Delta 757-300w N583NW Gemini Jets 1:400 GJDAL1451 September 2015

It’s true I’m not a fan of Delta Airlines, but they exist and their presence at RLSI is currently only a 767-300ER. Now I’ve added the 757-351w as well. An ex-NorthWest aircraft delivered on February 19th 2002, she’s fairly young with a good ten years of life in her yet I imagine – especially bearing in mind Delta’s propensity for antique aircraft. Why fly clean, quite and efficient and modern? I mean not one airline has proven how effective that principle has been – other than RyanAir, easyJet, Southwest, Virgin America, Jet Blue….to name but a few.

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There has been a huge increase in 757 traffic from the US to the UK in the last 12 months and Delta is about to join in. United have, to their credit been around a while in the UK regions with flights to EWR, but these are now being challenged by American, mirroring United flights in Edinburgh and my local airport, Birmingham BHX but to JFK. Delta has recently indicated it’s intent on joining them at EDI with more to come. I just cannot see there’s enough of a  market to sustain 3 757-200/300’s a day but you guys just fight it out.  It’s certainly crashed prices – £800 return is now down to £390 if booked six months in advance. 757’s are used extensively by all three to Heathrow, Paris CDG and Amsterdam, Manchester, Belfast and Dublin. Delta operates 127 752’s and 16 753’s.

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1)Fuselage

This is one of those models that if you don’t look to hard, just keep glancing at it, and you won’t see much wrong.

When you do, and it’s not normal to not look, you soon realise that while this is a major improvement on the quality of the last 757-300 I purchased, the truly awful D-ABOJ (a more appropriate registration if ever there was one), from 2014 in Condor livery, it’s only a bit better. Many of the issues that affected that are still present, if not so pronounced.

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There is a ton of dust in the paint. The white masks it by being glossy, but you can see it and feel it. The good thing is that at least it isn’t riddled with orange-peel effect paint. The print quality is very poor. It isn’t even half as good as the extraordinary job seen on the Etihad 744F, which this year so far is the benchmark standard Gemini have set. The Delta triangle is blurry, and you can see it with the naked eye, along with the very poor Delta logo. There are several visible cracks in the paint, very small, very fine they may be but you can see them all the same. The big and rather blobby door handles look mildly incongruous. the blue to white body paint is uneven and flecks of blue appear in the white paint – again very small, but it just isn’t the extraordinary quality we’ve been seeing Gemini are capable of.

Seriously, from a couple of feet away you’d never know all this, but while this might have been acceptable in 2008, it’s not any more. Gemini have given themselves a high standard to meet and I expect nothing less than that standard to be applied to every model.

2) Wings, underbody and landing gear

The wings upper and lower surfaces are generally excellent, not glossy and well defined. Some of the central silver-grey has leaked over into the lighter grey, but for the most part, it’s OK. The substantial winglets are above average.

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The underbody blue paint has badly leaked onto the starboard wing. The good thing though is that the cradle fits really well with minimal rear gap and is a distinct improvement.

The Delta in white on the underbody is better finished and printed than the blue on white detail.

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Landing gear is the old fashioned tyre on a spigot, none of which rotate and all are quite immovable.  The nose gear is OK and the doors and print good.

3) Engines

These aren’t bad. It’s the dust on and in the paint that frustrates. The silver rim finish is good and extends in to the fans.

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4) Nose detail

One of the better features of this model. Cockpit windows and nose detail are very good.

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5) Tail and stabilisers

Oddly, compared to the fuselage detail, these are rather good. I have no issues.

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6) Colour

Spot on, no complaints.

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7) Score and conclusion

-15 for the fuselage paint and print quality across the board, its below standard for a 2015 model. -2 for the rigid, unmoving tyres.  So 83%.

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I know it’s not a bad score at all is it? And that’s the weirdness of this model. It looks fairly OK. It is, in industrial parlance, what we would call in automotive manufacturing, “commercially acceptable”. Good enough to be sold, but not good enough to avoid some people complaining about it. You know some will, you accept it and you build those complaint costs into the overall unit price everyone pays. Cynical, but that’s what they do. This is a prime example of that methodology. In time they learn that peoples tolerances become fewer and they must improve. In the end, it saves everyone, customer and manufacturer, time money and reputation. The Etihad 744F proves it can be done, this 757-300 proves it still has a long way to go to be a universal approach.

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