Kalitta Air 747-209BSF N715CK Apollo A13093 2014

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Still operating in November 2013, finally withdrawn in December 2014 and stored at Ardmore Municipal Airport in Carter County, Oklahoma in February 2015.

There are just 16 742F freighters of all variants still flying as of today, 15th August 2016. Only 12 others are flying, 2 of them are Air Force One’s, 4 of them USAF E4-B’s.

She began life for China Airlines in March 1982 and served as a passenger aircraft until the airline had her converted to cargo by Boeing in January 1999. She was sold to Kalitta Air in November 2002 and they kept her in use for 12 years.

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Fitted with a quad of Pratt & Witney JT9D-7Q’s her career has spanned 33 years. The trouble with the old 742’s is the availability of spare parts (t’s been hinted this one is almost certainly designated as a donor reserve for Air Force One, parts for which, especially landing gear and hydraulics, are almost impossibly difficult to find, and are uprated to cargo+ rather than passenger standards). Kalitta has a long relationship with the US military and supplying backup aircraft and spares.

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You can find more about Kalitta Air here on the DHL liveried 744F review: Kalitta Air DHL Livery 744F.

I’ve wanted a 747 in this livery for a long time, but there are so few. Big Bird did a 742 in 2003 in 1:400, Jet-X did one in 2008, but this appears to have been the last one anyone made.

Apollo models are often very expensive, but sometimes one pops up on eBay at a reasonable price, as this did, so I had to have it.

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1.Fuselage

The print and detail as so often with Apollo/Witty models is first class – (nobody ever seemed to know why one was branded Witty and others Apollo – a friend with a close relationship to the manufacturer told me that he’d asked, and they told him they weren’t certain themselves!)

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The cleverness with this one extends to actually printing the sealed off windows into the gold trim line. You wouldn’t know they were there until you look for them, but they are.

The crispness and quality of the print are so far ahead of what the mainstream manufacturers even manage now on many models, you have to wonder why they still haven’t caught up.

It’s beautifully detailed, HD quality from one end to the other. It doesn’t matter that it doesn’t have aerials, because it looks so good, and so authentic.

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2.Wings and landing gear

Cradle wings, but with a tight clean fit and barely a space to be seen. This is a 742 mould remember – Gemini/JCW rarely manage this on a 787.

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742 wings of course have the rear aerial ends on the wings – now I know many people have accidentally broken them off on other models, and I’ve done it myself on past models, but this is now the only RLSI diorama active 742 still in service, so I’m being extra careful.

The paint – especially the silver, and metallic centre panels are all first rate. Details below are also well above average.

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The landing gear is the almost universal spring-loaded centre pair of bogies with the rigid outer set. There are no wheels per se, they are the rather tedious tyre-on-a-spigot used in ye olden days and by no means a good thing, though they do the job.

3.Engines

These old gas guzzlers make enough noise to close Heathrow for good, and compared to the sleek, modern, nacelle, ultra-high-bypass fans we see deployed today; they look horribly dated.

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However they are quite neat. The rims are a bright silver but a bit iffy on No.1, the fans (and this is unusual for Apollo who tended to use ultra-bright silver on 747 fans), a dark grey.

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4.Nose detail

Superb, radome, cockpit, sensor detail, all first rate. Being a conversion there’s no nose door.

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5.Tail detail

The horizontal stabilizers aren’t pushed in as far as they should be, with a very slight gap. Not the end of the world and they’re both the same, but not perfect. Everything else is excellent.

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6.Colours

Colours appear to be faultless.

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7.Score and conclusion

  • -4 for the horizontal stabilizers not quite fitting
  • -2 for the engine rim paint being a bit iffy
  • 94%

A highly competent effort from Apollo/Witty. A striking livery that never seems to date, because it’s simple yet effective and stands out.

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