Qantas 787-9 VH-ZND ‘Bilaranji’ NG Models 1:400 Dec 2018


Back in July 2018 I reviewed and sent back the Phoenix version for one primary reason. That was, in essence the failure to differentiate the colours of this complex and sophisticated livery.


The announcement that NG were going to make one I seized on straight away, but for a list of compounded reasons when the order arrived in the UK, most of these were missing and I didn’t get one. So now I have, at around double the price of the original release, but well under the triple prices these models are currently going for. There’s a justifiable reason they’ve become so expensive so fast. Rarity and quality are the two ingredients that force up prices people are prepared to pay.


Gemini of course think that producing huge volumes and charging more and more for them (another price rise for 2019 deliveries you’ll notice), regardless of quality also works. Only for a while, then people tire of it, as I have.

So, the Phoenix version of this much coveted model was a bit of a botch. I tried to live with it but every time I looked at it, my eyes burnt a little more and it had to go back for a refund. You can see the full review of that here: Phoenix 787-9 VH-ZND


Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Yam Dreaming is the full name, one of a long series of Aborigine schemes Qantas have employed over many years, mostly on their 744’s. She’s part of Qantas Project Sunrise plan to reach its primary destination, London in new ways, culminating eventually in non-stop flights from Sydney by around 2022.


This aircraft was flown with some fanfare, from Sydney to Perth then non-stop to London as the launch aircraft on the new route.

This is also a new mould to me, the first 787-9 from NG I’ve been able to get hold of (that I actually wanted), so it’s of extra interest.


First off the mould. Superb. It makes even the JC Wings version look not quite so good and it is actually very very good.  However, the NG is beyond good, it’s actually superior, and as so often its the less obvious detail that puts it ahead of the rest.

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Bare in mind the number of moulds there are now, Gemini’s now pre-historic cradle fit thing from the last ice age, Phoenix’s once prize-winning mould that now seems just a tad dated (the 788 especially, the 789 less so but the 787-10 isn’t too bad), then there is the new JC Wings version which is best in the 789 format, not bad in the 787-10, and the overall outstanding flaps down combination that is really top-notch. Now there is this, and once seen it won’t easily be forgotten, its beyond hyperbole, it is simply, wonderful.

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You only have to put it up against the others, to see the perfect nose, match it against the photos, the plans, and it fits, to scale, and to design. It’s been superbly replicated. No effort seems to have been spared, no corner for manufacturing expediency has been cut. They’ve stayed true to the design and it reflects that from nose to tail.

Superbly fitted aerials, two aft roof, one forward, one under the rear, small, neat precise, no gaping holes.

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Turn it over and you see some of the key details – these are out of sight 99% of the time but they are the design of the aircraft, fully replicated, missing on the Gemini and most Phoenix models, partly replicated on the JCW 789/10 and the new Phoenix 787-10. The central under-aircraft rib that runs down the middle is there, with visible V shape air intakes, and deeper grooves either side of it. The forward most upper ‘shoulder’ of the wing root is also that bit less rounded, a little more squared than on the JCW, which is just like it is on the actual aircraft.

The mould is very similar to the JCW, but the central part of the fuselage is not the same. It’s subtle, but look hard enough for the details and the NG has gone that one step further ahead.

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The detailed graphic replication is stunning, both for its fidelity and its definition. It’s like 4K against HD – you look at it and you know there’s a difference, and the more you look, at the depth, the detail, the more you see.

As for the livery – the tonal colour balance, the colour reproduction, detail and sublime accuracy are a thing to behold. Even the Qantas logo is spot on, that lighter not quite black, not quite grey, matched to perfection. A tour de force of quality replication.


The wings are fairly straightforward as moulds go, but they are fine in their detail and superbly fitted. They also use a white paint that isn’t glossy to the pint of reflective like it is on the Phoenix models. The chrome leading edges are just the right side of bright, though getting a little close to the limit for my tastes, but they don’t cross it.

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3.Landing gear

All wheels rotate, all tyres are good quality, the colours of the hydraulics and wheels are mid grey, and more than acceptable. They’re also fitted neatly to the wing surfaces and have outstanding door moulds – I mean really, really accurate refined looking door moulds.

The nose gear is another plus point, being beautifully made and fitted.

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First the pylons are the best, in shape, size, finish, colour and fit. Really thought-out and well made and fitted.

The engines themselves are a another example of excellence. Clearly someone at NG understand that engines are a massive, obvious detail feature that cannot be simply relegated to a secondary thought. They are crucial to the presentation of any model.

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The big see through fans are simply brilliant with ultra-fine blades and good, realistic colour. The rims are the Holy Grail of model engine finishes, the thing we’ve all been looking for. The whole fan/rim engine and exhaust combination surpass even the excellent JC Wings versions.

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Fans look bright in a flash blast, but are much darker in reality

Overall the engines are the best on any aircraft model in 1:400 I’ve ever seen. And that runs into thousands.

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5. Nose detail

Simply outstanding, in terms of quality detail and precision.

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6.Tail detail

This could have been a complicated mess, the way the new livery allows the kangaroo to come over the special artwork, but it’s been put together with the vertical stabilizer in a way that’s so precise and so thoughtful it deserves further praise. The entire tail, paint, assembly, everything, is superb.

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This model is really all about that special livery, the way it transitions from reds, to oranges, back to reds, and here it’s been captured in a way that Phoenix couldn’t even begin to manage, it’s so far beyond that model it’s on another planet.

It’s a stunning tour de force, it’s going to be sought after and coveted for many years to come, because nobody else is going to get close to this level of accuracy without seriously reviewing everything they do in approaching model making from the ground up.

Gemini couldn’t do this if they tried, which is I suspect why they haven’t. It’s simply beyond them. Phoenix have tried and failed. NG have gone one step further than excellent.

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8.Score and Conclusions

There are no negatives to this model.

Final score: 100% 

Absolutely outstanding. If you haven’t been able to get one – I’m sorry to say it might be an expensive acquisition – but it’s awesome, wonderful, enough to re-ignite the passion in anyone who has become even mildly jaded by what manufacturers pour out in the name of profit.

There are phrases in dark colloquial English that permit me to express how amazingly good this model is. However they are a little crude, even rude and may not be understood across a worldwide audience. One or two of you of a certain age or British background will know what I mean.

For everyone else, as many of you will know, I expect and demand quality when I pay good money for anything. I treat others with the respect they deserve and dish out contempt in equal measure where it’s merited. I am just at an age where I don’t care what anyone thinks of me, because it doesn’t matter. I want the best for me, for you.

This model is it.




9 thoughts on “Qantas 787-9 VH-ZND ‘Bilaranji’ NG Models 1:400 Dec 2018

  1. T’was my suggestion to NG they do this one, when they first announced their 787-9 mould. I’m glad they produced these ‘samples’ and also glad they have given me mine for free. Especially when I see what kind of prices they are changing hands for. Yes it’s a really great model, well done NG.

  2. Totally agree with you on your review.. This is by far the best 789 model out there by miles. So glad that I’m one of the lucky few who have this model in my collection. Keep it up NG models.

  3. I’m pretty sure you ordered from Aircraft Model Store UK? Supposedly, they were trying to “avoid risk” by ordering less from NG that the amount their customers ordered…

  4. The NG mould is one I want but as you said, it goes for twice its price. Also I noticed that the wings seem a bit flat.

  5. Hi,

    I think that you like good brands!!
    I really recommend you aviation400, they have new models (yes, Aviation 400 is making new models) whith even more details, I am going to receive a Singapore Airlines A350, and in the photos it looks even better, the beaco lights are not printed, they are like the Ariel’s, in the fuselage, in 3D! The gears looks similar as NG models ones.

    I will love if NG do Airbus models…

    Really recommend Aviation 400

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