Flybe Dash-8-Q400 G-JEDP ‘ECO’ Gemini Jets GJBEE862 2008

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As she was in 2013

These are few and far between in the second hand market and they can get quite expensive, which I was more than prepared for. In the end I got it for £28 (around $41).

It was quite a new seller to eBay and it wasn’t exactly well described, the three photos were  adequate and the box was described as new.

So imagine my annoyance when the thing eventually arrived (after a couple of ‘are you ever thinking of posting this to me?’ emails, and the box was a scrappy worn mess. The seller had clearly decided that a one photo shot of the front would be sufficient. Even more annoying that both propellers and their cones, which are separate parts had all fallen out of the model. In effect on a ten point scale, if 10 was perfect, it had been describes as an 8 to 9 and was in fact at best, a 6.

So I asked for a partial refund of just £7 explaining why I was not very happy. She told me to get lost. I’m sure a lot of people would like to do the same thing, but it’s water off a ducks back to me. First off she said there was nothing wrong with it, then it was my fault for not having read the description. You know, the one that said, “In Brand New Condition”.

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And as she is now, looking almost brand new

So I sent her photos. She offered a full refund if I sent it back, I didn’t want to, I wanted a partial refund, she refused. Then I did what I should have done in the first place, but I always try to negotiate a settlement first; I said I’d take it to eBay formally. Ten minutes later I got my £7. Neither of us has posted feedback, which of course hangs like the sword of Damocles, especially over a newish seller with only 3 ratings like her.

People like this, they take the fun out of eBay which no matter what, still seems the safest place to buy used models.

G-JEDP was delivered to FlyBe in January 2004, and before this livery was added in pre-recession late 2007 she was in standard – and the now old white blue-black. This livery was supposed to suggest, a theme Flybe never wants to let go of, that the Q400 (my least favorite aircraft type ever), was an environmentally sound alternative to car or rail. By choosing flybe you were choosing the environment and low cost but not at the price of the planet. Hmmm…well…er…let’s not go into the details of grams of Co2 per seat kilometer shall we?

She stayed in this livery until recently, being painted into the new Purple “faster than road or rail” scheme that is now the official livery of the airline. As Flybe finally seems to be turning itself around, after years of financial problems, it’s starting to get newer Dash-8’s on lease under a deal with Republic, and recently announced a code share with Virgin Atlantic to carry passengers on 19 routes to Gatwick and Manchester, to feed Virgin’s long haul services.

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1)Fuselage

Standard Gemini Q-400, pretty accurate and no problem with the mould in appearance, although it has to be said that it is, not uncommonly with this type of high-tail model, way to keen to tilt backwards.

The paint work is good from a naked eye perspective and the detail of the scheme has been printed well, all the way to the clouds and the blue colour with the green.

The stand hole was a pain in the neck , being way to small for any of Gemini’s own.

2)Wings and landing gear

The white wings are well fitted, well painted and very neat. They’re an insert type fixing as well.

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The main gear with that gravity drop and lock thing I hate, is well done with good wheels and tyres. The nose gear is very tiny on this model type and because of the models propensity to lean backwards, many used ones end up pushed in too far as owners try to push the nose down to balance them. Always worth looking into that in any photos of used ones on eBay. Glad to say on this one, that doesn’t seem to have happened.

3)Engines

The engine moulds and finish are completely fine. It’s those stupid propellers and their cones that only in the very latest models based on this mould, do Gemini seem to have fixed. They won’t stay in and despite trying to put up with it, in the end the only solution is a tiny drop of glue. This seems to stop them falling out all the time, and allows them to retain a small amount of movement. Other than that it’s just rubbish model making.

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4)Nose detail

Excellent – some photos show additional decals added much later that this version of the model.

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5)Tail detail

The general detail is fine, the finish on the horizontal stabilisers isn’t great, with rough paint at the rear edges.

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6)Colours

Done in the days before colour-clueless researchers moved in, it’s spot on.

7)Score and conclusions

  • -4 for the imbalance and tilt issue, it really is a pain, though they seem to have resolved it in later models.
  • -8 for the propellers/engine cone fit
  • -2 for the rough paint on the horizontals.
  • 86% is a good score

Virtually ever single Flybe has now been made. I have just two missing, because nobody has made them. The E170 and the E190. They only have five of the later despite trying to get rid of them. It seems they’ve now given up on that, and load factors and new routes have given them a new lease of life, after months of being stored, but still being paid for on lease.

As for the Dash-8-Q400’s, I have no desire to have another Flybe – or ever fly on another one for real. Any modern aircraft with a safety record as poor as these and a list of operational quirks as long as your arm, isn’t going to rank as a first choice option!

The model though is one more ticked off the RLSI ‘must have’ list, and I’m pleased to have it.

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