View Full Version : Model Review: DW South African Airways A340-600

10-10-2008, 06:18 AM
Model: 55463B
Airline: South African Airways
Aircraft: Airbus A340-600
Registration: ZS-SNB
Release Date: 2003
Units: Limited
Notes: "1996s" Colors. Exclusive for South African Airways.

Please Note that Dragon has produced two versions of ZS-SNB
- 55463B, Exclusive for South African Airways.
- 55517, Released in 2005
Both models are exactly the same in terms of detail and accuracy, the only difference being that model 55463B is an exclusive.

South African Airways (SAA) is South Africa's flag carrier and largest domestic and international airline company, with hubs in Cape Town and Johannesburg. It is also known in Afrikaans as Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens (SAL), although this version of the name no longer appears on the airline's livery. South African Airways is rated by performance, revenues, safety and other criteria as the best and most profitable airline in Africa and one of the top airlines in the world.

The Pros
While doing my usual pre-review research I noticed that Dragon Wings had released four SAA A340-600s but two had the same registration. Turns out I have the corporate version which is also the most wanted of the four SAAs, even more desirable than Gemini’s version.

This model is one of class and elegance. The sleek long lines of the A340-600 and the colourful yet simple livery and font of South African Airways makes me understand why this model has been so desirable since its release some 5+ years ago.

Quality is superb. There are no scratches or marks upon the fuselage and the paintwork is just as good. No chips, no cracks.
The model features some detail such as Rolls Royce emblems on the engines, Airbus logos and South African flags just behind the registration. The winglets feature the distinctive colourful South African flag which is the livery of South African Airways and the same image is display much larger of course on the tail fin.

The ‘South African’ font located at the forward part of the fuselage between doors one and two is the correct size and located in the correct area, with the ‘S’ beginning just after the second passenger window.
Speaking of passenger windows, they are framed in silver as are the cockpit windows making the windows stand out on the plain white background.

The wings have a great amount of detail due in part to the use of plastic as the material for the moulding of the wings. Flaps and spoilers are on show, now expected on new models, wasn’t the norm when this model was released.

Another thing I like about this model is how Dragon hides the wing seem. The seem glides off the wing onto the body and blends into the fuselage and colour of the model. The only sign of a seem is the really faint outline, which is hardly noticeable close up, let alone when the model is on display at a distance.

The Cons.
This model doesn’t feature many cons though the one issue I really have with this mould is the landing gear. It is unrealistic. The main gear is bulky looking and the bay doors are touching the plastic tires. The nose gear is too short and the gear bay doors are too long. The edge of the door sits just above the nose wheels. And being made of plastic, the landing gear could have a little more detail on them. They are very plain and straight. Unrealistic.

The engine fan blades are painted in silver. This is also unrealistic and quite toy -like. The model would feel more like a true scale model if the interior fan blades were painted black. Being such engines, it is quite noticeable.
Comparision Q&A

Model being compared: GJSAA382, Gemini Jets South African Airways A340-600.

Q: What are the main differences between the two?
A: As with all Gemini Jets models, the comparing model is all metal where as the reviewed DW model has plastic wings, tail, engines and landing gear but an all metal fuselage. The only plastic part Gemini models have are engines and some tails on earlier models.

Q: Which model has more detail?
A: Dragon Wings is by far the winner in this department! As some of the most important parts on a model are plastic on this model, the reward is much more detail due to plastic being much easier to shape. Gemini's lacks wing detail.

Q: Which model is more desirable?
A: The Dragon Wings corporate version is much harder to find but also at a decent price. And because it is a corporate model it is already harder to find than a regular release.

Q: In your opinion, which one is more valuable?
A: Both are very valuable as they are high demand models. By high demand I mean every South African A340-600 released has sold out and is not available even second hand (after market) such as on Ebay. The DW corporate model reviewed above is a little more valuable because it will always be the hardest to find but the best to own too because you can dictate some of the price if you were to sell.

If you have any other Q&A questions please PM and I will add it to the above list.

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): 8.5
Detail (Inc. Spoilers, Flaps, Gear bay doors, Cargo Doors): 7.5
Printing (Accuracy, Colour, Finish, Correct Fonts): 8.0
Quality (Any Scratches, Chips, Bent Pylons, Finish): 9.5
Value (Price, Money well spent): 8.5
Verdict: 8.0/10

Final Verdict
Putting this minor issues aside this is still a fine release.
Words cannot describe the elegance and grace of this rather simple model so I will let the pictures do the talking.
Expect to pay around $65 USD minimum if you are in the market for this model.

10-10-2008, 06:24 AM
Absolutely gorgeous model!

Me would love having it!

Always great your reviews! I especially like the great balance you put when talking about PROS and CONS!


R. Minor
10-10-2008, 06:31 AM
Great review... Love the A346. ;)

10-10-2008, 06:56 AM
I have DW's EK A340-500, and to all the DW bashers, I say get a hold of their A340-500 or 727-200 mould, and you'll see when Dragon does good, Dragon REALLY does good!

10-10-2008, 09:18 AM
I have the GJ SAA a346 and the one thing that bothers me most is that the SAA logo is not on both sides of the winglet. I can't believe that did not get noticed by GJ! The DW version does indeed look better overall.

10-10-2008, 09:21 AM
I have DW's EK A340-500, and to all the DW bashers, I say get a hold of their A340-500 or 727-200 mould, and you'll see when Dragon does good, Dragon REALLY does good!

I agree at 100%!

Have the DW SIA A340-500 and is one of the best looking model!


10-10-2008, 09:38 AM
I have DW's EK A340-500, and to all the DW bashers, I say get a hold of their A340-500 or 727-200 mould, and you'll see when Dragon does good, Dragon REALLY does good!

well said