The model is one that has become one of Gemini’s most sought after models of recent times, demand outstripped supply and in some countries, especially the UK and Germany, numbers were only half what had been ordered. The jetBlue tails and livery ensure a steady stream of willing collectors, coupled to the airlines positive reputation – never mind the fact that the new Mint service for domestic US Trans-Continental travellers is to be introduced with this aircraft.
I have to admit I managed to get two of them in the end after the one that was paid for was was cancelled on me by http://www.airspotters.com, one from a little appreciated but excellent UK supplier http://www.aviamart.com and one from http://www.aviationdelight.ca in Toronto which at the the moment is in transit, but I shall probably never open and leave for that mint in box value!
I have been supplied with images of one recently that I haven’t published and the paint and print and poor glue were not in the least bit encouraging. So lets get down to business with the one I now have and see how it fares. Can Gemini prove me wrong and deliver the goods, am I just lucky to get a good one or….well lets see and get the photography done!
1) Main Fuselage
This looks and feels like the Phoenix mould of the Finnair A321 with sharklets and there is almost no difference between the two of them, with the exception of the wheels. Overall paint quality is quite good, with little blurring or any of the much feared blobby paint. As thats something not often found on Phoenix models (and this really really looks like its the Phoenix way of doing things), things are looking up. There are a few trapped dust spots the nose fine detail seems to have gone slightly awry. The flight deck windows again have white dots on them where the grey has gone missing from interaction with the packaging. Generally the fuselage is good. Those aerials are not something you really want to stare at close up either. From a good distance they look fine but the holes and glue used can be detrimental to the finish on closer inspection. I like the idea of them, I’m just not sure we need them! The large graphics and colours are all very neat, as the general window and door print detail, though there is a marked blur on the rear starboard door.
The IAE V2533-A5’s are actually very good. The shape and paint is very good especially around the silver air intakes, the jetBlue print is a little blurry but at that level its not apparent to the naked eye.
3) Landing Gear
The nose gear seems plastic but is just heavily painted metal, with good wheels and tyres. the main landing gear appears to be metal, it’s certainly painted. The main gear tyres and wheels look quite good, but they are not the same as the Phoenix moulds. In fact the JetBlue A321 sits a good 1.5mm lower than the Finnair.
4) Tail fin and stabilisers
I have seen images of one that has atrocious tail paint. This one is very good, but far from excellent. It lacks crispness and the clarity you would have found on a Witty for example. There are also some small lumps under the paint and dust has been trapped but at least no glue fingerprints as per the Condor 757! The horizontal stabilisers seem OK but I noticed that you can actually see through the tail in two places. To be fair I wasn’t looking for that at all, I happened to spot it from almost two feet away. While it only happens at certain angles, you have to wonder how much glue has/has not been used to hold them in.There is also an odd tilt to the Blue on the tail, it seems to lean downwards to the right.
5) Wings and underbody.
I have no issues here, they seem perfectly adequate and a little above average.
Gemini have many models they produce for the jetBlue’s online shop, so getting the colours right is essential and I have no argument with what they’ve done here. Spot on Gemini or should I say Phoenix?
7) Overall score – we start at 10.
This is a much better model than I was expecting. It’s above commercially acceptable and has but a few small and relatively insignificant flaws. Visible issues get marked down and the see through tail is a -0.5 as its not horrendous but it is there. The tail paint and blobs of dust along with the white spots on the flight deck windows get another 0.5 down between them. Blurred paint on the rear starboard door is unsightly and visible with the naked eye, -0.25.
Amazingly Gemini have a score of 8.75/10 – thats the best they’ve achieved in a very long time. I wonder what the second model will be like and if it matches the same quality? Now won’t that be interesting. I suspect that this was a Phoenix mould from the Phoenix factory and it shows. However it is sold as a Gemini and has their logo underneath it, so if this is the future, it’s a lot better than I’d hoped for. Consistency is the name of the game. Can the second model equal this one and more to the point will the American Airlines A321 TransContinental match it or even, dare I hope, better it when it appears at the end of this month?
UPDATE: SECOND MODEL ARRIVES FROM CANADA
So what to expect? Some minor differences,some tweaks here or there that stand out as being noticeable? As it happens no. Right down to the tilt of the Blue on the tail, they are pretty much exactly the same, which is what you’d hope for but not always expect Gemini to manage. Clearly subcontracting production to people who know what they are doing seems to work.