Virgin Atlantic 787-9 G-VNEW Phoenix 1:400 December 2014 Release

Virgin Atlantic 787-9 G-VNEW Phoenix 1:400 December 2014 Release Item 11024

The truly superb Phoenix version of 787-9 G-VNEW
The truly superb Phoenix version of 787-9 G-VNEW

This finally arrived today, January 5th. Little has provided more anticipation than how this new aircraft would be manufactured and it’s dependence on the quality of the paint finish – which I’ve discussed before on this blog – would make or break it.

Phoenix it seems must have been reading my words. I knew as soon as I took it out of the box that finally, someone had seen the light and duplicated the paint process to provide the first ever 1:400 scale Virgin Atlantic 2010 livery exactly as it should be – I am in fact completely blown away by the stupendous effort that has been made here. It works, not only does it work, it’s accurate, and has exactly the same effect on the model as it does in real life. I am really quite excited that finally it’s been achieved, it looks so amazing.

The box isn’t too bad either – I don’t think Virgin Atlantic’s corporate marketing people would be too thrilled, but it’s quite inoffensive and neat.

G-VNEW known as Birthday Girl for VS’s 30th Birthday (replacing the fact G-VFAB had been Birthday Girl from the 25th birthday, and flies that extraordinary tail livery, but is now back to being Lady Penelope for the short time she has left with the airline). The 787-9 also has a new type of “lady” on the nose which is a new departure for Virgin. there are 15 of these on order and I expect to see more ordered, probably the 787-10. At the time of writing G-VAHH had just been delivered. G-VNEW was delivered in October and after extensive training flights around the UK, went into service on the Atlanta and Boston routes. Plans have been announced to deploy them to Shanghai, Los Angeles, Washington, New York, Boston and Atlanta. Their arrival will see the end of the A343 fleet – the last of the remaining 3 will be withdrawn on October 24th 2015.


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1) Main Fuselage

We saw how amazing the Phoenix 787-9 mould is as far back as the ANZ version in May 2014 and this is every bit as good. The two rear aerials are mounted precisely, indeed they seem more refined, slimmer and better fixed, as does the forward aerial and the rear underbody one.

There are two domes on the Virgin 787-9, a small one above door 3 (which is part of the fuselage mould) and a large one behind door 2. This is the weak part of the model, the dome has been pushed in to place, it’s even painted a different shade of white as it should be  (you can’t put metallics over the dome it interferes with the radio signals), yet the thing just doesn’t sit quite right on the body, it’s a very minor flaw, we’re talking about 0.05mm here, but it is a visible minor distraction.

The process used for the fuselage paint to get it to be accurate, well who knows? It must be that Phoenix found out how to do it and did it. I just cannot tell you what pleasure this sort of precision and effort gives me. It’s what we pay for and Phoenix have delivered. The fine print of the detail on the body and the logo position and quality/colour are exemplary.

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2) Engines

These are Rolls Royce Trent 1000’s and they look excellent. The paint colour of the Candy Apple Red is deeply lustrous and superbly finished. The overall impression and fitting of the engines is that to the naked eye they look spot on accurate and they do, they really do. The colour accuracy is a revelation and just looks awesome. The fan colouring is also right on the mark with excellent detail and a superb titanium finish that looks highly realistic. If we could just have the see through fans like on the A350 this would be the ultimate finishing touch.

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3) Landing Gear

Painted metal with detailed struts and hydraulics, fully rolling wheels. The bogies are fixed in position. The wheel-tyre combination is excellent and looks superb. It’s just a pity the set up is so rigid, but really that’s just a preference rather than a complaint. The nose gear is also excellent and no problems this time (I refer to the fact they fell off on the Royal Jordanian).

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4) Tail fin and stabilisers

This is another major part of the livery for any airline, but the lustrous Candy Apple Red looks awesome here and reflects the light and depth just as the real thing does. Just wonderful.

5) Wings and underbody.

The fine layers of paint have given a neat and refined finish to the model as a whole. The under wings are not rampant with detail, but what is there is precise and fine, exceptionally neat to behold. There is a Phoenix logo and the hole for a stand easily fits the standard Gemini thin arm type. The Virgin Atlantic logo is exquisitely printed.

6) Colours

This is the crowing glory of this model, have no doubt. It is a superbly done paint job, the very best Virgin Atlantic paint on any diecast model I have ever seen. In fact it’s so good the others look embarrassingly bad now. Apollo came so close with G-VROC but this is it, at last a defining champion and proof that it can be done.

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7) Overall score – we start at 10.

Despite one very tiny issue with that dome, I have to give this model the 10/10 it deserves. There is no denying it, the colour issue has been resolved, once and for all we have a model that really does live up the strap line “as real as it gets”. Phoenix have done a superb job, they really have. I am so impressed with it. It’s taken manufacturers years to get this right and here we are at last, with it as it should be. Truly awesome. An essential part of any collection, just amazing.

Once the Gemini version arrives I’m planning on it’s own review followed by a direct comparison with the Phoenix.

The superb Phoenix G-VNEW at RLSI
The superb Phoenix G-VNEW at RLSI


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