KLM 787-9 PH-BHA Phoenix 1:400 11194 Dec 2015

This is the Phoenix version. The Gemini is due in a week or so. When it arrives it will be getting the full comparison test.

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Who isn’t looking forward to the KLM 787-9? For one thing it’s a big deal for an airline that has involuntarily hitched it’s fortunes to the spendthrift and poorly managed Air France. The later is now in such poor shape it has had to delay it’s own 787 plans indefinitely. There must be a degree of smugness that it was AF that so brazenly rolled in to ‘save’ KLM, only to find KLM is doing OK thanks very much!

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Of all the amazing liveries that have graced the 787, and it is a ‘liverygenic’ aircraft like few that have gone before, this is the best. The first impressions of this one are that it’s as stunning in the metal as it appears in photos, if not more so.1400Reviews-KLM-789-PH-BHA-CpyWrtJonChamps 11.jpgIt’s also a noticeably improved model in terms of quality, and that’s not before time is it now Phoenix? However, while superficially it looks pretty good, some of the quality issues that have bedevilled recent models, while few, have persisted.


The first thing you can see is that there has been a dramatic improvement in print/paint quality. Coach lines are crisp and neat again, detail is excellent and beautifully produced – it’s an all-round success in these terms. Even the tiny white rear moulded-in dome on the roof is neatly and precisely painted.


The satcom dome that they insert in to the fuselage is greatly improved too, mould and shape are good, but it still doesn’t actually sit flush with the fuselage. Really, I’d rather it was just a print-on than this. It doesn’t work, it never has and neither Gemini or Phoenix have ever got it to. Yet it is undeniably a massively improved effort over what has previously been seen.

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The three aerials in the upper fuselage are all seated and tidy, as is the lower rear.

2)Wings and landing gear

The wings are an tour-de-force of excellence, their join into the fuselage is perfect, almost seamless. Truly superb.

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The landing gear is extremely good, all the tyres and wheels roll, no lumps or bumps, the gear is painted and the rotten metal we’ve seen in the past on things like the Finnair A350 have gone. Everything is painted and appears to be fine. The nose gear too, is throughly installed and neatly done in every way.

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The weakest part of this model is the fan blades in the huge General Electric engines. They have a good colour overall being a sophisticated titanium, but too often the paint is missing and in certain light, especially daylight, it just doesn’t work because you can see the bare plastic. Other than that the quality of the engine build overall is first class, and the paint and detail is excellent.1400Reviews-KLM-789-PH-BHA-CpyWrtJonChamps 5.jpg

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4)Nose detail

Truly excellent, a first class effort. No missing paint in the flight deck and everything appears properly aligned.

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5)Tail detail

Excellent, fault free.

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Excellent. No issues.

7)Score and conclusion

-4 for the fan blades, -2 for the less than ideal fit of the upper dome. 94%

Well there’s a turn up for the books if ever there was one. Phoenix scoring 94% and proving once again that they can, when they make the effort, pull off an exquisite model. This is a stunner it really is. It’s the most striking 787 standard livery I’ve ever seen. The ANZ All Blacks still ranks as the best so far, but that’s a special at the end of the day. This is KLM and it is awesomely beautiful.  A tiny little bit of fan paint, and a little more effort with that dome and this could have nailed 100%. It deserves entry into the MOTY 2015 award for which it qualifies having scored over 90%. The question now is what will the Gemini be like when it gets here and which one of the two will I be selling on eBay in a couple of weeks?

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2 thoughts on “KLM 787-9 PH-BHA Phoenix 1:400 11194 Dec 2015

  1. Hi Jon. What a surprising turnaround for Phoenix! She sure looks neat. Have you checked out KLM’s YouTube “unboxing” video of the real thing. Quite funny! I really wanted Phoenix’s BA version, but after your review of it I’ll wait for the Gemini version and, of course, your comparison of the two. PS I wonder which manufacturer will be the first to produce the new Virgin Galactic (reincarnated ‘Cosmic Girl’) 747 which may arrive in our skies next year? Best, James

    1. Quite bizarrely I just posted about Cosmic Girl only a few minuets ago wwww.facebook.com/1400reviews! I too am wondering what Gemini’s model will be like. They always have the disadvantage of the cradle wings and of late they have a habit of not fitting well on the 787 models. Frankly I’m amazed how good this Phoenix version is, I didn’t think they had it in them anymore. I’ll be doing the Etihad 773ER new livery on Monday.

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