Virgin Atlantic 787-9 G-VZIG NG55015 1:400 August 2019

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You all know I am a sucker for a Virgin Atlantic model! My top ‘approved for travel’ airline, and despite the erosion in its ownership over the years, it’s somehow just managed to maintain that edge over the others, especially flying to the US.

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The A350-1000 has a new Upper Class and Premium layout and seating, but don’t look too closely at the specs. The premium seat has noticeably shrunk in width from 21 to 18.5″, and Upper Class – basically business seating – has dropped from 22 to 20″ in width. Economy retains the same tight 17.4″ designed for starving elves, but now appears to be standard.

In some ways the 789’s have a better layout and they retain that bar area if you’re in Upper Class, though frankly it always struck me as over rated. The 789 Upper Class was designed by someone without any real concept of ergonomic sense – how many people ripped out the TV screen from its housing? Who knew the button was on the other side of the seat where you could barely find it? Premium suffers from excessive tilt – people in front can make your flight a misery if they insist on fully reclining, though most are more accommodating and thoughtful. I can’t tell you about economy as I’ve never been in it. Just looking back at hundreds of imprisoned passengers jammed in to a child’s seat seems almost medieval.

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G-VZIG “Dream Jeannie” is named after the character from the comedy TV series I Dream of Jeannie, which ran from 1965 to 1970 and starred Barbara Eden as a glamorous 2000 year old genie,  and Larry Hagman as an Air Force officer. It could be amusing at times.

The 787-9 entered service on 9th March 2015, and was the fourth of a 17 aircraft order, now completed. The airline had options for more but hasn’t taken them up and looks like it never will. One aircraft, the last, G-VNYL is still waiting for Rolls Royce engine repairs, but all have been affected over the last two years.

G-VZIG is leased from AerCap, eight of the fleet are leased with nine purchased.

This is of course a new departure for NG Models, and you know how hard it is to reproduce this livery. Indeed I would say it’s one of the hardest in the world, matched only by EVA Air, and that’s because they have a similar type of paint.

This model will live or die by the excellence or lack of it, that attention to detail and reproduction of the paint attributes and colours brings to it. Can NG get it right first time? It took Gemini and Phoenix years – Gemini possibly just have the edge at present. Can NG surpass them?

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1.Fuselage

There is no doubt this is the best 787-9 mould available. It’s the only one that is entirely accurate when it comes to all of those small details ignored for years – the V shaped air intakes in the lower forward fuselage, and their mould hull protrusions, as well as the long bar that runs under the aircraft belly.

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For some reason none of these things were ever held to be relevant by the other manufacturers until recently. Phoenix only ever updated the 787-9 – and even then half-heartedly. Gemini’s mould is verging on being an antiquity, dating back to the first design drafts 12 years ago and even has a cradle wing system! JCW greatly improved their version, but it’s not as good as this.

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The technical print detail is excellent, with lots of superbly scaled sensors and window detail, cargo doors and so on.

The aerials are all present, three up and one below, with a very neat dome on the roof.

Overall the fuselage is excellent. Lets discuss the colour further on…

2. Wings

The mould, the detail are all of exceptional quality, fine details, correctly coloured white paint and superbly fitted. There’s nothing to moan about with a superb set of wings.

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3.Landing gear

Unquestionably the very best landing gear on any 787, superb moulds, well fitted, neat tyres, and excellent wheels, with good – realistic hydraulic paint.

The nose gear and wheels are also first rate, with superb doors and neat printed detail.

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4.Engines

An astonishingly good mould, wonderful fans, excellent rims – that actually fit the nacelles, something woefully lacking on the others. The see-through fans are great and the nacelle details excellent.

Again, the colour discussion is later.

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5. Nose detail

Just excellent, the flying lady is outstanding, print detail excellent, even down to the shape of the nose dome lines.  The cockpit windows look the proper shape and size. The door details are also extremely fine for this scale of model.

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7. Tail detail

From a construction and clarity perspective it’s outstanding. Detail is excellent.

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8. Colours

You know perfectly well by now that this livery is one hellish thing to get right. In real life it’s expensive, complicated and highly specialised.

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The fuselage paint is actually really rather good. Its better than the Gemini, because it lifts the colour resonance higher, and its better than the Phoenix because it’s got the same tendency to reflect its environment, but has a greater depth of pearlescent finish.

So, fuselage wise, the paint in my opinion is the best, a clear winner for now (until the AV400 A35K arrives to potentially dispute it).

The Aubergine metallic used in the logo, is another excellent reproduction, its outstanding colour wise. Again the best.

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The tail and engine red, that infamous ‘1966 Candy Apple Red’; is sadly a dud.

The colour is almost right, it is in fact a pearl paint, but for reasons that remain inexplicable it lacks any lacquer, therefore it’s lifeless and optically dead. It appears too bright, and hasn’t the deep lustre that makes it really work.

The Phoenix is passable in most lights except bright daylight. The Gemini is excellent in any light, and remains the leader in the red colouring.

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It’s such a good model, to be let down by this short sighted colour inaccuracy – when it’s pretty much the most dominant aspect of the whole scheme? Deeply disappointing. It’s possibly the worst mistake any NG has so far suffered, and the score must and will suffer in consequence.

8. Score and conclusions

Accuracy

  • -20 for primary livery colour fail. The red is flat, lifeless and optically dead, a deep disappointment.

Score 30/50

Quality

No issues, Score 50/50

Overall score 80%

Overall quality is outstanding, most of the paint is the best, but the key component is a matt fail.

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If you’re shocked, that’s life. NG isn’t after all infallible. If there was ever a livery that would bring them down to earth this was it. That red is simply not acceptable for a model that cost £44.  NG need to do some research, because this just wasn’t good enough.

Overall the model is superb, moulds, the other paint choices all work, but that red is like an undercoat, it just isn’t right. The Phoenix tends to be too pink in bright light and a bit thin, the Gemini is the best still, keeping its colour in any light. But it took them what? 7 years to get it right? It’s not like NG haven’t had plenty of opportunity to see other models, reviews or data.

This is down to poor choices or lack of research. It’s that simple.

I’m disappointed it’s not perfect as it would have taken so little to make it so. Next time perhaps they’ll ask some advice.

 

 

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “Virgin Atlantic 787-9 G-VZIG NG55015 1:400 August 2019

  1. Another fail of NG Model’s 787 printing is the nacelle anti-ice exhaust part — that little rectangle on the left side of each engine attached to the cylindrical silver edge — that is or oversized or just the wrong shape. It should be a narrow vertical bar and they print it a long horizontal one.

  2. NG do ask for advice and send out pre-production artworks to a small sample of collectors for discussion and approval, myself included. In this case I was quite vociferous in pointing out the reflective nature of the candy Apple red, even sending pictures and videos showing it in bright sunshine and at it’s most reflective. I’m not sure why this wasn’t “reflected” in the release ?

    1. Well maybe they should ask me! I’ve written extensively about this livery and all the data and details on how to do it properly have been published in this blog at least twice in the past 5 years! It’s seriously sad they didn’t listen about this one!

  3. I knew Jon you would like it and like you I am bemused why the red is like flat deep red nail varnish? I had a feeling you would review this model! I made my review on it at AMS ,not sure if you bought yours from them but one thing I noticed was the packaging? Maybe it was a one-off and it happened to me only but the plastic tray under he foam was missing! I hope NG is not going down the cost-cutting route? Thankfully the model was prestine!

    The engine exhausts ,well atleast they are not brilliant silver as would be on Phoenix models as they should be a deep blue as both GENex an RR I think go that colour when broken in from use? Also I do however believe from my point of view that this NG Virgin model is the BEST take on the special so-called white paint that NG have chosen for their fuselage choice! It’s amazing actually looking pearlescent but bot metallic with a ceramic feel? Whether there is ceramic paint I have no idea but it feels like ceramic but a brilliant shade choice! Overall its the best Virgin model out of 6 I gave ranging from B747’s,A330-300,A340-600’s and now finally a B787-9! Thank god I waited for something special as after reading your comparison review on Phoenix and Gemini Jets versions,the wait was worth it! Actually if you still have them Jon you could do a trio comparison just to show how good this NG is over the other 2 models !

    I have decided I am going to get the AV400 A350-1000 as I feel it will obliterate the Gemini jets one i already have! Yes it’s doubling up i know but if its anything like this model ! i hope maybe ,Model of the year?? At the moment this one is in my top3 that I have acquired this year even so the red is a slight let down but very similar to Gemini jets shade choice but not metallic?

    Overall I very happy with it! Now hoping they do a BA B787-10 ! I want the 10 and what a surprise that Virgin chose the A330-900 Neo over the B787-10! All the aviation experts believed that would be their choice for B747 replacement at Heathrow slots! Maybe they are awaiting the Super11 I read so much about but seems un-forthcoming?Besides their A350-1000 looks a beauty,cannot wait to fly on one of theirs!

    Regards all.

  4. Sorry all I just read back what I wrote and noticed my damn ipad has changed a few letters/words that make things sound different! It does this all the blasted time. Though as you reading along i am aure you know the word i was meaning or letter that is missing that should be there!

    Whilst I am writing I know many will feel let-down by the ‘red nail varnish for Candy red’ NG has done but I would say its not a deal breaker! It’s is the best B787-9 in Virgin livery at this scale at the moment and the red shade is not far off from the Gemini Jets shade choice ,aghast the missing Laqueur finish or metallic! Though the bodywork white paint is the best I have seen to date so if you like Virgin livery on plane models at this scale ,its still worth getting! Well that my view anyway guys!

    Regards.

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