Alitalia A330-200 I-EJGA Gemini Jets 1:400 GJAZA1530 New Livery November 2015
First off, WordPress have without warning, introduced a new and pathetic editor that has taken a lot of functionality away – it seems that they are only interested in pandering to mobile users rather than desktops or laptops. This means the images may appear smaller – or larger – than usual, so you’ll have to click on them to see them in their full glory. Most of these images are 4K compatible if you have a TV/Monitor with that type of resolution and a browser like Opera built in. They’ve also taken away the word count, so if I ramble on you’ll know why!
Now on to what has to be one of the most anticipated models of the year, not least because Aeroclassics, who rushed theirs out, completely failed at producing it – the model was so bad some UK retailers couldn’t shift them at £14/$20. Phoenix then decided to have a go and didn’t do too bad a job on the fuselage, but the colours were iffy (no surprise there), and they totally failed on the wings, forgetting completely to paint them white.
It has fallen to Gemini, who have taken their time to produce the model, to try and create one, that is worthy of possibly the most difficult to recreate liveries in use today. So much so that it even surpasses Virgin Atlantic’s.
AlItalia has had a rough life. Sate owned for years it was the epitome of everything that was wrong with government controlled airlines. Massively over manned, costs that were so far through the roof they were unsustainable even at the best of times (even cleaners got free taxi rides to work), and management that was at best institutional, and at worst corrupt.
Total collapse has been avoided twice since privatisation and now, with Etihad having taken effective control (though we mustn’t let on we know that as the EU competition Commission will have something to say), refinancing, new management and a sharp break with the past have finally come. Luca Di Montezemolo, the man behind Fiat and Ferrari for so many years is now bringing much needed change. The most visible break is the new livery. And what a livery!
This model, I-EJGA named “Artemisia Gentileschi”, a famed (and unusally for the period, female) Baroque painter, was transferred from Etihad’s fleet in early 2015, previously registered as A6-AGA, she was prior to that part of JetAirways (India) as VT-JWF until December 2013 and built in 2007. Etihad’s policy of taking 49% stakes in other airlines then utilising cross-company resources more effectively, in full operation here.
The mould is generally OK, though it’s not the most accurate, that accolade belongs to AC. This model is all about the colour, paint quality is critical, precision matters here more than anything because it’s so easy to make it all go wrong. This is one of those schemes that using complex modern mica-metallic-pearl paints can look any number of things from bright white to almost gold. Add to the mix a graded green in the logo and tail, a deep red, white wings and those six ribs of white at the rear, you have a real challenge.
Then you’ve got to get the detail on top of all of that. Officially the new base colour is considered to be ivory and I’m pretty satisfied the type of paint used and the colour are spot on. The print and green transition in the logo is exactly right and from a distance those white ribs look pretty accurate to me.
It’s some of the technical detail that doesn’t work so well. For one the raised dome, while a great deal neater than in past models, isn’t quite centred, it’s just a tad out and picky as I am (lack of symmetry offends), it’s a minor niggle. The aerials are all fixed in position, including the rearmost vertical one, though it looks a tad like its just the other type stuck in upside down. Paint on the aerials passes eyeball examination, but fails close up, so not a big deal. It’s good to see that Gemini have finally fixed these aerial issues this year.
The technical aspect for the ribs that doesn’t quite work on close up, an overlap of print, does pass the eyeball test – and that’s what maters. All other detail is excellent and well executed. Overall the fuselage is pretty good and I’m really quite pleased with it.
2) Wings and landing gear
I’m going to talk landing gear first, because this was the most disappointing aspect of the model, the nose gear was missing a tyre. It wasn’t in the box and I had to replace it with the only thing available, a tyre from the infamously bad Phoenix Asiana A330. Poor quality control.
Sadly while it doesn’t look too bad from a distance or in photos, the Phoenix tyre is much larger but you’d not notice unless you knew what you were looking for. The main gear is very good but there is brass coloured metal showing through the front of the port gear. Being bright it notices in the light. Small, but a niggling little thing.
The wings themselves are beautifully done, and issue free above and below. However the quality of the silver leading edge paint is not very high, having been applied while the white paint was probably a bit too tacky. Nor is the cradle a blistering success again. It sticks out on the rear starboard corner and the rear gap is bigger than Gemini have generally managed of late on say, the 747’s and 767’s. It has to be said there has been much worse, but with continuous quality improvements, expectations rise.
If you read this blog often (thank you), you’ll know that this is one thing that always gets me when it’s wrong. However this time, Gemini have managed a tour de force of excellence. Not only does the paint work, the colours work, but the silver intakes and fans look first rate. The GE CF6-80E1A4B’s are the best looking engines on the A330 generally in my opinion and they look great here.
4) Nose detail
What can be said? Really, perfection – fault free and beautiful detail, all the way down to the SkyTeam logo.
5) Tail detail
A masterpiece. really, the colours, the subtle striations of red, the wrap round, superb technique and beautiful detail. Really excellent and a pleasure to see. Quality.
While Gemini doesn’t always get it right it’s failures are rarer than it’s successes and this is a success. It really works, as colour and accuracy go, it works on every level and I’ve seen dozens of photos of the real thing that demonstrate the accuracy of this models colour scheme. Outstanding.
7) Score and conclusion
-3 for the missing wheel, -1 for the off-centre dome, -1 for the brass in the landing gear, -3 for the rough leading edge paint on the wing, -3 for the cradle fit. 92% is a very good score and qualifies this as an entrant in the 2015 Model of The Year passenger aircraft category. It comes so close to being excellent. SO close. If but a few minor issues could have been better, the worst one; missing the nose wheel – this could so nearly have been perfect. A brilliant effort and a continued pointer to a better quality standard rom Gemini, who in my opinion are once again leaders in the field, Phoenix having surrendered their hard won, but short worn crown.