ANA 787-9 JA830A JC-Wings 1:400 XX4697A “Flaps Down”

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I’ve been learning Japanese. We’ve got some trips to Japan lined up over the next two years, and ANA will be our chosen airline. It’s ironic really when ANA and others, not untypical for Asia in general, have been removing any trace of their own languages from their aircraft liveries and displaying, almost universally, English. I can’t imagine British Airways removing English and replacing it with Chinese – there would be a very vocal reaction.

Why I needed another 789 in ANA livery I don’t know. This one joins JA873A in Star Wars R2D2 livery and JA880A with the Mount Fuji tiles. Of course this one, JA830A, is a little bit different.

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I wanted to see what ‘flaps down’ looked like in 1:400. We’re all used to the standard wing configuration, effectively diorama-ready, on-stand versions. They are most popular for obvious reasons. Most of us only see aircraft on the ground up close, and even spotters only see the first or final phases of flight (unless you’re a long-range spotter like me, happy with a one in a hundred amazing shot at 40,000ft and 25 miles away).

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A 787-9 wing from my seat in Premium Economy – when you think I’m looking level at the centre, the wing tip is almost a full 1.5m (5ft) above me

Modern carbon-composites have transformed wing technology. For years wings were rigid, you’d barely see the difference if it was on the ground or in flight. These days a 789 wing almost seems to suspend the fuselage in flight – it almost appears as though the wings are actively holding it in the air, and the fuselage has little choice, and nothing to do with the process.

JC Wings chose to offer the option of a flaps down wing on this model. It’s different, and when you think of all the possible things you could do, other than removing the landing gear for a full in-flight version (thus requiring a full stand), there isn’t much else moveable on an aircraft you could show.

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It means a new mould of course, for the wings, and a lot of detail. And it needs to look convincing. It requires in-flight wings, and it could only be done on JCW’s new mould for the 789. This is the first of those too, so excuse me if I take some time over this new addition.  I’m still smiling at the fact that JCW seem keen to keep these new moulds for themselves and not letting “up-market brand leaders” Gemini have them.

JC Wing’s haven’t made it easy for almost two years now, to get their models. Haphazard to the point most of the major UK retailers have stopped ordering them. Months and months go by from announcements to deliveries, and it’s not always been worth the wait (the disappointing Cargolux 748 Cutaway being a case in point).

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As onlookers we get but a few seconds to see a flaps down moment – take off and landing are it. Once over, most pilots retract the flaps pretty quickly, and proceed to stand in ‘landed’ configuration.  I wondered what I could do with this model? Use it now and again on the diorama, then what? Was it just a curiosity?  Instead of it being a novelty, I find I’m actually quite liking it, but I’m not saying I want a load of them.

The aircraft is fitted out for domestic flights inside Japan, with occasional routing to Korea, Micronesia and Taiwan, though these are rare. 18 business class and 377 economy make them very high density at 395 seats. Even Norwegian 789’s only have 346 and a Virgin Atlantic 789 only 264.

So lets take a look at this new mould and its new wings:

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1:Fuselage

The new fuselage is stunning. The level of detail is exceptional, and to start with I’m just talking about the mould.

First, the overall shape is an improvement, both at the nose and in terms of measurements. This is a startlingly different upgrade in the quality stakes. The belly is the first place to note some serious improvements.  Many models have deliberately avoided the underside – lets face it who looks at it? However in my mind that shouldn’t mean it gets ignored. It’s either an accurate model or it isn’t.

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JCW have refined the wing root and central assembly dramatically. It is, for want of a better description 100% accurate. The detail shows the central ridge is there, along with all of the detail around the air intakes for the HEVAC systems. Not only that but the entire area of the model is exactly as it is on the real thing.

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The real thing – the central under belly detail is loyally and dutifully duplicated on the model – a first

The quality of the paint and technical print is astonishingly good, and a new method of painting seems to have been used. It avoids the excessively glossy finish prevalent before this, and still used by Phoenix for example. The paint on this seems to give it a slightly silk finish, and it looks all the more realistic for it.

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You know a couple of weeks ago I waxed lyrical about the marvellousness of the Witty China Southern A380? This is one of those moments. In fact the more I look at it the more it dawns on me that this is the closest thing I’ve seen to the wonderful Witty 787’s – and there’s much more to justify that claim.

The shape and elegance of the fuselage, the paint and technical finish are verging on complete perfection in model terms. I’m finding myself genuinely excited at the quality I see before me.

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2.Wings and landing gear

The wings are superb. The fit into the fuselage is completely seamless, I mean you just can’t see a join, they’re outstanding. The shape and detail are exquisite, truly a stunning display of modern manufacturing. There is a finesse to them. The slimness of the metal, the quality of the silk finish paint, never mind a full set of detailed flaps and down-tilted leading edges.

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The silver paint used on the leading edges is something else again, it’s a super-fine, ultra high quality finish that looks astonishingly realistic. A truly amazing set of wings, a stunning mould and a superb all round result.

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Even the landing gear is a step up from what we’ve seen. Yes it is rigid, but the bogies tilt, and all of the wheels rotate and are lump free. These are proper tyres, on wheels too, as they are on the nose gear which is also exceptionally finessed and stands again, as an item of quality.

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3.Engines

The engines are utterly exquisite, see through Ultra High Bypass fans, the mould for which is exceptional verging on the extraordinary. The rim paint and finish is second to none. They’re every bit as good, if not marginally better than those on the late lamented Witty models.  the detail is super-fine, the print fantastic, the entire thing is a tour de force of what these things always should have been.

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4.Nose detail

Superbly finished paint, great cockpit windows, the technique used to finish the grey-two tone blues to the white has ensured they stay perfect right to the nose cone.

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5.Tail detail

A stunningly accurate, seamless assembly that doesn’t put a foot wrong; everything lines up where it should, no faults, no paint errors, no gaps.

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6.Colours

Perfection.

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7. Score and conclusion

  • 100% No other conclusion is possible

This is as near perfect as 1:400 is ever likely to get. This is what all 1:400 models should be like. Move over Phoenix, because JC Wings have just walked off with your crown for making the best 787.

You have to ask then why Gemini are still getting those rubbish old cradle winged 788’s – even the latest release Air Canada is one of the old type. If JC Wings can make something like this, on a regular basis – wings up or down – they could easily become leaders in the business, so far ahead of the others it would take them years to catch up.

This is a masterpiece – only dodgy availability and uncertain supply seem to mar its possibilities. A truly remarkable model and one I can only recommend wholeheartedly.

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What a true delight it is to feast ones eyes on something so wonderful. A childlike thrill makes its way through me when things are this good. Whatever process allows them to make something so amazing, it should be grasped with both hands, then loved and maintained indefinitely. It’s an exquisite model and I’ve never seen anything this good in 1:400 before. Not even Witty at its best.

JC Wings should be exceptionally proud of producing this model – wings up or down – just amazing, I am truly impressed and delighted. When I moan as I do about the relatively high-priced low quality we see most months, its models like this that emphasise why I’m right to do so. This is perfect. Why isn’t everything else?

This model in 1;400 has all of the characteristics of a 1:200, both in quality and detail, and that makes it very special. I’m looking forward to many more reaching this new, high standard.

My recommendation: find one, buy one. It’s not like they’re even expensive either – this was £10 less than a half-hearted old mould Gemini equivalent, and the same price as a Phoenix.

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