This is a model of the 1998 Lufthansa A321-131 D-AIRX released by Gemini in early 2005 for Lufthansa’s 50th Anniversary, apparently ‘only’ 2000 were made. I’d wondered if this release was ever made to be honest – I suspected it was but I’d never bothered to look it up. I became interested in it during a mad dash through Munich Airport in September 2013. We’d just arrived from Nuremberg (having toured all of the historic 1930’s sites for my second book) on a 19 minute flight on a CRJ-700. Having been rushed from the stands to the gate we were being raced out to the E-190 for the flight to BHX – which was next to the aircraft we’d just gotten off of. That seems to happen to me every time I fly in and out of Munich. I’d managed to get one miserable photo of her as we were racing past which you can see here. Since then I’ve seen her arrive a couple of times from FRA doing the very busy LH956 flight early evening. Being relatively rare these days – especially MIB, I used the proceeds from the sale of G-CIVZ to buy it for £27/$38.
Gemini’s production of early models, and I’ve had plenty of them was always quite good, relative to the standards of the time. If you look at this retro livery from this distance everything looks OK. However once you start to look at it up close it becomes a frightful example of how grotty Gemini had become and how much they let standards slip for what by then in 2005 was becoming a booming business.
First off let me be fair and say that the silver and the window strip of blue are actually quite good. The starboard side of the aircraft as shown above is really fairly OK and pretty much what I’d expect. Then we turn the model round and the quality issues leap out one after another. For one the finger print in the paint on the port nose blue, the bleed in the Lufthansa lettering and the poor paint quality of the blue in general are very disappointing. To be honest this is actually one of the worst old models from Gemini I’ve ever seen. It has its good points, generally its accurate but best viewed from at least two feet away.
The 2013 Phoenix version of the 2005 A320-231 D-AISX with the newer type of engines is behind
These are the IAE V2530-A5 engines and the engines themselves are good, heavily painted but otherwise OK. The pylon on the port side however is awful. At some stage the metal seems to have come away and left a rough moulding visible underneath, which has then been painted over. Gemini quality control has never been brilliant but this is evidence it probably never existed.
3) Landing Gear
Oversized rubber on spigots. The landing gear has been heavily overpainted with gloss paint and the tyres are atrocious, lumpen and on the nose, a joke. I’ve had to rectify this after the photographs were taken.
4) Tail fin and stabilisers
The whole assembly is generally good but is over painted. The Starboard side shows some small amount of glue holding in the stabiliser.
5) Wings and underbody
The wings above and below are over painted. Very detailed but over painted all the same. The cradle system from 2005 as it is usually now on Gemini models, rubbish, with gaps and poor fit.
No complaints, overall the colours are always a Gemini strong point and this is no exception.
7) Overall score – we start at 10.
It’s an OK model, it scrapes by as being commercially acceptable but it’s no work of art nor is it “as real as it gets”, if it was 200 people would have died in a crash when the engine flew off from metal fatigue, if it had gotten off the ground before the tyres burst that is. provided you don’t look to hard at it, it’s really OK, but if it was being made right now, I’d have sent it back to the retailer for a replacement. 5.5/10. Having said all that, if you do look from a distance and you do see it on the diorama, it looks pretty good. No closeups though, really.
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