Qantas 787-9 VH-ZND ‘Bilaranji’ Phoenix 04200 July 2018



You asked for it so here it is! Sadly in all its disappointing reality.

Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Yam Dreaming is the name, one of a long series of Aborigine schemes Qantas have employed over many years, mostly on their 744’s.

It’s a complex and difficult livery, certainly equal to or even more difficult to replicate than the now two years ago AeroMexico Quetzalcoatl livery. That was so good it won Model of The Year 2016.

Close up clearly shows how orange the mid-section is.

Phoenix produce an outstanding model of that and there was every reason to believe that they might do the same with this. Except they haven’t.

They tried to, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that much, but this model hinges on the replication of colour – four different shades of red and orange. For the most part it is, basically, one continuous shade of red.


To review this I’m going to go through the stages we normally do fairly quickly, with good reason there’s not much else wrong with it.

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The yellow flash under a daylight bulb could almost trick you into thinking they’d done more than they have. The fact is that to the naked eye you cannot, at all, distinguish any of the colour changes.


The mould is the standard Phoenix 787-9, three aerials up, one down. The Qantas logo and the technical detail and lettering, especially the forward doors, are all fine. Markings that you would expect to see are present.

The rest of the fuselage is so dominated by the livery, I’ll deal with that as a special section later.


Absolutely standard Phoenix 787-9, high gloss, mildly over painted, though I think they’ve cut that a back a bit of late. Excellent fit to the fuselage, good high quality leading edge paint and finish, all very neat and very well done.

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3.Landing gear

The port side gear isn’t attached properly on this model, and doesn’t sit quite flat against the wing. It’s also pale grey, in all honesty it should really have been a low-level fine matt silver. The nose gear is also crooked and leans to the right (if viewed from the front).

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The pylons have never been right on this mould and nothing changes here, but the engines are a good see-through set of GE’s – and the fans are actually the correct titanium colour! I’ve never thought the rims are wide enough from the sides, and they still aren’t. They’re also not the best moulds, with the rear of the rims having tiny mould fails. However the paint finish is excellent.

There is detail under the nacelles, but none other than a couple of small red dots on the side – just as on the real thing.

The exhaust cone is the right colour and other details perfectly good.

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5.Nose detail

Technically an excellent representation, no complaints.

6.Tail detail

All non-fuselage areas and the APU are outstandingly good.

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7. Colours – standard non-special livery

Excellent, no complaints

8.Special livery

This is what this model is all about.Getting it wrong – and it is – is unforgiveable to be frank. How much effort can it have been?


1400Reviews-VH-ZND-789-Balarinji-PHX-CpywrtJonChamps2018 2.jpgLet’s deal with the rear pair of doors on both sides. They should be heavily framed in white . They’re not and while it is a fact that they are printed on, they are almost completely invisible. This is a massive oversight and a dire lack of attention to detail. The more closely you look at them – which I suggest you don’t, the worse they get.

Bizarrely the accuracy of the livery pattern is high – I’d put the pattern accuracy at about 90%, as some of the small details simply can’t be shown at this scale.

Where it falls down is in the subtle blend of colours in the orange-red spectrum. The colours start at Qantas tail red and by the time they reach the registration and the near invisible Australian flag, start becoming warmer and brighter, transitioning to orange over the roof before it reaches the white. The orange runs over the wing and under it, before cooling and heading forward towards a darker red.

Even the orange runs in subtle shades, some a little brighter than others, and Phoenix have made a total balls up of it on scale rarely seen.

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You can see the orange hue underneath, and also that the main gear isn’t stuck on properly

What is odd is that underneath, there is actually an orange hue visible in the centre. It makes no sense why this should be there when the rest of it isn’t. I just cannot imagine what they were thinking when they did this?

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There is no visible colour change and the doors are very poorly enhanced, nothing like the real thing

The whole thing a is a mystery. I would actually ike to sit down the individual responsible and ask how, why and at what point was it decided this travesty was actually considered acceptable to go into production?

To think it was delayed a month, we all hoped because they were doing their best to get it right – and this was the result! A guide dog with a paint brush would have made more effort.

9.Score and conclusions


  • -40 for the total livery colours fail; the one thing that really mattered



  • -3 for the nose gear
  • -4 for the main gear not fitting flush
  • -2 for the side intake rim mould issues


Overall score – a dismal 51%

This is an insult to the intelligence of you and me as buyers, an insult to the airline and an insult to the artist. Send it back! If you keep this you’re as much of an idiot as the twit at Phoenix who thought they’d get away with it.