TNT Airways Boeing 737-300QC OO-TNG 1:400 Gemini Jets GJTAY473 2009

TNT Express is currently in the throes of being bought out by Fedex and I felt it was time to add a second TNT aircraft as well as making more effort towards getting some smaller freighters. This little gem appeared on eBay and the deal was done. Inexpensive but more than ideal, it would fill a niche at RLSI, joining it’s larger 744F cousin.

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This, then Belgian registered aircraft is a, 737-3Y0 converted to QC and the became a part of JetTime as OY-JTH, then became part of Post Italieane for Mistral Air where she appears to remain in service, running up and down Italy moving parcels and mail.

The QC variant stands for Quick Change – a remarkably fast process by which the aircraft can be swapped from a 147 single class passenger plane to a full freighter in just 37 minutes, making it highly flexible, especially in the charter markets where passengers numbers may not be the same all year round and an alternate use is available.

You can see the huge side door ahead of the wing - just - it's not well lined but can be seen if you look closely enough!
You can see the huge side door ahead of the wing – just – it’s not well lined but can be seen if you look closely enough!

In practice this doesn’t seem to actually happen – they either remain as freight or get swapped back to passenger for several month at a time.

These fast change freighters were quite popular, even Lufthansa adopted the system at one time, using them as daytime passenger fliers then, in the ‘dead’ night time as cargo. The trouble is the damage freight causes to the interior, the realities of the quick swap, they just don’t really work in real life even if they are a good idea on paper.

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It’s a 2009 release so I’m not getting carried away with an in-depth review , but it’s actually a really neat model. It’s not the most accurate mould – I’ve never been a fan of the Gemini 737 from day one, but over all the general quality suggests it may have been made for TNT. Allegedly only 1500 of them were made but who knows if that’s even true.  A few retailers still have new stock!

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She’s a nice find, well made and painted and looks good and age appropriate on the diorama. Who can complain, besides it cost next to nothing.

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