An interest in Iranian airlines has been a growing feature of my model collecting in recent years. Not only is the nation's industry diverse and interesting but it has a wide range of colourful airlines flying 'classic' equipment thanks to sanctions. Outside of Iran Air the country doesn't get a huge amount of love in 400 scale but with Phoenix focusing more recently on its A340 moulds Mahan Air has featured twice. I don't acquire many Phoenix models so it is hard to turn down reviewing the ones I do get. I reviewed the 2021 Mahan A340-600 here in March and now it is the turn of the recent series 300.
Each review is to split into three key areas:
Phoenix have now released 51 A340-300s and 42 of them use this mould, which was released for the first time in 2010. It of course shares many elements with the A330 mould that dates from the same year, however whereas Phoenix make up 21 of my 67 A330s this is the only A340-200/300 from them I own out of 12. That is nothing to do with the mould though, which shares the good and the bad of the A330. Mostly it is good.
The nose and cockpit are one of the best points, literally. It reproduces the classic Airbus widebody nose well and is sharper than that of the Aeroclassics mould. The nosegear leg is the correct length and well detailed, although the nosegear bay doors are too large. The tyrehubs are of course a Phoenix strongpoint and look excellent.
The mid-fuselage region is exemplary, at least from the side and above. Phoenix do use a different style of slot in wing join to everyone else though. On theirs the slot in tab only runs along the forward half of the wing. It does perhaps look not quite as good as on moulds with a longer join portion. On the underside of the fuselage the mould shows its age with very little in terms of detailing of the scoops or anything else.
The wingform itself is good. All of the angle, thickness and dihedral are accurate. The winglets also have the correct squared off profile. The solid core CFM56 engines are nice and have plenty of ground clearance - helped by pylons of good shape. The only critique of the wing region is that the flap track fairings are a little too pointy rather than squared off.
The mould has an impressive array of aerials – seven in fact. Four of these are underneath and they all look very good. Phoenix aerials do tend to be smaller and better shaped than JC Wings versions. Another plus point for the mould is the moulded in dome on the forward roofline, which is not an add on as with most moulds.
The rear of the aircraft looks great and shares the good looks of the A340-600 version. The fuselage / tail join is, unlike many Phoenix moulds, correct with only the rudder portion not being connected to the fuselage.
The A340 doesn't get the same attention as its twin-engined brother however all of the available modern moulds (from Aeroclassics, Aviation400, JC Wings / Gemini Jets, Panda and Phoenix) are very good. In fact the AV400 and JC versions tend to present better than the A330 versions from those brands. This Phoenix mould can compete with them all but I do have minor complaints surrounding the nosegear doors, underside detailing, wing join and flap tracks.
SCORE - 8
PAINT & LIVERY
Given the blandness of the Mahan Air scheme there isn't a lot to get wrong on this model and since it was made so closely in time to the A340-600 of the same airline I could almost copy/paste the comments from that review here.
I am overall happy with the Phoenix finish. As I stated before the shade of green they are using is better than that from NG Models (by a small margin) and Aeroclassics (by a wider margin).
The rest of the livery details are present and correct so despite the ultra-simplicity of the livery I can't not give this one full marks.
SCORE - 10
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
In my experience printing and QC are not two areas that have historically been a forte of Phoenix. Then again, there is no mistaking that they have significantly improved both in recent years too. Gone are the days of regular paint smudging and hairs! The paintwork on this model is great and there is a good level of print detailing.
They still don't go into ultra-detail such as nosecone rings but they have added a lot more, especially on the underside, than they used to. Things commonly absent a few years ago such as maingear doors are present and finely printed, even if the print template isn't quite correct, since the gear doors don't actually connect to the gear.
From a quality perspective the model is solid and well put together but does have at least three detail issues. Firstly, there is a large tyre tab on the leftside maingear tyre. Tyre tabs are a common thing with Phoenix I find. Secondly, the rim of the inboard rightside engine has an imperfection to its form. Thirdly, the inboard leftside engine is drooping ever so slightly towards the front.
SCORE - 7
Phoenix have been making some nice models this year when they stick to their better moulds, such as this one. The result is a very nice model, although I think Phoenix are a brand not quite reaching the highest heights. Much like Aeroclassics they produce quality models but they are rarely in the same league as JC Wings, NG Models, Aviation400 or Panda. That certainly doesn't mean they are not worthy of your $ but it is I feel important to illustrate the products as I see them.
FINAL SCORE - 25/30
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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