The model is of PK-GSH, delivered in May 1994 to Garuda Indonesia, the nations state owned airline. Originally one of three, only GSH & GSG are still in service, GSF is at Victorville and the lifespan of theses 744’s is now very limited. She’s flown all the major international routes in her time as well as being used for the Haj Pilgrimage some years. What attracted me to it was not having many options for the regions airlines and Garuda’s latest livery is rather attractive. She’s fitted out in 24 business and 326 Economy seats and looks pretty amazing in the shot above taken at Jakarta in late 2012.
The model was £23 ($35US) from Hong Kong. I ordered it expecting it to be Witty branded as advertised. I’ve been wanting to try a 747 from the Apollo/Witty stable that wasn’t a Virgin Atlantic and this seemed like the best way of doing it cheaply without shelling out all the money a UK purchase would require – some £38 ($60+US) + postage. Apollo/Witty are exactly the same company and my supplier says he has no idea why they choose to brand some things Witty and others Apollo – it’s a mystery we may never know the answer to!
First impressions are around the packaging which is double branded for Apollo’s A13036 version which has the older tail fin only livery. A standard see-through box with a small black plastic stand is included. The box has well drawn and accurate “technical” images of both versions.
1) Main Fuselage
The colours for the body, the graphics and fonts are all excellent as is the standard of detail and print. The graphics though of Garuda Indonesia are really a bit too dark and should be a lighter grey. It seems they’ve used the older graphic grey rather than the new. The rest of the white and the detail thereon is well above what we’ve seen on may models in recent times and shows how good Apollo/Witty can be once again.
These are GE CF6-80C2B1F’s and they look very good. They hang well on the pylons, the nacelles are correct for detail as are the very neat exhaust cones. I would argue the excessively silver turbofans are a bit much – they aren’t silver in real life, but the paint is well applied and no sloppy mistakes are apparent with the outer nacelle edges being exceptionally neat.
3) Landing Gear
Painted metal with detailed struts and hydraulics, fully rolling wheels. Oddly the rear bogies tilt at the fuselage and the front ones don’t move. They are however prone to some initial leaching – they only have to sit on the foil an hour and permanent black tyre marks have appeared – Apollo is the only model maker I’ve had this happen with and this isn’t the first time.
4) Tail fin and stabilisers
All as they should be, nicely assembled, excellent, vibrant printed graphics.
5) Wings and underbody.
The detail has been swamped a little by the paint thickness. I don’t know why they feel the underbody seems to have so much paint on it when the upper surfaces are so neat. There is an Apollo logo in heavy black it could do without. You can, just force it a little bit, onto the standard Gemini metal arm stand without doing any damage. The mould for the underbody and wings is the cradle type – but unlike the Gemini versions where there can be gaps and holes you can fly a Cessna through, it’s tight and fitted and there is no visible light (example of how bad Gemini’s have been, you can see through the BA 773 G-STBA and the AA new livery version of N718AN).
With the exception of the too dark “Garuda Indonesia” the colours seems spot on. They are vibrant and look excellent, very very smart.
7) Overall score – we start at 10.
And we loose 1 point for the graphic colour being wrong. And another half for the excessive paint under the wings again. Otherwise its a very good, high quality model and well worth the price paid. It looks excellent on the diorama and I am very very pleased with it. 8.5/10