ANA 787-9 JA880A Phoenix 04106 Nov 2016

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It may seem extraordinary but 5 years into production and ANA is already operating 56 Dreamliners with three more on delivery in the next few months. No less than 36 788’s and 20 787-9’s are in service as of today’s publication date. This aircraft was the airlines 11th 789, line number 447.

Fitted out with the V1 International layout, she has 48 business class, 21 premium economy, and 146 economy seats. (There is a Domestic version without Premium Economy, and a V2 International version of the ANA 789 with C40, W14 & Y192).  She’s powered by two Rolls Royce Trent-1000’s.

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This uncredited image shows the cherry blossom graphics behind the “Inspiration of Japan” strap line.
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This photo shows the Mount Fuji and sun image.

ANA have been much on model collectors minds in the last 12 months, as those hungry for the disappointing Star Wars movie re-make, try to find the liveries on JC Wings white box models that are lurking in the background.

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With the much more original new film this Christmas interest may grow again, but like all these things it’s just a passing phase. ANA and Disney really laid it on thick about product licensing issues and it sent a chill down the spine of many. Lets face it probably 80% of what we get in airline models is completely unofficial, and any one of these airlines could scream blue murder at any time, if they don’t like what they see.

However, Phoenix have deigned to supply us with this new model, and on the surface, things are looking good.

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1.Fuselage

This is yet another absolutely exquisitely printed and painted fuselage, of the first order. Nothing is out-of-place, the definition of the blue flashes and the pale grey under body, it’s just outstanding. Doors, door detail, windows, logos, lettering; all of them are absolutely as good as anyone would want them to be. I don’t think it’s possible to make them better than they are here.

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The aerials are superbly painted and for once look as though they are clearly part of the body, no holes or glue show through. The only minor – and it is minor – defect is the comms dome is possibly 0.1mm out from being flush. If they can address the way this done in future, the same way they have with the aerials, even that very small issue will be eradicated. Even the under-tail Boeing, and under nose ANA logos are clear and superbly printed.

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2.Wings and landing gear

The gloss white paint seems a lot less thick this time round, the above wing detail is clearly visible in the mould, something that doesn’t always happen. The fine black printed detail on the upper wings is brilliant, it’s so clean and accurate.

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The leading edges are painted in that silver-metal that looks amazingly life-like because it’s both bright and matt. Excellent. The landing gear is also absolutely spot on, no problems, quality paint and finish, tyres that are free from lumps, and all rotate. The nose gear is just as good.

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The wings are inserted, and joined so well to the body they appear, quite literally, seamless.

3.Engines

The Rolls Royce Trent-1000’s lack only one thing, that blue finish on the exhaust cones which is such a Rolls Royce trademark, and not something that goes away over time. The engines are perfectly mounted on their pylons, the fans and rims both superbly detailed and coloured without any flaws.  The nacelles are properly, accurately detailed, including the RR logo, which is just about the best I’ve ever seen it.

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Simply put these are exceptionally good. Once again, Phoenix show they can shine with some real effort.

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4.Nose detail

Cockpit, nose dome, even the StarAlliance logo, just brilliantly reproduced and in such high-definition quality, it renders me almost mute with admiration. And you know how hard that is to accomplish!

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5.Tail detail

As with the rest of this model, I’m afraid it’s simply another round of superlatives. Who knew anyone could make models this good?  There is nothing but perfection here, and I love it. No detail has been missed and it’s been superbly done on every level.

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6. Colours

Perfect.

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7.Score and conclusions

  • 100% is an oustanding score.

Despite the brilliantly made engines, they are only second best to the Witty units on their 787 models, which were not only see through, like they are on the Phoenix A350, but correctly had the blue cone at the rear.  So despite everything, it’s theoretically one small fail. And those models I should point out, are now 4 years ago, so it’s not like I’m asking for some new fangled tech to make it happen, or in possession of unreachable expectations. If you’re wondering, the GE units don’t have the same cone colour.

However, and I cannot be more emphatic about this,  do not let that take away from what is absolutely a first class model of the highest order. It’s an exceptionally gratifying model to see, touch and own, a really brilliant example of what can, and should be achieved in 1:400 scale for every model we open and take out of a box. 

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Compare this model to the stuff Gemini and JCW produce that barely scrapes acceptability sometimes – Gemini for a price premium that simply doesn’t hold up, and you have no competition. Phoenix deserve such praise for this, just as they did the AeroMexico Quetzalcotl 789.

You would think that the A350 would be the pinnacle of model making right now. But it just isn’t. Both the Phoenix and JCW/Gemini versions are so flawed – and the Phoenix one so badly made of late, that they will never be as good as this without going back to the drawing board and starting over.

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As I write this the Airbus A350-1000 is literally, on its first test flight over the Pyrenees in southern France; I’m watching it live on FR24 and Periscope. Both JCW/Gemini, and Phoenix, have an opportunity to re-do the new mould for the -1000 from the ground up. It’s an 11 frame extension over the -900 and it will need a new mould to be done properly. So for gods sake, please get it right, nose, dimensions, tail, everything. Lets not have the awful cock-ups we had with the -900. Let’s not rush to market, quality long-term, and the sales that go with it, is better than a handful of sales short-term.

Three years on, and still, when properly made, the Phoenix 787 is probably the best model available. Congratulations Phoenix.

My recommendation: If you want an ANA Dreamliner, you’d be hard pressed to find a better example; a definite buy.

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