In part 1 I began to look at the 4 extant 787-9 moulds and gradually work through the features of each assigning scores. At the halfway point the JC Wings mould was out in front by a small margin. After concentrating on the nose, landing gear and engines in part 1 in this part we turn to the wings, and rest of the fuselage.
For part 1 see: Comparing 787-9s: 1:400 Detailed Mould Review Part 1
As a reminder of the format. Each mould is compared to the real thing for a given area of the airframe and then rated out of 5.
One of the most discussed features of the 787 has been its amazing bending wings, however in 1:400 scale all the models have their gear down and so the wings ought to represent the aircraft at rest on the ground, or at the very least in the case of the flaps down JC Wings version on final descent. On the ground as you can see the wings do not curve but angle upwards straight at quite a sharp angle.
As you can see the wingtips should have a subtle upward angle and the wing rear edge doesn't just have flap track fairings but also a fairly obvious tube (I assume this is for fuel dumping?).
The JC Wings mould's wings angle up nicely and the wingtips curve well.
The Phoenix wings have an unnatural curve, probably more representative of the aircraft in flight. There is no noticeable curve to the wingtips probably because the entire wing is curving. Once again I don't have a front photo of the Gemini mould but from what I have seen it also shares this incorrect wing curvature.
The NG Models mould has an excellent straight wing angle. The curve at the wingtips is present but is probably a little weak. As can be seen in the photos below in the next category only JC Wings and NG models mould in the fuel dump pipe on the wing rear edge. It is quite noticeable now I know to look for it.
WING / FUSELAGE JOIN
The wing join fairing on the 787 is quite complex and rounded melding into the fuselage above the wing gradually.
JC Wings have done an exceptional job here partly because they need the extra detail at the rear that allows the flaps down version to work. The fairing curves gracefully above the wing and down to the rear with the flourish of the flaps area having the extra detail.
The Gemini mould of course suffers from its biggest handicap - a massive seam that rather obscures the correct shape of the wing join fairing.
Despite being a seamless slot in wings mould Phoenix have skimped on the fairing, which above the wing simply doesn't exist. The result is the fuselage is rather slab sided.
It is a little hard to tell with this Qantas livery but believe me NG have the fairing nicely in place and curving correctly above the wing line. What they don't however have is the extra detail where the rear of the wings joins the fuselage.
On the underside of the fuselage the 787 has several major features. There is a large ventral structural strengthening bar running lengthwise for the entire width of the wings. There are also two major inlets on either side forward - one recessed and one sticking out.
All the main features are present on the JC Wings, however the position of the intakes may be too low and neither are shaped particularly well.
Neither Gemini or Phoenix bother at all underneath. None of the diagnostic features are present, although the Gemini is worse thanks to the ugly seams.
NG have done very good work on the underside. The elements are all their and well positioned and shaped.
TAIL & HORIZONTAL STABS + ANTENNAE
The 787 tail is actually quite unusual being rather gracefully curved along its leading edge and without a squared off top. The horizontal stabilisers have quite a pronounced angle to them.
The tail shape of the JC Wings is a surprising weakpoint. The fuselage join is a bit bumpy and the top far too squared off. The angle of the stabs is good.
The Gemini has a good tail shape, although the top is still too flat. The horizontal stabs angle ok, but probably not strongly enough, and the fuselage join is chunky and poorly shaped.
The Phoenix has a good tail shape but the horizontal stabs are almost flat, which is wrong, wrong, wrong.
The NG mould has the best all round effort. The tail shape is very good with the best upper surface and the horizontal stabs are well angled too.
In terms of antennae the JC Wings mould has all 4 but they are slightly too large. The Gemini only has two. The Phoenix has all four but the last and smallest is rather poorly shaped. The NG has all four and they look excellent.
I started part 1 with the JC Wings and NG Models neck and neck but with the former ahead, but both a way ahead of the Phoenix and Gemini. In part 2 the JC and NG have stormed even further ahead but in the final analysis have switched places.
Nonetheless we are in margin of error territory here and it is up to you which you think is superior. I actually still probably prefer the JC because personally I like the nose and undercarriage length more. What has surprised me is how far behind the Phoenix mould is. I was under the impression it was pretty good, and at distance it holds up fine. Under the microscope though it falters badly. Even so it is still miles ahead of the Gemini mould, which truth be told is from another era altogether.
I'm Richard Stretton, an aviation enthusiast and major collector of 400 scale model aircraft. This blog discusses ongoing events in the world of 400 scale.
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