I admit that Phoenix are one of my least favourite brands in 400 scale nowadays. They mostly produce an uninspiring bunch of releases, on largely obsolescent moulds, and persist on using their godawful 747s. I am so disinterested in their output that despite my wide collection criteria in 2021 I purchased none of their models, and in the previous two years I only bought four. This model was a 2021 release and the only one that almost tempted me to buy it. I didn't at the time because of a lack of space, but now with the big unboxing done, and the Iranian fleet sitting in a new location, there is space for it to be added. Since I review so few Phoenix models I thought for balance purposes I should take a look at it even though it is from last year.
Each review is to split into three key areas:
Phoenix have barely produced a new mould in years and the majority of their moulds have been overtaken by newer editions from JC Wings, Aviation400, Panda Models and NG Models, or were just rubbish to begin with. However, there are still a few rays of light from Phoenix and the A330/340 moulds remain strong contenders.
Whereas the A330 has a strong bunch of moulds available for it, which make the Phoenix A330 just one of the many good ones and not the best, the A340 has less competition and the A340-600 even less.
In fact, there are nowadays only two A340-600 contenders - this mould and the older but updated Gemini Jets/JC Wings edition. Earlier Dragon Wings and Herpa/Hogan examples can be easily forgotten. This Phoenix mould dates from 2010 and of the 110 A340-600s made in 400 scale it accounts for 41 of them.
As with the Phoenix A330 the nose region is excellent, as is the rest of the fuselage. The shape of the contour up to the nosecone from underneath is definitely superior to the older Gemini casting.
Also a major point of improvement over the older Gemini/JC Wings mould is the seamless slot in wings aspect, not just because there is no seam but because, unusually for a Phoenix mould, the countouring of the fairing around the wing is very good. The curve of the wing itself where it meets the fuselage is just as impressive.
I am also liking the detail and shape of the wings and stabilisers. The winglets are correctly shaped, and so once again better than on the Gemini mould, and the engine pylons attach nicely and are shaped well.
The vertical stabiliser has the correct squared off shape and unlike on many Phoenix moulds the lower rudder margin is the correct width. If I had to complain about any aspects of the mould the criticism would be reserved only to three small areas. Firstly the engines, although well shaped are solid core from the front. While not a massive issue the detailing on the blades could be better.
The second small area of moaning is that the landing gear tyres are actually a little small compared to the rather unusually large tyres of the real thing. Also while the four rooftop aerials are present on the underside only the forward one is shown. Overall this is an excellent mould and one of Phoenix's last bastions of dominance.
SCORE - 9
PAINT & LIVERY
The Mahan Air livery is disappointingly bland, especially in comparison to some other Iranian airlines. When you have such a long aircraft as the A340-600 having an all white fuselage seems like a real missed opportunity.
The only colour breaking up the black and white is the green on the tail. Phoenix have gone for a medium green shade, which I think captures the real thing well. Comparing it to he other pair of Mahan aircraft I own from Aeroclassics (A300) and NG Models (Tu-204) and I would say the Phoenix shade is the best. The Aeroclassics is a darker shade and the NG Models, although much better is also slightly darker.
There isn't a lot else to the scheme to get wrong. Phoenix get the slanted titles correct and the flag behind the cockpit and Farsi titles look fine to me as well.
Given the ultra-simplicity of the scheme it seems a little silly to give out 10 marks but that's the way the review works and Phoenix have done the job.
SCORE - 10
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
Printing and paint are areas where Phoenix tend to be ok but not great, however I admit the printing detail on this model is rather good. The line detailing is very fine to show things like blocked out windows. Considering some of the vanilla undersides I've seen from Phoenix in the past this model actually demonstrates a marked improvement in print detailing. They even print maingear doors! Ok I jest, but it is an area Phoenix has left off previously.
Unfortunately, Phoenix do tend to fall prey to the high windowline issue seen on A330s in general all too regularly. It isn't obscene but the whole windowline template does look like it is printed probably a mm too high. This is most obvious over the wing, where I might add once again the emergency escape markings don't line up with the emergency exit door perfectly too.
Phoenix are also well known for their models having a rather glossy finish. While not always a bad thing the painting on the wings is quite thick and almost completely obscures the fine flap etching details on both the top and bottom.
Quality control is good across the model aside from an odd pair of circular scratches near the roofline on the rear left of the model just behind the wing.
SCORE - 7
This is a very good Phoenix model and it almost makes me reconsider some of the criticism I throw their way. Their printing does genuinely seem to have improved and when married to one of their good moulds they can produce excellent releases. However before I get too carried away I still find 98% of what they make either boring or inferior to the competition. Nonetheless, the A340-600 remains a jewel in the Phoenix output and this model is well worth getting.
SCORE - 26/30
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.
This site is free. Please donate to keep it going.