I do like a model and an aircraft with a bit of history. That isn’t why I bought it though. It turned up on eBay and it’s the one big European cargo airline nobody seems to bother with any more. This is a proper Gemini model from 2009 and it was one I wanted to win on eBay no matter the cost. £44($61US) later and here she is.
She started off being ordered by the now collapsed Anglo Cargo, owned by the Oldham family and operating out of Gatwick. They were desperate to modernise their old fleet and this was supposed to be the start. Most of their business was in the Middle East and when Saddam Hussein’s Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990 and with the subsequent First Gulf War in 1991, the company nearly collapsed and cancelled the order for G-OBOZ, as she was briefly registered. The company eventually failed in 1994.
Meanwhile G-OBOZ had no buyer and ended up in storage for almost a year in Renton, before becoming N573CA on 2nd Feb 1992 for Challenge Air Cargo. They kept her until 11th Jan 2000 when European Air Transport purchased her to work on their DHL contract.
In this guise from 2009, she is Belgian registered as OO-DLJ and was the single 757-200PF of an 11 752F fleet (the rest were SF pax-freight conversions), owned by European Air Transport based in Zvantem, Brussels. The company contracted to Deutsch Post DHL but was so successful it was firstly integrated then completely bought out as a DHL subsidiary in 1994. Arguments with the Belgian government in 2004 saw DHL shift its Euro hub operations from Belgium to Leipzig in Germany (though still legally owned by the EAT subsidiary), and all of the aircraft were eventually re-registered as German. She is now D-ALEJ and remains in DHL service operating routes mostly to Spain and Portugal.
757-200PF is a purpose built freighter with a 15 pallet capacity. DHL has made it clear that these old 757’s will all be retired and they are actively chasing A320/321 Freighter conversions due to come on line in the next 24 months. One of the differences with the PF version is the the modified RB211-535E4B engines from Rolls-Royce, which produce more power than the SF versions.
The mould is OK, but a little rough in places. The paint standards – especially the red is typical of the time, appearing to be applied by hand rather than printed. For the most part it’s good but if it was to a 2015 standard it would be difficult to be generous.
2)Wings and landing gear
Typical of the time. The wings are fine, the landing gear is a bit rough, even the doors have flashing that’s easily seen. Wheels are tyres on spigots, as pretty much everything was then, so no complaints.
The RB211’s are very good, very much typical of the production date. They are what they are and to be honest I’ve seen much, much worse in 2015!
Now this is the worst part of the model, the rest is minor and you don’t really notice it, but this is slightly dodgy and hand painted, not brilliant. However again, I’ve seen worse this year from Phoenix!
No issues really, its absolutely fine.
These are official colours and perfectly correct.
7)Score and conclusion
It’s not right to give it a score really, it’s probably around 70% on today’s scale where things can be and should be so very much better and more accurate. For it’s day it’s more than passable. I mean we’re talking iPhone 3G and 3Gs in terms of age now, who’d go back to that? Yet I cannot help but love it, it’s a long overdue part of the collection, long sought after and I just wish there were more available. Quite why they’re not is probably lost in the records somewhere. I’m sure someone will tell me….