Last years winner: Phoenix 787-9 All Blacks



70 2015 Releases models were bought new from retailers from this years releases.

2 were not scored they were so bad, one was refunded in full and kept, one was replaced in full and the faulty kept and used for spares.

5 more were refunded and returned for quality issues and not replaced, post review.

1 was part goodwill refunded & replaced for quality issues.

16 Qualified for Model of The Year 2015, which requires a score of 90% or more.

The models that qualified by manufacturer For MODEL OF THE YEAR 2015:


Norwegian 738 LN-NOM Greta GarboIMGP6256 - Version 2.jpg

Norwegian 738 LN-DYU Jørn UtzønIMGP6272 - Version 2.jpg

Gemini Jets

American Airlines 772 N796AN OneWorld liveryIMGP7747 - Version 2.jpg

American Airlines 752 N185ANIMGP7899 - Version 2.jpg

British Airways A320 G-EUYV (first BA A320 with sharklets)1400ReviewsBAA320GEUYVJonChamps 1.jpg

UPS 763ERF N344UP1400ReviewsUPS763FN344UPGeminiCpyWrtJonChamps 9.jpg

Etihad Cargo 744F  N476MC (new livery)1400ReviewsETI-N476MC-GemCpyWrtJonChamps 11.jpg

FedEx 763ERF  N102FE1400ReviewsFD767-N102FEGem-CpyWrtJonChamps 2.jpg

KLM 738 PH-BXZ (new livery)1400ReviewsKM738-PHBXZGem-CpyWrtJonChamps 2.jpg

AlItalia A332 I-EJGA (new livery)1400ReviewsI-EJGA-AlItaliaA332-Gemini-CpyWrtJonChamps 16.jpg

Alaskan N560AS 738 ‘Spirt of the islands’ livery1400Reviews-Alaskan-738-N560AS-GEMINI-CpyWrtJonChamps 12

JC Wings

Tui  738 D-ATUJ ‘Troppifrutti’1400ReviewsD-ATUJ-Tui738Haribo-JCW-CpyWrtJonChamps 3


Azerbaijan 788 VP-BBRIMGP7767 - Version 2.jpg

KLM 787-9 PH-BHA1400Reviews-KLM-789-PH-BHA-CpyWrtJonChamps 1.jpg

Cargolux 748F LX-VCJ1400ReviewsCargolux748FVCJPhnxJonChamps 2 (1).jpg


JetBlue N564JB ‘Blueberries’IMGP7430 - Version 2.jpg

Yes, 9 of the 16 qualifying models are Gemini’s.  As a comparison, 36% of all purchased new Gemini models scored over 90% and only 7% of Phoenix models did. That’s a huge differential no matter how you read it. In all honesty I’d expect at least 50% to be reaching 90 in the scores and 80% to reach 80 and above.Neither is exactly a ringing endorsement of their general quality, but Phoenix haven’t just slipped, they’ve imploded.


BUT FIRST, Ladies and Gentlemen…


This doesn’t cover un-scored garbage models like the Phoenix Asiana A333  but the worst scored model.

This model scored new lows. Not only for the chronically bad new mould for its wings – that one commentator described as, “they look like they’re melting”, and they reminded me of a set of First World War trenches.

It suffered a horrible set of quality issues across the board and I don’t think I ever had so many private messages and public comments telling me that this seemed to be universal. It’s not often I hear “everything, and I mean everything that’s wrong with yours is wrong with mine“, in one way or another, so many times.

This years ROTTEN ZINC award goes to the Phoenix model of Thomson 738 with split scimitars, G-FDZE,  a model so awful I felt somebody was playing a joke on all of us. This was particularly painful for us Brits, it’s a much loved UK brand, soon to vanish as Tui expunge it, all that did was make things worse.

You really have to ask what sort of dimwit sits in a room and signs these things off? On what planet was this sort of mould ever going to be acceptable? Can you imagine they spent around $25k US on developing a new set of wings this bad? The annoying thing is the s/s part is really good, it’s the wing panels that defy belief. Maybe they made them that way knowing they would fill them with gallons of gloss shiny paint as usual, and we might not notice? Add to that almost every quality production fail on the sin list and it was one dog of a model.

1400ReviewsB738G-FDZE-TUI-CpyWrtJonChamps 1

1400ReviewsB738G-FDZE-TUI-CpyWrtJonChamps 11
In the deep trenches of the wings I half expect to find an entire British Infantry Division complete with suppoting artillery


And secondly, Ladies and Gentlemen……



No question this has to go to Phoenix. It may not have been the best mould, it certainly wasn’t the right colours, it didn’t have a very high score at 65%. It has rock solid used values, you can’t find one for love nor money most of the time, and it’s one of my favourites despite it’s faults.

The La Compagnie 757-200 F-HTAG – unexpected but gratefully received. If only they’d have done the IcelandAir Aurora livery too…

IMGP7818 - Version 2
One of the most striking liveries of any airline anywhere

As lawyers start to descend in China on un-liscenced, unapproved manufacturing in general, a trend JC Wings and Phoenix suffered with the Star Wars 789, and may well have suffered again since on another new model, such releases may become rarer than they are already.

Now in case you didn’t know, 4 new ones are still available here: F-HTAG





Based on their review the top ten are:

10) JC Wings Tui 738 split scimitars D-ATUJ Troppifrutti Livery

1400ReviewsD-ATUJ-Tui738Haribo-JCW-CpyWrtJonChamps 4
The best reproduction of a special livery in 2015

9) Gemini Jets Alitalia A332 I-EJGA (new livery) 

1400ReviewsI-EJGA-AlItaliaA332-Gemini-CpyWrtJonChamps 2
Three manufacturers tried this, Aeroclassics was terrible, Phoenix forgot to paint the wings and the green failed to graduate. Only Gemini got it right.

8) Velocity jetBlue A320 

IMGP7427 - Version 2
Alleged scandal, rumour, you name it followed ‘virtual manufacturer’ Velocity, who promised so much but delivered so little in the end. However this was an unusually excellent model.

7) Phoenix KLM 787-9 PH-BHA 

1400Reviews-KLM-789-PH-BHA-CpyWrtJonChamps 10
Amazingly, Phoenix got the livery right, the quality was high, the colours spot on, one of their rare highlights in 2015, and it trounced the Gemini version completely. A one off end of year miracle or the start of a return to form?

6) Gemini Jets American Airlines 757-200 N185AN

Another excellent AA liveried model – and a surprisingly good one I expected to be pretty dire, totally exceeded my expectations.

5) Phoenix Cargolux 748F LX-VCJ 

1400ReviewsCargolux748FVCJPhnxJonChamps 3 (1).jpg
My favourite cargo airline, and Phoenix’s best model of 2015. I almost missed it, not buying it until late in the year.

4) Gemini Jets British Airways A320 G-EUYV (first with sharklets)

1400ReviewsBAA320GEUYVJonChamps 4.jpg
This years best small model, it was just beautifully done

3) Gemini Jets Fedex 767-300F N102FE 

1400ReviewsFD767-N102FEGem-CpyWrtJonChamps 1
Is it any coincidence that demanding corporate airlines seem to have the best models made?

2) Gemini Jets American Airlines 777-200 OneWorld N796AN

The 772  is my least favourite aircraft type, but it’s beautifully done on this model


There has been  almost no question in my mind that the winner would be this model. It’s exceptionally rare to see something this perfectly put together, so beautifully printed, painted, so accurate. It isn’t a new mould, it even has a cradle wing system, and in a year of declining 744 numbers it seems somewhat fitting. The so called Queen of The Skies is waining fast, but this, as many of you will have guessed it, is hands down the best model of the year.

Why? Who knows. Was it an Etihad corporate model? They are exceptionally demanding, and rightly so. Whatever reason drove Gemini to create this stunning high quality item, they have now given themselves a benchmark by which they will always be judged. Every model, every variant will have to hold this up as it’s target to reach.

I frankly admit that when I see something so exquisite – a word I never thought I’d use on a Gemini model, ever, I feel a thrill of excitement. Quality, exceptionalism, striving to be the best, to acquire the best, to know someone knew they were making the best for someone who would appreciate it; that I admire.

Accident? Maybe. Perhaps Gemini had no intention of getting it this right and it just happened. I’d like to think the world is not so cynical.

Whatever brought it about, I give you the much deserved winner this year:

1) Gemini Jets Etihad Cargo 747-400F N476MC

The original review can be found HERE

And that concludes 2015. It’s been a massive year of learning, of some serious challenges that had to be overcome. is here because I believe in better. More than that, it’s here because you read it, follow it, support it. Most, quietly and behind the scenes. I get dozens of direct messages on twitter, private messages through Facebook and by email, every week. I appreciate them all, I try to answer all of them inside three days, usually quicker. ALL I CAN SAY IS THANK YOU, FOR FOLLOWING, FOR URGING ME TO CARRY ON, it’s your private and open support that makes it worth while. Have a great 2016. Tomorrow, we’ll look at who read what and I’ll tell you some of the behind the scenes stuff that goes on….Have a Great New Year and here’s to better quality in 2016!

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