Vietnam Airlines 787-9 VN-A861 Gemini Jets GJHVN1478 July 2015

I think I mentioned in the recent past that I’d chosen Gemini because they were best at reproducing colours. In fact I specifically said I chose to buy the Gemini Vietnam 787-9 because of this very fact. So what a joke to find not only is it the wrong colour, it’s the wrong colour by about ten shades on the Pantone scale.

Who makes these decision and who lets them get past the approvals stage?  Has the colour blind Phoenix colourist moved to Gemini? Please God no!

Vietnam Airlines is only the second airline after Qatar to operate the A350 and the 787, indeed the first airline to get the A350 before the 787, if only by a few weeks.

You can read the review of the Gemini v Phoenix  A350’s HERE if you feel you need to.

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Keeping away from the colour issue, the model is perfectly good, indeed it’s infinitely better than the dreadful 787-9 that was G-VNEW when it was first released last year, and the very poor A350 in Vietnam Airlines livery, by way of comparison. The paint finish and detail are excellent. Two aerials up top, Gemini don’t do three, but not much in the way of the small domes – thankfully Vietnam chose not to install the wifi comms dome and the pin-head atrocity fitted to other models has been avoided.

You can see the back end of the cradle is too wide
You can see the back end of the cradle is too wide

Detail is crisp and clean, with no blurring or misalignment of detail or windows. It’s really rather good.

The gold coachline is very neat, only on very close up can you see some small loss of clarity, but really no issue. The light ivory is also the correct colour underneath. Phoenix seem (wrongly ) convinced this should be white.

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2) Wings, underbody and landing gear

While everything on this cradle system model fits tightly, the wing section is now quite old, possibly dating back as far as 2008/9. As a result it is not the perfect shape at the rear and while tightly fitted, the mould is too big and doesn’t fit the cylindrical fuselage well at all, with a half millimetre overlap either side.

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The wings are over glossed and obscure all detail below, but are fine up top. The general accuracy of the wings is excellent.

Landing gear is rigid but tyres and wheels are first class and all match – vastly better than on the A350.

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How much do I hate it when engines are rubbish? Well I don’t have to worry this time, they are, simply, perfect. No missing paint, excellent coloured turbofans, marvellously executed.

Proof Gemini can do it when they try
Proof Gemini can do it when they try

4) Nose detail

Almost perfect, all the way to the not quite circular nose dome (the top has indents where the dome lifts for access), the windows being black seems a bit heavy, but that’s a styling choice – I’d rather see lighter panels with black frames, but I’m not complaining about what we have. The whole thing is excellent.

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5) Tail and stabilisers

Again, excellent. The gold paint isn’t quite as good as on the Phoenix A350, but it’s still more than good. Tail detail and fitting is first class.

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6) Colour

The blue-green is wrong, plain and simple. It’s not even the same as they used on the Gemini A350. Just look for images online and I’ve yet to find one that comes even slightly close to this. Colours were something Gemini used to be so good at, not always but mostly. The American Airlines variation in colour is the worst, and they never did get Virgin Atlantic right. But not to use the same colour as they used on the A350? Why? The bizarre thing is the colour on the box of the diagram is almost spot-on!

The Phoenix A350 left and the Gemini 787-9 right. Bear in mind the difference in colour between Gemini's A350 and Phoenix's was minimal
The Phoenix A350 left and the Gemini 787-9 right. Bear in mind the difference in colour between Gemini’s A350 and Phoenix’s was minimal ( I sent the Gemini A350 back it was so bad for other reasons)
The two A350's - not much colour difference there!
The two A350’s – not much colour difference there!

I was in half a mind to send it back and buy the Phoenix version, but they have so badly hacked me off with their miserable quality of late I’m not prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt. And we already know they got the belly colour wrong again from the images they posted online!

7) Final score

-5 for the overly wide rear end on the wing cradle, -10 for the wrong primary colour on the fuselage. 85%

Now that’s a good score, it’s an excellent model and provided you don’t mind the fact it’s totally the wrong colour, well you’ll be fine. I’m going to swallow my angst and live with it. The upside outweighs the down by a considerable factor. Overall it shows Gemini are still improving, but still have a way to go.