This is one of the few US airlines that Phoenix make any attempt at. Mind you it’s taken them a 8 months since Gemini’s poor example was released and reviewed here: UPS 747-8F Gemini Jets GJUPS1627 . That didn’t even have a fake registration and was beset by lots of small quality problems, and I sent it back.
I have to say the Phoenix box for this is especially attractive, sometimes they’re hideously bland.
The 748F is the result of a massive boom in E-commerce. As American shopping malls are slowly denuded of their flagship and then minor stores, as more Americans buy on line – a phenomena that’s entirely global and not limited to the US by any means, (though the visible impact is possibly greater because of the size and importance of many malls in most towns and cities), Boeing and UPS are indirect beneficiaries.
N605UP was the first 748F delivered on September 28/29 2017, entering operational service on the 18th October after some familiarization training at UPS facilities. She’s named “Spirit of Joe Sutter” after the father of the first 747. She’s since been followed by N606UP and N607UP. All three are new builds although N607 was intended for AirBridgeCargo, the production run was re-arranged.
While it’s different in mould terms to the JCW/Gemini version, both have their good and bad points. The Phoenix has a particular weakness in one area; The double V air intakes at the front of the wing root underneath. On this model those are nearly invisible, submerged in thick glossy white paint. Indeed the forward right one has actually vanished.
Otherwise the detail is outstanding, with highly refined print in all the right places, every door, sensor and window appears to be present and correct.
The aerials, three up and one under are all present and correct and well seated.
The important part of this is how the colours and bands at the rear are managed. I’m pleased to say you won’t be finding a complaint here, it seems to be a very close match to anyone of the 7 different shades of gold-yellow Gemini have used on their models for UPS over the years. The dark brown is spot on in colour and in detailed application.
The only oddity is that for some reason, Phoenix have chosen to over-emphasise the main side cargo door with a heavier black line than seems appropriate (it doesn’t look so bad in photos to be fair). These lines need to be present but the doors are almost invisible because of the way they seal into the fuselage for flight. They’ve used a much lighter and more suitable line for all other cargo door details.
Well fitted but the usual light grey over-glossed paint we all know about. No visible faults are present.
The Gemini gear was terrible, especially the tyres which were almost cubed from huge lumps and bumps.
These are an outstandingly good set, with excellent doors, perfect tyres and a fully working central pair that are lightly sprung. They’re all silver hydraulics and the nose gear is just as good and well fitted.
Once again, the new see-through fans are in evidence. These, as on the Qatar 748F, are both a welcome innovation and yet not quite as refined as they need to be. However, I don’t quite know what it is about this set, but they don’t seem as bright unless a flash is used, as here (a good thing), or as harsh to look at as those on the Qatar. It’s almost intangible but there we are!
The rest of the detail is as accurate as you would like it to be and they’re an all round excellent set of engines.
First rate, high-definition detail. The UPS shield underneath the nose (which lifts up to be vertical when the nose door is open), is central and well produced. (This was a problem on the Gemini, it had been printed off-centre).
The windows for the cockpit and the fine door details are all excellent. The aircraft name is small but actually legible.
The tail logo has been modified by UPS, and is less golden-brassy looking, in fact it’s actually quite bland. However Phoenix have got it spot on and no complaints.
The assembly is excellent, no complaints and the quality of the colours on the horizontals is exemplary.
Spot on. No issues.
8.Score and conclusions
- -2 for the over-thick side cargo door lines – in the metal they look far worse than they do in photos
- -2 for the fans – not as bright as the Qatar version and something about them is a little less jarring as a result. A great innovation requiring some refinement.
- 46/50 for accuracy
- -2 for excessive white paint covering up the air intakes
- 48/50 for quality
Overall score 94% – an excellent job by Phoenix on this one.
Now this shows, in direct contrast to the Malaysian A350 Negeraku livery, that there are benefits to waiting and getting it right, rather than rushing to market.
My recommendation: A must have buy. Certainly superior to the April 2017 version from Gemini and suprisingly, far better than I expected given the problems with the Qatar 748 from the same Phoenix release.