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Speedbird91
10-08-2008, 02:26 AM
Model: PH4VOZ326
Airline: Virgin Blue
Aircraft: Boeing 737-700
Registration: VH-VBH
Release Date: 2008
Units: 500
Notes: Standard Colours.

Virgin Blue is an Australian low-cost airline, Australia's second-biggest airline as well as the largest airline (by fleet size) with the Virgin branding. It was founded by British businessman Richard Branson's Virgin Group. Virgin Blue was launched on 31 August 2000, with two aircraft initially offering seven return flights a day between Brisbane and Sydney. This has been expanded to cover all major Australian cities and many holiday destinations.

The Pros
I was quite surprised when Phoenix released this model and the ‘50th aircraft’ version a few months ago, as Phoenix, in my opinion lacks diversity when compared to other 1:400 manufacturers such as AeroClassics and Gemini Jets. Every month you will see at least a Singapore Airlines, JAL, ANA or Air India model. Unless you fleet build these airlines, you are pretty much limited in PH releases.

When I received my model I was pleasantly surprised to see it on Ebay for prices as high as $60 USD, only a few days after the model was released, showing that I had already made a profit of 31 bucks in just a few days.
One first inspection the model seemed quite decent and I really like the new feature Phoenix added to this model, the small bump for live TV just behind the wings on the top of the fuselage as seen on the 1:1 version. This extra ‘add-on’ is a fantastic detail which takes accuracy and detail to a new standard in 1:400 model airplanes. Of course Phoenix are not the first company to add this new detail to their models with companies like Gemini adding ‘humps’ to their JetBlue models and even Blue Box who added even extra features like under-wing inlets, round lights and many other ‘small bumps’ you find on real aircraft. Dragon pioneered this detail in 1999 with two small communication humps appearing on all MD-11 models. Unlike the above models, the MD-11s humps were not added after production but rather included in the shape of the mould. They were basic but they added some extra detail which, back in the day, were unheard of on the very, very basic models of the late 90s.

The ‘Virgin’ font on the tail is correctly positioned, the forward font and VB’s telephone number are also in correct positions and Phoenix even included, with great detail and good printing methods, the female flag carrier and Australian flag after the registration. Every little detail of the 1:1 version has been successfully replicated even down to the tiny Virgin font on the winglets bordered by the blue which is also seen on the tail. The engines also feature a thin blue strip just before the thrust reverser area and Phoenix have even printed the tiny red lines of the restricted zone on the engine. The engine inlets have been painted metallic black, another plus, as the silver paint was too stark and very unrealistic and the same metallic black paint is seen on the base of the engine pylon under the wing on the exhaust pipe leading out of the CFM-56s. The top of the wings have a border of faint black paint replicating the ‘No Step’ areas of the wings as seen on the real aircraft. Flap outlines and spoilers have also been added to the model by outlines being engraved into the mould rather than printed. Leading edge slats have been painted in a subtle silver paint adding just that little bit extra realism. The nose gear is a good size and the gear bay doors are not oversized barn like doors as seen on AV400 73G mould. The nose gear bay door even features the last two letters of the registration ‘BH’.

Small ‘Phoenix’ logo on the belly of the model isn’t visible unless looked at from underneath and doesn’t wrap around with the curvature of the fuselage. Another plus!

The Cons
The major downfall of this model is the background paint, one of the most noticeable areas of a model and thus the most important to get correct. Phoenix stuffed this up big time. The colour should be similar to that of Gemini’s Virgin Blue 737-800, a bold red. Phoenix’s red is tangerine-orange red and therefore is incorrect. It is quite noticeable when both models are standing next to each other. On my diorama, I like to pretend that this particular aircraft is based in Alice Springs and has faded due to the heat.
The nose on this mould is also quite poor. It is just too blunt to be that of a 737s. The 737 has a distinctive pouty nose and higher cockpit windows but the nose of the model is short and blunt showing an essence of Concorde’s blunt nose, though not to that extreme.

The main landing gear is too tall. Although this is this the case on all of Gemini’s and Phoenix’s 737 NGs, this is wrong. The angle of the model hints the angle of an ERJ-145. The landing gears are angled too far backward, they should only be slightly angled although I think this was intended to balance the model’s Center of Gravity as the 737 NGs are notorious for falling on their backsides.

Below are ratings out of 10, with 1 being the worst and 10 being excellent.
1: Worst
2: Bad
3: Poor
4: Could be better
5: Satisfactory
6: Average
7: Good
8: Great
9: HOT!
10: Excellent

Mould (Airframe): 8.0
Detail (Inc. Spoilers, Flaps, Gear bay doors, Cargo Doors): 9.0
Printing (Accuracy, Colour, Finish, Correct Fonts): 7.0
Quality (Any Scratches, Chips, Bent Pylons, Finish): 9.0
Value (Price, Money well spent): 8.5
Verdict: 8.5/10

Final Verdict
Putting the colour and minor mould issues aside, this model is still a must have for any person who collects Australian models. It has its issues but overall, Phoenix has done a good job at replicating the little Virgin. -VBH is a nice addition to the Virgin fleet. Expect to pay a minimum market price of USD $50 for this model. If you can get it cheaper, snap it up as it has become a much wanted model.

cougar
10-08-2008, 05:10 AM
Very good review Adam, you covered all the major issues that have been bought up, but as you also mention, this is a must for all Aussie collectors. Lets hope that the "fading" look is addressed with furture productions. Phoenix has been very kind to us with the 2 Virgin Blue this year, perhaps the year isnt over for this fleet?

steve k
10-08-2008, 05:15 AM
Very good review Adam, you covered all the major issues that have been bought up, but as you also mention, this is a must for all Aussie collectors. Lets hope that the "fading" look is addressed with furture productions. Phoenix has been very kind to us with the 2 Virgin Blue this year, perhaps the year isnt over for this fleet?

Could we see a DJ 737-800 with the foxtel radome, or the gilette, or the forgotten EX Ansett reverse livery, or the head to Queensland, or the Ansett 737-300 in 3 diff colours!!;)
over to you my "Firey Mate" pinky!!!

R. Minor
10-08-2008, 06:38 AM
Nice review... I agree with Steve's future release suggestions as well.

Flyingdoc
10-08-2008, 06:59 AM
Excellent review Adam - agree with everything you've said. The colour would rate as "Fuschia" according to my ex-wife, which should make Steve ecstatic (a pink Virgin!) - but sadly detracts a lot from the quality of the model.

PS - some extra pics

Even from a distance the difference in colour is discernible.
http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w254/flyingdoc-album/W900/vb-fleet.jpg

Some detail shots.
http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w254/flyingdoc-album/W900/vb7b.jpg
http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w254/flyingdoc-album/W900/vb7e.jpg
http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w254/flyingdoc-album/W900/vb7g.jpg

R. Minor
10-08-2008, 09:21 AM
Nice photos Gerard...

transnat
10-08-2008, 02:16 PM
Nice work. Thanks for the review and the pictures you guys.

Tnat

R. Minor
10-08-2008, 02:19 PM
Pulled my example out of the box for the first time today. Adam is correct. There is a noticeable difference in the GJ red and the Phoenix red.

Phoenix is off in my opinion.

transnat
10-08-2008, 02:56 PM
The Phoenix is WAY off. However it's better than nothing and in real life they do fade over time.

Tnat

R. Minor
10-08-2008, 03:15 PM
The Phoenix is WAY off. However it's better than nothing and in real life they do fade over time.

Tnat

A good point. Now then, can we get a gillette to go with it?

Speedbird91
10-08-2008, 04:44 PM
Fantastic shots, really emphasises the blunt nose and wrong colour.
I also noticed that the 'Blue version' has the same red colour on the tail too......

Loving those customs.

transnat
10-08-2008, 04:57 PM
A good point. Now then, can we get a gillette to go with it?

Great idea Ron! Perhaps they could shave a bit off the nose to get the profile spot on.

Tnat

R. Minor
10-08-2008, 05:07 PM
Great idea Ron! Perhaps they could shave a bit off the nose to get the profile spot on.

Tnat

Indeed. The nose could use a shave. I see a bit if stubble there...

cougar
10-08-2008, 05:09 PM
I find it interesting that it took 5 years between the initial release and the second, now we have 2 in a few months. I think Steve may be onto something, with the Aussie market known for being a "sure thing" we just may see those he mentions. I know I would be up for them. As always, I am most impressed with Gerards collection, you definantly set the bar for this hobby mate, along with Bob (QF787)

cougar
10-08-2008, 05:11 PM
or the Ansett 737-300 in 3 diff colours!!;)
over to you my "Firey Mate" pinky!!!

What 3 colours are you refering to mate? Are you including the Ansett liveries as well as the Virgin reverse colours?

virginbluedude
10-08-2008, 11:38 PM
I have VH-VBY, the blue one, at it has small little sort of humps in the middle of both wings. Only noticeable if you look at it head on. Is mine the only one with this?

I can live with it, like I said its really not that noticeable, but it's still there

steve k
10-09-2008, 02:26 AM
What 3 colours are you refering to mate? Are you including the Ansett liveries as well as the Virgin reverse colours?

The first 737-377 of Ansett arrived in shooting star livery, have photos of 732 and 733 together, then came the flag tail scheme, closely followed by the final scheme.
The 767, 727 and A 320 all appeared in the 3 different schemes, as did some fokker 50, f-28 and 146 as i recall. ive been around too long Chris!!!
Got a nice souvenier S/Card off Uzbekistan 757-200, Happy as!!;)

steve k
10-09-2008, 02:31 AM
I have VH-VBY, the blue one, at it has small little sort of humps in the middle of both wings. Only noticeable if you look at it head on. Is mine the only one with this?

I can live with it, like I said its really not that noticeable, but it's still there

Post a photo please no humps on mine, I want my money back, a no humping virgin, what next!!:^^:

Speedbird91
10-09-2008, 05:06 AM
I have VH-VBY, the blue one, at it has small little sort of humps in the middle of both wings. Only noticeable if you look at it head on. Is mine the only one with this?

I can live with it, like I said its really not that noticeable, but it's still there

Doesn't sound normal. As Steve said, post a couple of shots and we can all have a look........:-?

steve k
10-09-2008, 05:13 AM
was gunna say "show us your humps" but SAL might take that the wrong way and this post could deviate off track very quickly, as we all know! :^^: perhaps you got the female version of the Virgin??

virginbluedude
10-09-2008, 05:40 AM
sorry guys, terrible pics taken on my phone. i know they don't show much but you can sorta see the hump on it. i'll try do better tomorrow...

http://i34.tinypic.com/33jn42e.jpg

http://i38.tinypic.com/2l14c0.jpg

Speedbird91
10-09-2008, 08:48 PM
sorry guys, terrible pics taken on my phone. i know they don't show much but you can sorta see the hump on it. i'll try do better tomorrow...

http://i34.tinypic.com/33jn42e.jpg

http://i38.tinypic.com/2l14c0.jpg

Looks like a QC issue.
Do the wings have tiny cracks on them? If they do it means the model has Zinc rot. Unlikely, for such a new model, but we cannot rule that out either.

backfire
10-09-2008, 09:03 PM
was gunna say "show us your humps" but SAL might take that the wrong way and this post could deviate off track very quickly, as we all know! :^^: perhaps you got the female version of the Virgin??

WHAT!! :shock:

Virgins? Where!!! :crazy:


Sal

virginbluedude
10-09-2008, 09:52 PM
Looks like a QC issue.
Do the wings have tiny cracks on them? If they do it means the model has Zinc rot. Unlikely, for such a new model, but we cannot rule that out either.

Nope, no cracks

In honestly looks like it was just made that way. Thats why when I first got it I thought it might be common to all of phoenix's 737s. It's just like the way my GJ QF 744ER wings curve at the end in an small yet unnatural way (unless my 747 is buggered too)

virginbluedude
10-09-2008, 09:54 PM
oh and, forgive my ignorance, define QC?

M2O.chicago
10-09-2008, 09:55 PM
Flying Doc - are those planes customs? IF not, when and who released them.

Mike

virginbluedude
10-09-2008, 10:04 PM
not a custom, phoenix released them this year

cougar
10-09-2008, 10:59 PM
The first 737-377 of Ansett arrived in shooting star livery, have photos of 732 and 733 together, then came the flag tail scheme, closely followed by the final scheme.
The 767, 727 and A 320 all appeared in the 3 different schemes, as did some fokker 50, f-28 and 146 as i recall. ive been around too long Chris!!!
Got a nice souvenier S/Card off Uzbekistan 757-200, Happy as!!;)

Nice work Steve, another one for the collection

Groover
10-10-2008, 03:03 AM
oh and, forgive my ignorance, define QC?

That's Quality Control.

steve k
10-10-2008, 03:06 AM
That's Quality Control.

QANTAS CAPTAIN perhaps!!???

virginbluedude
10-10-2008, 04:12 AM
QANTAS CAPTAIN perhaps!!???

LEAVE QANTAS ALONE!

haha just kidding

mind you, the media is making us look like Garuda lately

steve k
10-10-2008, 04:18 AM
Reminds me a bit of the way Ansett was treated by the media, and months later whammo! Qantas are still a great airline and unfortunately are under scrutiny by the media in recent times, hopefully it will all blow over and Qantas continues in its winning way!!;)

virginbluedude
10-10-2008, 04:37 AM
Reminds me a bit of the way Ansett was treated by the media, and months later whammo! Qantas are still a great airline and unfortunately are under scrutiny by the media in recent times, hopefully it will all blow over and Qantas continues in its winning way!!;)

Well I'm sure they will. Media moves on from things pretty bloody quickly.

So now my mind is rest assured on that, I'll go back to chanting and praying and rubbing buddah's belly for some Ansett/TAA releases from Aeroclassics this month.

steve k
10-10-2008, 04:56 AM
Well I'm sure they will. Media moves on from things pretty bloody quickly.

So now my mind is rest assured on that, I'll go back to chanting and praying and rubbing buddah's belly for some Ansett/TAA releases from Aeroclassics this month. I am chanting Electra and DC-9 at the moment!!
I am very sure its going to happen!!:) according to my crystal ball anyway

virginbluedude
10-10-2008, 05:00 AM
I am chanting Electra and DC-9 at the moment!!
I am very sure its going to happen!!:) according to my crystal ball anyway

I'll take both!

If DC-9 is the path AC chose for this month, I hope it was in a red delta direction because I just this week got the excellent DW 727 in that livery. Having said that, an Ansett-ANA livery will be received with no complaints.

If it's an Electra, Give me whatever!

Hell, as i've said, give me any 60's/70's aussie stuff!

steve k
10-10-2008, 05:10 AM
I'll take both!

If DC-9 is the path AC chose for this month, I hope it was in a red delta direction because I just this week got the excellent DW 727 in that livery. Having said that, an Ansett-ANA livery will be received with no complaints.

If it's an Electra, Give me whatever!

Hell, as i've said, give me any 60's/70's aussie stuff!

I spent a lot of time in that era, late 60's, moreso 70's and 80's. great memories and only wish I could see them all again, in the flesh and up close like we all used to do, back in the day when you could take photos outside and no one questioned you!!!!!

cougar
10-10-2008, 06:15 AM
I think you both are onto something , I want whatever you guys are after please

Baci 1
09-24-2010, 08:47 AM
Have it. Like it. And as for the difference in clolour...as has been said the colour red fades qucik in real work life sunlight. I can live with the colour variation.....and its one more for the growing collection!

MiniRyan
12-13-2011, 05:43 PM
thanks for the review. I started collecting not really fussy about the details you brought up, but now I have an informed eye.