Virgin Atlantic A330-300 G-VGEM NG Models 62007 Oct 2019

Virgin-Atlantic_8ab7d7

I know, it’s been a while.

This I expected frankly, weeks ago, but having to bounce back and forth from San Francisco to Washington DC and back to the UK having just bought a house near Annapolis, it’s all been a bit hectic.

That caused me to take my eye of the ‘where is it’ ball, and only when I spotted an email from a European dealer saying they had the model in stock did I ask questions of my supplier. It seems they’ve taken the decision to stop selling NG because of the difficulties in dealing with them, but couldn’t be bothered to tell me, or refund the pre-order. This led to a scramble to find one, which was, I’m delighted to say fruitful.

So, now there are still five others lurking out there – at least three of which I’m told will not see the light of day until-mid December and might not be here until January. Meanwhile I’ve seen a Phoenix BA A35K that looks like the windows were painted two feet higher than they actually are on the real thing. I’m seeing that as a lucky escape.

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G-VGEM

It’s Virgin Atlantic and I’m not making any excuses for the fact it’s my favourite airline and the only one that I’ll actually buy no matter what.

G-VGEM is one of the oldest of the A333’s at Virgin Atlantic. The airline ordered 10 to make up for the huge gap it would face with the 5 year late delivery of the 787-9. However at the time it started to receive them in 2011, Virgin Atlantic was having a very tough time, indeed arguably one of its worst years ever. The recession that started in 2008-9 reached its peak in aviation during 2011-12.

So when faced with delivery they chose not to take it on and sub-leased it straight from the factory to China Airlines, in their seating and livery on 11 April 2011.

Registered as B-18392, she was fitted with 48 business class and 265 economy.

By October 2012 things were picking back up at home and China Airlines handed her back at the end of the lease in October. Repainted into the Virgin Atlantic livery and fitted out with 33 Upper Class, 48 premium and 185 economy, named Diamond Girl, she entered service on the 30th October 2012.

In 2014 the aircraft performed the airlines inaugural London-Atlanta service.

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The A333’s operate in a number of different ways for the airline, some in support of the holiday arm of the company, flying routes to St Lucia and Barbados for instance, from Gatwick and Manchester, and others to New York, Atlanta, and Washington IAD from Heathrow. It’s on trips to Washington that I’ve flown on her a couple of times.

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G-VGEM taken 9 May 2017 clearly showing the WiFi dome

Leased from AerCap for ten years with an extension option, the original idea was it would be a one off –  but the airline has found them to be reliable and popular (although not so much with crews as they have no crew rest area and you find cabin staff turn up randomly in any empty seat they can get for a rest). After the Dreamliner saga with the Rolls Royce engines and the overall poor quality of some of the fixtures and fittings, the whole A333 fleet is to be replaced with A339neo’s.

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1.Fuselage

NG have superb quality fresh moulds filled with high definition detail, so its no surprise that they’ve managed once again, to surpass all of the others in the quality and accuracy stakes when it comes to the mould.

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Three upper aerials, and the small forward dome, but, an omission – the larger WiFi dome amidships is missing and that’s not good. The A333’s have had these for over two years now.

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One of the two lower aerials is present. One is an actual aerial – the one they’ve added, the other the de-icing heater for the waste water is missing.

Over the years we’ve had two versions of sisters G-VSXY; one JCW and one Phoenix. The later was terrible, but the former had better colour and yet missed off the flying lady decal.  Then years later we had A332 G-VMIK from Gemini which is quite good overall, and recently Phoenix produced G-VLUV in July 2019, which wasn’t bad, but the fuselage paint wasn’t quite where it needed to be. However Phoenix did provide every single aerial while also missing the WiFi dome. It’s a surprise that NG haven’t matched or exceeded that.

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Top: Gemini A332 G-VMIK, Left Phoenix A333 G-VLUV, Right JCW A333 G-VSXY, bottom, this model, G-VGEM by NG

In terms of paint detail, windows, doors and so on the quality is exceptional, refined and as sophisticated as we’ve come to expect.

2. Wings

The wings are a truly superb fit, so well done the appear seamless with the fuselage, a detail that aways adds to the overall realism.

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The paint is a silk finish so looks far less glaring than the ultra gloss Phoenix use, and is in fact a little better than the JCW/Gemini finish. The wing fit is superior to either in a big way.

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Top: Phoenix G-VLUV from July 2019, Bottom this model G-VGEM

Leading and trailing edge details are fully done and exceptionally neat, all of the mould lines in the wings are visible.

3.Landing Gear

Extremely neat, effective and detailed, with the best quality finishes. It just looks spot on. The nose gear is equally as delicate and just as special. So much nicer than the toy-like silver of the Phoenix and the uncoloured, if detailed plastics of the JCW/Gemini.

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The engine nacelles interior really doesn’t notice until the flash hits it, then it looks messy

4.Engines

The one thing that can make or break any model. These help make it. The rims are outstanding, the fan colour and detail excellent. The nacelles are a superb shape and even the interior rear exhaust fans look exceptional.

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The fit of the nacelles to the pylons is also superb, and the pylon detail is first class.

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5.Nose detail

It can only be described as exceptionally good. Neat, detailed, fine high definition detail that is totally proportionate to the model.

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6.Tail detail

From a mould perspective, outstanding, from a fit and finish perspective equally as good. High detail quality.

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7.Colours

And now for the essential ingredient in this complicated livery. As I have said often, and written about, the paint is a very complicated bespoke type used just for Virgin Atlantic. As with the recent 787-9, G-VZIG, the fuselage paint is undoubtedly the best overall compared to Gemini/JCW or Phoenix.

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the pearlescent paint is clearly visible but the WiFi dome is missing

The pearl aubergine font lettering used for the lower case ‘virgin atlantic’ along the sides is brilliant.

Which brings us to the 1966 Candy Apple Red used on the tail and engines. It’s a superb colour, but again like the 787-9 optically dead. It completely lacks any lustre or vibrancy and once again, is extremely disappointing.

8.Score and conclusions

Accuracy

  • -20 for primary livery colour fail. The red is flat, lifeless and optically dead, a deep disappointment.
  • -3 the WiFi dome is missing

Score 27/50

Quality

No issues, Score 50/50

Overall score 77%

Overall quality is outstanding, most of the paint is the best, but the key component is a matt fail. Why is the massive WiFi dome missing?

 

As on the 787-9 NG couldn’t be bothered to ask the question or listen to expert views, or accept the advice and evidence many of us offered them. Gemini don’t give a toss about what we all think, and we all know it, but NG has been driven by a fan base – often making unsellable models because of it. Hundreds of those obscure 757’s are lurking about in dealer stocks all over the place and partly contributed to one retailer not wanting to sell them any more, having to discount them to get rid of stock at less than they paid for them.

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Yes the engine inner paint fail looks bad from the photo, but it really doesn’t show up except under very bright flash

Yes I know many of you will say you don’t care, because they’re better than anything else, but they’re still not quite right and they don’t seem to want to hear what doesn’t suit them. Then again, it’s China, and the arrogance of the take it or leave it approach permeates industry nationwide.

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Virgin Atlantic A330-300 G-VGEM NG Models 62007 Oct 2019

  1. I was intrigued and desired the NG version after the brillant NG B787-9 but atleast they have improved with the A330 with a metallic red paint instead of the red nail varnish! Though i decided not to get another A330 Virgin Atlantic as I already have the Phoenix version and I am now concentrating and hoping NG or Panda do a Virgin A330-900 Neo instead.Overall it looks good and I would like one but no its now the Neo I have decided.

    Onto the next point is I would like Jon as he collects all or most Virgin Models is when you finally get them do a A350-1000 comparison test! I see that Phoenix has released their version and I must say just like their Etihad version not bad at all actually but the BA version is utterly terrible! Why? Blue paint s too high up the fuselage,as Jon said and its true the windows along the fuselage points towards the sky and just look bad,even Gemini poor attempt looks better even with missing coloured wing tips,a first for BA but Gemini did not guess they may do that! That nicely leads on to AV400!

    Just to inform all and Jon that I have seen now all 3 A350-1000 in Ba,Virgin and Etihad liveries I have on order! Sellers on eBay from HK have helped by that and also another blogger called yesterday’s airlines did a special on new AV400 releases. The BA I s the best so far glad I bet the right way, Etihad the Sam better than the good Phoenix version and the Virgin Atlantic also looks the best so far!
    So as Virgin is the Topic the white looks like NG paint and the red is metallic,only thing is the purple may be a blue-violet but that could just be the lighting but overall looks excellent and with the red glass warning lights I am very pleased! Also again a double up for me but I am glad as its superior in every way to the Gemini jets version i already have! I also hope maybe AV400 do a Virgin A330 Neo as their A330’s are as good as NG or Panda frankly! So AV 400’s should be soon in then in the UK for us who have some on Pre-order.

    Just thought I’ll add a decided in the end to get the NG Delta Tristar500 as of pics I have seen on some sites.I will take the gamble on the latest concerns on quality issues as from the pics looks perfect,I just hope I get one thats perfect then.Their Singapore A330-300 StarAlliance livery I choose NG version over Panda,Phoenix and JCWings as you could clearly see how much better the NG was on that livery and mould ,so instill think NG are top notch,maybe a few duds about but so far ,lucky.I can recommend that model as well.

    Regards all.

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