This aircraft was delivered to Korean Air in December 2012 and is the lowest operational seat capacity so far in service with 407, (a record that was due to pass to Skymark Airlines of Japan who’d chosen 388, though they will now never take delivery following Airbus cancelling their order for non-payment). Korean chose the path of making the A380 a desirable aircraft in all three of its classes and load factors support the decision it made – passengers make a conscious choice to fly the A380 when the option is available. The first and economy classes are on the lower deck with business class on the upper.
The box is huge item for 1:400, a cardboard outer surrounds a heavy white interior box which has inside it two heavy foam protective moulds supporting the model. A first class level of packaging spoilt only by the fact the front print is white, and it doubles up as the box for Apollo’s British Airways version. A print of the Korean Air version is on the opposite side.
1) Main Fuselage
This enormous aircraft – and I have to say that while it’s not the prettiest aircraft in the world, it is an engineering masterpiece and simply awe-inspiring, especially when seen in the real metal as I was again lucky enough to do at Farnborough and recently at Heathrow and San Francisco. The body is fist class on this model, completely faultless, a tour de force of what Witty/Apollo have been able to achieve and it outclasses anything Gemini or anyone else have put their minds too. The print and layout are sublime, it excites me to look at the detail, the quality and the overall appearance are why I don’t mind paying the best part of £40 (€50/USD$68/CAD$74/AUD$73) for it.
The huge Engine Alliance units are beautifully fitted and aligned, with the awesome full view Hi-Bypass fans being see through all the way down the engine core. This is wonderful detail that nobody else even seems to aim for. The paint, colours, graphics, detail are all first class and a credit to Apollo.
3) Landing Gear
Painted metal with detailed struts and hydraulics, fully rolling wheels. All the bogies tilt although the rear port side is a little stiff. Excellent detail and it really adds to the quality of the model overall.
4) Tail fin and stabilisers
All as they should be, tight assembly, quality graphics – in fact exceptionally good graphics, up close they show little sign of pixelating.
5) Wings and underbody.
For once there is exactly the right amount of paint and detail. The Apollo logo is a little large. It does come with its own plastic stand inside the grey foam case and it just fits on the Gemini metal arm if needed.
The colours are the standard ones in use since the year 2000, and that’s what makes this A380 worth having – its one of the few – in fact I think its the only one that has no white as the base colour – indeed other than the logo/national flag there is no white on the whole aircraft and it looks awesome for it.
7) Overall score – we start at 10.
And have to stay there, this is an utterly wonderful model, simply worth every penny or cent or pound or dollar! The detail is everything I hope to see, the quality first-rate and more, in fact it’s probably the best overall model I own. The question I have though is it because of the scale – it’s such a large aircraft does that make it easier to model to such a high standard? Or is it that simply by trying, by using the best techniques, great research and quality parts, a superb job can be achieved? All manufacturers can be hit and miss, Witty/Apollo have more hits than misses by a wide margin. More people should be looking at this level of quality and not forever just flying into the arms of an undeserving Gemini Jets. I still buy Gemini when its something I really want, but every time of late I have never been ecstatic about the model. They are OK – if that, some are frankly abysmal. Yet this restores my faith that Gemini will have to up its game to compete. They want the same money for less than this in terms of every reference you can come up with.
Sadly since this was first written Witty/Apollo have gone out of business – it’s believed the moulds were sold to JCWings – This is a sad day indeed.
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