For ages I’ve meant to get something with Aer Lingus livery. It’s one of the few West European Airlines not at RLSI. Sometimes the very scarce ATR-72 crops up, but they frequently end up in the £40($56)+ auctions on eBay and it isn’t worth that to me. So this came up and seemed not to raise too much interest, I grabbed it for under half that money. Besides how can you not have a soft spot for Britain’s last civilian aircraft?
The day it arrived, Gemini announced for the first time in three years they would make an Aer Lingus model; that’s the sort of odd occurrence that makes you wonder if we’re stuck in The Matrix , “there’s no such thing as coincidence”. The last was the aforementioned ATR-72 in the current livery in 2013, before that it was this model in 2007 and the A330 in 2003, the others were non-current livery and even then in total they only made six, one of which was only in 1:200.
So, this little emerald gem, officially a BAe146-200A, fitted with 93 seats, originally delivered new in October 1995 to Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ceased operations in 2011), as N881DV, then sold to Aer Lingus in May 1998 where she served with the airline until just October 2000, named ‘St Corcoran’. They transfered her to Cityjet who operated her for Air France until March 2015 when Air France ended their involvement with the airline. CityJet sold her to Airlink and she’s now registered as ZS-PUZ flying routes in South Africa.
Bearing in mind the short period she was actually with Aer Lingus, it seems a slightly odd pick by Gemini, but there we are. The also only operated three of the smaller -200 version.
It’s a neat little mould, but suffers as they all seem to, with a tail heavy bias. You only need a tiny amount of angled ground and over it goes! I’ve found a tiny blob of whitetac in the nose gear wheels stops this from happening.
The paint is OK, generally speaking it lacks the finish I wuld expect now, but it’s not really even as good as the best they managed then. It passes, but it’s not outstanding. There’s a bit of paint bleed around the green-white and the graphics are not wonderful. Passable but not outstanding.
2)Wings and landing gear
Quite seperate on this with the overhead wings, nicely detailed if excessivley silver on the edges, just too bright. The landing gear looks OK to the naked eye but you don’t want to look too closely, never really designed for close examination and they are very small, so not ideal for rolling about, although all the wheels do function.
The four ALF502R-5’s are neat enough. More very bright over-the-top silver, but they pass the eyeball test easily.
It’s actually generally OK but on both sides there is a visible blurred green-white line that’s fairly easy to see. Not ideal. The name St Corcoran and the Commuter tile are better on the left that right side.
Neat enough and passes the eyeball test, but could have done with a little less weight to discourage that all too irritating tilting back thing! You can clearly see the tail cone air breaks too.
No issues at all.
7)Score and conclusions
Bearing in mind it’s age – they say only 1500 were made, which is probably under 25% of what they’d make these days, it’s an OK model, just not one of the best from the period.
There just aren’t that many current livery Aer Lingus models to choose from and even with the upcoming A320 EI-DEK (another odd choice), it’s a welcome addition. All being said and done I’d give it around 84%, not that an actual score really matters.
What will matter is how good the new Aer Lingus A320 is when it arrives. Gemini haven’t excelled on the last two, the Alitalia was sent back and replaced it was so poor. Of course what most of us would like is a 757 in the livery!