- Published on Saturday, 07 January 2012 00:02 James Hatch
1:400 Cruise Liner Aida
Catalogue # 05200
No doubt many folk will have heard of that bastion of British cruise companies, P&O. P&O are owned by an Anglo-American company called Carnival PLC, who, being the world's largest cruise operator, also own some lesser known cruise lines in other countries. One of these lines is Aida Cruises, who are a German operator, but sail some of the most modern, beautifully designed ships currently offering this type of holiday. Cruise holidays are all about luxury, ambience, gastronomy and ship features, and the Aida line are more than stepping up to the mark with their newer ships. These ships, which are described as 'Sphinx Class', include the following:
- AIDAmar (expected in 2012)
This class of ship, built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, caters to the younger end of the cruise market. With a tonnage of between 69,200 and 71,300 tons, Sphinx Class is designed to carry around 2100 passengers, and 600+ crew. The large glass section amidships is a glass walled and roofed Theatrium/nightclub, whilst the type also boasts over a thousand staterooms (around 2/3 with their own balconies), almost a dozen bars. One ship, the AIDAluna has an outdoor LED screen on the upper deck, plus a 4D cinema with moving seats. This is a very European style of cruise ship, but which now operates on most cruise routes worldwide, from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean. Having sailed P&O myself, I would be very tempted to try the AIDA line, and especially the AIDAluna.
I don't know whether it's Revell's intention to try to secure the most shelf space in model shops, but this is yet another release which comes in a VERY large box akin to the Schlingman Fire Engine and the new Routemaster London Bus. The RRP of this model is about £5 to £10 more than the London Bus, despite there not being the same quantity of plastic in the box. That is my first impression though.
That large box for Revell's 1:400 AIDA depicts the AIDAluna with its prominent LED screen amidships. The artwork isn't of the best quality, but the AIDA logo on the box lid may go some way to explain the slightly, in my opinion, high price of this kit. I'm thinking some hefty licensing here, but I might be wrong.
Opening the lid, we immediately see that the large hull halves are placed diagonally across the box, and supported on a card try which securely holds them. Lifting the hull and removing the card tray, we find SEVEN bags of sprues containing FOUR sprues of clear plastic and FOURTEEN sprues of white plastic, not including the sprue-free display stand base. That disparity goes to show that we have many sprues bagged together, and that there isn't much in the way of individual bagging to protect your purchase. Three of the clear sprues, for example, are stuffed into one bag. For an RRP of around £50, I would have expected more from this release.
Ok, gripes over now. I'll take a look at what looks to be a very promising release on first inspection.
This isn't a model which you'll be able to build quickly, and both properly at the same time. The kit comprises over 370 parts, and includes a display stand as well as a very comprehensive decal sheet which will transform the finished build.
Features of this kit are:
- Option to build AIDAdiva, AIDAbella or AIDAluna
- Two-piece hull with many structural details
- Imitation bow and stern jet vane
- 2 side stabilisers that can be folded out
- 6 tenders, 10 lifeboats, 2 speedboats
- Filigree railings
- Transparent balustrades for the outer cabins and upper deck superstructures
- Reproduction of glazed theatrium
- Structural details of sun decks with swimming pools and parasols
- LED screen for AIDAluna
- Detailed funnel with stamped on AIDA lettering
- Wellness suite with adjustable glass dome
- Detailed signal mast
- Display stand
- Extensive decals
The hull halves are quite impressive in their size and detail. As well as incorporating the drag-reducing bulbous bow, the two bow thrusters are moulded in situ, with one of these being sat in each hull half. The purpose of these is to pull and push water through the forward hull in order to steer the bow, or to assist in leaving and entering dock. Other hull detail incorporates small outer cabin portholes, and some of the larger cabin windows on the deck above, plus railings and some nice hawse detail. Here, the anchor is moulded in situ, so there is no chance to show it deploying. The interior of the hull also has channels moulded so that the various structural stiffeners can be located.
The stern thrusters are included as a separate assembly which locates to the ships underside at the same time that the propeller shafts, propellers and rudders are installed. I might consider assembling these to the hull when construction is more advanced though, in order to lessen the risk of damage to them. It's at this point where the instructions suggest that you assemble the various tenders and life preservation vessels. There are EIGHTEEN of these too which consist of nothing more than two or three parts each, but look very good. The upper parts are moulded in clear plastic so you may mask off any windows yourself before spraying. This certainly is better than having to fit the windows individually, but you aren't supplied with masks. You must do this tedious job yourself.
Before progressing to the upper decks, the ships stabilisers need to be fitted from within the hull. These are positionable too. These relatively small wings (although large in reality!) would be automatically deployed when the sea reached a certain swell, and the movement of them would be tuned automatically by on-board computer systems.
This is a model which really needs to be painted both externally and internally whilst assembly progresses, or access to some of the most obvious locations would become very limited. The modeller also needs to apply various decals as the decks are laid and the side deck walls are constructed. With the lower full constructed fully, the promenade deck can be installed and painted/decaled as per instruction.
Two of the largest parts within the kit are the deck side-walls themselves. These are very intricate parts with many openings for the cabin windows etc. This means that the sprues for these are super think, presumably to allow extra plastic injection pressure. Some small ejector pin tabs need to be removed, plus numerous tabs used between delicate areas to strengthen the part whilst being moulded/ejected. One of these areas on my sample does have a very thin line of feathery plastic which needs to be sanded down, but this is only a minor niggle. You are best painting these walls at this stage, and then fitting the ancillary safety equipment and tender vessels/davits immediately afterwards.
With the walls completed, they are then assembled to the model, along with the forecastle deck. All of these are supported and strengthened by inner bulkheads too. Various glazed areas will need to be installed as you progress, so remember to think if you can paint something prior to assembly to the main hull. This is vital.
The AIDA has a mass of beautifully tiered decks with intermediate glazing between them, before subsequent main decks can be added. Check throughout for various decal application too.
The AIDA ships have a large swimming pool on the upper forward deck as part of the 'Wellness Suite', which is also tiered incorporates a weather roof. This roof can be positioned in either an open or closed position. The swimming pool too, like the others is represented by a decal. If you want a more realistic effect, then use a clear water/resin product, and tint it with a little clear blue colour.
The large theatrium/nightclub with its large glazed sidewalls and roof is quite spectacular. Within this area you can see small cantilever stairways and the decorative deck support walls. This kit really is an absolute joy to explore.
Various sports can be played on the upper ship decks, and Revell have included decals for these pitch markings too! The upper deck detail is quite intricate and amazing, with numerous staircases, glazings and crisply moulded rails et al. The sheer amount of glass installed will mean that you will no doubt see something different every time you take a look at the completed model. In amongst the glass, Revell have incorporated the various parasols on the different decks. In fact, my only real gripe here is that no deckchairs are included! That would be insane at this 1:400 scale.
In the later stages of construction, the sidewalls are fitted with the balcony glass, in strips along the various decks. Many other railings are also added at this juncture too in order to minimise any damage during construction.
You have to decide whether you wish to finish the ship at the AIDAluna at this stage too as this is the only ship of this Sphinx Class to have the huge LED screen on the upper deck. If you model one of the other vessels, then this screen is replaced by a glass rail.
Being a new-tool kit, then you would expect the mouldings to be perfect, and they are indeed very good. There is a little flash in some places, but I really think this is unavoidable when you take into account the complexity of the shapes being moulded here. I certainly do think that the quality of moulding is very good, and I can't criticise it to any further degree. The clear sprues have an excellent level of clarity, and nothing in the way of any real flash.
Revell's instructions are printed in typical style within a TWENTY-EIGHT page manual which contains EIGHTY-TWO constructional sequences. I find Revell's drawings clear and easy to follow, and various options are clearly highlighted. Paint instruction is given throughout assembly, with codes being for Revell paints, unsurprisingly. Decaling and exterior paint drawings are excellent with decals being easy to locate.
The decals themselves are printed on a single sheet measuring approx. 350mm x 175mm. The largest decals for the side eye and bow mouth motifs are supplied in pieces to aid application. As well as the sports pitch decals and numerous other markings, each tender also has the ships name applied. You really have your work cut out with these, but it should be a very pleasant experience. The decal sheet is printed in Italy, probably by Cartograf, and printing itself is reasonably thin and in perfect register, with perhaps a little more carrier film than I am used to. The decal colour is also solid and vibrant, as would befit a vessel such as this.
So what do we think?
If I had reviewed this kit towards the end of 2011, then I would have had to include this as one of my favourite kits of the year. Whilst the RRP of just under £50 is very reasonable, it is however a little expensive in relation to Revell's new London Bus, but nevertheless represents not only excellent value for money, but a building experience that really should excite you.
Very highly recommended.
Our sincere thanks to Revell UK for the review sample. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit www.revell.eu