This model is of TAP Portugal’s A330-200 CS-TON (named ‘Joao XXI’ after a dead pope) in service since February 2008. TAP (Transportes Aéreos Portugueses) models are few and far between and tend to sell for a great deal of money second hand. At £27 (US$42.50) it seemed high time to get one before this airline, long missing from the collection finally made an appearance. It comes in a very nice white box – unusually restrained for JC Wings!
The JC Wings version of this mould I’ve compared in the past to the Phoenix version and the nose is wrong, being too pointed, but it’s not the end of the world. This model has three of the now almost compulsory aerials, two up top and one below which should be painted red as its the ice prevention heater for the sink waste water, but isn’t. The overall white paint is well finished. The overlapping TAP logo is quite hard to reproduce and from a normal eyesight perspective it’s very neatly done, just a couple of odd red spots out of place but nothing noticeable to the naked eye. All of the small detail, door handles and so on that Gemini seem to want to hand paint with a 5 inch brush (I might be exaggerating slightly, but you get the point), is excellently applied with the latest technology so it’s beautifully detailed and finely printed.
The General Electric CF6-80E1A4B engines are excellent moulds. They are strikingly different to the CFM’s more often specified on an A330. The nacelle, exhaust and paint are all very good, the pylons neat and the engines well fitted. The intake paint is excellent quality with no blobs, over large silver particles in the metallic or other unsightly distractions. Frequent readers will now that I cannot abide bad engine paint and this is really as good as it goods for this size of engine. Well done JCW!
3) Landing Gear
Painted metal with detailed struts and hydraulics, fully rolling wheels and the bogies tilt but only very slightly. Excellent wheels, everything is to scale and quite superb. No messy glue or stupid plastic garbage here. Even the tyres are excellent – really neat and well finished – some Gemini and even some Phoenix have been let’s say, rough, at times and the annoying thing is there’s not much you can do about them, but these are very good.
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 but there is a little bit of rough paint around the edges, but again, not a bother from the naked eye test. A good job all round.
5) Wings and underbody.
JC Wings continue to use the cradle wing system. My argument against this system is it produces inaccurate models. Have a look yourself at what the wing root looks like on the real thing and on the model underneath, the back-end isn’t even vaguely right. Done properly as it is here they seem to offer more under-wing detail. The downside is the gaps, no matter how well done, at the back of the cradle.
The trouble is with this method that it has to have some leeway or it cannot fit so a gap is inevitable. However the positives here vastly outweigh the negatives. These are really well done, a great deal of precision and they fit to a degree that’s probably around 98% accurate – as good as its possible to get with this way of doing things. The hole is suitable for the standard Gemini metal thin arm stand.
Standard white body with red and green reflecting the Portuguese national flag, all crisp and neat with almost impossible to see minor blurring a couple of small areas, but nothing to see with the naked eye.
7) Overall score – we start at 10.
The main problem I have with the JC Wings version of the A330 is the overall mould is wrong, but not so wrong as to be annoying or unrecognisable, far from it. This model is a really great effort, for those who can see past any small flaws or general perceptions this is a superb model. It isn’t top of the class however but it is getting there. JC Wings certainly sit above Gemini but below Phoenix – a new mould and some minor refinements and we could well find they are at the top of the tree.
So out of 10 – the mould shape is an issue for me so it’s only going to be a 9 – but it’s very very good for what it is and the price paid. I’d recommend it completely.