Korean Air 747-8i HL7630 JC Wings 1:400 XX4232 Nov 2015

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I ordered this on the 12th August and it arrived on the 27th November, held up in the saga over the Star Wars ANA 787-9  and Disney/Lucasfilm’s successful action in preventing JCW and Phoenix from producing the models. I’d been looking forward to it, lets face it there is only one other 748i airline order currently pending (Nigeria’s Arik Air), since Transaero is no more.

Korean Air had delayed the delivery of this aircraft by a year, waiting for a solution to a wing flutter problem to be installed, but she finally headed to Seoul and was initially expected to be the only 748i flying into London. Sadly (and also not so sadly, as I love A380’s just as much), Korean Air decided to upgrade the slot to the A380 in combination with 773’s and it was deployed elsewhere before I had chance to see it, often flying to SFO, FRA and SIN.

So with lots of anticipation – not least because Korean is the only airline to operate the 748i and 748F, and I now have an example of both, I unpacked the box to find this:

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Now I have to be honest, it isn’t a manufacturing defect, it’s a packaging failure and I blame both the retailer and JC Wings for it. From the JCW perspective, it’s the flimsiness of the plastic cradle, which is now so thin and weak it’s verging on pathetic. The retailer I’ve spoken to.

JC Wings packaging is also responsible for other damage – minor it might be, but the cradle fits so tight, and there is no longer any plastic protective sheet above the model in the cradle, add to that the plastic nose cover has also gone. Anything to save what? At best a US$ cent per box? It’s just something else they take away and give us nothing back.

The damage has caused a rub mark on the upper nose and the rear port side wing root has paint that’s rubbed through. It isn’t good enough, plain and simple.

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JC Wings is an odd brand in my view, inconsistent in quality, odd product lines, and it sits in an odd space between Phoenix and Gemini. Sometimes they produce abysmal models, other times, they’re  amazingly good or just plain average.

Either way, one of the models I was most looking forward to this year has been tainted, not a way to endear it to me. Despite that, after gluing it all back together, which has produced a fairly acceptable but not perfect result, it isn’t too bad. A huge wedge of compensation is being negotiated as there are none available to replace it with.

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1)Fuselage

This is pretty good all round, print and paint qualities high and the detail is excellent. Two upper aerials are fully seated and neatly done and the lower rear is all present and correctly fitted, though not painted red as it should be. Overall it’s a great job and I’m pleased with it.

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2)Wings and landing gear

The basic mould is fine, the level of detail and paint is very good. The downside is the rough mouldings on the rear wing tank detail, and the engine support pylons are not brilliant, uneven moulds and show too poor paint application. I’ve seen better. The slot-in wings do provide a better fit than cradles.

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Rough mouldings. You can also see the packaging damage at the rear of the root mould below the right door.

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The landing gear is also a typical JC Wings half way house of being neither brilliant nor disastrously bad. If you look at it properly, there are brassy areas showing though the paint, which itself is sometime rough or simply too thick, or too thin! The Gemini type wheels and tyres are good, though three of the tyres had to be put on properly as they were coming off the rims.

3)Engines

Again another half way house of  JCW quality. The outer engines, No.1 & No.4 are full of dust especially at the base. The inner part of the nacelle has no paint, it should be a light grey, though the rims and fans are painted well, there is a very slight but not overly noticeable rub effect from the packaging. The exhaust are also a a little rough in places. Again not devastatingly so, but far from being as exact as we’ve seen on say, the Gemini 744 Etihad Cargo.

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Inner rim should be at least a light grey, silver rims show packaging rub damage, though only on close up
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Engine is full of dust stuck to the paint, pylon mould isn’t brilliant

4)Nose detail

Other than a package rub mark the detail is very good, the flight deck is well done and shows good detail. No issues.

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You can see the packaging rub mark on the nose. Time to bring back the plastic nose protector!

5)Tail and stabilisers

No issues, all fixed in properly and painted to a high standard.

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6)Colour

Well here we have a conundrum! The blue which is after all the dominant colour, is unique to this model, being in the middle range. It’s very close to the Gemini colour on the now quite old 773 HL7533. It’s way out compared to the Phoenix 777F (another colour on its own) or the Phoenix 748F and Witty A380 which are both identical colours. This is what it should be with all the correct references. Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 16.19.38.png

Frankly I think it’s too dark on the JCW, the closest general Pantone ref is 299 which is what JCW seem to have chosen – a half degree darker than correct 298.5. If you wind it back to 298 it’s clearly way out and too light. Picky or what? Look, overall on an individual basis most people wouldn’t even notice, but group them together and it stands out.

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Front to rear: 777F HL8251 by Phoenix, 773 HL7533 by Gemini, 748i HL7630 by JCWings, 748F HL7610 by Phoenix, A380 HL7619 by Witty Wings

7)Score and conclusions

So, -4 for wing mould issues, -2 for dust in the paint on two engines, -2 for packaging damage, -4 for brassy landing gear issues and tyres, poor paint, – 6 for the colour being too dark.  Now thats 82%, and frankly about what I’d expect from JC Wings overall. Just be glad they weren’t responsible for the wing damage.  The biggest take from this for me is the poor packaging – a trend that seems to have spread to all the manufacturers as they try and cut corners and save money. They raise prices but cut costs. Guess who wins then they do that? Clue: It isn’t you and it isn’t me.

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EDITORS NOTE: THIS MODEL HAS NOW BEEN COMPLETELY REPLACED DUE TO PAINT DAMAGE FROM THE FAILED WING

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