This is an interesting piece of kit. There are literally thousands of types of aircraft hangar design signed to accommodate everything ever designed to fly.
In some respects this one is an interesting halfway house – it appears to be dated enough to accommodate those with older aircraft interests, say from the 1960’s, and yet at the same time it’s been designed to get an A380 fully inside – and it does, easily.
It is in 1:400 scale, enormous by any standards. As a model it’s made from cast resin – the entire thing is a single mould. It weighs in at a 2kg (around 5lbs) and you should be very aware of this if you have space issues or like me, have a large part of the diorama overhang it’s base. To support the weight of it there is a 10″ shelf bracket directly beneath it.
The dimensions are impressive although in length it is smaller than the 1:400 six-segment Herpa plastic hangar, it’s quite a bit taller.
290mm (11.5″) long at the base, 243mm (9.5″) deep . That’s the equivalent of 2,818.8m2 (or 30,341.31ft2). That’s an impressive space at any level. It’s 100mm (4″) high so equal to 40m (131ft) high.
However the design is narrowed and angled by the old fashioned architecture so the internal volume isn’t that efficient by modern standards with externally supported engineering struts.
The solidity of the design and that it sits perfectly flat. That it has enough volume to actually put offices and support structures inside it – not always important but this is in my case, aimed as a cargo hangar, not maintenance. Even with support buildings I can still get an entire 744F inside it!
The external detail is quite attractive, utilitarian as hangars are, there is a nice amount of detail in the mould and one really nice feature – it has windows at the top of the rear. Yes, thats’s fairly outdated nowadays but the light they provide helps brighten up what would otherwise be a very black space or require some kind of lighting to support it. Now as it happens I’ve got hold of some battery powered LED’s and am about to install them inside, up in the roof out of sight, with the control box underneath the rear shelving, so I’ll see how that goes. Edit: You can now see this here:
The emergency doors with the yellow & black hazard stripes at the rear are cool and the blue roof with panels on one side and not on the other looks a bit dated but not overly so. Large floodlights are moulded into the design to add detail.
Some of the paint on the floodlights is pretty poor and needs tidying up. The rear windows are a little messy externally. The big upper panels over the entrance are a little bit wonky – a downside from this being one massive mould. There are a few minor mould scrapes and scratches.
Prices and what about the Herpa?
Now I bought this second hand – the seller claims that having got it it was so big and so heavy it went back in the box as unusable, which I can believe. You absolutely need space for this, it’s not easy to accommodate. The full up retail cost in the UK is usually anything from £49-69 though Airspotters.com are doing them for £35 before Christmas 2015. I got mine for £31 including postage on eBay, or I would have bought one from them.
Compared to the Herpa hangar, which is a modular 6 segment plastic build, and has a very modern look, but is truly vast? The Herpa is a nightmare to move, and adjust without gluing it, and therefore looses its size flexibility. In fact the 1:400 is so vast I would suggest instead using the 1:500 version – at 20% smaller it’s no big deal and adequately accommodates 1:400. Herpa’s 1:400 is almost impossible to find (and about half the full retail cost of the Gemini), but the 1:500 is available for about £26.
I was overall pleasantly surprised by the Gemini, I’d held off buying it because the retail prices are often ridiculously high, now I have one I’d actually recommend it, providing you bear in mind all the caveats!
Score: 85%. Paint detail and mould issues that are visible detract, but not horribly so.