Well I feel mildly pleased I was able to get this model without having to go abroad. Indeed it wasn’t very expensive, just £29.99. If you follow the 1400Reviews Facebook page (www.facebook.com/1400reviews) you’ll know it was all a bit cloak and dagger!
“Do you have any?” “Yes”. “But they’re not on the website”. “No”. “So how will I buy it, you’re a web shop?” “You can call a number I’ll give you and we’ll take a payment over the phone”. “What’s the problem with them?” “Nothing, but we don’t have them even though we do, and you can only have one”.
And that’s how the conversation carried on. I felt like I was buying a case of Congolese blood diamonds. The reality is these things are not far from being illegal contraband anyway. Singapore Airlines has long been opposed to having its aircraft made into models it doesn’t approve of. Many years ago, Gemini Jets were threatened by SIA and they’ve never produced another. You can hardly blame them, being sued in the US is easier than almost anywhere else.
Meanwhile JCW and Phoenix have carried on – until last year when Singapore started cracking down on illegal models they’d not authorised. I’m told however that they did have a batch made for the Singapore Airshow.
The 787-10 is obviously the largest of the Dreamliners and the last derivative currently planned to take to the skies from the original plan. The 787-10 is so much larger than the -8 and -9 it’s quite astonishing to see when they’re all together. It’s often hard to tell a -8 from a -9 at a distance, but there’s no mistaking the 787-10.
The 787-9 is 6.1m (20ft) longer than the -8. The -10 is 11.56m (37.93ft) longer than the -8.
The purpose of the 78J (its official short code) was to compete directly with the A359, which it’s slightly larger than, and yet smaller than the A35K.
In a typical two class layout the three variants of 787 are designed to seat 242, 290 and 330 passengers respectively. The A350’s are designed for 325 and 366.
Only real life operations will prove which is best between the A359 and 787-10 – and currently only Singapore Airlines will be able to work that one out, being the only airline to have both.
Model wise, Phoenix have taken the opportunity to update their previously award winning 787 mould. The fuselage, as well as being a huge extension in length, has acquired the distinctive ridge in the under belly; they’ve never bothered with it before. JC Wings have though. Oddly however, the air intakes that are moulded into the JC Wings haven’t been added. It has to be said that underneath, it’s not as good as the JCW, in terms of mould or printed detail.
Another minor issue that hasn’t worked so well is the slightly too-long insert for the wings. The gap is at least 1mm too long for the wing root at the rear end.
The other good parts about the fuselage are the exceptionally neat large dome above the forward wing root, a raised roof mounted running light that’s been painted with a red dot, and three aerials, all of which are better seated and finished than on the JCW version.
The underneath has one rear aerial, which is all that’s immediately apparent on the real thing.
The airline logo, flag and technical detail are all excellent.
The thing that truly stands out is the exactitude of the gold, black, and orange paint lines, their neatness, and within them the windows. This is quite remarkable when one looks at the A350-1000 as a comparison. Phoenix couldn’t even manage a straight line with that.
Overall, as a fuselage it’s excellent, but it’s not as good as the JC Wings version. If JCW were more readily and reliably available, I’d pick theirs first. But they’re not. If Gemini get to use the JCW 787-10 mould – they don’t have one based on the now ancient cradle mould – its price will be so high that the Phoenix will seem to be a far more reasonable and viable solution even then.
Phoenix didn’t need to do anything as all of the 787’s use the same wing. In some ways that’s a pity. Their mould, compared to the new wing on the flaps down JCW especially, is simply nowhere near as good.
There is nothing wrong with it, but the JCW version is a step up and above. Time has diminished the Phoenix effort.
The leading edges are too silver and lack detail, The gloss paint is too thick and submerges fine mould lines, there’s a lack of on-wing markings. The underneath of the wing is all but featureless. These have always been comments, but against the newer mouldings from the opposition, they’re found wanting. Phoenix need to step up their game.
Grey hydraulics, look better. All tyres are excellent, all wheels rotate with no problems. Why is this so easy and yet it’s not on other similar models?
The nose gear doesn’t look quite right. It looks like it was pushed in too far, but neither of the above photos are detailed enough to show up what I’d like to see to prove otherwise.
The see-through engines ae excellent, with properly coloured fans, excellent rims, detailed, neat nacelles, and properly painted exhausts. Wonderful all-round.
Frankly, I think the cockpit windows are far better than the JCW and in all honesty it has as much, if not better printed detail. The tiny Star Alliance logo and technical door prints are outstanding.
Superbly assembled, painted and detailed across the board, beautifully done.
8.Score and conclusions
- -2 lack of mould detail for air intakes
- -2 lack of printed detail underneath, just small things that could be added
- -2 gap in rear of wing slot, unnecessary if it had been designed correctly
- -4 for lack of wing detail
40/50 for Accuracy
From a quality perspective there’s nothing wrong with the way this model is painted and assembled. Outstanding.
Overall score: 90%
That’s an “Excellent” category score. The first we’ve had this year. However we have to remember that Phoenix didn’t seize the opportunity it had available to equal and improve, indeed exceed the competition. That’s a pity. If Gemini get JC Wings models of the 787 and they’re as good as JC Wings make them, it could push them ahead of the Phoenix 787 for the first time.
Please note: I have ordered the JC Wings version – but its months away. It will be a full on comparison test when it arrives.
It’s an excellent model, but one that could have been so much of an opportunity for Phoenix to push past and beyond, not just tuck themselves in behind the leader.
Who knows where the licencing argument will go in the coming years, other than the certainty it will become more of a problem? We depend on for the most part, illegal duplication of airline liveries. Some airlines don’t care, some do. I’m always in two minds about it. I see it partly as free advertising and see no harm in driving enthusiasm. Many in the industry are the same, being enthusiasts themselves.
Yet more and more are businessmen. They don’t care about enthusiasm, only profit, and licencing can make a profit if its done right. There are also issues with precedent. Let a model maker produce your aircraft without permission, and you say to much larger and wealthier opportunists, who might produce, say branded luggage, watches, clothing; do the same. You can’t stop one without stopping them all, or you have no argument.