Cathay Pacific Cargo ordered the 747-8F early on and has 14 of them in service. They, along with Cargolux, were less than flattering when it came to the operating costs in terms of fuel and expected maintenance. Both airlines were very public about their disappointment in the costs per kilometre, which were allegedly, nearly 6% higher than Boeing claimed they would be. In international air cargo terms 6% is a profit wipe out, if not tipping into a loss.
Cargolux actually refused to take delivery of any more and was on the point of cancelling it’s orders in 2012, heavily backed up by Cathay Pacific who already had a record for handing back aircraft they weren’t happy with, as Airbus found out with the ill-fated A340-200. Cathay simply refused to take any more and insisted Airbus took back the ones they had.
In the end, the storm passed with Boeing promising major upgrades, mostly through software and mechanical tweaks to the engines, but there were also issues with wing flutter, and some small structural alterations that resolved the issues on new production. It was no secret that to get both airlines back on board, deep discounts were handed out on future purchases.
All of that is now history and both operators seem happy with their aircraft. As nothing is in the pipeline to ever replace the 748F, operational lives of 40 years are expected.
The new livery has been much discussed on these pages and you can find out more about it here: Cathay Pacific Cargo 747-467FER JC Wings XX4309 2016 or here: Cathay Pacific A350-900 B-LRB Phoenix 04085 2016
This is my second Cathay 748F, it joins the old liveried B-LJE at RLSI, though that will now be retired to a box.
This particular aircraft was the last of the Cathay Pacific order to be delivered, eventually, in August 2016, and the only one delivered from new, in the new livery, the company having delayed taking the aircraft three times. There was almost a three-year gap between B-LJN (this aircraft) and B-LJM, the penultimate aircraft, delivered in December 2013.
On July 15 2016, before her hand over, she took part in the 100 Years Of Boeing line-up at Boeing Field King County International.
I still think the 748F is the most photogenic of all the aircraft types in production. It has to be said that this is one superbly printed, painted, and detailed fuselage with a sense of quality that just ouzes from it. It has that certain something that feels special.
It has three aerials up top, all erfectly painted and seated, one below which is the waste water heater and painted correctly, red.
The finish and quality of the transition lines from green to white and geen to that odd old people beige-grey on the underside, are just superb. These in the past have been a source of much grief, often looking like they were painted with an over, or under-loaded, roller. There is none of that here, it’s just a first rate quality item, not a blur or brush stroke out of place.
2.Wings and landing gear
Overglossed wings as ususal, which, as always fills the detail of the upper surfaces a bit too much. It’s just too much of a high shine, and the wings just don’t look like that in real life. It’s a common problem with model makers though, and I understand why.
Confession time here: My 1:200 scale A340-600 – a Phoenix/Eagle, came off it’s stand because of the stupid way the stand was sited, – the centre gear got in the way. It flew off and crashed 5 feet below, bending the port wing into a curve, like 90 degrees! I was horrified. However, I used to be something of a modeller many years ago and I remembered some tricks my dad used on his yacht, and many I’d seen in both automotive and airline industries. Moulds can be highly compliant. I got a hammer, some thick towels and literally beat it back into place, slowly but surely. The paint, despite it being badly bent out of shape, didn’t even as much as crack. Not even a tiny visible fracture. After 30 minutes you wouldn’t even know anything had happened to it.
And that’s one of the reasons they use these paints, they act as protective coatings, are highly flexible but tough, thy’re not even easy to scratch, but they are over-reflective.
The landing gear is excellent, all wheels roll and tyres are good. Paint is a very light-touch silver and approrpriate to the scale and model.
Four absoloutely faultlessly superb units, everything about them is quality. The nacelles print and finish is excellent, the rims are superb, the fans a true-tinanium colour. Just gorgeous!
Superbly detailed and finished, with quality sensors, cockpit windows, logos and technical signage. The outline to the nose door and radome is spot on.
Every bit as good as you would expect it to be. This model, along with the A359 looks amazing. Phoenix have done a brilliant job, so much so that I’ve now ordered the 773ER version in the new livery and I’m actually looking forward to getting it some time in December.
No complaints, a really first class efoort to get them all right has succeeded.
7.Score and conclusion
- 100% Perfect.
I cannot find anything to complain about. It’s a lovely model. I’m becoming mildly distressed with the idea that anything will be a lesser quality from Phoenix now. Note though, that again this was labelled under the 04 numbering code. Models from that series seem to be far better than strandard Phoenix codes (with some exceptions).
Either way Phoenix have set themselves some very high standards again of late. And I mean VERY high. Once you do that you either sustain it or you slide back. In the space of a couple of months we’ve had the awful Latam and Ethiopian A350’s, plus that dogs breakfast of a Lufthansa A346 in Bayern Munich livery, that defy beleief for their low quality, and a string of 787-9’s, and this from a couple of months ago that are so good it seems impossible to think Phoenix were responsible.
Another fine model. Now I’m looking forward to the Gemini Saudia Cargo 748F and the Silkway 748F. Will the Gemini’s be equal to the Phoenix’s?
I suppose I should disclose that I got this on one of those Black Friday deals – it cost me just £25. Remember this when Gemini are charging £55, yes FIFTY FIVE for the new Saudia 748F. If its as good as this, it still won’t be worth that much, and Brexit isn’t to blame for that sort of price differential, someone is lining their pockets, and they’re doing it with your cash.
My recommendation: A MUST BUY!
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