Model of the Year 2014

There is definitely an award required for model of the year. there have been some outstanding models, and some that don’t deserve to have even been packed in a box and shipped. Sadly most of those models were made by Gemini Jets whose spiral of qualitative decline seems to have continued as they produce high volumes of second and third rate models for premium prices. Meanwhile the loss of Witty/Apollo who seem to have only just gotten into their stride – with some of the finest A380, 787 and 737 moulds ever made was keenly felt by those who’d purchased them and saw Witty as the elite model make of the future. sadly they didn’t pay off the right people in the monolithic and corrupt bureaucracy that is Communist China, and were allegedly shut down for non-payment of taxes.

In the meantime, Phoenix who have always been expensive, seemed to continuously up there game. They adopted the same print process as Witty, revolutionising their offerings, improving details dramatically and came out with some of the best 787-9’s so far seen. Witty introduced the very large high bypass engine as a see-through multi-piece construction rather than the cheap and easy one piece mould. Phoenix have already followed suit introducing the same process on the new A350 models.

Gemini have gone from using Phoenix as a sub contractor on some models back to their own second rate ways, and the introduction of the long awaited E190 was a major disappointment – basically good, one engine was not even the same shape as the other and the paint was rough and poorly applied. The KLM version hasn’t been followed up with another since its launch 8 months ago. Gemini’s version of the 787-9 in Air New Zealand Livery was nothing like the standards achieved by Phoenix, the same way last year I sent back the JetStar 788 from Gemini because the paint on the engines was missing or poor, the colour was wrong and the whole thing was just a miserable misadventure. When the Witty arrived the standards were in stark positive contrast – extraordinary detail, refinement and the engines a dream.

So the nominations for this years models were simple to come up with:

No 5: Korean Air A380 by Apollo

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No 4: Cathay Pacific 773ER by JC Wings (reviewed on aviationdelightforum.com before this blog started)

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No 3: Qatar 787-8 by Witty Wings

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No 2: Singapore Airlines A350-900 by Phoenix

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All of the above were excellent in one way or another. The Korean Air A380 pipped the Witty Singapore A380 by a tiny amount. It’s a truly superb model (and makes the JC Wings Qatar version look pretty bad). JC Wings Cathay Pacific 773ER in the Hong Kong skyline livery was the best model I’ve ever seen from JCW and really superb. The Qatar 788 from Witty was just stupendously accurate and professional model, it ouzed quality from one end to the other.The Phoenix A350 of Singapore Airlines was a game changer for the company, introducing as it did see through engines, a new aircraft type (still haven’t seen Gemini make an A350 yet?), exquisite print and definition and a first class mould. Phoenix however subsequently proved with the Air China version, they can and do take their eyes off the ball. If they can overcome this failing, they will rout the opposition in quality in 2015.

Yet the winner at No 1 is unquestioningly a Phoenix model. it’s attention to detail on a complex and challenging livery in a difficult colour combination of starkly contrasted yet deeply detailed white on deep gloss black, the superb engines, finish and presentation all the way to the quality box, well it has to be the ANZ 787-9. Not just by a small margin either. It has universally been accepted as probably the finest livery and model aircraft this year. The number of times the review has been accessed on this site since I published it are 5 times more than any other – 2,589 page views by over 1,961 unique visitors for just that one model. As I said at the time, congratulations Phoenix, on the perfect, flawless model.

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