Virgin Australia 777-300ER VH-VOZ Gemini Jets 1:400 GJVOZ1677 Oct 2017

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Here we have at last a Virgin Australia 777-300ER in the current livery. Why this one I don’t know, as it was released in 2009 by Phoenix under the V Australia branding, the only time it was done in 1:400.

It’s been ages since anyone made one in the current livery in 1:400.

I was going to order it but saw the retail price and thought there is no way I’m paying £54 for an old mould 773ER with a cradle wing that you can bet your bottom dollar doesn’t fit properly!

Listed at £52.23 by retailers, Gemini, the distributors and retailers are having a laugh as always. Then I saw one for £32 – nobody bid on it. I forgot to. I wonder how people get them for those prices to be able to risk selling them even for a small margin? It just shows you what a con is going on behind the scenes with the retail price. In the end £32 plus shipping was all this second one cost me. How is that even possible?

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The current version of Virgin Australia has only existed since May 4th 2011, and operates just five 773ER’s out of its 107 aircraft fleet.

Despite the name it’s owned by Virgin Australia Holdings, which owns Tiger Air Australia and Virgin Australia, Virgin Samoa, Virgin Australia Airlines (New Zealand), and Virgin Australia Regional.

Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is very much the minority shareholder here as it now is with Virgin Atlantic, holding just 8%, HNA Group (Hainan Airlines owner) 13%, Singapore Airlines 19.8%, Etihad Airways 21% (but rumoured as looking to sell), and the biggest owner is Nashan Group with 22.4%; they own Qingdao Airlines in China.  Air New Zealand have completely divested from the airline.

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It isn’t without its financial issues either, in late 2016 the company had to write to its pilots and staff assuring them it wasn’t close to bankruptcy. Competition with Qantas is fierce on domestic routes, and costs and overheads remain high in a relatively regulated airline market that is very much designed to work for Qantas, and parliament seesm unwilling to change the situation.

Despite its divestment, ANZ and Virgin Australia still code share and operate a Tasman Sea joint venture. Virgin still maintains its 738 and ATR fleet at Christchurch, and they share a 777 engine pool.

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From up here it doesn’t look too bad

Line number 745, VH-VOZ, a 777-3ZG was first delivered in 2009 to V Australia, and then re-registered to Virgin Australia in May 2011. She’s the only one of the five that’s leased (from AerCap) and is named Palm Beach.  Equipped with 37 business class, 24 premium economy and 278 economy for a total of  339 passengers. She seems to spend most of her time on the Sydney or Brisbane to LAX routes.

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1.Fuselage

It seems we’ve slipped back in time, to the bad old days of 2011-14. This ancient old mould is the epitome of everything that’s wrong with Gemini right now.

Not only does the mould look old, which is basically down to the way the paint is finished; it’s so badly painted and full of rubble, hairs, crap and other detritus as to be shameful. We used to get this from JC Wings before they tried to improve things again.

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You can polish a turd in the right light

It really is an awful paint job. The technical print and finish quality is low definition and as bad as the worst crap Gemini made in 2012-13 – peaking with the awful Volotea 717, the worst model ever.

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Keep it at arm’s length and a bit more, and you’d not know if you looked at it through a haze

Graphics are mediocre, and again poorly defined, this is totally sub standard to any recent Phoenix, Aeroclassics, or JC Wings model I’ve seen, and well below what even Gemini have been making of late.

2.Wings and landing gear

Awful. The mould, the old pre-Cambrian period cradle, is an abomination. It’s as crooked as a politician, doesn’t fit properly, and the right wing bends downwards to the base. The gap between the fuselage and the wing at the root is so deep and wide you can see daylight through it from the other side.

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If this was real life, a human could roll through the gap and fall into the fuel tanks

The paint is average to poor, lacking definition – a theme that runs through this model like a river of plenty. Even the air intakes for the ventilation system ar blurred black blobs.

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The landing gear is another screw up, with flashing around the doors, heavy paint that isn’t well finished, dirt in the paint, lumpy tyres and an air of couldn’t be bothered. The nose gear isn’t recessed properly, the nose gear door paint is rough and unfinished, the nose gear hydraulics bent to one side.

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The mould on this side is terrible, door flashing obvious, wheels appear glued on so don’t rotate

Overall a shoddy piece of Gemini Grade A garbage.

3.Engines

One of the better parts of the model. Still using the rather boring silver paint fans, but at least they appear well made and reasonably well finished. Still suffering, as with the rest of the model, as though they’d had the contents of a Roomba vacuum robot thrown in the air over them while the paint was wet.

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4.Nose

Dirt in the paint, poor definition graphics, both technical and other detail, some orange-peel effect in patches. There’s something just third-rate about this whole model from the get-go. Even the windows don’t fit in many cases, into the silver ‘frame’.

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Add to that the bizarre “dent” where the landing gear fits which is part of this travesty of an old mould, and you have one more reason to dislike this overpriced trash.

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5.Tail

Gappy, gluey, dust filled, fits badly. There are even signs of a couple of very, very small chips in the paint. It’s as substandard as the rest of this awful model.

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Dust stuck in the paint, an excess of glue bubbles up on both sides, poorly fitting horizontals.

6.Colours

Couldn’t go far wrong here could they?

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7.Score and conclusion

  • -20 for the wing/cradle mould – an abomination, a simply appalling mess
  • -20 for the appalling state of the rubbish paint, dust, definition and detail on the fuselage
  • -5 for the nose gear
  • -10 for the mould flashing, poor clasps, lumpy tyres non-rolling wheels on the main gear
  • 45% Makes this the worst model of 2017 to get a score.

This is the worst piece of rubbish to come out of Gemini in a while. In fact since the awful models of Christmas 2015. The difference is now, they think they can charge almost £54 retail (and about the same figure in USD). This is simply an awful travesty of a model that cannot even begin to compare to the standards Aeroclassics use on their A330’s or Phoenix on its own 777’s and 787’s in 2017. Even JC Wings 787’s which are now probably some of the best models around, only serve to emphasise the abominable state of what they, JCW, produce for Gemini Jets.

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It might look alright from five feet away, but you’re paying way too much for that to be the acceptable judging distance!

This shows lack of quality control, indifference, profiteering and ignorance reign in a company, whose product is all about extracting the maximum profit, and nothing to do with serving the needs of its customers.

I am deeply disappointed that a model long overdue has been made in a way best described as careless and at worst with utter indifference.

A diabolical travesty of a model and an insult to the intelligence of anyone who made the mistake of paying for it. Mine will be heading back to the seller.

My recommendation: RUN! Danger Will Robinson, Danger! Only a space age moron would buy this crap.

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