Aeroflot announced in 2012 that they would paint a member of their fleet into a retro scheme in time for the airline's 90th anniversary. This was agreed following feedback from social networks that showed 45% of the airline's flyers wanted to see a classic livery on a modern Aeroflot jet. Accordingly a Facebook vote was undertaken with four possible candidate liveries as choices. On November 12 the vote closed and of the more than 2500 passengers the winning design was the scheme worn by the Tupolev Tu-104 when it entered service in 1956. You can see how the original looked below (oh how we need a Tu-104 in this scale):
The painting of the actual aircraft was undertaken by Airbus and unveiled in May 2013. The livery design was slightly modified by Airbus to take into account the aircraft and safety standards. This included changing the tail colour to white - perhaps because of the A320s composites? The other obvious difference from the original is that this version understandably doesn't carry the Soviet flag on the tail or a large Soviet style rego. The retrojet was named “DOBROLET” after the Open Joint Stock Company found on March 17, 1923, which was the predecessor of Aeroflot. The aircraft chosen, cn 5614, became VP-BNT and she entered service at the end of May 2013. Here she is as originally delivered (she's had winglets fitted since):
Aeroclassics released a version of the retro A320 in 2013, which is what I just acquired - however as you can see its model has several diferences to the real aircraft. Most noticeably the tail on the real thing is white whereas the tail on the Aeroclassics version is silver (and ironically more historically accurate). That's not all though as you can see the Aeroclassics aircraft carries a different registration - VP-BWH. This isn't a fantasy rego as that aircraft (cn 2151) was in the Aeroflot fleet having been delivered on lease from GECAS on January 23, 2004. As far as I can tell however she never wore any retro colours and was just another fleet member. She is still in Russia but has subsequently been transferred to Aeroflot's subsidiary Rossiya Airlines.
The curiosities don't stop there however as the model carries the name of V. Vereshchagin - Vasily Vereshchagin was a famous Russian war artist. It does seem however that AC has cocked up the name and spelt it as Vereshchabin! Oddly however VP-BWH never carried that name and was instead named M. Balakirev - a Russian pianist, conductor and composer. Instead V. Vereshchagin is carried by another Aeroflot A320 - VP-BQW, leased from RBS Capital and delivered on November 11, 2006. Here's the real VP-BWH:
So it seems that the Aeroclassics release is a fantasy model in three different ways - tail, rego and name. I woinder why that was as Aeroclassics don't usually rush out releases in advance or make such obvious errors. Perhaps the model was part of a corporate order? Odd. Anyway now I am not sure what to do with the model as I don't usually include fantasy models in my collection. perhaps I should sell it? As an aside Herpa has produced the correct model in 1/400 scale albeit on the slightly inferior JC Wings mould.
Aeroflot Retro-Jet is in Service
Aeroflot puts its Airbus A320 1956 retrojet into revenue service
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: