Uzbekistan Airways 787-8 UK78701 Phoenix 11315 Oct 2016

Please note that from 28th February inclusive, posts will be published Tuesday instead of Wednesday, Friday remains unchanged. This will give a beter balance during the week.

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In order to try and get a fair balance of models, I ordered this as a JC WIngs version, but after 4 months I gave up and cancelled it, managing to find one of the Phoenix versions.

It’s a rather unusual livery, and whereas before I may have said that the Dreamliner seems to suit all liveries – even inventing the wood ‘liverygenic’ to describe its capacity for absorbing pretty much any concept thrown at it – I believe this may be an exception to the rule!

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Uzbekistan for the benefit of the geographically challenged, is one of the many ex-Soviet Union republics, one of the “Seven Stans; (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzistan, being the ex-Soviet republics, as well as Pakistan and Afghanistan).

Totally land-locked in the middle of Central Asia. In fact its considered ‘double landlocked’ as it has no access to any lake or inland sea, having drained what was once the entire Aral Sea for growing cotton. What was once a major inland sea not 30 years ago, has now become little more than a muddy puddle, an environmental catastrophe that’s ruined thousands of lives, and millions of acres of land through saline pollution, and over use of dangerous pesticides.  Rich in gold, uranium ore, and copper, the US, Russia and China have peddled influence for years – mostly being beaten by the South Korean’s, whose ability to grease the rails of commerce out-did them all.

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The country is in effect an old style dictatorship run for years by former communist hardliner President Islam Karimov, who died in 2016 and was succeeded by Shavkat Mirziyoyev. With little regard for civil liberties, and no tolerance for economic reforms, the national airline is all there is.  However like most dictatorships, image is everything.

As I’ve said many times, you can never get the politics out of aircraft industries, aviation, or airlines, no matter what country you’re in.  President Trump made sure he was seen at the 787-10 roll-out, because the ‘optics’ looked good. The very same reason Uzbekistan Airways spends a fortune it cannot really afford or justify, to buy a pair of 788’s for its state owned national airline – it looks good, it looks forward thinking, modern. All authoritarian leaders know how important it is to appear more than you really are.

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There are now two 788’s in service with the airline, 9 767, 5 757, and 10 A320’s. All are based out of Tashkent, the capital.

The livery is essentially the national flag:

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1.Fuselage

This is one very good fuselage, Phoenix have of course, got the 787 down to a fine art now, having won last years Model Of The Year with another fine example.

One of the things they’ve not always succeeded at is the definition on difficult ‘dividing lines’ in the livery. This is not as bad by any means, as many that have gone before it, but it isn’t perfect.

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The red line around the green and the blue, which appears in the national flag, is pretty good, but it has the look of something that wasn’t easy to pinpoint at first. If you’ve ever seen older TV’s with the 525 or 625 line picture, when someone wears a certain type of cheque or dog-tooth pattern jacket, and the image looks like it’s broken up rather than appearing correctly as straight lines? Some older video games used to do the same thing. Well that’s what this – momentarily as you glance at it, appears to do. If you look hard, your brain automatically creates straight lines and it seems like you were dreaming!

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There are also some rather annoying blue paint blurs into the white, though oddly, the green underneath seems to be far superior in overall finish.

Technical detail is first-rate.

There is though one big down on this model – the second aerial is missing and the paint appears to be slightly chipped,which gives the odd impression the aerial has sunk into the hole, but it hasn’t.

2.Wings and landing gear

It’s fair to say they’re not as swamped in paint as they often seem to be. The upper surfaces have visible detail, though underneath its completely devoid of any.

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The landing gear is excellent, tyres lump and bump free, all the wheels rotate and the doors are fine. The hydraulics are grey however, rather than Phoenix’s preferred silver. Nose gear is excellent.

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3.Engines

These are the same blue as the upper roof and tail, with the airlines logo on the nacelles (inner and outer). The engines are, to be honest superbly done, rims are neat, the rim colour and fans are both the right colours, the core exhaust, and exhaust cone are superb.

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4.Nose detail

Issue free, the whole thing is excellent.

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5.Tail detail

For the most part excellent, but there is a little bit of blue ‘wobble’ on the tail around the forward edge near the logo. Not catastrophic by any means, just there if you look for it. Assembly is otherwise excellent.

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6.Colours

Another excellent reproduction of the colours, exemplary.

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7.Score and conclusions

  • -5 for the aerial missing and paint chip
  • -3 for the roof red line ‘wobble’ – it’s minor but it’s there and I can see it
  • -4 for the blue blur marks on the starboard upper side – too easy to see
  • 88% is still a good score, but I’d have expected much better.

Small detail fails, a more complex livery than it appears because of the specialised fine detail around the red lines that separate colours from the white. However the green is fine, so what was so hard with the blue?

My recommendation: I doubt the JCW version will be any better if they ever get around to delivering it. Just check for faults before buying it or keeping it.

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