Updated: Sep 27
In the weekend of 16 & 17 September 2023 the Amsterdam Aviation Collectors Fair was held. Andrew Klein was there selling some new and old Aeroclassics models, of which one was perhaps a little too new. It's the Kingfisher Airbus A320 with registration VT-KFD, which is planned to be among the "Autumn 2023" release. He brought it with him by accident as he mistook it for the Simplifly Deccan A320 from the "Summer 2023" release, which has a nearly identical livery. Normally I would not buy something like this as it doesn't fit in my collection criteria at all, but it was just a little funny and will remind me of this great weekend. Ofcourse I asked if I could share anything about the model before being released and the answer was yes. Perhaps not the most exciting release for some, but at least it's something. This is not a sponsored review, I bought it with my own cash.
Kingfisher Airlines was an airline from India, established in 2003 by the United Breweries Holdings Limited (or UB Group) and started operating commerical flights in 2005. The name was taken from the Kingfisher beer brand. Its fleet consisted of A319, A320, A321, A330-200, ATR-42 and ATR-72. They also had A340-500's and A380's on order, of which one A340 was already painted in the Kingfisher livery, but they were never put into service. The airline took over the already loss-making Air Deccan in 2007, which was believed to be a bad decision and made the Kingfisher group go financially downhill. Air Deccan was used as a domestic budget airline, rebranded as Simplifly Deccan and later Kingfisher Red. Eventually the airline group built up more losses, nearly $900 million in early 2012 and in 2013 the flying rights and domestic slots were taken away by the Indian aviation authorities.
This Airbus A320, registred VT-KFD, was delivered to the airline in August 2005 and stayed in service until the airline got into financial troubles in 2012. It then moved to Livingston Airlines as EI-EXK, Shaheen Air in 2015 as AP-BMD and currently operates for Lauda Europe as 9H-IHH.
As usual there are 6 parts that will be given between 1 and 10 points, 1 being the lowest and 10 being perfect. In the end the average of these scores will be the final score.
Accuracy of colors
The Kingfisher livery has red colors with some subtle gold/copper colored details, placed on a mainly white fuselage. The pictures from my phone are not very consistent in terms of lighting and colors, so everything written in this review is based on what my eyes see and not the pictures of the model. I hope to upgrade my photography with a better camera and lighting later this year.
Both the red and gold/copper colors are accurate. It could have easily gone wrong by using a more yellowish gold tint, but instead they applied the correct tint which is more like copper.
Score: 10 / 10
The livery is quite simple: a red belly with a white and dark gold cheatline and plain white fuselage. The engines and vertical stabilizer are almost fully red aswell.
The red belly and cheatlines are placed at the correct height and the red color on the engines stops at the right position. The red on the vertical stabilizer goes straight down and does not follow the curving part on the front, which is correct too (see picture in the previous section). The KINGFISHER titles are a very prominent part of the livery, but they will be included in the next part of the review.
Score: 10 / 10
Logos, titles and stickers
There are a couple of stickers and logos around the aircraft, which are definitely not the easiest to replicate. Let's start with the large KINGFISHER titles; they are placed accurately and the font is also very nicely done. I have checked if each letter is placed correctly relative to the windows and they all are pretty much perfect on both sides. One issue is that on the real aircraft, the dark gold contours are like a shadow of the red titles and should be a touch to the right. We are speaking of a quarter of a milimeter and something you only notice at the bottom of the titles, which in my opinion is not enough to affect the score noticably.
Next up the bird, which is the Kingfisher bird as you may have guessed. It can be found on the vertical stabilizer and engines. It's very nice and colorful on the tail, although it should be just a touch further to the rear. The logo is recognizable on the engines, but close-up you will see that many details are lost. Keep in mind that on the model it's only two milimeters in size, so you can't ask for too much.
Underneath the cockpit you can find the logo of the UB Group with the golden Pegasus figure. The colors are again well done and the contours of the Pegasus are clear too. So are the "UB" letters underneath it.
The Indian flag on the rear has the correct width of the two windows underneath and the colors are clearly orange-white-green.
Score: 9,5 / 10
For the final part we look at details of which I often don't know the name of, so I hope you can follow along. I really like the Aeroclassics A320 moulding around the cockpit, it looks very accurate and because of it, the cockpit windows look great. The front and rear doors have the dark gold contours and all the details you may expect. The registration VT-KFD has the correct width of the three windows above and the rear of the engines have the silver ring. All other details that Aeroclassics put around the model are placed well too, but the engines could have been much better:
- The white markings underneath the Kingfisher bird logo are missing, which I'm sure can be done with AC's printing machines.
- The silver ring on the front and rear of the engines should be much more visible from the side.
Score: 8,5 / 10
Quality control: Paint and printing
This is an area where recent Aeroclassics models often struggle. With the RNLAF DC-10 I reviewed some time ago, there were lots of paint smudges and it had way too much paint on the horizontal stabilizers, which lowered the total score considerably. Luckily this A320 is much better. Everything is printed crisp and the details on the wings and stabilizers are clearly visible. It's not perfect though; the dark grey colors on the right engine pylon is not applied in the same position as on the left, so one side is at least somewhat wrong. There is also a minor paint issue on both engines.
Finally, the nosegeardoors are printed noticably off-centre. Please remember that the QC issues I mention are for this model specifically and may not be present on other pieces.
Score: 8,5 / 10
Quality control: Mould
Aeroclassics' A320 is a great little mould that does not seem to suffer from overpolished noses. The overall shape looks nice and all parts are assembled without gaps or weird angles. The right engine is tilting slightly to the inside, which makes the Kingfisher bird logo sit too low and may be the reason why the engine pylon does not look the same as on the left side.
Score: 9,5 / 10
I'm sure that many people think about bad quality when they think about new Aeroclassics models, but this one does not belong in that category at all. The livery is very well replicated and the quality control is much better than we've seen with other models. Even though it doesn't fit in my collection, I'm still happy to have it as it clearly shows that Aeroclassics can still produce high quality models. As a collector of retro aircraft it was Aeroclassics that made me stay in this hobby and I hope we will keep seeing classics being released for many years to come. It was also great to meet Andrew in real life and talk about these things. He is not the youngest anymore and many people dislike his behavior on the forums, but he deserves to be praised for giving us great models of vintage airliners in the past two decades. The total score is a well deserved 9,3 out of 10.
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