This model is of China Airlines (Republic of China, based in Taipei, Taiwan) first 773, leased from GECAS and is part of a major fleet overhaul for the airline as it moves from older aircraft types like the 744 to twin engined and more efficient aircraft.
This includes 773’s and the Airbus A350. Delivered on 4th October 2014 she received a great deal of press publicity around the world for her interior fit. There is no first class, but a Premium Business Class with a more sophisticated bed-seat-mini-suite concept, then a more standard business class and a modern and pretty decent looking economy class. On top of that there is a conceptual “Tea Bar” and on board communications and wifi systems of the latest types available. I have to say its very Chinese old style made modern and has a sort of traditional yet sharply current look to it that made it deserving of the many positive comments and the large amount of coverage it garnered, especially compared to the Virgin Atlantic 787-9 which was launched almost at the same time, but gained very little coverage despite Virgin’s best efforts. Rather shows you how ‘old hat’ Richard Branson and his rock and roll style publicity for the airline seems to fall on deaf ears these days.
The fuselage is, in model terms, festooned with aerials and domes. There are 2 aerials at the rear by the tail and another aft of the forward comms dome, there is smaller comms dome aft of the wings on the roof. The heated waste water ‘aerial’ is underneath correctly painted red. I spent a lot of time looking at recent photographs of the aircraft and this model is stunningly accurate – all the tiny micro-detail is exactly where it should be and beautifully printed to the highest standards.
The General Electric GE90-115B engines are generally excellent moulds. Not the amazing see through Witty types, but almost as good, high levels of attention to detail. The paint is exceptionally fine, this is one of the great things about these newer Phoenix models, the level of sophistication and print quality is a whole new level and this is outstanding. However No.1 Engine (port side) has a bit of metal flashing that has remained on the top rear exhaust gas exit and has subsequently been painted – disappointing but not overly visible unless you look for it.
3) Landing Gear
Painted metal with detailed struts and hydraulics, fully rolling wheels and the bogies tilt for added reality! Excellent wheels, everything is to scale and quite superb. No messy glue or stupid plastic garbage here. The only downside is the bogies seem a little loose, but that’s nitpicking because there is nothing else to moan about!
4) Tail fin and stabilisers
They look so good and are so perfectly straight, flawlessly mounted, just as you would hope for, outstanding. Logos and paint detail are all highly accurate and crisp. The meihua (plum blossom) emblem of the Republic of China (Taiwan) (which is based on a 1600 year old tree that still flowers) is brilliantly reproduced and accurate.
5) Wings and underbody.
Phoenix pioneered the push-in wings and they work so well, better detail, quite above average for 2012 and now. The underbody is however too plain but with almost no detail at all. The standard Gemini stand fits perfectly.
The lavender and blues on white look as unique as they are. It’s quite a minimalist livery yet strangely attractive. Restrained modernity crossed with classical style.
7) Overall score – we start at 10.
If this is the future of model quality I am happy, very happy. It really is quite the most pleasing experience to open a box and not have to wonder what disaster is about to befall me and what semi-acceptable compromise has been made and I will have to live with.
Phoenix are rapidly making those days permanent history – this is another spectacularly good model, 95%.The 5 points are lost for the metal flashing on Engine 1. While it could do with a small amount of under-body print detail, it’s not the end of the world by a long way and the rest of it is so good it gives me immense pleasure every time I look at it.