Lufthansa Cargo MD-11F D-ALCG JCWings 1:400 JC4240 2011


It’s one of those awkward times of the year when I have some 20 models on order and none of them are here in front of me. Five are due this week, but will cut it fine to get one reviewed by Friday, especially with a foot of snow rendering the country immobile. Britain is THE worst country in the world when it comes to handling snow. Almost all of my reserves pile are cargo – I always leave them to act as gap fillers unless they’re new releases.

This one however I have been looking for a very long time. I’m carrying out a massive review of the cargo collection and have resolved that 33% of it has to go, it needs slimming down and one-off’s and the less interesting are going to be sold off. Lufthansa is not one on the out (don’t snigger, I mean ‘as if’, right?)


I was surprised how new this model was. I thought it was much older.

The aircraft carried ‘Member of WOW’ tiles on the rear quarters, which is the only thing that ever made it stand out from the others.

D-ALCG has sadly left the Lufthansa fleet. First delivered in October 1999 as part of a purpose-built order from McDonnell-Douglas. Many of the Lufthansa cargo aircraft – but oddly not all, were given “hello” in the countries local language followed by the country name. This one was “Konichiwa Japan”.  Now anyone who knows Japanese knows that that’s bad Japanese, even if the sentiment was good.

23 July 2014

The aircraft was withdrawn from use during the 2015 cargo slump on 22nd December of that year. She was stored at Victorville by February 1st 2016, and sold to Western Global Airlines in September 2017 (N799JN) with two other MD-11F’s they purchased, although none of them have returned to service, they could be used for spare parts for the rest of their 11 aircraft fleet still flying.

This model is confusing because those WOW tiles were only carried for a very short period 2000-2006 and not by all aircraft, and not all of the time. That’s the only photo I could quickly find and it’s dated 5th May 2005. By 2011 when the model was made they were long gone. So why did JCW make it?

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WOW Cargo Alliance was founded in 2000 with SAS Cargo, Lufthansa Cargo and Singapore Airlines Cargo. JAL Cargo joined it in 2002 and left in 2010. Lufthansa left in 2009. It seems to have been a code sharing arrangement, which with the growth of Star Alliance Lufthansa felt no longer served a purpose – it was already allied with SAS and Singapore, JAL had joined Oneworld. As its website is now up for sale (, I can only presume the organisation is defunct.


This is a really nice mould, and the standards and quality are of the paint and detail are really good. It has just one massive problem – JCW went to huge pains to clearly print the 4 doors on each side. What they totally forgot was the huge main cargo door which sits in effect across the “ansa C” of the port side logo. There’s absolutely no trace of it at all.

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So we have cargo aircraft without a cargo door. Nice.

And yet…everything else is there, all of it, in quite excellent detail. Even the grey to white transition is brilliant. And there’s something else too. For the first time in the history of my model collection of Lufthansa aircraft, we have one with the grey engines and under body being close to accurate.

2. Wings and landing gear

The wings and moulds even though a cradle are more than adequate, tight-fitting and neat, surprisingly so. The upper surfaces are surprisingly complex and a rather excellent paint job has been employed all round.

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JCW loses points for the landing gear – for cheapness they paint the gear the same colour as the under body, which isn’t brilliant. The worst part is that the middle twin doesn’t actually touch the ground.

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3x GE CF6-80C2D1F’s power the MD-11F and the two wing mounted versions are pretty good it has to be said. Neatly painted, good rims, a good fan colour, and the exhausts are also pretty much on the money for colour, just No1 and No 3 have no cone exhaust, something that also applies to the Gemini version from 2015.

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The permanent problem with all JCW/Gemini MD-11F’s is that the exhaust cone in the centre engine is far too short – it’s supposed to be longer than the tail fairing.

The other thing is the fan is so far recessed you don’t actually get one, but the centre rim is good.

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4.Nose detail

Generally excellent, it is, as I’ve already said, spoilt by the missing main cargo door.

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“Speak friend, and enter”? Even if you didn’t watch/read Lord of The Rings, the Invisible Cargo Door remains a mystery. Unless you accept simple incompetence is the answer, and I do.

5.Tail detail

Generally really very good, everything is fine except for the rather insipid Lufthansa logo, which is not only thin but lacking any vibrancy at all.

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The pale grey is very close to what they all should be like, possibly a little light, but not by too much. Rather this than the dark grey Phoenix have tried to use on some Lufthansa models. The blues and the WOW red are all fine, the yellow of the tail logo though is weak and pathetic, and the wrong colour


As a model, stand alone by itself, with no knowledge of what you were looking at, it’s got lots of what motor trade people call “showroom appeal”.  The salesman would rave over its neatness, class leading detail, and point out all the good parts. Then you’d get it home and find there was nowhere to put any luggage, because the trunk is welded shut.

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It has to be said that in some photos the cargo door is so hard to see only the upper hinge gives it away. Then again, of the four doors on each side, only the front door is as visible as JCW made it.

Why in 2011 did they add the WOW tiles? Lufthansa had been gone from that group for over two years and they’d not displayed the tiles for far longer.

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It’s a mystery. Except I doubt it is. I suspect they just didn’t do any research and they were the photos they had to hand. It’s a mix up model and yet, because of its weirdness that makes it mildly more interesting.

My recommendation: I wouldn’t bother unless you’re a die-hard Lufthansa fan.

PLEASE HELP ME RAISE THE WEBSITE RUNNING COSTS BY YEAR END! Several generous readers have contributed but we’re only at 33% of what’s needed for the year. Advertising will contribute around 33% so there’s about the same amount left to raise. Under 100 people have contributed out of thousands of monthly readers, some of them VERY generously, and I’m very grateful.  It wont take much to really get this done….