easyJet A321neo G-UZMA Panda 1:400 18209 Jan 2019

easyjet

easyJet started to change some of its A320neo orders to A321’s in 2017, and the first, this one G-UZMA, was delivered on July 13th 2018. Fitted out in a 235 seat all-economy profile its fully classed as an A321-251NX. Equipped with CFMI LEAP-1A32 engines, they have a 49 seat increase over the A320neo’s – 26% more, which is a very substantial lift in this class of mid-low-cost environment.

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Other than the models you see on eBay, few of these are sold officially by model vendors in the UK because easyJet isn’t happy about it at all. Late night phone calls or off-record emails invite one to purchase at far lower (and yet still high) prices than they go for online.

A321’s are my favourite single aisle currently in production. Panda have an excellent reputation for their Airbus single aisle models.

This arrived in the now standard high quality black and gold box with a neat label on the side announcing it as the first A31neo and a colour graphic of the model.

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1.Fuselage

I’ve been looking at the A321 mould against both the Phoenix, AC & JCW versions. It’s clearly superior, especially around the nose, and even more so around the wing root, which is markedly superior.

Another excellent point not always carried from one version to another with other manufacturers, is that the scale match to the A320neo is perfect, all the way to the landing gear size, wing level and engine position.

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The three upper aerials and one at the rear underneath are all excellent. Especially the white one inserted into the orange forward roof paint. Good detail like that makes a big difference.

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The livery and technical detail is beautifully done, the super 4K equivalent of modern printing.

There really is noting to speak ill of.

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2.Wings

Gorgeous detail, superb paint, using the silk finish type rather than the excessively shiny paints used by others.

Frankly the wing is a joy to behold, such neat details and meticulous paint, especially the orange hydraulics underneath, just outstanding.

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3.Landing gear

Something that Panda usually excels at. Quality gear, tyres on wheels, all neatly fitted to the inner wing, along with a clean, detailed nose gear. However the nose gear isn’t fitted properly and remains loose inside it’s housing, though impossible to extract without the risk of breakage. To glue or not to glue? That is the question. You can see the gear is moving about in the photos.

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4.Engines

Almost as good as it’s possible to get. Colours are excellent, with correctly detailed fans and exhaust cones too. The only issue on the entire model for me is that the rims are just a tiny bit uneven face-on, but that’s from something of a super high standard. Compared to AC or Gemini’s offerings these are near-perfect.

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5.Nose detail

As I said above, the shape is far better than any other mould, the printed detail, especially the cockpit, are outstanding. The small printed tech detail all around it are awesome.

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The wobbling nose gear – it goes back and forth but you can’t get it out to fix it.

6.Tail detail

Outstanding assembly, outstanding paint and moulds.

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7.Colours

The easyJet orange is excellent, and the NEO logo in the correct grey. Overall it’s simply excellent.

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8.Score and conclusion

Accuracy

No deductions

Score 50/50

Quality

  • -1 for engine rim paint
  • -5 for wobbly nose gear

Score 44/50

Overall score: 94%

An very good model overall well made, well researched, good quality in general, but that nose gear is not acceptable and completely undermines the rest of the model’s success. Panda must be more attentive. Quality control matters, especially at these prices, but what concerns me is that lately, Panda quality has been slipping. The demand for product cannot be allowed to lead to poor quality or Panda will go the same way as all the others.