Zvezda 1/144, Ref. 7039
The sleek-looking Airbus A350 is the latest of Zvezda’s airliner kits to reach us. The A350 is a very large airplane destined to replace the A330/340 family (and by the same token, compete with Boeing’s 777s and 787s). Made up of over 50% in composite materials, it features the latest and current best in terms of propulsion and aerodynamics, including some new and nifty high-lift devices. Two variants are currently offered and have been operational for a handful of years now, the initial and ‘basic’ A350-900 and the larger, follow-up -1000. Some other variants, including a shorter -800, have been studied and shelved, while others are still being developped (the even larger -1100 and the Freighter in particular).
It is the basic -900 that Zvezda is offering us in a very large box (the fuselage is already over the 45cm – long mark). A great number of the 130 parts deal with the undercarriage and can if wanted, be placed in the spare parts box since Zvezda is giving us as an option what it takes to represent the aircraft in flight. A decently detailed cockpit is offered too.
The fuselage halves are pierced so that clear side windows can be installed from the inside, a fashion I do not personally like much, but there you go. Said clear window parts are to be shortened for the making of this A350-900, hinting at the future release of the longer-fuselaged -1000. I assume the larger wings of the -1000 will then be offered too.
The central box is mostly integral part of the wings, which, again, to me, is a little bit annoying, possibly requiring the removal or at least ‘toning down’ of two joint lines under the fuselage. Zvezda’s kits are very precise though and this should not be too much of a pain to deal with.
The engines are very neatly done and detailed even if the inside ‘sleeve‘ of the intake is still made up of two parts and therefore still requiring seams to be eliminated. Slide-mold technology would have been useful here. Separate nacelle lips are a plus point, though.
It is all in all a very neat product that should greatly be appreciated by the airliner modellers all over the world given the popularity of the real thing (900+ orders and at least 39 operators worldwide so far). Zvezda’s initial release gives us a unique livery option, nice and clean-looking, that of Aeroflot’s, along with a good amount of stencilling. Windshield and side windows outlines are also provided (which could be a pain if also using Clearfix or similar product to fill in the side windows). Alternatives liveries, along with replacement windows, doors and windshields, are already available from a number of decal manufacturers. If you have the spare space at home, be sure to treat yourself to this lovely kit.
Review by Domi Jadoul; pictures by Domi Jadoul & Zvezda. Kit kindly provided by Zvezda.