The first of LATAM’s A320neo’s, delivered all the way back in August 2016. Fitted with the notorious PW1127G geared turbines, this will make an interesting counterpoint to the Lufthansa version made by Panda.
This is the new mould by JCW for Gemini, and the first neo. I’d like to think it was their last.
I often like to delve into the airline or its politics here but this model needs some serious attention.
The fuselage itself is of little issue. Its better than the old one but not as good as the Panda or the Aeroclassics as moulds go. For one it has an odd shallow hump in the middle of the roof, above the cockpit windows.
In terms of technical print and definition there is little to complain about, what there is to point out is a lack of attention to detail.
For example the A320neo tiles on the front that read “PRIMER A320neo DE SUDAMERICA”, are in pale grey and only the A320neo is in the corporate blue. Gemini have printed the whole thing in the blue which is blatantly incorrect, and gives the aircraft a very different look.
The aerials are well placed and painted, three up and yet not one underneath despite their clearly being at least two. Is this about budget? We can only afford three so that’s all you’re getting? At these prices?
The standard fit roof domes which are admittedly small, are simply line-marked in.
Some of the technical detail on the doors is just a blurred mess when you get to see it closely. Now I know that in itself may not bother you, but it’s not what can, and is achieved by Panda, Phoenix on the 787 and A330 for example. They just don’t seem to be making any real effort to produce a quality item. The price they charge is what they can get away with, not what the model deserves because its production values are so high. If we based it on that they’d be £9 each.
There is another obvious problem but we’ll leave that to the appropriate section.
2. Wings and landing gear
The wings are of course, not before time, slot-ins and they look so much better for it. The mould is good, the detail excellent and the finish very neat. No excess paint and the over wing escape markers are all there. Underneath is plain but acceptable.
The sharklets are a bit strange from a paint perspective, The outer and inner face are blue and red respectively. The real thing has a very marked two-thirds blue or red colour behind the sharklets leading edge. On the model neither of the red inner faces shows this, but the port side outer blue does, while the starboard side outer blue doesn’t! Again, a total lack of attention to detail, the very detail we pay for through exorbitant prices.
Landing gear – the main gear is much better than we’ve seen, yet the flashing issue persists, but nothing like the mess we saw on the Iran Air A321, or the Iberia, but the starboard wheels don’t move. Nose gear tyres are lumpy and either fat or thin in places – the mould is inconsistent. It’s also twisted slightly to the left.
And here we have a problem of massive proportions. First, the mould for the engine is over-sized. My brother-in-law designs these things for a living, and engine detail is something he spots every time. He took it upon himself to look into it throughly and concluded they were indeed about 10-15% too large.
We jointly laughed at the hideous and unrealistic colour of the engine fans; silver it seems is back in fashion after having spent the last twelve months getting a nice titanium right! The exhausts are the correct shape, but the colours are way too light.
The aerodynamic fins are odd, blobby things that look peculiar. However they are not the worst part. So far we’ve just realised the engine is not really very good. This is the future of the Gemini/JCW A320neo remember!
The worst part is the No.2 engines is on the ground, and nearly 2mm further forward than the correctly mounted No.1.
So in essence, the quality of the engines is, in a nut shell, crap. If this is the best they can do for premium prices, then they need to go back to the drawing board. Quality control has gone out the window, attention to detail with it.
Other than what’s already been said, it’s technically alright, though personally I don’t think the nose shape is right. There’s also a large hair stuck in the paint, never mind the shallow lump in the mould in the middle above the cockpit windows.
5. Tail detail
Average, with messy paint where the vertical rear joins the body, and uncertain black marks in the paint juts behind the upper APU. Otherwise technically correct save for one clear issue…
The tail grey is wrong, it’s too far to the blue rather than the pale grey, so looks very slightly greenish. Ironically the flash tends to correct it, but really, its clearly much more of a green-grey on the model.
7.Score and conclusions
- -6 for the engine mould being so clearly wrong – its size is the worst part about it, followed by the rubbish looking moulded foils.
- -6 for the No.2 engine being incorrectly mounted
- -4 for the silver fans
- -8 for the lack of attention to detail on the A320neo nose tiles – these are so blatantly wrong
- -5 for the grey colour being incorrect
- -2 for the nose gear being off centre
- -3 for the sharklets detail paint fail (3 wrong and 1 right)
- 66% is a fail, and this is going back
The problem with this model? Lack of attention to detail, quality control, and mediocrity when it comes to colour choice, fan colours, piled on top of what is, a frankly poor engine mould. If a small company like Panda can get it right, what’s wrong with JCWings/Gemini doing the same?
When are these people ever going to put in the effort, energy and passion to detail, their extraordinary prices entitle us to deserve? If Gemini are signing these off, who is and can you fire them? Because clearly they don’t know what they’re doing any more.
Utter mediocrity and deeply disappointing. This and the UPS 748F are going back.
I really wanted to love both of these models, and I can’t. In fact they’re so bad, so mediocre, I’m on the cusp of never ordering another Gemini branded model. There are two due in late May, after that I’m not so sure I’ll be bothering.
My recommendation: Avoid this model. It’s a second rate mediocrity, over priced and abysmally poor value for money.
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