Terrible Diecast Alert: Phoenix Models L-39 "Baltic Bees"

by Acey3. November 2012 20:04
Well, it's been a while since we've heard from Phoenix Models. You may recall that they were responsible for a 500-edition limited release 1/72 L-39 Albatross - in the mostly black livery of the "OK Czech Jet Display Team" The asking price for these was (and still is in many online shops) somewhere between $50 and $70. I eventually got one at an airshow for $15 from a seller who, well, clearly hadn't sold a single one of his allotment otherwise and was happy even to get rid of the one to me at what must have been a loss.

In a nutshell, the Phoenix L-39 model is bad. Very very bad. "Worst model of the year, 2009" (or whenever it was released) bad. While getting the basic shape of the aircraft passably correct, it was bad in essentially every way imaginable from the awful cockpit detail to the utter lack of panels to landing gear so bad that it would make IXO stand a bit prouder of some of its worse efforts. To top it off, the livery was from some trainer-based display team that, well, few had ever heard of.

This time around Phoenix decided to outdo themselves - by choosing a livery of an even more obscure and unmarketable display team--the mighty "Baltic Bees" - whoever they are. To their credit, Phoenix has managed to put a little bit of lipstick on this dog by improving the cockpit by adding pretty awful looking pilot figures and by choosing a Suez-throwback livery that perhaps hides the sins of the mould a bit better (note to self: bees in the Baltics are apparently blue and yellow.. who knew?). But, at the end of the day, it's still some overpriced model of a display team you've never heard of. Why The Flying Mule would agree to resell these I can only guess - I sure hope their trade price is less than $20 each.

Here it is:

It's hard to imagine how they will sell more than 50 of these worldwide, given that quite a few of us must have simultaneously ticked the L-39 box and said goodbye to Phoenix forever after the first release AND many of the 500 are still available for sale on the web.

There are two things Phoenix should do:

  1. First, thank their lucky stars that Altaya has not made an L-39 yet. The moment they do, they might as well throw this mould into the Baltic Sea.
  2. Second, in the little time they have left before Altaya does make one, make an actually marketable livery of this mould. Which means, in a nutshell, this one:

This is the livery that will sell, accuracy or not. It will cover up many of the flaws of the mould. If you care about sales, put the red star on the tail, not the Czech roundel.

Or, if you want to be heroes, a Ukrainian Air Force one... oh, I'd like that, but it won't happen.


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