Airbus A320neo Civil Airliner
Zvezda 1/144, Ref. 7037
The Airbus A319/320/321neo are part of a ‘second generation’ family of airliners built upon the successful ‘A319/A320/A321’ family designed during the latter part of the past century. The more modern design first flew in 2014 and entered service with Lufthansa in early 2016 and, with over 7,000 aircraft ordered by more than 100 airlines, is so far the fastest-selling commercial aircraft ever designed. The most important change from the earlier generation A320s is the provision of newer, larger, more powerful and more economical engines, and to less-attentive eyes, the addition of prominent ‘sharlets’ at the tip of the wings, also meant to improve the economics of the design. Of course, the sharlets are being retrofitted to earlier models and this means we are back to the larger engines of the new gen aircraft as main distinguishing feature! For your info, ‘neo’ stands for ‘new engine option’; the older design is now referred to as ‘ceo’, for ‘current engine option’.
Zvezda have over the past few years forever changed the way we look at those 1/144 airliners. Theirs are truly superb scale replicas and they keep getting better and better! This new release is the ‘basic’ variant of the new Airbus family, the A320neo.
136 parts moulded in medium grey plastic, featuring restrained engraving throughout, 13 incredibly thin and transparent clear parts, well defined and printed decals and clear instructions, all for a very considerate price, we have by the looks of it yet another masterpiece from the Russian manufacturer.
Sure, some may prefer their airliners ‘windowless’, but if one does not fancy using the provided window strips, nor filling in the many holes with putty, the super thin plastic around the side windows will be perfect for the use of Clearfix (or any similar product).
But above all, consider the other features and options of this kit: landing gear in or out (a sturdy display stand is included!), leading edge slats in or out, flaps in or out, detailed cockpit and entry ‘hall’ (with separate main entry/exit door), superbly designed CFM engines, each with two separate compressor fans and separate intake lip (easing the painting of this item!); only the use of slide-molds could have done a better job as the engine inlets are still made of of two parts that may require a bit of putty to see joints eliminated (although said inlets are separate from the external ‘skin’ of the engine cowls and will therefore still be easy to turn into ‘seamless’ suckers!).
The decals provided by this boxing are for a single rather sleek-looking SAS A320neo, and includes silver-printed billboard-style titles for the front fuselage, the ‘coroguard’ wing panels and countless of ‘stencils’, the placement of which is shown in the accompanying full-colour ‘livery’.
The main instruction sheet is ‘only’ black & white-printed. Zvezda and Tamiya-equivalent colour references are given in the instructions.
This looks like a cracking kit. No doubt other liveries will be released in time by Zvezda, but aftermarket decal manufacturers are already hard at work and many options are already available from several sources.
Review by Domi Jadoul; pictures by Zvezda & Domi Jadoul.