It was only recently that I was complaining about the lack of European retailer exclusives in comparison to those from Asia. Now Aviation Retail Direct (ARD) have released 5 BA A319/20s using the Aeroclassics factory, albeit three of them have been made before by Aeroclassics and all of the new models have been quite widely distributed through the usual Aeroclassics retailers. Nonetheless, the original Landor A320s are hard to come by so the new versions are very useful additions. In this review I take a closer look at only the 6th A320 off the production line - G-BUSB.
Each review is to split into three key areas:
It isn't too surprising that barely any A320-100s have been made in 400 scale since only 18 aircraft were made, although considering the only outward difference is the lack of wingtip fences it is perhaps a little odd that only Aeroclassics and Panda have bothered at all with the type.
As far as I can tell even between AC and Panda only 3 models were made and the single Aeroclassics version was a Hangar Club Model too. That means outside of BA and Airbus house colours there are still at least five liveries to be made (Air Inter, Air France, BA utopia tails, BA Chatham and the British Caledonian half and half).
With the arrival of NG Models I have heard calls for a new A320 mould made by them, and though it is true the Phoenix and JC Wings/Gemini versions are very ordinary the Aeroclassics and Panda versions are excellent. To that end, considering the range of releases made I'd argue a new A320 is well down the list of new moulds required.
The core of the mould is exemplary with an effectively perfect fuselage, wings and stabiliser set. The wings slot into the fuselage with no discernable gap and angle upwards gently towards the curving wingtips lacking the fences of the series 200.
All of the A320-100s were equipped with the CFM56-5A1 engine for which Aeroclassics has a very good rendition. The only real complaints about the mould are for the usual Aeroclassics choices of no aerials and simple tyre hubs on the nosegear.
Despite dating from 2009 this mould (and the 2015 Panda version updated with aerials and gear hubs) is still the one to beat for the A320.
SCORE - 9
PAINT & LIVERY
At the time I never really appreciated the BA Landor scheme, which could look quite dark on a gloomy London day what with the 'Pearl Grey' rooftop. Obviously it has gone on to be a classic livery and in comparison to other business-like schemes of the era (United Battleship for example) it stands the test of time well.
It has also proven a challenging scheme in 400 scale to reproduce because of the grey top, however in this case I think Aeroclassics factory have done a decent job of it,. Likewise, the 'Midnight Blue' belly and red are also fine.
The core elements of the livery are accurately depicted. There is plenty of detail in the BA coat of arms on the tailtop and the Royal Mail logo forward of the reg on the port side. The SB reg end is present on the tail, the full reg is under the port wing and the aircraft name 'Island of Jersey' looks good. It is a shame that the blue top to the tail isn't printed straight below crest, although I admit in person it isn't anywhere near as obvious as in the photos.
There are three further points of criticism. One is very minor in that the lettering of the main titles is perhaps a little too thick. The second is medium - the SB is missing from the admittedly very small nosegear doors. The other is more major. That is that the blue belly upper line curves downwards under the cockpit when it should be a straight line. This leaves a noticeably larger grey area in front of the cockpit.
SCORE - 6
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
As already mentioned the factory appears to have pulled out some of its best printing skills for this model as there is a lot of nice detailing. I especially like how the cargo and undercarriage doors stand out well on the blue belly. The overwing emergency exits almost align correctly with the actual printed window exits even!
The engine inners are nice and dark and I will only nitpick about one thing in terms of print and paint. That is that the engine rims are too thin. The silver area should be much thicker.
Build quality presents no real problems. The left wing is slightly higher than the right but 1:1 it is barely noticeable.
SCORE - 9
Despite there being so many A320 releases in 400 scale there is still a long list of 'classic' A320s that deserve to be made (see my A320 wishlist - Classic A320s 1987-1995). The appearance of this one and its series 200 counterpart is therefore very welcome and both models look good. This model is a good addition to the growing Landor fleet I always said to myself I wouldn't be buying and another sign that Aeroclassics still make the most interesting selection of models in 400 scale.
FINAL SCORE - 24/30
I'm Richard Stretton an aviation enthusiast and major collector of 400 scale models. On this page I take a detailed look at new releases.
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