Titan Airways BAe 146-200QC G-ZAPN Jet-X 1:400 2008

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Titan Airways is a UK specialist airline, (not dissimilar to Hi-Fly) based out of Stansted. It’s purpose is to supply business charter on demand and pre-booked, replacing aircraft that go out of service on an on-demand basis. They frequently work for BA, and many others especially in peak periods. Crews are on permanent 1 hour stand by round the clock to meet any demand. As a result, Titan never displays its own name on its aircraft, allowing the originating airline brand to take credit.

This one is of special interest to me because I’ve flown on it extensively. During 2008, it would often fly me and my coprorate guests from the Harrods terminal at Stansted to Manching just outside of Ingolstadt in Bavaria, Germany for trips to the Audi factory and Museum.

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Note how the rear air brakes deploy from the rear base of the tail behind the APU.

My favourite flight was one where we’d made good time but the cabin crew weren’t told. This resulted in a rapid clearing of china ware and metal cutlery for some 40 people at such speed, they were dumped in plastic dustbin bags, and along with their rubbish, forced with some vigour by very demure cabin staff, into the lavatory, using their feet to kick them in and forcing the door shut. It made me smile. It was achieved with a level of professionalism and calm that contrasted starkly with what they had to do, it was a quintiseentialy British stiff upper lip moment, and no mistake.

To say these aircraft were reliable is stretching a point. Twice out of 12 return flights, 8 of them on this aircraft, it suffered engine failure and had to turn back to Stansted once and just carry on the other, as we were closer to the destination.

Originally delivered to Ansett New Zealand as ZK-NZC City of Manuka in January 1990, she was sold to Titan Airways in September 1999, becoming G-ZAPN. They sold her in May 2013 to Skyforce Aviation and they in turn in August 2013 Pionair Australia and she became VH-SIF where she remains operational as far as I can make out.

I also got to fly her in both of her liveries with Titan. The earlier version like this:

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And the reason the model was generated, the conversion to this fleet-wide and striking livery:

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The current livery differs from this on the airlines operational fleet, keeping the stars and black (though it’s only the rear quarter now), but deploying a silver and orange-red ribbon rather than the planet image.

The internal configuration could be squeezed up to sixty passengers, but it struggled with that many, being a too-tight fit, especially when 58 of them are men. Generally we kept groups to 45 just to make it more comfortable and stop the airline fretting about weight!

The last UK only built civil airliner, it holds a special place in aviation history. As one of the smallest 4 engine jet aircraft ever made, and with a remarkable short take off capability that keeps it in high demand for use in remote areas, despite their age they seem to be constantly re-invented for a new life.

The 200QC designation is for “quick change” and allows for bespoke configurations of seating to be deployed or a change to cargo.

I know not everything Jet-X made was perfect, but as models go this one isn’t bad.

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1.Fuselage

Remarkably accurate and well made. The then-new livery looks fantastic and the detail is everything you would expect on a model from the best now. In fact the details are so neat and so sharp, the only thing that dates it is the cradle-style moulding for the wings.

On the port side the rear planet logo effectively covers of a sizeable cargo door for the QC change overs.

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The only downside is there is no stand hole for in-flight photos!

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2.Wings and landing gear

As a mould the wings are superb, the detail outstanding. They don’t quite work at the forward edge simply because the visible gap, despite the tightest possible fit, just takes the edge off the finish.

The white wings are detailed, a bit glossy, but it’s not ladelled on in the way Gemini and Phoenix do. The under wing detail is excellent too.

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Landing gear is more elaborate because of the way it works at such a low-level, with doors that open exceptionally wide to ensure they clear the bump stops on such short hydraulic arms. They’re really excellent and have stood the test of time. Aeroclassics could learn from the tiny nose gear too, which despite almost ten years, remains intact and operational. Some AC wheels don’t last ten days, especially on A320’s.

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3.Engines

The four Avco Lycoming LF502’s were notorious for their electronics overheating and shutting the engine down without an inflight on-board restart option, but they are faithfully reproduced here. The fans are of course lurid silver but for the size, the rims are neat, as is the paint finish. Really quite special for something so small. The pylons are painted black, and again, exceptionally neat.

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As an aside, an SA Airlink RJ85 blew a No.2 engine and that was ingested by No.1, leaving just 3&4 to fly from Harare to Johannesburg on Nov 8th 2017. It landed safely.

4.Nose detail

The white nose section is faithfully accurate with a great flight deck, plenty of visible scale-appropriate markings and just helps complete a superbly made small model.

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5.Tail detail

The T-tail is vertical is part of the fuselage mould, with only the  upper horizontals being inserted into it as a single piece. Very satisfactory and a really neat finish.

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6. Colours

Remarkably accurate, a superb job.

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7.Score and conclusion

Really beyond a score at nearly ten years of age, but in all honesty it suffers from zero manufacturing defects  and if it was new, right now, I’d give it around 96% – deducting only 1 point per engine for that lurid silver fan paint.

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I love it, it’s one I’d been looking out for ages, I think it was £23, and worth every penny. Jet-X come in for some much deserved stick on some of their models (they pretty much vanished in 2012-13), but now and again they’d do something really nice like this and it’s a credit.

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The BAe146 is one of my favourite modern ‘old’ aircraft. Despite their age, they were so different they never looked dated. The only ones left I really want are the Lufthansa and Swiss versions if the even exist (I’ve never seen them). They could then join the Flybe MansionCasino livery (a friend of mine used to pilot that aircraft, G-JEBG), a Flybe old livery standard, BA, Aer Lingus and the now recently retired Brussels Airlines versions.

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