Air Bridge Cargo 747-8HVF VQ-BLQ Phoenix 10600 2014

If I admitted that I didn’t actually know I’d bought this and it turned up in the box from Amsterdam as something of a surprise would you believe me? It arrived with TF-MOM & DAD, The new livery Wizz A320 and several others. I couldn’t even remember looking at the model, never mind ordering it, but I have to say I wasn’t disappointed it was here, it was one of  those I’d meant to get and just not gotten around to.

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ABC is part of Volga-Dnepr Airlines and was founded in 1993 to cash in on the collapse of the Soviet Union. It now operates around the major cargo routes of the world with a mixed fleet of 748F and 744F as well a a recently added 733F for use inside Russia. I see them often when traveling via Frankfurt, over in the Cargo Centre.

The airline performs schedule flights from the major cities in Asia to the major European gateways, as well as from Asia to USA via it’s hub in Sheremetyevo. The current route network includes: Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Zaragoza, Milan, Paris, Leipzig, Munich, Malmo, Basel, Helsinki, Liege, Cologne; in Russia: Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Khabarovsk, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk; in Asia: Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Zhengzhou, Chengdu, Seoul, and Tokyo; and Chicago and Dallas in the USA.

As such it makes an ideal add-on to my own airport, RLSI. Truly international and long range works for me!

It’s a strangely simple yet attractive and distinctive livery. Blue on white with the wavy vertical meeting under the tail in a point, along with blue engines and the ABC logo white out of blue with the Air Bridge Cargo blue out of white. Sometimes things just work, often simplicity is key and this is both simple and effective.

Allegedly only 500 of this model were made, the real thing was delivered to ABC on January 26 2012.

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1)Fuselage

This is an excellent mould and no mistake, definitive even. One of the best of the Phoenix moulds, along with the 787-8 and the more recent A350 corrected version. I stress moulds are very good. It’s what they do with it afterwards that tends to let the side down.

This one has three aerials up, and all are fixed in and look able to stay there. In general the paint and detail on this is very good, if not excellent. I have no issues with the fuselage.

Out on the cargo apron at RLSI
Out on the cargo apron at RLSI

2)Wings and landing gear

The slot in wings are excellently fitted and the moulds are excellent. The paint however is the usual massively over-loaded detail smothering gloss  Phoenix seem to find it essential to use at every opportunity. The fine wing detail is completely obscured above and below.

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The landing gear is also less than perfect. The port outer gear is nearly 1.5mm off the ground. This is because the inner port gear is not fitted properly and lifts the model to one side, forcing it to tilt to starboard. You can see it at gear level and from directly in front or behind. At least the gear is well made and not filled with the zinc rot we’ve seen on more recent examples. Some of the tyres are lumpy.

The inner gear has been poorly fitted into the body and has made the outer port side gear stay off the ground.
The inner gear has been poorly fitted into the body and has made the outer port side gear stay off the ground.

There are no issues with the nose gear. The hole for the stand also does its job properly.

3)Engines

What annoys me more than anything? If you read these pages you’ll know what’s coming. There is nothing worse than crap engine paint caused by the misapplication of the wrong or cheap silver paint. Suffice to say the No2 engine is replete with enough atrociously applied silver paint, it would dismay even the those most inclined to not notice such detail.

Juts atrociously applied and clearly no quality control
Just atrociously applied and clearly no quality control

Other than that the engines are fairly good. But what is bad is very very bad and way to easy to see, failing the eyeball test.

4)Nose detail

Really, no issues at all.

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5)Tail detail

As usual the port side stabiliser doesn’t quite fit and the starboard side fits perfectly. It would take such a small and easy modification to prevent this but I doubt they even know or care.

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6)Colours

Spot on.

7) Score and conclusion

The No2 engine is so atrocious that’s -10 for a start. All three of the others have some silver paint missing or wrong but very minor, so -3, the stabiliser issue once again, a -2 because it’s visible but not overly detrimental. -5 for the landing gear poor fit and lumpy tyres. So 80%. Once again it could have been such a high score. But little details, poor QC, they soon mount up.  I’ve got a JC Wings Korean 748i coming in a few weeks time followed by a second Cargolux 748F. I wonder how they’ll all compare?

Copyright

I just want to mention here that I regret having to put more copyright notices on the images. This is because several unscrupulous retailers and private individuals are so unbelievably lazy they use these images to sell product either on their own websites or eBay. I wouldn’t mind if they asked me but they don’t even have the courtesy to do that. I’m not selling or promoting anything so if you see anyone using anything from this site, let me know please and I’ll deal with it.

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