It was right there, it was cheap so I bought it to add to the A320 I’ve had for some time. Good job I didn’t have to pay too much for it really. I’m quite fond of Virgin America, I’ve flown on it a few times when we’ve come in from New York to SFO and it’s a nice experience up front that is hard to forget when you’ve been on any US domestic flight. The news they’ve signed up for 10 A321Neos is even more positive.
So what of this model? The aircraft itself was built for Virgin America in 2007 and then when the recession loomed, was sub leased to the short lived SkyBus Airlines. When they collapsed she came back to Virgin America. Equipped with wifi (not that the box image shows that), she’s a typical example of a current VX aircraft.
I have to be honest for a 2014 model this is pretty average quality from Gemini. The white paint is sub standard, roller marks abound, dust and dirt in the paint, the red logos are not defined well on examination and it’s all pretty much below average. Trouble is it fits that ‘commercially acceptable’ tag again, it’s just passable in a box at the shop. When you get it home it’s lack of real quality that makes me glad I never paid full price for it.
2)Wings and landing gear
One extreme to the other here. The cradle system doesn’t fit properly at the rear being a bit skewed, and while the paint on the fuselage is average at best the paint on the wings right the way down to the tips with the US flag on the fins is excellent.
Landing gear isn’t too bad either, the tyres look a bit fat though. The nose wheels are better than the rubber on a spigot main gear.
Surprisingly neat and inoffensive, in fact rather passable especially for this size of model. Decent fan colours, neat rims, nice exhaust detail.
4) Nose detail
Gemini have done better. “Contents may be under pressure” wording is ropey, Gemini have done much better with things like this of late which is good news. The window frames don’t quite match the black glass of the flight deck, but it’s close, again they’ve improved greatly since then in general.
5)Tail and stabilisers
All in place, no issues to mention.
VX has a very different shade of red to VS – it looks a bit dated to me and while they’ve started to shift corporate look to the VS style of font and branding, their seems no sign of that on the aircraft as yet. Virgin companies are extraordinarily inconsistent when it comes to branding even inside one company. Odd for a company generally so brand conscious.
7) Score and conclusions
The mould isn’t as good as that on AeroClassics, but the finish is better overall and the landing gear certainly is. It was a bargain price, the last one the retailer had so value for money wise at £16/ $24US I’m not moaning. It just could have been better. The mediocre finish and fit is a -10 but in the end – from the overall visual 2ft away few, you’d never know much about any of the flaws. 86%