jetBlue A320-200 N775JB “Vets in blue” Gemini Jets GJJBU1546 JULY 2016

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One of jetBlue’s many and varied theme liveries, this one is designated to honour American military and police/fire veterans, a group revered in the US, despite which they seem to get short-changed when it comes to post-service care.

The yellow ribbon dates back many years – I first recall it through an irritatingly catchy song from the early 1970’s; “tie a yellow ribbon round an old oak tree” – it was about not forgetting those who were deployed and fighting in Vietnam. The symbolism has long stuck and hence the tail logo.

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The aircraft was first delivered 20th February 2009, and named Canard Bleu (which translates as ‘blue duck’), she was renamed and painted into the current scheme in November 2014.

Fitted with 150 economy seats she tends to be in and out of Fort Lauderdale a fair bit along with Boston and Austin as frequent destinations.

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Taken side on and elevated it’s hard to see the issues

1. Fuselage

A little disappointing, the blue paint chosen seems to have been applied rather heavily, the direct result being it seems to have been left to dry in a dusty environment, so its full of very small blemishes. This is clearly an old-tech model compared to the high-tech print and finish we see used on say, a Phoenix Dreamliner.  This has resulted in poor definition where silver or some white has been used. The very glossy blue was clearly still tacky when the detail was applied, and that’s affected the overall finish.

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Miraculously, the huge white satcoms dome has been inserted accurately and fits, nor is there colour bleed.

From a distance these things are hard to appreciate, but touching and close up examination makes it all too evident.

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2. Wings and landing gear

The landing gear is over-painted again, mildly lopsided but correctable – this seems to be caused by someone holding the model with their left hand while glueing in the wheel assembly, as it’s the same issue with the Vueling A320.

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The cradle is a disaster, the rear part of it is physically damaged, paint has been chipped through to the metal, it almost looks like it was dropped into or onto metal. There are powdery fingerprints and these have stuck to the paint.

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the damage and marks at the back of the cradle are extremely poor

The same issue seems to have occurred to a lesser degree at the front endof the cradle. Either way it’s wholey unacceptable, shows a miserable lack of quality control and demonstrates once again, that JC Wings model making is dragging Gemini down yet again.

I know it’s a small model, and much of it isn’t obvious because it’s visible from below, but these things are getting very expensive; too expensive to have this many faults on something so small. It isn’t acceptable and as with the Gemini 787’s, this A320 is now on my no-buy list. I’m not prepared to put up with it any more.

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3. Engines

Nacelles are fine and passable, but the front and rear rims are appallingly bad. They look like an untrained marmoset used a trowel and some coloured cement, then with a catapult randomly splattered the rims from a few feet away. The paint is lumpy, thick, over bright, failed to bond to the blue paint underneath – AGAIN – and was obviously applied while the blue was still, at best tacky, if not wet. The silver paint looks like it was mixed with dental amalgam; at best it was drilled out of a pot of paint found at the bottom of the Yangtze river 100 years ago and mixed with white spirit. They are the worst set I’ve seen this year and show a total lack of skill, care, concern or quality. Garbage.

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4. Nose detail

Just about passable, though flight deck definition could be better.

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5. Tail detail

Average. The yellow paint looks reasonable, a little bleed here and there but nothing too drastic.

The port side horizontal stabilizer wasn’t pushed in properly. It does notice because the gap is too big not to.

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The gap is too much and too visible

6. Colours

The yellow is lacking the real depth of colour it should have, something that seems to be a regular occurence these days (Monarch A320 suffered the same issue on a similar colour).

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7. Score and conclusions

  • -8 for engine rims – fronts and rears
  • -10 for wing cradle issues, -5 for the physical damage
  • -2 for paint definition issues on detail
  • -4 for dust and lumps in paint
  • 71% is a FAIL

From above, you’d not think there was much wrong, but it is in fact, pretty grotty underneath. The engine rim paint looks awful, it really does, especially on a dark blue background, it notices far more than it might otherwise. There has to be a better way of doing this – the engine looks like the rims have dropped off in places to reveal the blue below.

Small it may be, but at the prices we’re being asked to pay I expect better. As I said earlier, and I’d advise you if you asked, don’t waste any more money on Gemini or JCW A320’s until these issues are fully resolved. I’m waiting for the first Neo before buying another.

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