule engine fans (other than me when doing these reviews that is)?

The exhausts and cones are very good.

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The nacelles are however far too dark a yellow, completely the wrong shade again. The last time Phoenix did an Icelandair was the ill-fated 767 – and they’ve basically just reproduced that. It’s quite bizarre because they asked me if it was right back then, asked me to explain why it was wrong, I did. Have they asked again? No. Is its wrong? Of course it is.

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5.Nose detail

I have no issues here, its highly detailed and really well done.

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6. Tail detail

The wrong blue and the wrong shade of yellow. They’ve basically duplicated the wrong 767 colours all over again, which quite bizarrely were closer to the new scheme than the old, before the new was even thought up! However while closer they’re not right. They look like a guess.

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The port side stabiliser is also not brilliantly fitted,  and there is a fair bit of glue on the base of the vertical. In addition the same horizontal stabiliser and has a flash of silver paint that’s somehow gotten onto to the upper surface.

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Well we have the wrong blue, the wrong under-body grey, the wrong fan colour, the wrong nacelles colour, the wrong yellow logo colour, the wrong landing gear hydraulics and wheel centre colours. Now if you don’t mind the lack of accuracy, the almost-but not-quite approach, and it passes for you, enjoy. But really, Phoenix need to try much harder to get details like this right, it’s what we pay them for! But then again they’ve been around over ten years now and they still screw stuff up, so what’s the chances?

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For many these colours will be OK, but strictly they’re not right – every single one is an interpreted colour and inaccurate (except the white).

8.Score and conclusions


  • -6 nacelle colour fail
  • -2 fan colour fail
  • -3 landing gear colour fail
  • -6 tail colour/upper fin colour fail
  • -4 all logos colour fail
  • -4 under-body colour fail

25/50 for accuracy

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  • -2 for sharp mould under engine rims
  • -1 for the poorly fitted port stabiliser
  • -1 for the silver paint issue on the point stabiliser
  • -1 for excess glue on the vertical stabiliser
  • -1 for the poor paint on the starboard upper MAX AT winglet to wing area

44/50 for Quality

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Overall score 69%

So, it’s all about the colour, because other than that it’s a reasonably decent model. Phoenix seem to have lost that grip they had on colour recently, they clearly don’t ask anyone’s opinion – as they did with the Eurowings and Air Belgium A343’s which were so spectacularly successful. But this, a mediocre attempt at colour on a model that is basically now a good mould. Why do Phoenix always make it so difficult for themselves?

There is a good point. It’s way, way better than the Aeroclassics version!

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