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Air Transat has held on to its A310 fleet longer than any passenger airline has ever had to (with the exception of Iran, because they had no choice), the last European one belonged to Monarch, and that’s been gone some three years now. Some of them are nearly as old as the airline itself. Indeed this mould looks like it could be as old as the oldest aircraft in Air Transat’s fleet.
You can read more about Air Transat in the A330 review from a couple of weeks ago: Air Transat A330-342 C-GKTS.
The airline still operates 9 of them, from an historic base of 14. The younger ones were delivered in 2006-8 (from Emirates), and this one C-GLAT was delivered in March 2001 from Emirates, where she’d previously been A6-EKI, originally in service in July 1992.
One of the fascinating things about the A310 in my opinion is that it may have the very generalised spec of what’s required to replace the 757, or that Airbus could develop into a slot between the A330 and A321. A small widebody, with a capacity of around 250-270 and range of 4,500-5500 nautical miles (8,500-9,500km approx). It seems strange to think that just 255 were built between 1983 and 1998. How the industry has changed since then!
One notable fatal loss at Aeroflot was caused by the pilot letting his son sit at the controls with the autopilot half disengaged. 75 people died. Another near disaster was caused when for no apparent reason, the rudder fell out. The aircraft landed safely but carbon composite was new, and Airbus was determined to have failed to have an adequate inspection process for the new material. Lessons were learnt that still apply today.
Emirates specified GE engines for these (the other choice was the PW4000 series), as they’re most suited for hot climate take off’s under full load, so she’s fitted with 2 x CF6-80C2A8’s.
Carrying 12 business (Club) class, considered to be more like a premium economy, in two rows of 2-2-2 and 238 economy seats mostly in 3-3-3, but from row 25 they drop to 2-3-2.
Currently C-GLAT is based in Montreal, and recent routes have included Venice, Barcelona, Madrid, Toulouse and Orlando.
UK retail for this is a truly awful £44.88 with a manufacturer list price of £48.67. These prices are nothing to do with Brexit.
European retail including tax for this €39.95 with a manufacturer list price of €41.95
US retail for this $37.95 with a manufacturer list price of $46.95
To purchase in Euros in would cost £38.32 or $50.08 equivalent. So if you buy it in Europe its £6.56 cheaper. That includes VAT at 21%.
If you purchased the same model in the US, allowing for 10% sales tax to be added, it would be $41.75 or just £31.94 – that’s a difference of £12.94 – or 28.3% more expensive in the UK.
This is a very old mould now, but it has a good shape overall and they have modified it to take three aerials up top, but again in tight-fisted Gemini world, not one of the three underneath are present.
There’s a good quality of print and detail; generally speaking the paint seems to have been applied well if somewhat glossier than normal. I believe this happens because they don’t bother to update the “disc” from the last time they do these models, other than revise essential items. It’s an older process.
The last time Gemini did a 1:400 A310 in Air Transat colours was in 2006, 1500 units of C-GVAT and the quality of that model – look at the rims and landing gear for a start, looks very much higher. According to Gemini’s website it’s listed as an A310-200 but it’s not and never was.
Two small domes on the roof are painted on white ovals. There’s no detail underneath.
2.Wings & landing gear
Landing gear first: rubbish old style tyres on spigots from the recession years are completely inappropriate for a model of this expense based on such an old, and often used mould. I expect better for my money not something from an archaeological excavation from 1999.
The wings. This is going to be hard to explain. At first I thought it was a reflection or just me, but the more you look at it at different angles you can see the starboard wing has some sort of twist in it. It isn’t exactly bent, it isn’t perfectly straight, but it is definitely not right.
It’s made more apparent by the fact the ancient cradle system unit, gaps at front and back not withstanding, fits reasonably well; except on the right wing which appears to lean outward from the fuselage. The other side is fine. The gap is verging on half a millimeter, which in 1:400 is small, I’ll give you that, but it looks incongruously dark when the other side fits so well. If you saw a real world 200mm (8″) gap in the real things wing you’d be more than a tad concerned.
I suppose the worst aspect is the quality issue. It’s just poor quality, full stop. And these models aren’t so cheap they can afford to reasonably have a quality issue, of any type. From that viewpoint Gemini have made a rod for their own backs, not I suspect that they care. They dont have to deal with returned models, leaving that to the retailers to fret about.
The wing fence ends (incidentally the A313 was the first aircraft to have them, they were retrofitted on older models), are too flat at the top, the upper fin on an A313 tilts outward, it isn’t vertical. The outer fin is painted with what is supposed to be the Transat star, but is less than convincing.
These are surprisingly good. A feature is the deeply recessed fan and they are painted a good titanium colour. Rims are very good but there has been some leakage of silver inisde the correctly white nacelle interior. The exhausts look good.
One of the distinctive things that heavily dates the A310 is the really old fashioned looking wings with the almost clumsy looking pylons. No.1 engines pylon is fine, with silver finish work neatly applied both sides. No.2 has this on the inner pylon side, but the outer has almost no silver paint at all. It’s been 90% missed. Hardly reinforces Gemini’s alleged premium brand image does it?
The cockpit windows are clean and neat, the nose cone is detailed but not clumsy, all of the technical detail appears to be spot on, including the Canadian national flag.
Being short and fat, the A310 has to have a large vertical stabilizer. It’s actually as big as the one on the A359. It appears to be well painted and well assembled. There is a lot of detail here, with multiple linguistic translations of ‘welcome’ printed into the rear blue and white. The problem is with the red letering which mostly vanishes in all but very bright light.
The blue-white transition is well done, and the star logo is excellent.
The blue colours are excellent, no issues. What doesn’t work is the red on blue which lacks any vibrancy and almost vanishes.
7.Score and conclusion
- -10 for the strangely twisted wing – it’s hard to demonstrate it in photos but when you have the model in your hand it just looks really odd
- -4 for missing the obvious paint from the very prominent engine pylon
- -4 for the red print lacking any vivacity and looking lost on the blue paint
- -5 for the way the wing doesn’t meet the body on the starboard side and leaves a black gap
- -2 for the not very good wing end fences
- 75% is a below acceptable score – 80 is the minimum
Well in the end it’s that wing that really screws this model. The rest is livable on its own, though it’s hardly top quality is it? Even more so when judged against it’s predecessor.
I got this model for free – it was the result of a load of loyalty points I’d accumulated and I thought I’d get it to see what it was like, and because so many have flown in and out of BHX over the years. I can’t send it back because it was free (there T&C’s were quite picky on that point, it would have to be physically broken, which it isn’t), but otherwise I would.
My Recommendation: I’d give it a miss. It’s way too expensive and nowhere near good enough for its chronic price which is just daylight robbery, and frankly it seems ridiculous at any price over $38. If this hadn’t been free with loyalty points, it would have been sent back.