Over the past few months I’ve been building up a comprehensive Finnair collection as part of my model collection restructuring.
While I wait for new deliveries, I realised this one just hasn’t been reviewed. In fact it looks like most of the recently acquired Finnair haven’t been either. My recent Far East trip included three Finnair A350-900 flights (two of them on the same aircraft, OH-LWF, and you can read bout that trip here: A350 Finnair Flight Review), in both the twin and single cabin business configurations, and an A330-300 on the way back from Helsinki.
First indications seem to be that this model was massively over produced. There are always new ones available on eBay and most of the retailers seem to have stock. Some people say that Finnair is hardly a livery, but like Swiss it has the rights to its colours by virtue of its national flag. For Finnair, white is a natural choice, not a matter of cheapness alone.
The Finns, through companies like Nokia, which was THE mobile phone brand of its time, and brands like Marimekko, which have roots back in 1960’s design, clarity and simplicity, purity, are hall marks. Its part of Finnair’s ethos and its look and feel.
Nothing less than five Finnair A350-900’s have been produced in 1:400 so far, which is an extraordinary number for such a small airline that’s had them for barely a couple of years at the time they were produced.
Phoenix produced the first, OH-LWA, in standard livery, and the Oneworld version OH-LWB (which is the rarest by far and I can’t find anywhere), then the Happy Holidays reindeer tiled OH-LWD. JC Wings produced standard livery OH-LWK and Gemini this model OH-LWL, with the Marimekko Kivet livery.
To understand the Marimekko link, and how it’s so important, you have to appreciate that Finnair is deeply involved with it. It’s one of Finland’s most enduring brand identities with a huge global following. Shops are few (There’s one in the Stanford Mall in Palo Alto for example), and its never exactly cheap but here’s an example on ‘permanent loan’ from the Business Class lounge at Helsinki. Retail these things peak at some $35+ for a simple mug, its that sort of brand. This one happens to reflect the aircraft livery. Personally its all very Gemini – you’re paying for a name, not the quality, which is frankly indifferent.
Being a Gemini this is the old JC Wings mould so has the inaccurate nose. Other than that its the usual levels of neatness and print quality found on these relatively new moulds. The definition, especially in respect of the Marimekko Kivet design on the rear half, redolent of the ceramics produced for the airline by Marimekko, are exceptionally neat.
Aerials and other details seem to be of good quality and without error, nothing has fallen out or off, but the rearmost aerial could do with not having such a big hole.
While the mould is fine and has no issues the paint on the upper surfaces behind the leading edge seems to be oddly yellowed in natural indirect light. An issue that also occurred with the Lufthansa version of their first A359. Bizarrely the Phoenix aircraft have two completely different paint jobs. The JCW branded one is the same as the Gemini but taller as it has different landing gear.
If ever there was a demonstration of how rushing to market with some of these models creates inaccuracies, these four A350’s demonstrate it to perfection.
The main gear is fully functional with tilt and everything rolls, and there are no bumps or lumps. Nose gear is neat and apparently accurate with its white-painted wheel.
The landing gear doors disappoint a little, seeming to be thinly painted.
The huge see-through high bypass fans, rims and nacelles are all very respectable. It’s the usual complaint that the fans are still the same colour as the rims. Laziness, cheapness.
However overall, the mould at the rear, especially the cone exhaust is lacking sophistication, the Phoenix ones are sharper, better defined and much neater.
This is the pre-modification mould so has that grossly inaccurate shape. Other than that its fine.
All there, well fitted, no issues.
The wings aren’t yellowish or anywhere near it, so why they are on both the Gemini and JCW who knows? Ignorance I suspect at the point of production. They should be body white and match it exactly.
The blue tile pattern is accurate and matches the Finnair logo colour.
8.Scores and conclusions
- -8 wing colour, the yellowish hue is unpleasant
- -5 the mould nose shape
- -4 – silver fans – just wrong
- -2 engine exhausts too rounded
- -2 for the door paint on the main gear, just too thin
Overall score: 79%
From a distance you wouldn’t be over bothered by this model, but as soon as you get close the details on what should be a very simple model execution, just dissolve. All four of these Finnair A350’s have something going on that’s not right. They’re worryingly representative of the modern model industry. yes JCW/Gemini’s mould has been improved since, at the nose, but has their ability to produce the right colours and ancillaries? No.
NG need to get in on the A350 market and show them how its done.
Next week: Icelandair Fortnight starts as post miscommunication, they finally land!