Airbus' A350 was first envisioned as an update of the A330 medium-long range twin. It is intended to replace the A-340 and compete with Boeing's 777 and 787 series. Airbus says that per seat, the Boeing 777-200ER should have a 16% heavier manufacturer's empty weight, a 30% higher block fuel consumption, and 25% higher cash operating costs than the A350-900. The weight savings come from the A350's composite skin panels which replace the traditional aluminium. The A350 uses proportionally less composite in its fuselage than the rival 787, having the fuselage frames and stringers remain aluminium rather than the full composite construction of the 787. The wings are full composite structures.
The A350-900 entered service with launch customer Qatar Airways in January 2015.
The kit comes packed in a Revell's typical flimsy end-opening cardboard box The mouldings are crisp and clean, with very little flash and no sink marks. The fine scribed panel lines are out of scale for 1/144 but will still look good under a coat of paint. The panel lines match up very nicely.
The fuselage is two halves from nose to tail. There is a belly insert comprising most of the bottom of the wing to fuselage fairing. It is unclear why Revell made this choice. The cabin windows are open, with clear parts provided for them. The cockpit windows are presented as the traditional Airfix style strip, which some modellers find themselves having difficulty with. The panel lines are nicely engraved and match up well. The APU exhaust is open, and could benefit from being filled with a short section of blocked-off tube. If the windows are left open, the interior should be painted black to prevent the model from looking toy-like. There is no full-height cockpit bulkhead to help confine the nose weight, which Revell says should be 25g. The nose gear well must be assembled and inserted before the fuselage is closed. A nicely furnished cockpit sits above of the well, which will provide a nice area to glue in the weight. The nose gear leg must be made up and glued into the nose gear well before gluing the fuselage together, rendering it vulnerable to damage for the rest of the build. The antennae are separate, and very finely moulded. Care must be taken when removing them from the sprue gates if they're not to be broken. The kit does not provide the now traditional satcom/WIFI antenna fairing used by many airlines. Bra.Z models offers several options if your desired subject has one.
The wings are each moulded in upper and lower halves with clear landing lights and wingtip navigation lights. Each wing has 3 two-piece flap track fairings. There is some structural detail in the wheel wells. Some may be added if you wish but they are fairly small, and your work may not be seen. The A350's distinctive swooping winglets are moulded with the wing halves.
The tailplanes are two piece mouldings. There are substantial tabs to mount them, and they may be left off for painting and decalling.
The engines are quite convincing little models in their own right. They're made up of a seamless intake, two piece interlocking fan, two piece hot section, fan cowls, separate intake ring and a very nice exhaust cone which traps between the rear of the hot section parts. Separate vortex generators attach to the fan cowlings.
The landing gear struts and wheels are finely moulded and nicely detailed. They could use some brake lines and whatever else the modeller likes, but will look good without them. The wheels themselves are properly thick and the detail moulded into the hubs is very good. There is an option for raised gear, and a substantial stand is provided. As with all 1/144 kits, the gear doors are overly thick and may be replaced if the modeller wishes although Revell has made an effort to get the door edges thin and they have nice mounting tabs.
I don't compare models to drawings or published measurements. When assembled it looks like an A350
Decals and markings
Markings are provided for Airbus' house scheme for the first prototype. The colour callouts are generic, but sufficient for a beginner to make a convincing model. No window decals are offered for those modellers who prefer them, although silver outlines are offered. Modellers wishing to do an airline scheme will need to resort to aftermarket. The usual aftermarket companies offer several different schemes. The decal sheet has a very nice selection of stencils which may be used to supplement any aftermarket sheet.
This kit was the first boxing by Revell. Subsequent boxings have offered Lufthansa's old and new liveries.
The real thing:
The first A350-900
prototype shortly after taking off from the Airbus factory airfield.
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