Thomson 787-804 G-TUIA 1:400 Gemini Jets GJTOM1018 2013 Release
The aircraft is a model of a 787-8 that I frankly dithered over for far too long in 2013 while buying so many other things and they ceased to be available before I could get one. Nearly two years and no less than 6 attempts later – some of them going for as much as £85 ($136 US) I finally got one for just £23.50 ($38 US) – not because there was anything wrong with it but because the naive seller posted the item to finish at 10am on a Monday morning, when 10pm would probably have doubled its price. There was nobody around to bid so victory was mine! (Rubs hands whilst cackling quietly).
It arrived as expected on time and in perfect condition though the box was mildly worn – it’s no big deal to me. Interestingly the Wings 900 database has an image of a model of this aircraft that looks like the old Gemini mould of the 787 without aerials etc. It makes me wonder if there are actually two versions of this model packed and sold as the same one. This has Gemini printed on the bottom of it but they are incapable of making such a good model and it is exactly, to the micron, the same mould and manufacture as the Phoenix 787-8. There are none of the usual Gemini fittings and fixings, this is one of the Phoenix moulds and it’s glaringly obvious just by looking at some of the others Phoenix have made.
Having established this, it still ranks as one of the best liveries in general use today, and on the 787-8 with its extraordinary capacity to carry almost anything in terms of colour and pattern, it simply looks delicious. The livery represents the blues of air and sea and waves, ideal for the charter holiday market the airline principally caters for, though it does offer seats as a scheduled airline on its charters for holidays provided by the German Tui Group, whose UK brand is Thomson with over 1000 travel agencies across the country.
1) Main Fuselage
The livery looks simply delicious on this model. It’s an odd word to use perhaps but there is something of the ice cream about it, or one of those blue-iced slush puppy drinks kids love. The colours are beautifully chosen and well duplicated here, but not without a minor fault typical of Phoenix in 2012/13 and found on other models – something they seem to have corrected since. Along the body with the blue changing to white you can make out the feint line of blue over-run around 1mm or so into the white, but fortunately it’s not obvious enough to leap out and spoil the look. The window paint is blur free and finely printed, the doors and logos neat and crisp. There are three aerials, the location transponder at the rear and two radio antennae plus the rear water heater antenna underneath. they seem well fixed though many have come loose on this particular model according to owners.
These are the massive Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines rated at 74Klbs thrust and the nacelles are beautifully made, assembled and painted. There is however one problem – the aircraft is fitted with General Electric GEneX IB’s as can be clearly seen in this shot of the aircraft taken from a recent YouTube video:
Engine detail is excellent and the paint is perfectly acceptable. The exhaust cone detail is of special note and the anti-noise serrations spot on. Usually there is clearly a Rolls Royce badge on the engines (RR tend to put them on the inside edge not the outside) and this is beautifully done on the outboard nacelle; it’s a great pity it’s totally wrong. The silver paint is straight but slightly mis-aligned and way too bright, yet because it’s tidy it doesn’t look ridiculous. The fans are detailed and the silver of sufficient quality and fine enough not to cause problems. They mount well to the pylons look overall, very very good indeed, even if some of the red paint is a tad blurred, it passes the naked eye test.
3) Landing Gear
Painted metal with detailed struts and hydraulics, fully rolling wheels but the bogies sadly don’t tilt. Spot on. No cheap plastic here.
4) Tail fin and stabilisers
They look so good and are so perfectly straight, flawlessly mounted, just as you would hope for, outstanding. The tail colour is the third blue in the livery, being quite pale, but exact. Graphics and fitment are all spot on.
5) Wings and underbody.
Push in wings so no annoying Gemini cradle with all its poor fitting repercussions. The tops and fittings are well detailed and painted. The underbody paint is really too thick and there is little apparent detail. It’s a minor gripe. Small graphics are well applied and neat. The standard Gemini thin arm stand fits easily.
This is far harder to judge than it looks. According to Tui and the official colours, the mid-blue is too dark by around two shades, the others are all perfectly OK. It is not the same colour as the Phoenix 738 G-TAWL which is too pale. I see these liveries in the flesh almost every day plying their way in and out of BHX, and you can’t help but notice the mid-blue is obviously not right. In certain lights it looks like it might be, but in daylight, not in direct sun is where the challenge lies and that’s where you can see it just isn’t the right colour. However it doesn’t really detract from it in any way. It’s the sort of blue you just want to dive into and it’s restful and harmonious to look at, jut as it was intended to be.
7) Overall score – we start at 10.
A few tiny blurs, a mildly inaccurate silver engine paint, that blue print line, lack of detail underneath and the wrong colour blue, and of course the wrong engine logos. Sounds bad, yet it isn’t. From a naked eye test only two of thee count – the colour and the engine silver paint. For that it just loose 2 points to give it 8/10. Yet it’s a qualified 8/10, because there is something so delightful about this livery that it is a joy to behold. And that is why I am so pleased to finally have it in my collection. Even if it is actually wrong in so many ways. What it does show is Gemini – lets face it they packed it up and boxed it with their name on it even if they didn’t make it, clearly applied the usual ZERO quality control. Two years later and they still haven’t learnt anything.
EDIT: This model didn’t stand the scrutiny of time. The arrival of the 767-300 G-OBYF and then 787-8 G-TUIE in 2015 highlighted quite how awful this colour on G-TUIA was and I had to sell it.