Tui 738 D-ATUD ‘Tui Blue’ XX4682 & 738 OO-JAF ‘Family Life’ XX4681 JC Wings Nov 2016

This isn’t a comparison test but a review of both models, as they form part of a major Tui initiative, were all liveried at the same time and announced eon’s ago by JC Wings. So long ago in fact I can’t remember when they were first released, but I think it was February 2016.

D-ATUD was originally HapagFly when delivered in March 2006, a 737-8K5. Painted in the Haribo Goldbären livery between Jan 2010 and Feb 2016, fitted with 189 economy only seats. 

There were in fact three models, the German registered D-ATUD which has the Tui Blue livery, and the British Thomson G-FDZG which is in the Family Life livery, along with its Belgian JetairFly counterpart OO-JAF. The individual brand names mean little now as only Thompson remains to be fully obliterated as a brand, Tui having gone all pan-European.  Rumours have surfaced that Brexit has made Tui think twice about ditching the name, but I doubt that will stop them.

Delivered in 2007 to JetairFly, named Smile until Feb 2016 when painted into the Family life livery. JetairFly was disbanded in October 2016 and became Tui Airlines Belgium. Fitted with 189 economy seats. 

I didn’t order the G-FDZG version (XX4680) because I have that in the standard livery, so settled on OO-JAF.

JCW decided to pack the Family Life pair in the same box with a tick on the side to identify the optional contents. The box cover shows both models, with a bar code either side and the relevant model number.

Tui Blue is a re-branding of some the groups more luxurious hotels that have undergone some upgrades to position them in a more up-market category. They’re spread across the Canary Islands, Spain , Greece and Turkey at present.

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The Family Life version is to promote the more general 4T & 5T resorts the company offers, with an emphasis on all members of the family, no matter what their age; very much the something for everyone approach. Rather than specific hotels or resorts, it’s designed as a general umbrella to point out what Tui offer.

Tui’s pan-Europeanisation is more than just branding, it’s also designed to make the fleet more interchangeable, creating greater flexibility in what gets used where and when.

These are the ‘new’ JCW mould, used for their own and Gemini now. It’s a major improvement on the old mould, and until now, I’ve had no issues with them.

Baring in mind JCW’s supposedly high-quality improved standards,  resulting from their new production line – the installation of which caused this years monumental delivery delays – I’m already wondering what’s gone wrong.



This model is the thin end of the wedge as we move to more plastics, but let’s not go there yet.  First off, the paint quality is very high, the print excellent, and the TUI BLUE, and its palindrome logo are all excellently done.

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Indeed to be fair the quality of graphics and print are excellent. However not everything is perfect. The rear of the two roof aerials is not installed properly, and tilts to the starboard side. The other three, one in the middle roof, and two below are well done.

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All the comments apply to this as they do the TUI BLUE version, with two exceptions.

  1. The aerials are spot on, no problems
  2. The graphics at the rear quarter on both sides, showing a yellow dog, and an orange bear  in cartoon form, are quite excellent. In fact when you see these you wonder why the Cargolux graphics are such rubbish. These are great, bright, clear everything the Cargolux was not.



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2.Wings and landing gear


The wings are one of the best small aircraft moulds you’ll probably ever see. The split scimitars are superb beyond measure, the detail outstanding and the paint and finish first class in every way. No complaints about the wings at all on either model.


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The landing gear is perfect on both, tyres lump free, all the wheels, 4 on the main gear and two on the nose roll with ease. Excellent.


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D-ATUD post-engine repair to No.2 (left side in this image)

All 4 engines are in themselves well done, with good paint and graphics on the nacelles. Because one of the engines was not fitted properly, I was able to see how the improvements to rim paint, and fans, has been achieved on such a small scale.

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You can see how far down the No 2 engine was in this picture, it actually held the wing up and tilted the model left
  • The rim paint silver is excellent and neatly done. However the fan paint and interior chamber are the same luridly bright silver, and it’s too much for the fans, it makes them look toy-like.  They achieve the finish by inserting the fan-rim assembly as a separate unit into the nacelles, ready painted. Therefore no issues with over-painting an existing rim. This is a big step forward in overall quality finish, despite them being plastic.
  • The same is done with the exhaust, and they look excellent as a result.
  • One problem was D-ATUD TUI BLUE’s No2 engine. It was incorrectly fitted because the wing pylon wasn’t slotted into the fixing pin in the plastic core. There are in effect two such pins, a shallow one, and a slightly longer one, and it was that; it simply couldn’t fit. It seems to have been forced on in the factory with little care.
  • I was able to snap it off easily – the fit was so bad it was propping up that side of the model! I had to get a very small but sharp modelling knife, and cut the broken plastic inside away, then re-fit it. It was a lot harder than it looks as the broken plastic was thick with glue inside, and they are very, very tiny engines!
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No engine problems with OO-JAF, but the bright silver fans are a bit too much.

4.Nose detail


Absolutely perfect, even down to the tiny sensors, exquisitely applied. Cockpit windows look perfect. First rate all round.

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5.Tail detail


The vertical stabilizer is white on the Blue version, with the tui logo in red. Superbly done, no issues. One of the things I love about this mould is the neat APU in the rear, superb detail. The downside is the grey plastic horizontal stabilizers.  These are either a cheap way of doing things (more likely), or prevent a tilt-back issue from their weight if they were metal. They’re flimsy, and I don’t like them despite the fact they look passable. It’ll be interesting, if and when they have to paint them a different colour on another model.

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This carries the standard Tui blue colour with the red Tui logo,  but has the dark blue of the fuselage sweep up to the rear of the vertical stabilizer, and the lighter blue of the cartoon bear’s hat also drifts onto the tail. The images are symmetrical on both sides.

The thing is, and I just can’t emphasise it enough, the graphics are superb.

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95% spot on, really excellent. I say that because the blue on the bear’s hat on OO-JAF is a bit too dark, but that’s it. Generally well researched and applied. So what happened to the Cargolux 748F?

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7.Score and conclusions

  • -15 for the engine failure, this was no meagre issue, it took ages to fix and was simply not acceptable in terms of quality control.
  • -1 for the roof aerial
  • 84% however is still a passable mark and now it’s fixed you’d never know there was a problem.
  • -2 for the bears hat colour
  • 98% score is excellent and a MOTY 2016 contender

Engine issues apart on D-ATUD, I love these two, they are strikingly different and make an excellent contribution to the Tui fleet at RLSI, which now numbers 7 aircraft. I just wish someone would do a 757 in that livery to bring it up to strength.

My recommendation: if you were thinking about buying both, just check you can fix any engine issues, though those should vary by individual model on the Blue. If you have to choose, go for the Family Life, colours, and the bear and dog are excellent!

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