Sometimes they burn a hole in me until I give in and buy them. This is one of those models. UPS is my favourite express service, and this is the largest of their considerable fleet of aircraft (at time of writing 237 operational). Delivered 3rd December 2007, she was a custom built freighter for the company. They operated 14 744’s at peak but thats down to 13 now.
This is the third release of this livery by Gemini. The first one in 2008, GJUPS861 was N570UP and came complete with a chrome stand. GJUPS861A was produced in 2009 without the stand and as N470UP. The third came about in 2014 as GJUPS861B, registered as N572UP. We all know Gemini are less than adventurous in their choices, preferring safe options over and over again rather than anything radically different. UPS is a pretty safe bet.
This particular aircraft spends a lot of its time on the Trans-Pacific routes with only very rare forays into Europe. With full nose door, reinforced side cargo door, 2 belly doors, their cargo carrying capacity is phenomenal and the interiors offer highly efficient large cargo, pallet and container management.
This is the fourth, and likely final UPS addition to RLSI – though I have to say I’d quite like another 752F!
So to the model…
The Gemini 747 is pretty good all round as has been demonstrated on the Etihad and other freighters this year. UPS have approval on these models as I understand it, so they tend to be higher quality anyway. It has to be said the print and paint is first class, certainly better than on the recent Philippines 744 which had those odd blisters under the paint.
The definition on the brown/yellow/white transition is superb and the rest of the print and graphics is first class. The model just predates Gemini introducing aerials on its 744 mould. Frankly I don’t mind them not being there.
The other thing that is slightly more pronounced on this model is the definition on the cargo doors, which is much stronger than on some models. I’d say this is because they used the same disc from 2009, when this was pretty usual, in new models the detail is much finer. Wether or not that’s a good thing or not, you’ll have to decide for yourself.
2) Wings and landing gear
As ever the cradle, despite it’s close fit always lets the side down. The rear edges are wider than the fuselage – though it’s not as bad as it is on the 787. This model doesn’t quite have the fit at the back of the upper wing root to fuselage fit as would be ideal, but it’s not dire, just not as good as some have been, like the Etihad.
The upper and lower paint is good, none of the over thick gloss is present, though it’s still not quite as fine as they managed on the the AA 752 & 772 in early 2015.
Landing gear is actually faultless, superb quality tyres and wheels, spring loaded centre gear, bogies that tilt and roll. The nose gear is equally as good. The quality of the paint and finish on the gear is second to none.
Four CF6-80C2B1F’s are excellent, every last detail seems to be present and there is no issue with paint on the rims and while the fans are silver they and the rims are slightly darker so they lack the brightness that so easily spoils. Excellent all round.
4) Nose detail
Superbly printed and first rate, no issues.
5) Tail and stabilisers
Excellent all round, with the caveat that there are a few very small white dust dots stuck to the paint. Blue tack has got these off with no damage. The UPS logo is excellently done.
Perfect. Gemini are usually very good at corporate approved colours and this is no exception, matching the other aircraft precisely. It’s a pity they couldn’t manage a similar process for the American Airlines livery.
7) Score and conclusion
I have few complaints about this model, it’s excellent. Not quite to the standards of this years Etihad 744F but close, and this is at least a year old now. The down points are only for the usual problems – that cradle wing system. It requires such precision to make it work, from the fuselage mould and the wing mould, but this time that isn’t 100% so a -6, as it’s the same both sides. Even so, that’s a brilliant 94% score and this is well worth anyone’s £29 ($44) – it’s full list is almost £40/$60 and I’d never have paid that for it no matter how good it was. A recommended buy.
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