Qantas 747-48E VH-OEB Oneworld Gemini Jets GJQFA926 2009

The final installment of my current Qantas plans for RLSI, brings the operation to 2 744’s and an A380. I either wanted a standard livery or Oneworld and I’m rather happy it’s the later to make the trio. I have no special love for the alliance, but it does have the simplest, and therefore easiest, livery to apply.

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I borrowed some of the unfinished Cargo ‘WorldPort’ stands just to get the three in a photo!

Only Qatar ever seems to have gotten carried away enough to paint a full aircraft white just to apply the Oneworld tiles. Most airlines within it either are white or, as in American’s case they just put the tile onto their standard base color.

Formally a 747-48E VH-OEB is an ex-Asiana Airlines aircraft delivered in 1993 and sold to Qantas in 1998. There is every indication that her retirement is due in the not too distant future.

Named ‘Phillip Island’, she spends most of her time doing the Sydney-Pacific Rim rotations, Tokyo, Santiago (Chile), San Francisco, and occasionally Johannesburg (which with Santiago is one of the few routes that goes below the Antarctic Circle at times I believe).

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This model is 2009, however,  she is one of only 2 of the 11 744’s Qantas has active (25 Feb 2016) fitted with a first class, the layout being: F14 C52 W32 Y255. She’s had a long history of livery and configuration changes:

  • configured F14 C66 W40 Y187 on service entry with Qantas
  • painted in “new” colours Mar 2008 – Gemini GJQFA859 2008
  • painted in “oneworld” colours Feb 2009 – Mar 2010 – THIS MODEL 2009
  • painted in “Come Play!” special colours World Cup bid Mar 2010 – Feb 2011 – Gemini GJQFA1001 2010
  • painted in “Grand Prix 2011” special colours Feb 2011 – Jul 2013 –  Gemini GJQFA1058 2011
  • re-configured F14 C52 W32 Y255 Jul 2013, and in standard colours

She must have been one of the few models to ever have an annual release over 4 years! I bet someone has all four….come on Qantas fans I know you have….

1)Fuselage

This is the start of a period of slow decline in Gemini models – as the recession hit it seems quality started to go down hill, something that has only recovered in the las 15 months and still has a way to go.

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There are small bits under the paint and the mould is starting to look a little worn in places – namely around the cradle fit. Other than that you would still be hard pressed to know how old this model was. No aerials or domes, but the quality of the print is as good as anything done since. Indeed I would venture that some of the print, such as the Oneworld nose logo is better on here than anything else.

2)Wings and landing gear

The gear on this is the tyres on wheels type, with the standard sprung centre gear, everything rolls and moves and looks excellent. The Gemini 744 had the best gear of any  1:400 model and still does.

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The wings fit tightly, but with a tiny and almost impossible to see skew to the left, an observation not a real complaint.  The level of paint on the wings is a bit heavy on the light grey, but the silver-grey central panel is more than adequate.

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3)Engines

4x GE CF6-80C2B1F’s are beautifully done, neat, precise, well painted, well finished.

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4)Nose detail

No nose dome line as you expect now, and not quite so much micro detail, but there is plenty and it’s precise and accurate. Even though this aircraft wasn’t one of the Long Range versions she still carries the Longreach tile, as I believe all the 744’s did. I’m sure a Qantas fan – and I know you’re out there – will enlighten me if not!

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5)Tail detail

The red paint seems a bit thick. That’s the only real comment I have, it also blurs slightly into the white, but it’s not an issue as it looks precise rather than being a wobbly line as Phoenix like to do on so many recent models.

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6)Colours

No problems, spot on.

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7)Score and conclusions

Gemini have always ruled supreme with the 744, this is no exception.

95%for a well executed model, now 7 years old.

As the 744 fades somewhat rapidly now from the worlds fleets, they will be missed. For me Qantas was, as with BA, Singapore Airlines and their Big Top, synonymous with the 747. The odd thing is they never seem to date as models, they’re just different. That understanding is only achieved through longevity and a deep public consciousness of what an aircraft is and what it means. For many in the UK the loss of Concorde was a reminder that we are not as a nation what we were. We felt in some way it diminished us. The 747 has the same effect. Globally, without it, we feel like we’re loosing something we cannot ever get back.

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Like so many icons, they ushered in a new age; mass travel and availability to all. Like so many icons they were the architects of their own demise, as the success of mass travel by air overwhelmed the economics and viability of the four engine jumbos. Only the A380 through sheer capability and volume will carry on into the third decade of the 21st Century. It seems extraordinary that it will be the only four engined commercial aircraft still in production, and even then not for long.

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