NG Models have a penchant for the odd fantasy model, especially for debut releases for moulds. So there has been a Cathay 'Lettuce Sandwich' 777-300 and Easyjet A350. I prefer my fantasy models to be at least slightly realistic and I admit that I had suggested to NG that a good fantasy 747-8 would be in the colours of BOAC, one of the principal early 747 operators (although strike action delayed their 747 entry for a period). This model had been a future release for a while but now has a release date. I was lucky enough to get an early copy for the Amsterdam show, so let's 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
A few weeks ago I reviewed the 747-8F version of the new NG Models 747-8s so check out that review as a companion to this one.
In many ways the freighter is the primary version since only 48 intercontinentals were built for just three airline operators (plus a few private customers). I also reviewed the sample versions of this mould back in March 2023.
There are of course two existing 747-8I moulds already, from JC Wings / Gemini Jets and from Phoenix models. Unlike the 747-8F moulds there is less criticism of the existing passenger moulds but they are not perfect. This mould compares very favourably to the existing moulds and is certainly superior to the Phoenix version.
As with the freighter version there was much discussion of the nose and cockpit region of the sample including some criticism. The poor printing of the windowline on the sample didn't help things at all. Did NG modify the shape at all since? I'm not convinced but it certainly looks better all printed up here and when compared to the sample.
I haven't got any issues with the nose shape myself and the long hump also looks good.
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.
I continue to hear some criticism that the maingear trucks don't pivot but it isn't something that bothers me. Even if they did the model couldn't replicate a proper landing look since it doesn't have configurable flaps. Given I'd expect most of these to be displayed on a flat surface I really don't see it as a problem anyway.
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.
The engines and wings are the same as on the 8F. 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.
Just like with the freighter version I'm struggling as to why I wouldn't give this mould full marks, so that's what I'm going to do!
SCORE - 10
PAINT & LIVERY
Scoring fantasy liveries is something of a fool's errand I admit but here I'll try and compare it to the scheme worn by BOAC 747-136s. I have to say the extra fuselage length really works with the dark blue BOAC cheatline, especially with the way it curves gracefully around the nose region.
The natural metal belly really suits the model too and gleams beautifully. The BOAC Golden Speedbird scheme with the titles outside the cheatline was worn only from 1970-74 and inspired by the 747 delivery. It is a glorious livery and very fitting for this first 747-8 release.
I can't argue with the deep blue or gold colours and the size and space of the speedbird logo on the tail shows them both off well. The cheatline width and height also work well accentuating the fuselage length. There is however a slight downward curve of the cheatline towards the rear and I'm not really sure why that is there. It isn't drastic but I do think it makes the cheatline lower in relation to the stabs than it should.
The engines have nice BOAC titles and the unusual white block above them. This was present on the series 136s although sometimes hard to see in photos. Compared to the 136s the BOAC titles on the engines are a little high.
Two other small elements missing that the 747-136 had are the BOEING 747 titles under the rear cheatline and the last three letters of the reg at the tailtop. These are minor omissions but probably should be present.
SCORE - 8
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
I have heard from some that they think the cockpit window print on NG 747s is too large and too low. They are probably right but I don't really see it as an issue myself. Certainly, it compares well to other brand jumbos. Printing is to the usual high standards with no issues.
A very minor criticism, arguably of mould but perhaps QC related, is the position of the APU hole. You really wouldn't notice at anything other than magnification but the APU hole is slightly offset to the leftside.
In all other areas the model quality is stunning.
SCORE - 9
Fantasy models aren't really a thing in my collection unless they have some historical basis, like the Pan Am and Braniff Concordes. Nonetheless, aside from Air China there isn't a single 747-8I I'm likely to buy so this BOAC example is a nice sideline considering how classic the scheme is. JC Wings have recently announced a British Airways Landor 747-8I so it seems this isn't going to be the last fantasy Intercontinental. Hopefully it won't be too long until we see some BOAC on a non-fantasy 747 by NG but until then this is a great addition.
FINAL SCORE - 27/30
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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