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Versus Series Vol. 6: Aerolíneas Argentinas A330-200 NG vs. Phoenix

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

As with almost every current special livery, just about every manufacturer with the mold will rush to put out their version in hopes of to capture a portion of the market. With Argentina winning the 2022 FIFA World Cup we got to see one of the country's flag carriers A332, LV-FVH, wear a special livery to celebrate this historic event.


Three manufacturers announced the release of the model in 1:400 scale shortly after the World Cup final: Phoenix Models, NG Models, and JC Wings.


Each one of those manufacturers is living up to their respective stereotypes with their releases.


Phoenix Models, a highly experienced manufacturer known for not caring too much about ultra-perfectionism, were the first ones to get their version to the stores. It wasn't a bad model by any means, though it came with some minor drawbacks as a result of their mold lacking precision in some areas.


Then we had NG Models, who took their sweet time with theirs but ended up putting out a rather refined product.


And then in the best JC Wings fashion, we are still waiting to see their product. Luckily for them, Argentineans are going to be celebrating their victory until they win again (however many years it might take), so I think there will be a market for this model for years to come, extending beyond aviation enthusiasts.


How does Phoenix's compare to NG's?


Let's start by looking at some photos of the models. The following pictures were taken months apart, shortly after each model was delivered to my residence:

A 1:400 scale model aircraft of an Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330-200 aircraft
NG Models

A 1:400 scale model aircraft of an Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330-200 aircraft
Phoenix Models

A 1:400 scale model aircraft of an Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330-200 aircraft
NG Models

A 1:400 scale model aircraft of an Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330-200 aircraft
Phoenix Models

A 1:400 scale model aircraft of an Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330-200 aircraft
NG Models

A 1:400 scale model aircraft of an Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330-200 aircraft
Phoenix Models

A 1:400 scale model aircraft of an Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330-200 aircraft
NG Models

A 1:400 scale model aircraft of an Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330-200 aircraft
Phoenix Models

Now let's look at some comparison shots.


Comparison of two 1:400 scale aircraft models of an Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330-200 aircraft.
NG on the left, Phoenix on the right.

And now we start to have something to say. While the artwork of the vertical fin is clearly different between the two models, I find it similar in terms of quality, and I think they both could look a lot sharper. See the image of the real airplane below for comparison.


Other printed details and the shape of the tail cone seem better on the NG version. Phoenix's window line and doors also are shifted upwards a tad (see the picture prior to the last one above to compare Phoenix's aft port fuselage with the real aircraft below).


On the Phoenix example, the skin tone of the players gathered below the registration looks warm and rich, whereas NG's rendition looks cool and opaque. The artwork on the real aircraft is somewhere in between, looks like NG might be closer, though I like Phoenix's richer colors better.



One of the most criticized aspects of the Phoenix A330 mold is the size of the horizontal stabilizer. The photo below shows that in fact, Phoenix's horizontal stab is too wide. Or is NG's too short? Keep reading and you'll find out that Phoenix is likely in the wrong here.

Comparison of two 1:400 scale aircraft models of an Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330-200 aircraft.
NG on the left, Phoenix on the right.

On the forward area of the fuselage, it is NG's turn to shift some artwork elements upwards. The AFA coat of arms is touching part of the grey stripe on top, whereas the static ports on the bottom are too high above it.


NG also missed the reg on top of the right wing (reference). Phoenix also included some antennas and masts on the bottom aft fuselage that are present on the real aircraft, but missing on the NG example.


The finishes are different, Phoenix being shinier, while the NG version has more of a matte tone. Neither one seems to be particularly realistic, but I find NG's finish more pleasant to the eye. Colorwise, the Phoenix example has a slightly darker tone. NG brighter finish brings the livery colors closer to the real aircraft. It is a subtle difference though, the Phoenix example also looks generally accurate in terms of livery colors.


The profile view below also shows that Phoenix's nose landing gear doors are grossly oversized.


A 1:400 scale model aircraft of an Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330-200 aircraft
Phoenix

Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330-200 LV-FVH with special Qatar FIFA 2022 color scheme.
© Mark Bess via Wikimedia Commons

NG's main gear door detailing is so subtle that it is almost invisible.

A 1:400 scale model aircraft of an Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330-200 aircraft
NG

Phoenix's gear door detailing is dark and well-defined.

A 1:400 scale model aircraft of an Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330-200 aircraft
Phoenix

I noticed that the nose gear on the Phoenix example seemed slightly aft (using passenger doors as reference), while the mains seemed a bit forward (in relation to the engine exhaust pipe). I confirmed my observation as seen in the image below.

Comparison of two 1:400 scale aircraft models of an Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330-200 aircraft.
Phoenix on the left, NG on the right

After the initial broad comparison of the two models side by side, I found enough differences between the two molds that I decided to investigate a bit further. I remembered a technique used by a well-known collector on the forums (username Phantom), which consists of placing the models on top of a printed diagram of the aircraft sized to match the scale. Unfortunately, I struggled to find easily available blueprints of the A330-200 online that matched perfectly Airbus's published official dimensions.


The wingspan on the blueprints below came out shorter than what Airbus claims it to be, aside from that, NG's horizontal stabilizer matched the blueprint perfectly (4.8 cm), as did the distance between the main and nose landing gear hubs (5.46 cm). The wings will need further research to get sorted out. At any rate, the NG mould does seem to have a definite edge over Phoenix's.

A 1:400 scale model aircraft of an Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330-200 aircraft
NG

A 1:400 scale model aircraft of an Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330-200 aircraft
Phoenix

A 1:400 scale model aircraft of an Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330-200 aircraft

A 1:400 scale model aircraft of an Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330-200 aircraft
NG

A 1:400 scale model aircraft of an Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330-200 aircraft
Phoenix

Last but not least, the boxes. This alone might be good enough of a reason for hardcore Argentinean football fans to get both models. I personally think both of their artworks look a bit rushed. I like NG's box design slightly better.

Box of a scale aircraft models of an Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330-200 aircraft by Phoenix Models
Phoenix front.

Box of a scale aircraft models of an Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330-200 aircraft by Phoenix Models
Phoenix back.

Box of a scale aircraft models of an Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330-200 aircraft by NG Models
NG front.

Box of a scale aircraft models of an Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330-200 aircraft by NG Models
NG back.

Conclusion


Both models are a fairly accurate representation of LV-FVH in 1:400 scale. NG did a better job than Phoenix in refining the main elements of the mold, but Phoenix did better in including all of the small antennas and masts. NG omitted the reg. on top of the wing, but their finish looks slightly better. Both of them slightly misplaced some artwork elements, but in general, did a good job.


Some people might prefer NG's refined mold, whereas others might favor Phoenix's details.


If I was to keep one, I'd probably keep the NG version as the overwing reg can be added with a decal, and the lack of some antennas on the lower fuselage don't bother me as much as the oversized nose landing gear doors of the Phoenix example.


As things are though, the Phoenix version is sold out at most prominent online retailers, whereas the NG one is still widely available. I personally think Phoenix deserves some credit here as they were able to put their product out in collector's hands only a few months after the World Cup final, when the heat was still on. With releases associated with historical events like this one, timeliness does play an important role. The NG version is objectively better, but not by much. Was it worth the wait? The answer to that question would be personal.


Comparison of two 1:400 scale aircraft models of an Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330-200 aircraft.


Jorge A. Zajia






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