WestJet has been on a major international expansion programme for some time, using mostly 737’s to cross the Atlantic and bring cheaper flights from Canadian cities like Halifax, into Dublin and Gatwick. That’s all about to be upgraded with a pair of ex-Qantas (VH-OGJ in this case),767-300ER’s that had been in storage for a time at Victorville. The idea is to run services in direct competition with Air Canada and Transat to London Gatwick. Further expansion if it all goes well, seems inevitable.
Usually the simple 767-300ER with its giant winglets is one of Gemini’s better models. It’s been around for years and the Delta and UPS versions were especially good. That’s why I took a chance with this. Gemini don’t always make the best models unless the airline is involved in approvals or has ordered a run. I’m not convinced WestJet were as involved with this. It’s not a patch on the UPS version, or even the Delta in terms of overall quality.
Don’t get me wrong, its not hideous, just not really where they’ve been of late and slightly disappointing.
The mould, print and so on are all fine. At the end of the day it’s a simplistic livery based on white. It’s not these details that now seem consistently good across the board, that bother me. The aerials are all inserted well and there are no visible problems.
2)Wings and landing gear
The wings themselves I have no issues with, in fact bearing in mind the scale the wing tips are pretty good and the paint level is all sufficiently good to cause no issues.
The problem is the cradle system as ever. The wings are poorly fitted against the fuselage, you can see right through the model with ease. The rear gap is 1mm – thats 400mm or 16″ in the real world. It just spoils what is otherwise a generally very neat model. I don’t understand how the wings on the one are any different to the ones on the Delta 763 or the UPS 763F from earlier this year?
The landing gears also more of an issue than on either of those models. Both bogies have visible brass coloured metal showing through at the front where the “casing”, for want of a better word, doesn’t close over it properly. This may seem minor, but bright metal showing through is always visible, so fails the eyeball test. The wheels do all rotate and the nose gear is fine.
Gemini engines and the paint on them have dramatically improved this year and this is no exception. They pass the eyeball test admirably and the paint used is first class.
This is perfectly good, but they left off the black patches Westjet like to put under the flight deck windows.
The leading edge of the vertical stabiliser is not so good with visible blue over print from the paint on the tail. Other than that it’s pretty good all round, no other issues to report.
Simple Pantone referred colours make it an easy match. No issues.
7) Score and conclusions
The wing cradle issues are poor. OK not as bad as they’ve been in the 2013-14 period, but when other models on the same mould are better you have to ask what’s happened? -8. -4 for the tail bleed into the silver paint on the leading edge, -4 for the visible metal at the front of the bogies, and finally -4for missing the black flight deck patches. 80% is a good score, but it doesn’t qualify for a MOTY 2015 entry. This is way better than Gemini was 12 months ago, it’s just not as good as they have been this year using the same mould. Now all things considered, it’s a nice model. few of you who are less (and unapologetically) as nitpicking as I am, will not be bothered. In a few weeks I shan’t notice any of it – except those brassy gear but I’ll paint those over.
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