Volotea Airlines EC-LQS Boeing 717-213 1:400 Gemini Jets May 2014 Release GJVOE1324
Why did I buy this? I know it’s a Gemini and we know what that means so often don’t we? High priced and mediocre quality. Guess what? That’s exactly what we have here once again! Gemini Jets at their average low effort high-priced greediness.
I bought it because one of these flies over me almost every day flying from Bilbao to Glasgow, not that I’ve ever actually seen it in the flesh. I also don’t have one of these 717’s in the collection and as it’s really the last McDonnell-Douglas and a European regional Airline, it fits neatly inside the collection parameters.
I admit I got it shipped from Hong Kong, so it was only £17 delivered so that mitigates some of the cost to annoyance ratio. If I had paid UK full price for this (around £27 delivered), I’d be annoyed.
Volotea is a Spanish low-cost airline, occasionally doing charters, established by Barcelona-based Alaeo S.L., a company created by former Vueling founders, Carlos Muñoz and Lázaro Ros. This aircraft is a 2003 example, having seen service in the US and Mexico.
1) Main Fuselage
White with what I can only describe as a french tea towel livery of pink yellow black and red that seems to have some significance in relation to the Spanish and Catalan flags though for the life of me I haven’t worked it out. The fuselage mould seems good until you see the real thing and realise the nose is totally the wrong shape and too rounded. The Good point is that the general print and position all seems to be fine.
These are Rolls-Royce BR715A1-30’s and are rear mounted as with many regional jets of the period as it improves lift on short runways. They are OK moulds for the most part though on examination the engines barely touch the fuselage and they are atrociously mounted with half millimetre gaps clearly visible. VERY poor and quite unnecessary, as is the rough mould finish on the pylons and exhaust.
3) Landing Gear
Mediocre tiny plastic gear with fixed wheels and the worst tyres I have ever seen.
4) Tail fin and stabilisers
Unlike the MD-90 at least these never fell off out of the box! Well made and straight, fitted well and no complaints.
5) Wings and underbody.
This is where these moulds really let the side down. The cradle type fitting for the wings is not correctly attached and seems slightly off kilter. Worse still, you can SEE THROUGH THE GAP between the body and wings. The wing detail is actually quite good and not plastered in excessive paint. There is a hole that permits the fitting of the standard Gemini thin arm stand.
No complaints, what there is seems to be accurate.
7) Overall score – we start at 10.
1 point down for the gaps of the engine mountings, 1 point down for the see-through wing mounting and 1 point for the engines not being fitted correctly to the body. Half a point for the rudimentary and very low effort landing gear. It therefore scores 6.5/10, just half a point from being classed as unacceptable and a return. It exemplifies everything that I have come to expect from Gemini Jets; commercially acceptable. Just above the point where it’s not so bad it can be sent back but no way is it good enough for the money that they are happy to charge. “As Real As It Gets may be their trade mark but it is by no means what they live up to. If this was real the engines would fly off and the wings detach before it reached the V1 point! Annoyingly this mediocre stuff still sells because the young buyers who make up the majority of collectors have no idea what quality is.