Today my first shipment of Revell Germany’s newly released 1/144 scale Airbus A.320NEO and A.321NEO kits came through the front door.
RV3942 Airbus A.320NEO, Lufthansa (2018 cs)
The A.320NEO kit provides PW 1100G Geared Turbofan engines. The decal was designed by Daco, and printed in Italy (likely by Cartograf though not confirmed as yet). While the wings and fuselage can allow for landing gear, this feature is not provided. Instead, a display stand is provided. Revell counts 38 parts in total, and considers this a “Series 3” kit.
RV4952 Airbus A.321NEO, Airbus ‘house’ cs
The A.321NEO kit provides both PW 1100G Geared Turbofan engines and CFM Leap 1A engines. Again, the decal designed by Daco, printed in Italy (likely by Cartograf though not confirmed as yet). Full landing gear is provided, and while the center fuselage has the reinforcement point for a stand, one is not provided. Revell counts 66 parts in total, and considers this a “Series 4” kit.
320NEO vs 321NEO: Compare and Contrast
First, a disclaimer: As I write this article, I have not built either kit, nor measured to check whether the gross dimensions are correct. This is strictly a review of the unbuilt kits.
Both kits are moulded in white styrene plastic, with clear parts provided for the cockpit and cabin windows. Revell has been careful in laying out the parts on the sprues to allow for maximum commonality while providing the correct details for both kits.
Obviously, the A.321 is longer, and that is about where the differences end. Both kits provide a moderately detailed cockpit, with the floor and seats on one part, an instrument panel on a second, and the cockpit/cabin bulkhead on a third. The instrument panel shows slight engraved instruments and display screens. Both kits provide the nose gear bay. On the 320 the gear door is a single piece, on the 321 it is split to be glued either side of the nose gear leg. The cockpit glazing includes the fuselage crown over the cockpit.
Clear cabin windows are included, and in fact are identical sprues in both kits. Revell designed the cabin windows in three strips, with instructions to trim away sections for the shorter A.320. If you prefer, you can install the clear window parts, fill and smooth, paint the fuselage then use the window decals provided on the excellent decal sheet.
The radome and the rudder are provided as single separate parts. Blade antennae are moulded to one side of the fuselage, top and bottom. The A.320 includes one, the A.321 includes three differently shaped large WiFi / Satcom antennae, allowing for almost any configuration to be modeled. You can check photos on airliners.net to figure out which to use, and where to mount them.
Wings and Stabs
The wings are moulded in two pieces on two separate sprues (for reason that will become apparent), upper and lower, from tip to tip. Sprue D provides the lower wing includes a section of the lower fuselage. The lower wing piece in both kits is identical, both with cutouts for the main gear, and with the larger flap track fairings (3 each side) moulded to the wing. Sprue C is the upper wing includes the trailing edges, and a short stub of the flap track fairings.
On the 321 upper wing, which features triple slotted flaps, has the two small flap track fairings are moulded in place. The ‘Sharklet’ winglets are provided as separate parts.
The stabs are moulded each as a single piece on the same sprue as the common lower wing.
Each engine type, the PW 1100G and the CFM Leap 1A are provided on separate sprues. Both engines are moulded in 5 pieces. Left and right main cowl with pylon, a single piece inlet with front fan disk, separate intake rings and exhaust cones. Strakes are moulded to the main cowls.
The biggest differences I could see are a more pointed cone on the intake fan disk on the CFM engines, along with a slightly longer exhaust cone.
As said previously, provided in the A.321, not provided in the A.320. The gear looks to be pretty standard in design, though perhaps the gear legs are a bit thinner (and probably a bit weaker) than in previous Revell A.319/320/321 kits.
As mentioned previously, both decals were designed by Danny Coremans of DACO, and printed (most likely by Cartograf) in Italy. Both provide full livery elements, along with all the small details you can imagine. Window decals are provided for those of us who prefer decaled windows over clear.
So How do these kits compare to Revell’s earlier A.320 family kits?
The first generation A.320 kit Revell released has thankfully passed into history. No comparison to the second or this third version. Personally, I think the best use for this kit is to be appropriately cut up and painted to provide a freight load for the A.300-600ST Beluga fleet.
The second generation kits (A.319, A.320 and A.321) were decent kits, a significant improvement over the first generation kits. They made up quite nicely, and the only major flaw I am aware of is that the wings, which are common to all thee kits, include the triple slotted flaps and the two small flap track fairings each side. So, if building an A.319 or A.320, these had to be removed.
This third generation kit obviously includes the NEO engines, and sharklet winglets (which are also fitted to recent A.319CEO, A.320CEO and A.321CEO deliveries). The addition of a basic cockpit is a nice touch, and the provision of Wifi and Satcom antennae is welcomed.
A word of caution with the engines in the A.321 kit: They look VERY similar, so if building both side by side, be careful not to mix the parts, and keep the pairs together! The engines are interchangeable between the two kits, and the gear from the A.321 can be fitted to the A.320.
Overall – two nice kits ! I have heard that future releases of these kits may swap around the landing gear and stand options, though no further releases have been announced to date. In the meantime, mixing airframes and engines allows pretty much any airline’s aircraft to be reproduced, with gear down or up.