Hawaiian A330-243 N386HA Gemini Jets GJHAL1445 2015

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Hawaiian Airlines is the 8th largest US airline and has a long history dating back to 1929. One of its records is that it has never suffered a fatal accident and not one of its aircraft has ever been lost.

It hasn’t all been easy. Along with most of the US airline industry, Hawaiian filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, back in March 2003. A process that is in effect government sanctioned abandonment of debts and liabilities, allowing the executives who caused the problem to come out the other side looking like they saved the company. The pilots lost out in Hawaiian’s case, their pension fund loosing $4.5 million.

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Since emerging from bankruptcy the airline has, as with the others, gone through the financial crisis of 2008-9 and the global recession that followed, and is now riding the crest of a wave of low fuel prices.

The airline operates mostly to the US West Coast domestically, but also as far as New York. It also offers services to Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea.

The A332 has figured as a major contributor to Hawaiian’s long haul development. The result of a 24 aircraft order with Airbus in 2007 for 6 firm and 6 options, plus another 6 A358’s on purchase and 6 more options.  At the end of 2010 the company ordered another 6 A332’s.

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Hawaiian was however, one of a handful of airlines who made small orders for the A350-800. The total ordered was disappointingly low – just 83 aircraft (4 of which had already been cancelled by Bangkok Airways), most preferring the much larger 900 variant, and Airbus decided to persuade the customers who’d signed up (American, Afriqiyah, Hawaiian, Aeroflot, Asiana, CIT Leasing, APF Leasing and Aero Capital), to move over to the newly announced A330-800Neo or the A359. Hawaiian chose the A338.

An Airbus A330-243, N386HA was delivered in April 2012. Named Heiheionakeiki she’s fitted out with 18 business class (thogh described as First Class) and 276 economy (which also have a premium comfort option with more leg room on some rows), all powered by two Rolls Royce Trent 772B-60’s. 

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Hawaiian A332’s are capable of reaching as far as southern Europe from Hawaii, so there’s no reason it’s not viable at RLSI. It’s one of the few models I’ve ever bought in person, having purchased it at the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos in May 2016.

1. Fuselage

While the mould is older, it really isnt bad, and despite its cradle system wings, they are vastly superior to the rather awful new versions JCW and now Gemini are using, especially on the A333. For some whackadoodle reason the A332 doesn’t suffer it so badly. The joy however is the new A343’s in SAS livery are supposed to have the same problem.

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This makes you seriously question who is in control of producing models that are worse than their predecessor? Did nobody look at one? Did anyone have the knaus to think about what  had gone before and look at the new one, and think, “maybe we should leave that a bit, and try to do it properly?” Well obviously not. China’s communist system is all very well for creating pre-programmed drones, but is notorious for discouraging independent thinking. As one Chinese manager told me, “nothing here is a problem, unless I say it is”.

The thing is, that this fuselage is well-printed, well-built and beautifully detailed.

2.  Wings and landing gear

absolutely spot on. No issues at all, the cradle fits neatly compared to most, and colours and details all seem commensurate with the real thing.

The landing gear is good for Gemini, tyres and wheels all fine and the nose gear easily passes muster.

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3. Engines

Lots of printed detail and excellent rims and fans. The rears and the fronts are just as well done, this being the RR engine with the exhaust fan. The paint on the nacelles is white so all the detail shows up clearly. No issues at all.

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4. Nose detail

Stock white with plenty of accurate detail. Really, it’s impossibly simple in real life and therefore easy to replicate. That’s what’s been done and it appears to have no issues.

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5. Tail detail

Perfect build. Not even a glue bubble. Colours though…

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It takes a daylight bulb and a flash to make those purple shades even start to be visible.

6. Colours

The base white can’t be faulted, three shades of purple however have not replicated well on the body or tail, nowhere near the required differentiation to the naked eye.

The flash does a good job of making the colours look more separate than they do in real daylight – truly they just don’t come over anywhere near as well without 1200 lumens blasted at them.

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No flash, just a 1400 lumen daylight simulation bulb from 3ft away. Cut that down to indirect light around 700 lumens and the colour separation vanishes.

The bad part though is the top of the tail colour which should be, what here I would describe as fuchsia red (a sort of much redder version of pink), on the model it’s a bright hot pink and nothing like the real thing. Oddly the flower is close enough to be considered correct, but in terms of overall colour match, the model is hopelessly poor. It’s so bad with the purple shades, that from a distance of 2ft, you’d be hard pressed to know they weren’t one giant mass of the same colour.

7. Score and conclusions

  • -20 for the 4 colour failures.
  • 80% and it should have been 100. How on earth did they mis-manage the colour selection so badly? Gemini’s legacy for years was that no matter what the model quality the colours were usually perfectly good. Those days seem to be over.

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