I’d thought about buying this when it was new in May this year and thought better of it, having had a bad experience with the earlier Gemini 738 in the new American Airlines livery – the nose was flat and frankly the metallic paint look like Christmas card glitter. However this came along on Ebay through a supplier known as avantphillip for just £14 ($20) – almost half the usual new price, so I bought it, brand new in box, unopened. As I had the Disney version by Phoenix (itself a good model but it had problems to start with, see the review in the archive), I justified it by claiming to need two aircraft to maintain a 7 day schedule to RLSI!
1) Main Fuselage
This looks and feels like an old, old Gemini mould and it is. It suffers from the same atrocious flat nose problem, though not quite as badly as the AA version. There is bleed on the silver paint around the windows, the silver is large flaked and looks again, rather like Christmas card glitter! The detail around the nose is black and that paint to has bled slightly. You can see both of these faults quite easily with the naked eye. Gemini have added the satellite communications dome to the roof, rather than just paint it on as a thin line, which is something good, but it looks shoddy and is poorly painted.
The CFM56-7B27 engines are not the best mould. One of this models failings is excessive paint, especially on the cradle wing assembly and engines. The reason I suspect is excessive glue holding them on that possibly hadn’t set before the paint was applied. Glue – from the fingers of the person holding the model when it was assembled and from excessive use crops up in several places. Not an unusual Gemini issue it seems as the Condor 757 also suffers from this failing. The silver nacelle paint is pretty ropey, visibly so. The pylons that support the engines look over-glued and over painted to cover the glue.
3) Landing Gear
The nose gear is covered in glue. The nose gear doors are either covered in glue or something has happened to the paint. Either way it’s all pretty horrible and very easily seen with the naked eye. The nose gear tyre seems odd looking because of the glue and of course doesn’t turn because it’s stuck. The main gear is a lot better but unpainted rudimentary plastic but there is still clear signs of excessive glue and the wheels don’t turn.
4) Tail fin and stabilisers
A few tiny spots of something but nothing to worry about, the tail actually is about the best part of this model and I can’t see any problems.
5) Wings and underbody.
Oh woe is me for I am sick of the old fashioned cradle system! While this one actually fits the fuselage (so many don’t) the paint is excessively thick and very very glossy. Underneath its covered up all the detail and looks mildly bizarre. The hole for the standard Gemini stand is so full of paint it took several minutes to get the model to sit on the stand without falling off and it wasn’t keen on staying on either! Not the first time that’s happened. The winglets however are excellent and for once have no chipped off paint.
This is one area I hardly ever fault Gemini over and this is no exception, they do a great job colour matching and using the correct fonts and logos.
7) Overall score – we start at 10.
There is one word that sums up this model: shoddy. It’s another barely commercially acceptable model on a worn out mould assembled poorly and painted with minimal skill. Compare it to the Witty/Apollo or Phoenix moulds and it’s like something from another era. Like a pre-Dreadnought in the age of the Super-Dreadnought, they just don’t compare; they may be both good in their time and are generally ships with heavy guns but other than that one would blow the other out of the water without the pre-dreadnought even knowing it was there. Such is the gap in this model to a modern mould and process. Multiple failings on paint are a -2, -1.5 for the glue problems, -0.5 for the stand issue and -1 for the bad mould. 5/10 is one of the lowest scores so far for Gemini. This would so easily have gone back if I had paid full price and it wasn’t an E-bay bargain. If it had come from my usual sources or a formal retailer, it would have been returned without any doubt. I am now making it my policy that there will be no more Gemini 737’s until the mould issue is fixed and the cradle system replaced. It isn’t good enough for a full on retail price of £27 – around $42 depending on where you come from. Gemini need a kick up the backside and people who buy this stuff full price need to make them aware of their failings!!