A long time ago in a Galaxy far, far away….someone in ANA’s marketing department thought up an idea that would see one of the most interesting product-film tie ups to date.
This was possibly the most anticipated film in history. Somewhat controversially I found it to be the most monumentally disappointing film of all time, little more than a mediocre remake of the original with a strong nod to racial and gender diversity thrown in, to make it more representative of today’s society; but this isn’t about the film.
The long term planning that went into this is impressive as to determine the delivery livery for a new aircraft rolling out of Everett takes organizing. The spectacular event coverage, from 12th September 2015, you can find here: ANA
Then of course came the controversy over the launch of the JC Wings version, then the Phoenix version a few weeks later. Neither were to see the light of day. I ordered both while predicting that I doubted we would ever see them. It would be uncharacteristic of Disney/Lucasfilm not to have launched every legal missile in their armory to crush unlicensed product. By November 2015 both companies had cancelled their models.
I did wondered what would have happened if they’d already been made, but I suspect they never got past the prototype phase. This model has nothing to do with either of them.
The massive box, a delight for anyone worried about what might happen to the item in transit, is a multi-layered clear plastic cradle with double seals and enough plastic protection to last a life time.
Currently it’s only available, according to ANA, on board certain international flights and cost the equivalent of about $46US. I’ve seen them on eBay for as much as $160US and everyone of them has sold. This one came direct from Japan, took a month to get here (I presume, as it took 9 days to cross Tokyo and get to Narita it was walked, then took the TransSiberian railway, it couldn’t have gotten much slower). I didn’t pay much more than list price for it.
The aircraft itself gained a great deal of notoriety, being used to ferry the cast about from premiere to premiere as well as appearing with considerable advance notice having been posted, at key international destinations. ANA and Disney got their money’s worth that’s for sure.
The first thing about it, is there is no indicator at all as to who made it. Certainly none of the usual 1:400 manufacturers. Other than a warning about choking hazards and ANA shop business hours, the rest is in Japanese, but the model was made in China.
Nice mould. The detail is exceptionally comprehensive and yet on close up not quite as well defined as you might have expected. In any event it easily passes the eyeball test with flying colours. No aerials, but the dome is moulded in.
The R2-D2 livery is exceptionally clever, completely covering the forward half of the fuselage. The rear half has the giant black STAR WARS logo and the smaller ANA “inspiration of Japan” tiles behind that to the rear. They pass eyeball tests easily again, but the black lettering is lightly blurred, but not disastrously so by any means, if seen close up.
2) Wings and landing gear
Oh the detail! Everything is so neat, though again it passes eyeball only to fail on close up scrutiny, just a bit of blurring here and there, but I am being exceptionally picky to even mention it.
The landing gear. Hmm. Sort of Aeroclassics level of cheapskate but with nicer doors. Some of the wheels rotate some of them don’t. If anything spoils it these do. But then we haven’t been to the engines yet have we?
There should be a new organization: CASPOE. Campaign Against Silver Paint On Engines. Oh, these are vile. Bright silver, a fine-particled one I’ll give you that, but why is it manufacturers seem to think fan blades are bright silver? They look cheap and nasty.
Decorative at best but not attractive. The four-part build is not bad but the nacelles are way to thick. Exhaust, fans, upper and lower half moulds are all put together quite well on one side but not the other. The paint is uninspired. Why bother with this mediocre standard,when going to so much detail with the main livery?
4) Nose detail
Excellent all round for the most part but the flight deck windows are wrong and too small.
5) Tail detail
No complaints at all.
Absolutely grade 1 excellent, except of course for the engine fans.
7) Score and conclusions
- -5 for the mediocre landing gear
- -5 for the fan colour
- -1 for the cowling fit on one engine
- -2 for flight deck windows
So thats 87% overall. Not bad. The scale is perfect, the choice of fan colour and landing gear let it down. You do realise though, this is plastic?
It’s an interesting model and from a diorama point of view, certainly from a collectibles point of view, it’s a superb model to own. On diorama it’s deficiencies are more than made up for by its exquisite details, which is, for the most part all anyone is going to see. JCW and Phoenix would have struggled to meet this quality of print. Their landing gear – when done right, and their engines, would likely surpass it. Yet I’ve seen so much worse. More than acceptable as an overall package if overpriced because of the way it’s being sold.