Delta A333 N822NW Gemini Jets GJDAL1518 Dec 2015

So this is my third and final Delta addition until they get the A350. Delta is a very secondary airline for RLSI and not one whose business practices I am particularly fond of. However it deserves a small pace in my collection and this is the largest aircraft it will have for a while, joining the 767-300ER and 757-300 from earlier this year. There was an MD from a couple of years ago but it fell to pieces out of the box (and I do mean all of it), a low point in Gemini’s quality, and got sold off.

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It’s really important to show the real thing here in this review as you’ll see later. Photo ©Björn Düwel

I had to go through quite a few models to find out that I’ve never had a Gemini A333, a few A332’s (the most recent being the AlItalia new livery), and a few Phoenix A333’s, but not one of these. Now you know I get bored with the never ending arguments over mould shapes and sizes because they are so expensive manufacturers once committed, just aren’t in to changing them. What they put on that mould is something else. I was therefore mildly surprised to find this had slot in-wings. Is it a true Gemini?  It is in fact the JC Wings mould from 2014 and I believe this is Gemini’s first use of it. You’d like to think this was a good thing.

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This aircraft, N822NW was delivered new on the 29th May 2015 and often serves the New York-Paris and Amsterdam routes as a typical example of routine use. She is the first of the new 242 ton MTOW variant, one of 10 currently on order, and the first ordered by Delta itself (all the others were inherited from/ordered by, NorthWest).  Airbus was aiming the aircraft very much at the SE Asian market which would benefit from the 500nm extra range and allow non-stop flights, from say Hong Kong or Singapore, to Europe with more passengers.

The A330-302 features 34 full flat-bed seats with direct aisle access in Delta One, 32 extra-legroom seats in Delta Comfort+ and 227 Main Cabin seats. Satellite Wi-Fi, HD seat-back monitors, are available to passengers, who will also benefit from modern interiors with LED lighting and extra-capacity overhead bins. Lucky them! How long before they have to install Premium Economy now American are, I wonder?

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1)Fuselage

The basic mould seems fine, but for such a recent addition it lacks any of the routine and now standard fit domes, so easily moulded in, on this they are black print lines – very 2010. The real thing has three aerials up top, this has two. Likewise in real life it has two below, this has one (the rearmost).

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Because the blue is much lower than on the BA livery, the transition line from blue to white along the fuselage is less obvious, but even so, while it generally passes the eyeball test, it’s not as crisp and even as I’d like to see and Gemini are capable of.  The rest of the detail is perfectly good, clean and precise, better than on the two 787-9’s so recently reviewed. Even the huge DELTA belly logo is well executed.

2)Wings and landing gear

Herein lies the big issue with this model. Don’t get me wrong, the wings are excellent, nicely detailed, beautifully painted, superbly inserted into the body in a way that Phoenix seem to have forgotten about.

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The wing angle is ludicrous and blatantly wrong

There is but one issue, they are completely in the wrong position. Look at the side-on view of the actual aircraft and look where the tips are in comparison. They look more like they’re in flight mode! Clearly the JC Wings mould has a problem, either the wings are moulded wrongly at the insert in the fuselage or the space in the fuselage is faulty in such a way that it forces them upwards. Yet, they aren’t bent, and the join is perfect, so what else can it be but a wing mould error of some sort?

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Look how high up the wing tips are – at best they should be level with the roof line, no more, yet there is nothing wrong with the fit and finish, its just a basic mould issue.

I’ve been into the A333 Airport planning and measurements guide provided by Airbus and have to say that overall, it’s superbly exact as models go. However the tilt on the wings is totally out of keeping. Mathematics would tell you that if the point between each wing tip is exactly right (and it is), then the wings themselves must be the correct length and so must the fuselage be the correct width, and it is. Therefore it can only be the mould and the way it’s fixed into the body that adds the length and forces the wings up so bizarrely. Concurrently if the wings were less of an angle, the wings would in fact be too long! And the measurement for wing tip to wing tip would be out by some margin.

The winglets are also a bit too big, I’ve compared past and present Gemini’s and Phoenix and they are probably 20-25% too large, thus exacerbating the wing issue.

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You might argue that the 7 extra tons of the 242 ton version makes a difference, but it doesn’t. This is mostly taken up with the activation of the centre fuel tank – previously only active on A332’s, so it has nothing to do with wing position.

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From this angle it doesn’t look too bad but from above it the wings look stupid.

The landing gear is the latest in Gemini’s all neat, all modern, all metal repertoire and they all rotate, have neat tyres without blobs and lumps, no excess glue, they are in fact, excellent! The nose gear is particularly good.

3)Engines

These are superbly done and no mistake, nice detail, lovely titanium paint on the fans, excellent. The pair of GE CF6-80E1’s are a really nice fit.

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4)Nose detail

This is a really nice mould and the paint and print detail is excellent – so much better than on the BA 789 for example. I can’t find any fault with it, a major relief!

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5)Tail and stabilisers

Again, nothing to complain about, crisp neat detail and really rather good.

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6)Colours

No issues.

7)Score and conclusion

The wings spoil this model. It looks stupid with them up in the air like that. It looks odd on the diorama and the really annoying thing is that other than the lack of dome detail, the wings are the only major issue here. The rest is actually really rather excellent and it comes close to being one of the best models this year from Gemini.

And then you look at those wings and half expect it to flap and fly away. It is nothing more than their bizarre angle that’s wrong. Everything else was pretty amazingly good. -10 for the wing angle, -2 for the slightly poor paint definition on the blue-white transition line. If it wasn’t for those wings, this would have been 98%. Now it doesn’t even qualify for MOTY 2015. Final score 88%

Does nobody check this stuff before it leaves the factory? Does anyone at Gemini care?  So far out of 5 models, 2 have been dismal, one could have been brilliant but there had to be something major wrong didn’t there? Two more to go – the AC 789, and the Alaskan 738 Hawaii.

Editors note:  this model was returned to the retailer because of the wings, and is being swapped for a Gemini Delta 772.

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