UPS is one of Gemini Jets stock goto product lines if they need to pad their model list for the month. Along with Emirates and Fedex they must be some of the most frequently duplicated model lines on the planet.
The only two I ever bought new are the 752F N474UP back in 2012 and the 748F from Gemini earlier this year which was a mess and was sent back. I’m just hoping that Phoenix, with such a huge product line up for November, two of which are 748F’s – one the Qatar Cargo, the other the UPS, manage to get them right and with quality a forethought! they’ll be the last ones we see this year.
I love the UPS branding, always have, its smart, sophisticated and consistent and it always comes across as looking professional. Personally I’ve found UPS to live up to its standards, the local driver is something of a personality and the trucks they use the same as in the US. Rarely does anyone go for that level of brand recognition and cross-platform synchronicity and achieve it so well.
This one was cheap, just £19 from an eBay seller. The other reason was it doesn’t have the big winglets, and the other one I have does.
She joins N344UP, a 763F with winglets and aerials, the 752F, N474UP, MD-11F N278UP with aerials, and 744F N572UP. Now the “Synchronizing the world of commerce” strapline has gone from the livery the incoming 748F will be the odd man out.
I know many of you in the US especially have large fleets of UPS aircraft, and I get it. I could only do that if I was prepared to dump everything else from my cargo collection, and that I just cannot do, much as it has a certain appeal! The only thing missing for me now is an A300F.
UPS operates 61 763F’s at present, 27 of these were delivered from 2008-12. It’s also ordered more conversions from Boeing, with three more on the books from this years (2017) Paris show.
This particular aircraft is one of the older ones in service, delivered in december 1996, and she’s had winglets fitted (Jan 2014) since the model in 2010.
Strictly a 767-34AER she’s fitted with 2 CF5–80’s. She’s manufacturer line no 640 and MSN 27743. The 763F carries 58 tons of cargo with a cubic area of some 15,469ft (438 cubic metres). Fully laden it has a range of 3,225 nautical miles (6,025Km).
The 767 has to be the quintessential aircraft design. Everything about it is simple, straightforward and no-nonsense. It’s probably the ideal quick-sketch idea of what an aircraft looks like to the general public.
In comparison with the later model of N344UP, there are some very marked differences in the way Gemini’s made them. This model has less technical detail, was very pre-aerials, and while the paint quality and definition looks right if you look at one model, there are some clear indications of difference. More accurately perhaps, inconsistencies.
For one the yellow band is much brighter and lighter and wider – I’ve looked at several photos and I cannot see one where the band changes thickness to the level it does on the later model. Indeed with all five of the UPS aircraft in front of me I’m suddenly seeing that all of them have a different colour tone of yellow-gold band and all of them are different widths! How very Gemini!
The livery was officially modified in 2014, with a brighter yellow gold, so why it’s darker on the newer model, well lets just say it’s a Gemini, so what do you expect? It looks nicer on this, the older model. (Incidentally 2014 was when the “Synchronizing the world of commerce” tiles started to be phased out).
2.Wings and landing gear
The wings on this version, of course a cradle mould, fit exceptionally well for what they are and the limitations that brings. The wings are, and it took some time to verify this, quite poorly painted in quality terms and in plan view. The later models, with central metal paint finish are correct, this is just all pale grey. The paint is excessively glossy, detail obscuring, and underneath is so thickly painted in pale grey gloss it’s ridiculous.
The landing gear is extraordinarily good, metal wheels with tyres and all well made and fully functional.
Less detail than on the later model, but the same mid-silver colour rims and fans. However all very neat and very well made, despite the over-sized central fan spindle.
Very little to be said – there’s next to nothing compared to the later version, no nose dome detail, just a couple of Picot tubes. The cockpit windows are good though, very sharp and neat.
5. Tail detail
Again totally different to the newer model, with exactly the same comments as the wings. Tail logo is excellent, and the older model has a better APU detail.
The brown is good, white is white, you’ll have to decide is the yellow is right!
7.Score and conclusion
In may ways this highlights the consistent inconsistency of Gemini’s production method. Every project seems to be treated alone and without reference to any other, leading to a growing gap in core brand identities and inconsistencies, that only become apparent when you look at the whole collection, not the one model.
As a 7 year old model, a score seems unnecessary but would be in the mid to low 80th percentile. As an individual model it’s OK, as a member of a fleet collection, it’s not at all consistent, or to be correct, the others are not consistent with it. They all predate 2014’s livery change. Yet none are the same, nor as accurate as they should be.
In the end just more model in the wonderful world of 1:400. My only hope is that if Chinese manufacturing is so hit and miss, the same applies to their weaponry, should we have the misfortune to have to engage it.
On a note for those who might be interested, all of these photos were taken using an iPhone-X, the rear stabilised telephoto makes a huge difference.
2017 MODEL AND MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR AWARDS 29th DECEMBER 2017
Who will win the coveted Model of The Year?
Who gets the wooden spoon?
Who will win the Manufacturer Of The Year?
Its been an up and down year, there have been more than a few surprises, terrible models and awesome models from some surprising places. And the judging isn’t over yet, with at least 10 new models due before the final. Christmas production can go right out of the window in quality so it’s still an open field.