Air China 747-8i B-2485 1:400 Phoenix 10994 October 2014 Release

The mighty Air China Boeing 748i
The mighty Air China Boeing 748i

Air China 747-8i B-2485 1:400 Phoenix 10994 October 2014 Release

This model is on my compulsory list – all passenger versions of the 748i are. With Lufthansa having slashed its order from 25 to 19 and then declared they were only suitable for ten years of service, few others have taken them on. Korean Air is taking 10, Air Air China 4, TransAero 4 and Arik Air 4. Other than the 3 or 4 in private hands and the possibility that it may well be used as the next Air Force One, only the freighter version is selling in any viable numbers. None the less it is still a lovely aircraft and this particular version has something of the oddity about it in Air China livery.  Air China is the Peoples Republic of China original state airline and the livery with its communist flag, blue coach lines and grey lower section has something of the 1950’s about it. It amuses me to think that the arch communist flies about in the aircraft of the ultimate capitalist. Indeed one could argue there is noting more symbolic of American Capitalism than a 748i. In this livery it’s like the past and the future have been merged in some incongruous and almost unbelievable parody. A sign of our times.

This model was not available in the UK in any great numbers and was sold out, even though I’d ordered it the suppliers supplier failed to order enough (or likely was allocated fewer than he asked for). I had to send to Hong Kong for it from Benedict Lee (demographer-X on eBay). It duly arrived in 8 days and was not even a tad disappointing. Something about it is special. Officially a 747-89Li, it was only recently delivered to Air China.

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1) Main Fuselage

This is a beautiful mould, well made and of the finest quality again, Phoenix seem to be leading the way these days. Supposedly one of just 500 produced (does anyone believe this?) the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental is an elegant aircraft. There are three aerials on the roof, all seeming to be fixed quite well in place. The graphics and detail are once again the very best with a precise clarity that sings quality. The whole model looks and feels top notch. The tiniest details seem to have been been applied with the presiscion of a surgical laser and you feel like you’ve got value for money, maybe even something special.

2) Engines

Four Rolls Royce Trent 1000’s power this aircraft and they are extremely good on this model. The fan blades and casing paint has the right colouration of titaniums and silvers, the nacelles are faultless and they are mounted with care and high levels of accuracy. A pleasure to look at and see how it’s done. Gemini take note.

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3) Landing Gear

Wonderfully detailed, metal and painted, the central sets move at the body slightly but the other sets are fixed, which I can appreciate because of the nice open-door detail.

4) Tail fin and stabilisers

Extremely fine and well made, again that precision seems to be on a now familiar level. Just perfectly neat and as they should be.

5) Wings and underbody.

The wings are push-in and elegant, not a drop of excess paint, a little low on detail but really that’s being picky. The top of the wings are fine, its underneath they need a little more.

6) Colours

Spot on. No complaints. I mean getting your own National Airline wrong would be a bit bad now wouldn’t it? Never mind possibly dangerous.

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7) Overall score – we start at 10.

10/10 A great model, another fine example of what Phoenix seem determined to achieve – they seem to want to produce the best and they are. As good as Witty Wings were not a few short months ago, never mind setting the marker higher and higher for Gemini Jets.

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