It was just over six months ago now that I reviewed the samples for the NG Models 747-8s and although the first two releases were pre-announced as future models quite a while back it is only now that the first of them is reaching the market. NG have a lot on but when they release you can usually rely on the end result being a quality one. This model is technically a pre-release version and it didn't come in the official release box but I've no reason to believe it will differ from the model scheduled to arrive in stores soon and I wanted to take a closer look at it.
Each review is to split into three key areas:
THIS MODEL WAS SENT TO ME FREE BY NG MODELS FOR THE AMS FAIR
The NG Models 747-8s were the first of the mooted 747 lineage to appear following the 747SP samples released way back in 2020. As such, even though it is probably the least exciting member of the family it had the eyes of the world on it for what it might possibly mean for the later variants (now beginning to gradually surface - see the 747-400 review here).
Check out the original review of the 747-8F sample here:
The sample mould scored well but had some minor modifications I wanted to see. There was also much discussion about the shape of the nosecone and the forehead of the model above the cockpit. The big question is has NG made any changes to this area?
I admit I'm still not sure. Perhaps the forehead is less abrupt and more curved but it could equally just be the printing. Regardless I think it looks pretty impressive. The hump also curves down to the roofline very nicely, certainly much better than the derided JC Wings mould version.
The wingroot is very finely sculpted and the wings join tightly to the fuselage in a very similar manner to the Gemini / JC mould. It ought to be similar because both match the real thing almost perfectly. On the underside the three NACA intakes are moulded in and the maingear looks good. It makes an interesting comparison to the Phoenix mould, which has a cumbersome unrealistic and heavily rounded wingroot join to the fuselage.
It is worth noting that the gear trucks do not pivot as they do in other brands. This something NG have stopped doing on new moulds in the search for greater realism. I'm not sure it adds much more realism on a 747 but I can't say the lack of the pivot bothers me either.
Moving to the engines and they have excellent ground clearance, without the wing resorting to unnatural dihedral. The rear of the engine has the trademark chevrons on both the nacelle and second stage and they both look good. The shape of the engine pylons is an area that works nicely. They are correctly angular under the wing and show the splayed out rear portion that connects up to the engine rear section.
NG has given up on hollow core engines now, once again in the search for realism, and these engines look amazing. Each fan is individually detailed and unlike on the samples the fan blades are now oriented in the correct direction.
The wings have lots of good detail and are very similar to those of the Gemini / JC mould. Both have the same height at the wingtips NG have correctly identified and replicated the slight change in angle of the leading edge after the outboard engine. This angle change appears to be missing on both the JC Wings and Phoenix moulds. Another difference is that the inner flap track fairings on the NG correctly protrude beyond the wing trailing edge slightly less.
Once again the tail looks very similar to the JC Wings effort, at least as the rear and join, and substantially better than the Phoenix, which has their common clumsy way too small connection point to the roofline and massive gap much wider than the rudder. Where this tail is superior to the JC effort is that it has a more restrained realistic curve along its leading edge whereas the JC version has a much stronger curving profile.
As an all-new casting this 747-8F jumps ahead of the existing versions from JC Wings / Gemini and Phoenix. It avoids the hump issues of the JC and the clumsy wingroot and vertical stabiliser of the Phoenix while at the same time adding a lot of nice detail across the board. I can't see any reason not to give it full marks myself.
SCORE - 10
PAINT & LIVERY
This model shows the final 747 built in its pre-delivery primer, which it was unveiled in on December 6, 2022 and took its first flight in on December 18th. Primer schemes are a rarity in 400 scale but there have been a few (Shenzhen A330 from Panda and an Airbus Beluga XL from JC Wings spring to mind). Obviously there is no livery to review here but there are still some salient points to be made.
Firstly, the primer green colour on this model is gorgeous. It really glistens and would make an excellent base colour for a real livery. It fits the real aircraft well but is far more uniform across the aircraft than the real plane was, partly because the real thing had quite obvious panel lining across the fuselage sections. NG hasn't attempted the panel lines, which is I think understandable but does almost make this more of a fantasy scheme.
The two large rectangular stickers on the aircraft's starboard side are both present and correct. I'll talk more about them in the printing section. Areas around the L1 door and SCD are outlined in yellow and the registration is within a white box.
This is a super impressive looking model and turned a lot of heads at the AMS fair. Some panel lining would perhaps add more realism but it looks magnificent without it.
SCORE - 8
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
The printing on this model is super fine and crisp. Looking at the pair of stickers on the starboard side illustrates the high-quality. Under magnification the forward sticker is perfectly readable even though it is only 4mm high and 14mm wide.
The rear sticker is less impressive but needs to illustrate a photo image of the 747-8 in flight, which is a tall challenge when it is so tiny. It does it well and again the tiny writing is fully legible under magnification.
I have heard criticism of NG's 747 cockpit printing but I don't see a problem here. The print detail at the front is great and is complemented by another area of high detail printing in the engine nacelles.
There are no build or quality issues whatsoever.
SCORE - 10
Much like so many collectors at the AMS fair I am taken with this model far more than I expected and I don't think I'm fibbing when I say it has probably one of the best overall look and feels of any model I've bought. The 747-8F mould is much more impressive here than it was for the white sample aided by a super-impressive rendition of the last 747 in primer. Superb!
FINAL SCORE - 28/30
I'm Richard Stretton an aviation enthusiast and major collector of 400 scale models. On this page I take a detailed look at new releases.
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