Fantasy models are not usually part of my collection criteria but in this case I decided to make an exception. Partly because I collect a lot of Cathay, and love the retro Lettuce Sandwich look, and partly because as the first NG Models 777-300 release I felt I should take a closer look at the mould now it is in production. NG is building something of an interest in releasing the odd fantasy model but unlike the Easyjet A350 made previously this one is at least a model that could exist in reality and to add to that possibility NG have used a real Cathay 777 reg. Let's take a closer look...
Each review is to split into three key areas:
NG Models of course sent me the samples of their 777 moulds, which I took a detailed look at back in February - see below:
The 777 samples were good but had a selection of areas that were identified for improvement. Given the short time between my reviews and the first production announcement it was always going to be difficult to make the modifications even if NG agreed with them all. It is not surprising then that many of the comments made for the samples remain true to the initial production models.
I really like the nosecone and immediate cockpit area shape, however when you look at the mould from the front or at an angle there is a clear ridge line running down to the cockpit. This isn't present in the real thing or any other 777 mould and I do think it is incorrect. It doesn't dramatically impact the look of the model, especially from the side, but I'm not convinced by it either.
The front undercarriage is very nicely proportioned and detailed and it does look like NG have modified the nosegear door, which is either slightly larger or fitted better than on the samples. Either way it is an improvement.
The wingroot area is impressive with a very tight join between wing and fuselage. The wings are very nice but noticeably are lower at the tips than on the sample mould, which does introduce some engine ground clearance issues. They don't touch the ground but are lower than on the sample, which is not a positive change.
The wing shape is otherwise fine except the innermost flap track fairing has not been modified and is still the wrong shape - not being curvy enough in keeping with the real thing on which that fairing is differently shaped to the outer ones.
The vertical stabiliser is the one obvious area NG have improved from the samples. The production model has an all new tail with the correct rudder shape and proportions. It is much better.
Another area that has not changed is the tailcone. NG has opted to keep it simple and square, likeon the Phoenix mould, and not to add the extra detail of the upper and lower prongs that both JC Wings and Aviation400 work in to their 777s. Personally I prefer the extra detail of the other two moulds.
One area that is clearly superior to the AV400 and JC Wings moulds is the maingear. Not having the swivelling gear that they have means that NG can model in the extra hydraulic actuator at the front of the gear, which is a feature of the 77W. As the other moulds need the maingear bogey to pivot this is an area of detail they rather botch.
Lastly the engines of the NG version are very well shaped and represent the General Electric GE90-115Bs brilliantly. Going for hyer-reality NG has modelled a solid core engine and it does look substantially better than the hollow core fans on the AV400 version and a little better than the more impressive fanblades of the JC Wings version.
Overall this is a worthy 777 with some detailing (maingear and engines) better than the competition and some worse (roofline above cockpit, inner flap track fairing and tailcone). I also do think the engines are too close to the ground. Although a good mould for me at present I do think it is slightly behind the competition from AV400 and JC Wings.
SCORE - 8
PAINT & LIVERY
This is obviously a fantasy rendition so there is nothing to directly compare it too for this section of the review, however I will use the finish of this livery as worn by the 747-200 as the base for comparison. The first point worth raising is that this is wearing the version of the Lettuce Sandwich scheme from the mid-90s just prior to the Chinese takeover since it doesn't feature the Union Jack on the tail. I guess if seen as a retro scheme version and not a complete fantasy that makes sense as I can't see the Chinese government allowing the painting of a Jack on the tail anytime soon!
The green colour being used is excellent. The design and position of the cheatline are obviously not going to be the same as on a 747 and NG have taken some creative licence here. On the 747s and Tristars the lower side of the green cheatline expands towards the nose, and so is more of a wedge shape, then expands further just before the cockpit and wraps around under the nose. NG have kept the cheatline the same width along the entire fuselage until the angle change to wrap it around the nose. It looks good but I don't think it is how the cheatline would look on a 777 if this scheme was applied to it.
Other details are good including the Swire logo ahead of the red titles and the expanding green stripe on the engine nacelles. A nice touch are the black Boeing 777-300ER titles on the rear fuselage, which match the titling design worn by the 747s.
Lastly I must applaud the lovely bare metal belly, which looks great. I am also super glad NG avoided having a modern Cathay Pacific logo sticker on the rear fuselage as they originally intended.
SCORE - 9
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
Printing on the model is the usual very high standard. I don't think I've ever received an NG model with smearing or weak printing detail. In this area they are at the acme of 400 scale. The printing on the natural metal belly and underside of the engine nacelles is especially nice. Two of the criticisms of the sample mould were the shape of the outer cockpit windows and the height of the windowline at the rear fuselage. I am pleased to say both of these areas have been modified.
Despite the high praise of the printing however, I do think that from the front the green cheatline isn't printed quite straight. To my eye it certainly looks slightly lower on the left than on the right.
Construction quality is the usual excellent aside from that old problem of NGs of not getting all the tyre hubs correct. At my count of the 14 tyre hubs on the model half are not showing the same level of detail as the other half. It is most obvious on the port side of the model where all the outer hubs are not properly detailed.
SCORE - 8
This is a lovely fantasy release. I admit there probably aren't a huge number of 777s that I need to add to my collection but given the level of competition in this area between brands it is one that NG need to get right. Their first 777 is a nice model no doubt but actually scores rather weekly for an NG release. Some of the points loss is easily remedied, however I must admit that this is probably NG's weakest mould to date, albeit it is far from poor.
SCORE - 25/30
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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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