This review was going to be of the United 773ER, but owing to the alleged shortage of the model, not many have made it here, “more expected” isn’t really what I wanted to hear.
Having failed to acquire KLM, British Airways set its sights, many thought unwisely, on Iberia, Spain’s national carrier, and IAG was born, now encompassing BA, Aer Lingus, Iberia and Spanish LCC Vueling.
Iberia was a financial disaster, with old aircraft types, poorly performing routes, and over-burdened by excessive manpower. In may ways it was more like AlItalia than possibly any other airline in Europe.
IAG under Willy Walsh, wasn’t having any of that, and they slashed the airline to ribbons – frankly, despite their methods, it was probably the best thing long-term, for it and it’s staff. Iberia is now well on the way back to success, and long term profitability.
To give you an idea of the drastic measures undertaken, at one time the airline operated 60 A320’s. That’s now 14. 13 of the original 19 A321’s remain in service, and this model is one of them.
Why this model was chosen, I’m not sure, but she’s one of the oldest. As part of the re-making of Iberia, the traditional IB and crown tail, with stripes on the fuselage livery, was dumped. It was a move not overwhelmingly popular in Spain, and with its pro-monarchy population, the new Euro-bland livery remains uninspiring.
I wanted this because there hasn’t been a new livery aircraft of the type that fits my collecting criteria, and it’s been a long while since I had a Gemini/JCW A321. Iberia hasn’t been present at RLSI for a long time.
Plain, simple, neat enough, good technical print (but not by any means outstanding), there isn’t a lot that can go wrong here. The three upper aerials are good but the dome on the roof is just printed, not moulded in.
There are no aerials below. Unlike the A320 AA version reviewed last week the holes for the aerials are unnoticeable.
One of the weird things is the way the Iberia logo on the port side is strangely distorted, it seems like an optical illusion but then you look again and it isn’t!
2.Wings and landing gear
The wings are a superb mould, excellent detail, good colours, and of course push-in. There is something odd about them to an accomplished eye, it took a bit of working out, in the end it required the level test; the port side wing is the correct height, the starboard wing is over-elevated. The wing end fences should be level with the windows on the fuselage. On the port side they are, on the starboard side they’re above, but below the roof line.
The landing gear is atrocious. Not only are both pairs of the main gear splayed out to far so that it only rests on the innermost wheels, the starboard side is solid, the mould is filled with metal, there are no struts for the hydraulics. The other side, in this respect only, is OK.
Once again, another shining example of Gemini’s utter indifference to quality.
Plastic, neat rims, the fans are the same colour as the rims which is again, disappointing, and inaccurate. Otherwise the detail is only OK, the paint too thick on the nacelles
Surprisingly well detailed, with finely printed dome, cockpit windows and the aircraft’s name Cueva de Nerja all visible.
Reasonably well assembled, correct colours, there really isn’t much to it to get wrong.
7.Score and conclusion
- -5 for the starboard landing gear mould – unacceptably bad
- -2 for the landing gear splay
- -4 for the wrong fan colour
- -6 for the wings not being set correctly – inexcusable
- -3 for the Iberia logo “distortion” and lack of definition
81% is a poor score for something that should be cutting edge, its commercial mediocrity at its best. There is no effort here for it to be brilliant. The individual components are generally not bad (the landing gear though, please!) It’s the lack of attention to finish, to quality control, that’s what lets it all down. Gemini need to crack the whip with the manufacturer, but Gemini don’t hold the cards. Having eliminated most of the opposition over years, who else can make these models in these volumes? So Gemini is just along for the ride. Yet it’s still their responsibility.
If this was my company and they were turning out models like this with so many failings, I would get on a flight and go there with a Chinese interpreter, and bash heads until it was done properly. It’s about training, it’s about principle, it’s about caring. It’s about making it as real as it gets. But nobody cares, nobody does anything, and the dollars, they keep rolling in, so nobody will.
My recommendation: While I appreciate the variation, and we have finally got an Iberia A321, it’s not a brilliant model by any means, just another example of commercial mediocrity. I wouldn’t buy it if I knew it would be this sub-average.
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