American Airlines 777-223ER N796AN OneWorld Gemini Jets GJAAL1362 March 2015
Why did I by this? Well first of all because it’s a OneWorld livery and as AA is the fourth largest airline at RLSI not having one has also been mildly annoying. I love the new AA livery and it turns out, looking back through my records, I flew on this aircraft to New York in March 2003 (metal livery then), so that made it much more desirable. It was also a bit more than that, because Gemini have finally pulled their finger out and refurbished their line up. This is not the type of model of a 777-200 we were getting 12 months ago. It isn’t new but it’s greatly improved.
I am not a fan of the 772, it’s mundane and dull in most liveries, a typical work horse, not unlike the A332 that I also have no huge love for. In fact I realised the other day that the 772 has the lowest representation in my collection of any major operational aircraft. One more wouldn’t hurt. Besides I was intrigued, how far have Gemini gone to bring these old models back to life and to a level where they can better compete? There was also another compelling reason. A major eBay retailer was selling these for £29 ($44.20 US) in the UK brand new – the list price is now £36 ($51 US) so it was a relative bargain, I wouldn’t have paid £36 for a 772.
The Fuselage on this model is the same mould, but I have no issues with that in itself – except of course it has cradle wings a method that is the least satisfactory way of building a model. I’ve always thought the Gemini nose was wrong on the 777-200 but I’m sure someone will argue the opposite. I hate to generalise but it isn’t quite as ‘pointy’ – for want of a better word, than I would expect to see, it’s not a big issue, just an observation.
The use of aerials, now compulsory it seems, has added 3 to this one, two up top and one below. There should be two below. The low comms dome on the roof isn’t moulded on its only printed, but at least it’s there. The overall quality of paint and the print is up to the standards of the recent 788 and for Gemini is exemplary. The quality is up there with what Witty were producing in their final days. Kudos to Gemini for such an excellent effort.
2) Wings, Underbody & Landing Gear
The Gemini 772 wing moulding has always been one of the slimmer and better fitting ones. The 6 I have that are Gemini’s date back from 2000 to the present and they are all pretty much as good as you can get for this system. This is if anything even better, with an excellent fit and finish. This aircraft is old enough to have the old stub end wings which is the only aspect that makes her show her age. The paint is faultless and detail good.
A massive improvement is the landing gear quality. it appears that someone has seen sense and decided to put metal detailed gear onto models with decent wheels and tyres and not the shoddy cheap plastic of old. This has one big impact on the collection as a whole but I’m going to leave that for another article, this is just about this model. The bogies however are rock solid on the port side and loose as a bag of spanners on the other, though the tyres are good quality. The nose gear is very high, but actually this is closer to correct from the photos I’ve been studying.
The engines are a revelation for a Gemini model. They are probably the best I have ever seen them produce. These are on a par with the very best Phoenix (when they can be bothered) and are almost a highlight of the model. They really are excellent, fitted, well, great paint, the fans and the intakes are superb. Full Marks to Gemini.
4) Tail and stabilisers
The fitment of the stabilisers is great, the tail colour and print again, exemplary. The entire tail assembly is superb. Really, this is a first class job on the tail, better even than that on the 788.
5) Nose detail
The printed detail, including the flight deck is excellent. It’s only the slightly odd shaped nose I have an issue with and it’s very minor, a small concern in a sea of extraordinary Gemini quality. I know, you read the words Gemini, Quality and extraordinary in a sentence. But it is that good. Really.
Gemini are generally masters of accurate colours. This is the closest colour match to the real thing I’ve seen. I see the AA livery often and my observation gives this a 10/10 for accuracy – better than the 788 (a tad too light). The tail colours are excellent but the process involved in applying them doesn’t allow for the full lustre. That’s not perfect but in terms of model making it is about as accurate as we’re ever going to get and it must be commended. That said, we now have a situation as we did with Virgin Atlantic – but I’ll devote another article to that as the whole subject is as interesting as it is vexing!
7) Out of 10
Well would you believe it, other than a 0.25 mark down for the stiff landing gear, this rightly gets a 9.75/10. It is richly deserved. This model is head over heals above much of what Gemini has done in the last 24 months (excepting the AA 788). Now all I ask for is consistency, all models, made to this standard or better all of the time! Is it really so difficult?