I’m always keen to increase my DHL liveried aircraft – because so far this is only the second one I’ve been able to get! As you’ll know, Gemini won’t make any more in the current livery (though they did the 757 previously reviewed here: DHL 757-200PF OO-DLJ Gemini Jets 1:400 GJDHL931 2009 and there have been the half-and-half types like the Kalitta air reviewed here: Kalitta Air 747-446BCF N743CK DHL Livery Gemini Jets GJCKS1066 2011, so when a DHL 727F came up on eBay it intrigued me.
One reason was I just don’t have a 727 at RLSI – for passenger use they’re the wrong era, but freighters never have restrictions as so many of them go on, and on, and on. This appears to be no exception.
Apollo did two of these, one in the parent K-Mile DHL style livery, and the other in this, the standard DHL livery. The box has both aircraft as optional content.
They weren’t owned by DHL, but operated on their behalf by Transmile, as in this models case. They later became Raya Air in 2014.
This aircraft has had the most difficult history to trace of anything I’ve ever tried to look up. Partial histories in partial registries, missing data, missing legal owners, but this is how it seemed to go:
- Delivered to Western Airlines (California) in June 1979 (they ceased operating in April 1987) as N289WA
- Delivered to UPS in July 1985 as N208UP
- Delivered to Transmile Air Services (Bangkok) in September 2002, and painted into their colours and registered as 9M-TGH (Transmile was part-based in BKK but was Malaysian owned)
- Painted into DHL full yellow livery in December 2004 and operated by Bayu Air on behalf of Transmile, on behalf of DHL
- Transmile got into a wedge of financial scandals over accounting irregularities in Malaysia that went on and off for 7 years, eventually leading to its collapse in 2014.
- By this time the aircraft belonged technically to K-Mile (a Transmile subsidiary), but 45% of that was sold to Farnair Switzerland, the rest becoming Raya Air.
- Raya Air repainted the aircraft into its colours and it appears to be still operating, (it shows regular indications every few days of being in Kuala Lumpur) but isn’t listed as a Raya Air owned aircraft currently, so where it is and who has it?
So, somehow at 37 years old the old bird seems to be still flying, though where and who for seems a mystery, she shows as being Raya Air on FR24, but they don’t appear to be the current owner according to other databases, who give Raya Air just 2 aircraft and this isn’t one of them. Then again an 1st August 2016 photo shows her clearly in Raya Air livery at SZB in Malaysia! I love a mystery! So to the model….
The nose on the Apollo mould isn’t right, it’s too rounded and not pointed enough. However I can’t see anything else wrong with it. The paint quality is excellent.
Detail wise everything that should be there appears to be, from the cargo door front right all the way to the sealed over windows, which are printed on very subtly.
The triple red lines and red under-belly all seem spot on, as does the DHL lettering.
2.Wings and landing gear
Perfectly slotted in wings, with quality silver paint and metal finish look, plenty of detail above and below, and it isn’t swamped in paint. in fact a pretty good set of wings all round.
The landing gear is low and small, the doors are excellent, and the tyres, despite being rubber-on-a-spigot types, all rotate; even the double nose gear wheels.
Three P&W JT8D-217’s power this 727-200F and the outboard nacelles are painted silver with a dark titanium finish on the exhausts and intake rims. I would say the centre engine cone is a bit too long, and possibly caused by excess metal in the mould.
I’m happy with the detail, just not the shape. It’s far too rounded.
The entire engine intake, tail assembly, and stabilizers are excellent.
The yellow is a little dark. I’m guessing, from a quick look at the images of this aircraft that that’s mostly caused by the source photography. She looks especially dirty in later DHL years, and the colour is far from where DHL would probably have liked it. The red is also a tad dark. again I suspect for the same reason.
7.Score and conclusions
- -4 for the nose shape
- -5 for the yellow, it’s slightly too dark
- -3 for the red being slightly too dark
- -2 for the centre engine cone too long
- 86% is pretty good
Apollo/Witty did try to make some unusual and ignored models and for that we should all be grateful. It’s not perfect, but it is at least very good. It’s different and it’s a much sought after (at least by me), current DHL liveried model.
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