UPS MD-11F N278UP Gemini Jets GJUPS1377 Sept.2014 Release

Such a great looking aircraft, MD-11F's look awesome.

Such a great looking aircraft, MD-11F’s look awesome.

I’ve been looking for a second UPS aircraft for a while, to go with the 757-200F I’ve had for some time. This one came up on eBay with a starting bid of 99p ($1.30) and it was inevitable I would bid. Even more so because this is the “new” Gemini version from September 2014 and comes with aerials. After 7 days it sold for an astonishingly low £12.55 ($18.74) and as only a few months ago it was running out at a round £29 ($43) new (and this was new condition), it felt like the bargain it appears to be.

Originally a Japan Air Lines (JA8586) passenger version delivered in 1995 she served just 8 years before being sold to Boeing who converted  her to freighter specification and delivered her to UPS in 2004 where she has served since. The Engines are PW4460’s not the CFE’s listed on the Wings900 database.

From the standard range and a normal viewpoint all looks well
From the standard range and a normal viewpoint all looks well

1) Fuselage

The mould is excellent, capturing the shape accurately. It’s not the newest of Gemini’s creations but it’s about as spot on as you’d like to think it could be. The downsides come on closer examination and as usual with Gemini it’s the close up detail that takes the edge off. I know some people think that it doesn’t matter. But it does and it should – if it doesn’t matter to you why the hell are collecting these things? You may as well make your own out of some solder and plasticine.

The print on the port side is not the best by some margin. The wording seems to have been applied too thickly and there’s been a small amount of blurring as well as loss of definition – look at the “Synchronizing” – (sorry English readers, but our US friends use a ‘z’ rather than an ‘s’). Now the odd thing is on the starboard side while the wording is a bit thick the definition is fine.

Not the neatest lettering
Not the neatest lettering – in fact ironically unsynchronised!
far better on the starboard side
far better on the starboard side

The overall detail and small print is actually very good, the body paint and coach lines all look highly acceptable and even the three aerials look reasonable from a distance. However there is something that catches your eye about the upper aerial and the way it’s fixed is frankly pretty crappy when you see how it’s done:

a ton of glue and a hole cracked into the paint to fix the roof aerial
a ton of glue and a hole cracked into the paint to fix the roof aerial

 2) Wings and underbody

Gemini have made far worse cradles that these and no mistake. This one sits neatly especially on the very noticeable upper surfaces. rather than having the Grand Canyon for a gap in the back end, it’s much more acceptable with a barely 1/2mm gap. The front edge underneath is not so nice, protruding noticeably on the starboard side. Despite their best efforts it’s still the worst way of making models.

That cradle does so much for the aerodynamics!
That cradle does so much for the aerodynamics!

My main gripe with the wing assembly isn’t the detail, which is excellent, nor even the cradle. It’s the over-thick paint that’s so heavy it’s obscured detail on the upper wing that deserves to be seen.

overwing detail is swamped by paint
overwing detail is swamped by paint

3) Landing Gear

The landing gear is actually all rather neat and tidy, with good tyres and wheels that all rotate. The gear itself is a quality metal hats been painted. The stand fit – just about acceptable, but as with many models of late surprisingly tight fitting.

4) Engines

The pylons on the wings are very good and the engines look good, though there are some small paint anomalies if you look closely it’s nothing to get over-fussed about. More than tolerable, especially when you think of the hideous paint on some Gemini models.

IMGP7243 - Version 2

IMGP7244 - Version 2

 5) Tail and stabilisers

The standard MD-11 tail from Gemini. It’s possibly a little heavily painted to be fair, but it doesn’t hurt the model. The silver intake paint is good enough and the UPS shield pretty good with the naked eye test but not so much up close. No complaints in general.

IMGP7248 - Version 2

6) Colours

A Gemini strong point and as accurate as in general, I have always expected from Gemini.

7) Out of 10..

Total deductions come to -2.5 s0 7.5/10. 1 point off for the excessive wing paint, half for the ugly aerial glue/hole and half for the cradle protuberance then another half for the lettering. Overall it’s very much an improvement over some of Gemini’s more recent efforts. However this model was I understand supplied to UPS for corporate use in some numbers and Gemini always ramp up quality when it comes to corporate sales. It’s good, and but like so many things from Gemini, it could be so much better.