KLM is one of my favourite airlines. BHX to Amsterdam on these very aircraft is a routine flight, once a quarter. The repaint into the new livery has taken quite a while. This particular aircraft is already 8 years old, being the first to be delivered.
It’s the second KLM ERJ-190 Gemini have released. They call them an LR in the box blurb, but they’re not, they’re the STD type, there’s a 2.51 metric tonne difference in MTOW that KLM just didn’t need, most flights are well under 1500km/1000 miles, and range was never an issue. The designation often used is ERJ-190-100.
With a range of 1,850 nautical miles there are few cities in Europe they can’t get to. The company ordered 30 from Embraer, and all have now been delivered. They join a departing fleet of 14 Fokker 70’s, which are being replaced by 17 ERJ-175STD’s, 3 of which are already in service with one arriving almost every month.
KLM Cityhopper is a technically separate subdivision of KLM, and there’s a complex history over how that came about, but the effect is transparent to customers, it all just goes through the main KLM booking system.
The Cityhopper zone at AMS is hard standing, passengers are bused out, or to, their gate. It’s an incredibly busy spot, especially at peak times, it appears to be the epitome of organised chaos to an uninformed eye, but is of course, a meticulously timed ebb and flow of departures and arrivals.
Fitted with 100 slim-line economy seats, they have the ‘magic curtain’ system to adjust the number of business class as needed. Whereas you can get the Comfort Plus on KLM 737 and 738’s, you can’t on the E190. If they change the aircraft type from 738 to E190 and you’ve booked the improved seating, and pre-selected the seat, they seem to have no system for untying it all on-line, and it requires a tedious call to KLM to sort out.
The other model KLM ERJ190 Gemini released is reviewed here (this was an early days review so it’s a bit basic and frankly a bit generous): KLM E-190 Review May 2014.
The thing that really stood out as bad on that were the engines. They are very small I’ll give you that, but the mould on them was pretty poor, with the bottom of the intakes looking warped.
So here we are again, just a modified paint job to differentiate or something more substantial?
The fuselage is an excellent mould, never had a problem with that. The new nose job with the livery gives the aircraft a very different look, that for some reason seems more substantive and perception altering than on some of the larger aircraft. It’s the size of the nose I think, which proportionally, is larger than on most aircraft types.
Despite having three aerials up top, Gemini have I believe, wisely chosen not to bother trying to apply them to such a small model and risk ruining it. The large aerial at the rear underneath, at the front of the structural stiffener and rubbing strip (the very rear of the bar touches the ground before the tail can strike the runway), is present.
Overall the print detail is very good indeed, only the dark blue coach line and the dark blue at the doors seems to be a bit patchy, but with the naked eye, you wouldn’t even know. Somehow they seemed to have managed to get the nose curve right as it drops from the doors forward. Pity they didn’t manage that on the KLM 789 last year.
2.Wings and landing gear
The slot-in wings are a triumph of accuracy and detail, matching exactly the wings on the two-year old version.
The gear seems to be slightly different, better wheels but not quite such good tyres. Some of the tyres seem a bit flat on the outside but at least there are none of those awful blobby lumps and so on, Phoenix seem so proud of. The nose gear tyres are a very, very tiny pair but despite that, they, and the gear, look great for a model of this scale.
Overall a great result, but there is a caveat – read the engines section to find out!
These were the weak spot last time and they still are, but in a different way. The last time they were just a mess of a mould to be honest, and that’s been rectified.
The shape of the GE CF34-10E5 engine is quite odd, not dissimilar to the 737 and for the same reason, it needs to have plenty of clearance, so has an irregular elliptical intake which morphs further back into a circular nacelle to accommodate the fan blades. This has all been well-managed, and the accuracy of the engines, all the way to the noise reducing exhaust serrations, like that on the 737 Max and the 787 family, are visibly present. The difference on these is they are on the outer exhaust outlet, not the nacelle.
It’s the intake rim and fan colour that disappoints. The rims, for the size of engine are superbly painted, but they’ve chosen Toyland silver again for the fans, and because there’s relatively so much of it (the entire pre-fan intake is also silver), it looks a bit cheap, never mind unrealistic.
The older model may have had duff looking engines but they did use a darker fan paint.
The other issue is the engines are not fitted properly, this is actually due to the pylon mould being wrong. The ridge of the top of the pylon should be higher than the leading edge of the wing, it isn’t. This means the engines tend to point downward, when they should be pointing straight ahead, and completely level.
Very different to the prior version because of the livery. The radome details, so dominant on the prior version, have gone, largely because the blue has made it really pointless to show them. They’re blue on the real thing, and you can’t see them underneath.
The sensor markings are a tiny bit messy, lacking definition, and this is the place the dark blue nose coachline paint is actually a little sloppy, but it has to be said, passes the eyeball test.
As with the rest of this model, it’s pretty good all round, for the scale and size of the model it’s exceptionally neat, and it appears to be 100% metal rather than plastic as on the new 737’s. I’m actually really impressed.
Even the colour of the KLM in the tail is accurate, it shouldn’t be the same as the body colour and is indeed a lighter, correct shade of Delft blue.
Faultless. Everything is spot on. The only weakness is the intensity of the KLM Cityhopper on the fuselage, which needed to be applied more strongly. It seems a bit thin on the base blue.
7.Score and conclusions
- -2 for the engine tilt, wrong but not earth shattering
- -2 for weak paint on the Cityhopper logo, the old model had much greater emphasis on the KLM proving it can be done.
- -4 for the silver engine paint, it’s just the wrong colour for fans and the engine interior! These aren’t toys!
- 92% is an excellent score.
So, another really good model from Gemini. What I want to know is why is the A320 such a bag of crap, when this is so beautifully detailed, put together, well painted and finished to a high standard? The inconsistency in build quality is extraordinary.
Well either way, another happy day! A model that’s exceeded 90% is always music to my ears and a feast for my jaded eyes! It can be done. It’s been proven twice in one batch of models. As we approach Christmas and the high-volume season however, I wonder if they can keep it up? Last year it all went to hell in a hand basket with a plethora of really awful low quality 789’s. This year I shall be avoiding temptation and sticking only to things I really want. Yet we live in hope. Maybe JC Wings, whose production line is finally back to full strength after a major – and allegedly quality orientated overhaul, may start to show dividends. One example is already here waiting for review, and another arrives next week. And they’re not that flappy-clappy winged A330.
Well done Gemini anyway, a great model this time!
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