The Airbus 340 is a competitor to the Boeing 777 and 747 on long range international flights. It was introduced into airline service in 1993, and variants continue to be built. It is offered in 4 fuselage lengths; the original -300, the shorter -200 and the stretched -500 and -600 which required a larger wing and more powerful engines. First impressions
Crisp and clean. Little to moderate flash, no sink marks. What flash there is may be easily cleaned up except for some of the tiny parts where the challenge is to hold the part while you're cleaning it without it going *spung* off into the lair of the carpet monster. Fine scribed lines that are out of scale for 1/144 but will still look good under a coat of paint. Panel lines match up very nicely.Fuselage
The fuselage is two halves from nose to tail. The cabin windows are open, with no clear parts provided for them. Either fill them or Krystal clear/Clearfix them; decal film just won't do it. No interior detail is provided, and the small windows would render any interior redundant anyway. The cockpit windows are the old-fashioned Airfix style strip, which makes getting them to fit properly without either breaking or falling into the fuselage something of a challenge. The panel lines are nicely engraved and match up well. The APU exhaust is left open, which means that one may look right through the fuselage. It should be filled with a small blocked off piece of tube to prevent the see-through effect. If the windows are left open, the interior should be painted black to prevent the model from looking toy-like. Revell advises that 15g of nose weight will be required. Rarely for 1/144, there is a cockpit interior provided, although it is moulded in one piece. Very little of it will be visible through the cockpit windows but it does prevent the see-through look. The nose and centre line main gear wells are supposed to be assembled before closing the fuselage. Revell would have you assemble the entire length of the strut, but this leaves it vulnerable to breakage during assembly. Since the struts are made in two halves, I recommend leaving the lower half off until final assembly. The main wheel wells are almost featureless, but since they will be covered by their doors, it doesn't matter. Revell chose to mould the lower portion of the wing-to-fuselage fairing as a separate piece, which causes a few alignment problems. The exit door immediately aft of the wing is too large. Its outline should be filled in and the correct sized decal used. The decal sheet offers optional decals for this door; one to fit the outline, and one which is accurately sized. The modeller is left with the choice of which one to use.Wings
The wings are in two halves with separate tips. The tips are a simple butt joint which is not very strong. They should be drilled and pinned to prevent them from snapping off later on. The flap actuator fairings are in two pieces each, which leaves several seams to fill on each wing. Their locations are clearly marked on the lower wing surface. There is some detail in the wheel wells.Empennage
The tailplanes are two piece mouldings that fit fairly well but still need glue. Leave them off until final assembly to facilitate decalling. Engines
The A-340 is the largest aircraft powered by CFM-56 engines. The kit engines are very nicely done, being made up of two cowl/strut halves, intake fan, turbine fan and exhaust cone. The instructions don't mention them, but Airbus was forced to apply a bulged aerodynamic fairing “plastron” inboard of the outboard engine struts. These are included in the mouldings and it is an easy task to place them properly. They are quite thin and prone to melting from excessive glue application. The more slanted edge should be facing forward. They are barely visible in this photo between the last flap actuator fairing and the outboard engine pylon although the wide angle lens distorts their shape:http://www.airliners.net/photo/Lufthansa/Airbus-A340-313X/1949094/L/&sid=5f5eadf73ca086f34853a88fcc7c392dLanding gear
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. There is an option for raised gear, but no stand is provided. As with all 1/144 kits, the gear doors are overly thick and may be replaced if the modeller wishes.Accuracy
I don't compare models to drawings or published measurements. When assembled it looks like an A-340. Decals and markings
The decal sheet is very complete, with lots of stencils and multiple choices. Revell's decals have lately been drawn by Danny Coremans of Daco Products. You get the level of detail commonly found in the better aftermarket sheets right in the box. This kit offers Austrian's OE-LAL as it was painted to promote the Vienna Symphony, and a very plain Scandinavian Air Services aircraft. I have a feeling that most people will build the symphony. If you don't like the kit decals there are many different choices provided by the aftermarket industry.
Bra.Z models offers conversion kits to make the larger -500 and -600 versions. These use the nose, tail and landing gear of the original kit and not much else.