EVA Air 777-300ER B-16725 New Livery JC Wings XX4662 Jan 2016

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This is now the only airline where I have three 773ER’s, one the now old livery, one a Hello Kitty version and now this new livery introduced at the end of 2015. I cannot tell you how hard it was to get one of these. Most had sold out and none were ordered for the UK. The Phoenix version has suffered the same fate.

Where Cathay Pacific went for an abject dumbing-down of their livery to a point that it’s now become dreary and dull, EVA Air have done the exact opposite. This new livery is a modern, complex scheme involving the latest mica-metallic paints and specialised clear coats.

This is their 22nd brand new 773ER. For an airline established only in 1989 as Taiwan’s first privately owned airline, by it’s parent the freight and cargo specialist Evergreen Group, it’s come a long way.

The idea behind the livery is to focus the eye on the compass and the ‘covering the world’ aspect of EVA’s fights and future plans. The new two-tone green is ‘to establish the EVA Air difference’. Only marketing people could come up with a meaningless phrase like that! In essence they want you to understand that they are determined to improve the customer experience and deliver a class leading operation. Now I hear nothing but good things about EVA Air so it sounds like they may well be on track.

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While I do love the new livery, I also find that it’s habit of following the new fashion set by KLM who first revealed the concept back in 2014, of the two-tone line-split ‘nose dive’, while elegant, somewhat unoriginal. I’m loosing count of how many airlines have taken up this style already. The problem is that Seattle based design firm TEAGUE, responsible for the scheme, seem to think everyone needs to have it on their latest aircraft.

First impressions are good though, despite the box being various greens and using the wrong tail logo with the old red rear.

1) Fuselage

No objections to the mould at all. The pearl-white paint is an excellent mica-metallic that you don’t at first fully appreciate. Once you’ve seen a few photos and had time to look around the model – especially on the diorama, you start to realise the complexity and neatness of the finish. The green upper hasn’t changed from the old design that much but it is apparently different, though hard to tell as it’s very dependent on light conditions.

The underbody dark green is really classy and I think the whole livery is the epitome of a first class airline’s desire to look the part.

The orange coach-line once again defines that JC Wings have got the livery wrong, either through lack of observation or that rush to market.

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The rear end of the coach line starts well, but compare it to the real thing and it’s a scale equivalent of 1m/3ft out by the time it gets to door 4, and doesn’t curve upwards at all.

Take a look at the rear section of the fuselage. As the orange-red coach line comes down from the APU exhaust at the tail, it dives down, runs across the top of the belly cargo loading door on the starboard side, at which point it rises to touch the bottom of  door 4. It then curves gently up and runs over the wings below door 3 and then down to the nose. JCW opted to run a straight line from the rear to the point in front of the wing root where it starts to drop, so the upward curve at the back has been ignored between door 4 & 5.  Yet, and this is the irony, on the box, they have it exactly right!

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Look how the line goes right up to the foot of door 4. Notice too the vividness of the green in direct sunlight on the tail. Phoenix have always got this right in past models. JCW’s is too dark by two  Pantone shades.
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On this Phoenix publicity shot you can see they have got the curve below door 4 and even from this the green tail colour looks better, not that that guarantees it made it to production.

The tamp printed detail, is however otherwise excellent and the forward dome is beautifully fitted, the best I’ve seen so far and these have been a real pain in the past. Aerials all look good, three up top and one at the bottom rear. Smaller white domes over the wings which should be either moulds or white outlined in black have been painted solid black, which seems odd.

2) Wings and landing gear

Despite the old cradle system mould, the wings are spot on, beautifully fitted, tight as can be, no gaps and simply underline how awful the JCW/Gemini 787-9 wing mould is. Over wing detail is first class, markings and panel lines all spot on.

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This partly highlights the excellence of the white pearl paint

Landing gear is visually good, though the wheels look plastic and grey. While detail is good, not one of the wheels rotates and the bogies are fixed in place. Only the nose gear wheel moves correctly.

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Rigid landing gear and the wheels on the main gear don’t roll.

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3) Engines

Generally these are excellent, the nacelles and detail, blades and exhausts are all top notch, only a slight variation in the rim silver, inboard on No.2 is not quite so good, but you can hardly even see it with the naked eye. Overall, very, very good, a tad away from excellent.

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4) Nose detail

While I have no issues with the excellence of the detail, (save the air speed and temperature sensors look a bit pathetic) I have one more serious issue that noticed here more than anywhere, but affects the entire paint job on the model as a whole; it’s got too much fine dust and particulates in it, including small hairs. Yes they are small, and yes it matters. While not heavy duty rubble, the amount of it can easily be felt, and on close up seen. We should not be getting models this expensive, with this much rubbish in the paint. This is all about where the work is carried out, and shows that those who produce the models care little about what they are doing.

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5) Tail detail

Again, dust and particles but in terms of detail, the tail end is where the refinements in the tamp printed features like doors and windows stand out well, but the red-orange coach line is more than a bit rough. OK it’s hard to tell with the naked eye, but when so much else can be so precise, that this looks even a bit rough on close inspection, seems unfortunate. It’s an area that needs improvement, but it doesn’t spoil the model overall. The incorrect livery, as explained above does that, so does the wrong tail colour paint.

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6) Colours

Personally I think the red-orange coach-line is wrong, it’s too red and not orange enough. The dark green is excellent. Even the white pearl is spot on. However the tail and logo green are simply too dark by 2 Pantone shades. I even held it in direct bright sunshine to be sure, and it’s not right.  Phoenix do a better job with these colours, which is saying something.

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7) Score and conclusions

The most annoying aspects of this model is that two of the colours have been represented brilliantly, one is out, but the livery has a stupid error that detracts from the overall success of the model still further. For that alone it must suffer a massive combined -18 (6 for one colour fail, 12 for the livery). The level of dust -4, non working landing gear -4, so we have 74%. Take away the livery/colour fails and it’s actually a really nice model. Overall standards are very high and it makes it even more annoying that it has something so crucial that wrong. Rush to market? Maybe, but when the livery on the box is actually correct, having the model wrong just smacks of idiocy, lack of co-ordination and poor management.

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When people say to me as they often do, that JC Wings are so good and I really should try them more often, can I just ask, why? I’ve never had one that really stands up to scrutiny. This doesn’t, that ludicrous new A332/A333 wing job is a joke, JCW quality and accuracy is hit and miss. Yes I know they make Gemini models, so they can make some good product. They just don’t seem to do it for themselves much. I tried JCW because Phoenix quality had gotten so bad. I’m not inclined to order anything else from JCW again, unless they are the only ones making it and it’s a must have.

If I didn’t know any better, or care about accuracy, I’d think this was a really nice quality, detailed, accurate model. But I do know better, and it isn’t accurate enough for the price paid. Back to the retailer it must go. 

EDITOR NOTE: THE PHOENIX VERSION IS NOW ON ITS WAY AND SHOULD BE REVIEWED IN THE NEXT 14 DAYS, ONCE IT’S ARRIVED FROM HONG KONG.

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