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FTX: EU Wales
For FSX/P3D Published by Orbx
Reviewed by Kevin Firth
November 2013

FTX Wales is the second volume of detailed regional scenery in the Europe series from Orbx and follows on from Orbx FTX: EU England. It covers a much smaller area, but with some of the most beautiful and scenic locations in the UK, so it has some district challenges to face.

I have to admit, I was apprehensive about reviewing an Orbx regional scenery product because I have always exclusively used photo scenery and so this was a bit of a departure for me in terms of my usual scenery choices. I know what to expect from a scenery product of this type and, to be honest, I was not expecting to find myself feeling terribly positive about it. Well, I surprised even myself, because I shattered some of my preconceptions and I really like FTX Wales. Why? How has FTX Wales charmed its way into my scenery library? Read on to find out.

Advertised Product Features

The product blurb offers us the following goodies:
    ● over 20.780 sq km of FTX scenery;
    ● brand new beautiful ground textures;
    ● new features made from local photographs;
    ● roads, rivers, coastlines, lakes, and railways;
    ● payware quality EGFF Cardiff included free;
    ● 10m custom mesh for crisp definition;
    ● all major and many minor airports upgraded;
    ● custom Welsh objects and vegetation;
    ● numerous polygon landclass areas; and
    ● handcrafted landclass for the entire region.

See the screen shot showing the area covered by FTX Wales and the range of landmarks included in the scenery.



FTX Wales installed quickly and easily on my system. As is usual with Orbx products, it installed itself into my scenery library automatically. I like to manage my scenery entries using SceneryConfigEditor so I can easily switch between different scenery configurations and quickly make different scenery types enabled or disabled in the scenery library. The installation process forced me to restore my previous 'cfg' file and manually add the FTX Wales entries, otherwise I would have lost all the grouping data for scenery added using SceneryConfigEditor. This is not a negative aspect of the scenery itself (and as most people are aware, adding scenery in manually is pretty easy) but end users should be aware they may have a little extra work to do.


All the major airports across Wales are included in the scenery. As you can see from some of the screenshots, they are not as massively detailed as standalone payware airports, but you would not expect them to be in the base FTX region. They are accurately depicted in default textures, as I checked each one against Google Earth. The buildings are not accurately detailed with bespoke models, but they do provide a good representation of what is there and are a significant improvement on what is included with default FSX. There are animated people walking around, not to your usual PeopleFlow standard, but certainly much more life than default. You also have static aircraft and vehicles, they are basic models but, again, a step up from standard FSX.

EGCT Tilstock

EGCK Caernarfon

EGNR Hawarden

EGCV Sleap

EGCW Welshpool

EGFA West Wales

EGDX St Athan 1

EGDX St Athan 2

EGFE Haverfordwest

EGFP Pembrey

EGOD Llanbedr


EGOS Shawbury

EGOV Valley

Selection of Towns and Cities






Port Talbot

Detailed Scenery Representation

As part of my review, I flew around the Welsh coast. There were quite a number of familiar places that brought back memories of family holidays in the area. As I came across significant locations, I checked the accuracy of the detailed representation against the real world. Whilst there were a few things that could be improved on, I was pleasantly surprised by how good it looked and how some of my preconceptions were dispelled. Here is the good and the not so good areas.

The Good. The vector accuracy of the coastline is very good and true to life. It is a massive improvement on default FSX.



Ynys Llanddwyn

The road network is, mostly, well laid out. All the major routes are represented in a way that facilitates VFR navigation. One slight drawback you may hardly notice in reality is bridges at motorway junctions. They are not always included as extrusion bridges which leads to FSX road traffic travelling over them. One really good example is the coast road in North Wales near Conwy.

Motorway Road Junction

Nice Tunnels and Road near Conwy

Larger land features, such as open mines, are fairly accurate in their location and useable for navigation. Obviously, the textures are generic but they do adequately convey the impression of being there. One notable exception is the historic Parys Mountain copper mine near Amlwch in Anglesey. This just did not seem to be there.


No Parys Copper Mine

Many bridges are represented in this scenery, some with bespoke models, and most with extrusion bridges. These give a good representation of the area and really enhance the believability of the scenery. It would be extremely difficult to include absolutely every bridge but there were enough there in all the major locations. Could more have been included? Of course, but I think a good balance has been achieved here.

Newport Bridge Heaven

More bridges

Just two good examples are around Cardiff, where just about anything off ground level looks to be there, including Chirk Viaduct.


Brittania and Menai Bridges

Chirk Viaduct

The positioning of caravan parks seems very good. Even if not 100% accurate, their physical position and coverage is accurate and assists navigation if you know an area reasonably well. Wind farm placement seems to be excellent. As I was flying along near Pendine, I spotted some turbines and checked their location, they were spot on.

Accurate Windfarm Placement

Industrial areas seemed well defined. When you look at built up areas from altitude, it is easy to spot industrial zones because of their larger flatter rectangular roofs. Looking at Google Earth alongside the scenery, virtually every noticeable industrial area was represented. I did spot one area northwest of Cardiff which looked a little strange. It is a large rectangular area with a few buildings on it and it looks a little out of place. However, checking Google Earth reveals it is there and the shape and those buildings are pretty accurate.

Industrial Areas

Strange Land

Disused airfields are represented as well as active ones. All you get is a grey base texture, but they are sufficient to be able to identify the features and assist navigation.

The Not So Good. Sandy beaches are not especially well depicted. I spotted a range of locations I know well where the sand Is not as extensive as it is in real life.


Caldey Island

There are a few areas where the scenery is just plain wrong. For example, around the Port Talbot steelworks, there are chimneys and a cylinder sitting in green fields. A cursory look at what is really there reveals an industrial landscape which is the complete opposite of the green fields. Perhaps this is just one that slipped through the quality control net and while I would not expect every last detail to be 100% accurate I would expect such a significant feature to be better.

Port Talbot Steelworks Missing 1

Port Talbot Steelworks Missing 2

Port Talbot Steelworks Missing (Google Earth)

There are some wobbles around the representation of port areas. The scenery around Barry is inaccurate as it shows housing all round the docks. Swansea looks a little barren for my liking, although the vector outline of the docks are very accurate and, in truth, there isn't much there. Holyhead is an average match for real life, but while I do not expect a brilliant match, I was left with the feeling that it just was not as good a depiction as it could have been.


Swansea and Docks


A small minority of the vector boundaries look overly harsh, simplistic and straight to me. I think it would have been more realistic if they had been slightly more refined. That said, I am having to be picky here, and the overwhelming majority are well defined.

Landclass Accuracy

I struggled to see exactly where there was any difference between the autogen buildings in FTX Wales and FTX: EU England. They appear to be very much the same to me, but I cannot say it bothered me in the slightest. Portmeirion, where 'The Prisoner' was filmed, does not even merit representation at all.

No Portmeirion
Points of Interest

A number of landmarks have been modelled in 3-D and there are a few castle models included.

Caernarfon Castle

Conwy Castle

Harlech Castle

Flint Bridge and Connahs Quay

Liberty Stadium

Rhuddlan Castle

Smalls Lighthouse

St David's Cathedral

I am not sure how Orbx chose which landmarks to model, but I think more could have been done – it is not as if there is a shortage to choose from. However, there are some freeware models of other notable Wales castles available on the web. Some more freeware Welsh castles scenery can be found at Cinema Detectives Flight Simulation.

The oil terminals at Milford Haven are a good representation of the facilities there. They could have been better though, as there are some oil tanks in fields. Either the tanks are in the wrong place or the boundaries of some of the oil installation scenery areas could have been better defined.

Milford Haven 1

Milford Haven 2

One interesting place I know from times spent around there is Manorbier Air Defence Range. It just is not shown, nor is the road leading to it. There are just a few grey strips depicting this in the scenery, but nothing else. Whilst it is a Ministry of Defence installation, it is not that secret.

Manorbier Air Defence Range (FSX)

Manorbier Air Defence Range (Google Earth)

Another point of interest I recognised was the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. It is shown in the scenery, which is great, but the model seemed just a little bit cartoonish to me.

Pontcysyllte Acqueduct

Snowdonia is a wonderful scenic environment but I just did not always get the full sense of natural beauty I get from often walking there. Some of the textures just did not seem right to me. In one location there appeared to be a landclass error with farmland and fields halfway up a mountain. The issues are not so numerous, but having spotted them, I did not always feel like I was really there. On the plus side however, the mesh included with this scenery does show off the impressive terrain in this part of the world far better than default FSX.


Snowdon Low
EGFF Cardiff

One of the main features of FTX Wales is the inclusion of a full, payware quality, version of EGFF Cardiff. The claims made in this respect are well justified. Made for Orbx by 29Palms, Cardiff is a great example of how good detailed major airports can be. There is a fabulous ground poly, which is extremely well detailed and very convincing.

EGFF Overview

EGFF GA area

Around the airport the detail continues. There are quite a few visual points of reference modelled, as well as the nearby residential area being included in the photo real area. This makes flying in and out of EGFF a beautiful experience as maximum immersion is maintained and not spoiled by obviously missing features.

EGFF Cardiff Landmarks

EGFF Cardiff Visual Features

The included photo real area is of a good size, extending somewhat outside the airport boundary. It is well blended into the surrounding landclass and more than sufficient. The airport buildings and facilities are extremely convincing. The level of detail is very high and the texturing is top class. I wanted to spend more time on the ground at Cardiff just looking at it.

EGFF Main Terminal

The seasonal textures are good too and they convey just the right sense of the time of year to be believable.

EGFF Spring

EGFF Summer

EGFF Autumn

EGFF Winter

A nice touch are the plane spotters at the end of the runway.

EGFF Approach

Not being a particular fan of this type of scenery product, before looking at FTX Wales, I admitted I was not expecting to be blown away. The characteristics of a detailed scenery product like this are well known, but this is not a comparison or debate with photo real scenery. The accuracy of the scenery overall was mostly excellent, albeit with a couple of fairly significant errors. I was much, much more impressed with the scenery than I expected to be, and will definitely use it at times when flying. The real illustration for me was before I reviewed this scenery I had never purchased any Orbx regions, but I certainly will now for certain types of flying.

The scenery looks very believable and good quality from distance and from shallow angles, where it is not possible to see the detail of the underlying terrain texture. At steeper angles, closer to the aircraft, conflicts become much more apparent e.g. between the vector roads / railways and the underlying textures. This is just an inherent feature of this type of scenery. Some people are ok with it, some people do not like it.

General Landclass View

Landclass Urban Environment

FTX: EU Wales can be purchased as a download for £19.30 from the Flightsim Store. For Wales itself, even though it is a fairly small country, this is only just a little more than the price for an airport scenery add-on and you also get an excellent rendition of EGFF with the product. Consequently, it should be seen as very competitive and good value for money.

 Verdict:   silver
• Scenery Coverage: 9.0/10
• Level of Detail: 8.0/10
• Quality of Buildings: 9.0/10
• Performance: 10/10
• Documentation: 10/10
• Value for Money: 10/10
Mutley’s Hangar score of 9.4/10, "Highly recommended" and a Mutley's Hangar Silver Award.