Air New Zealand 787-9 ZK-NZF Gemini Jets GJANZ1459 2015

Welcome to September 2015. This model is about 4 months old I think, but I happened to see it in the Ian Allan bookshop in Birmingham the other day, (along with an impressive looking Gemini 744F of the Etihad new livery, which I didn’t buy as the shop price was an eye-watering £45.95 ($70.53 US) and he wouldn’t discount it a cent). However he did give me a £5/$7.67 discount on this as they’d had it a while making it no more than on-line retail  and no shipping costs.

Taxiing at RLSI
Taxiing at RLSI

The Etihad is so good I am actually thinking about getting it. There were a number of new and recent Gemini models on display – the worst was actually a Fanhansa A346 – talk about over priced and poorly finished, the model looked over painted, smeary and badly printed. At least I was able to look at the ANZ before committing!

Why this model? ANZ’s all black and half-black liveries are possibly the best liveries out there right now. Sober, symbolic, historic, contemporary, inclusive and traditional, everything that should sum up the multicultural heritage espoused by this inspiring nation. It’s hard to get that across in a simple stylish livery, but they have.

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This is the half white/half black 787-9, and it complements the 773ER All Blacks, a superb model from the late great Witty Wings (including see-through engines and exquisite detail), and the generally accepted Model of The Year 2014 – Phoenix’s 787-9 of the ANZ all black livery. You only have to look at that one to see how far Phoenix have fallen in 12 months. This is likely to be my last ANZ addition – limits are three aircraft for non-core airlines at RLSI, unless some stunning one-off livery is created.

1)Fuselage

In general Gemini have done a neat job of the fuselage, 2 aerials up and one down, all fixed neatly and without any hassle. The standard of detail is high and the often screwed up transition from black to white, which is probably the most easily noticeable area for poor print or blur lines, is outstandingly good. Neat, crisp and accurate detail all round.

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2) Wing and landing gear

This is an area Gemini have generally made great strides with. The usual issues with the cradle mounted wings are generally avoided, with tight fitment and few issues. The black paint covers up the rear edge, which is a good thing, because the rear gap, while neater than I’ve seen in the past is still too wide. More creek than canyon!

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The wing paint is a great half way house of accuracy and detail – not obscured by gallons of gloss paint. Phoenix would do well to heed the example Gemini are setting here. It’s enough to keep everyone happy, I know some people love the glossy wing finish, even at the expense of detail, but not me. It’s detail and accuracy I want and this meets both our needs.

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The landing gear generally well done, but it has two small issues, both visible with the naked eye of close inspection – one particularly so. The doors have lots of dust and hair embedded in the paint. One of the wheels has a brassy metal colour showing through and because it’s so shiny it catches your eye when you know it’s there. However, minor detail that it is, it really doesn’t spoil the model and it’s more an observation than an outright criticism! The nose gear is fine, but again the doors to the gear are rough compared to the rest of the finish on the model.

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3) Engines

While the engines themselves are very well done, (though they do have just-visible-to-the-eye paint brush lines and cast markings under the paint), with very neat intake silver and fans, they are simply not correctly positioned. The engines don’t tilt that far down. They do have a natural intake tilt, but on this model the intakes are so close to the ground it looks wrong and with 18 other 787’s to compare it to this is the only one that looks that far out. Interestingly the Gemini version of G-VNEW had the same issue, (and I sent that back for multiple reasons). The Etihad version doesn’t have this problem and that too, is a Gemini of recent origin.

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This is one of those things you notice when it’s on a runway. If you’re even vaguely wondering why no illuminated runway for this shoot, it’s because the engines don’t clear the runway lights sufficiently on the port side! These Genex engines do tilt downward by a fraction on the real thing, they do so to allow the wing in flight mode to make them horizontal as the wing rises. The intakes also tilt backward to the base from the top, making the upper cowling look further forward, but it doesn’t look like it does on this model.

Most of the time you can’t really tell from odd angles, especially behind and rear quarter views. Side on though it looks mildly silly. Poor QC .

Now for a truly mega-nerdacious observation (in case you thought I was lacking anywhere else in this article): The red line on the engine cowling is the point that indicates to those on the outside that that is the line of the turbofans on the inside. The only issue is that the way the models engines are made puts the fans inside further forward than the line. I told you; mega-nerdacious.

4) Nose

The flight deck windows are a tiny tad blurry, but you can’t really see it with the naked eye. What you can see though is a strangely reddish edge to the frames. Other than that I have no issues with it and am delighted with the generally crisp detail.

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5) Tail

We all like a nice tail don’t we? Clean, crisp, neat and well crafted, this is one of the best Gemini rears for a while.

No issues, love the detail, especially the nicely painted stabilisers, so often obscured by others.

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6) Colours

Who, I mean who, could get the colours wrong? Actually there are various depths of black as I am sure you’re well aware, but this is just where it should be. No complaints

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7) Score and conclusion

The engine tilt on both sides are -5 each. There isn’t a great deal seriously wrong with this model except the engine fit, but there are lots of tiny, small things that between them I’m going to give a -3 for. So 87%.

In general, this is a really nice, well made model. Gemini continue on the path to greater quality and long may it continue. It’s just a pity it was marred by the way the engines were pushed onto the pylons.  But I’m happy enough with it. Compare this to the rejected Jetstar 787-8 and the rejected Virgin Atlantic 787-9 G-VNEW and we are streets ahead.

Between the 773ER All Blacks and the 787-9 Model of the Year award winner last year
Between the 773ER All Blacks and the 787-9 Model of the Year award winner last year
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