This is one of those models that I wanted when it came out about three months or so ago and refused to pay full Gemini rip off price for. A321’s are listed at around £39 (US$52) retail with prices realistically about £34, so when you can buy it three months later on eBay for £25 (US$33) it’s quite a big difference, and when you buy 100+ models a year that adds up real fast.
I don’t really go for special liveries on Lufthansa as they are often so transient, but in this case it’s a cause I’d happily support. The crane is a large and unwieldy bird on the ground, its habitat endangered, but it’s the bird in the centre of Lufthansa’s logo – and a few other airlines around the world too as it happens. So the airline feels it has some responsibility to support conservation measures, and this is Lufthansa’s lip service to the project its supported for 25 years.
Personally if they really cared so much I’d have expected more of an effort to create awareness, but something is better than nothing. The tiles were short-lived, installed in October 2016 and gone by May 2017.
D-AIRR is an A321-131 fitted with 205 business/economy seats of the new and frankly very comfortable and spacious flex type. the business section is adjuested by the moving curtain framework, up and down the aisles and the middle seat is blocked off.
It’s unusual; for some airlines, going over 200 seats crosses the line that requires an extra cabin crew member, which can be cost prohibitive, baring in mind for every one on board two more are ‘resting’. Clearly Lufthansa are making it pay. Ryan Air went out of there way to keep new aircraft at 199 passenegers simply because of the cost of extra crew.
The aircraft was delivered in January 1996 and is fitted with a pair of IAE V2530-A5 engines, and named Wismar.
Well first off, the enormous satellite dome isn’t even pretending to be present, but there are mitigating circumstances. It seems to have been installed some time during the Crane campaign and around February 2017, so this model is just before that happened, even though it appeared much later in the year. These models have long lead times.
The two roof aerials are present, not as vertical as would be ideal, and there are none underneath (there should be two). Technical print, including the grey and black crane images, plus all their logos (German on the port side, English on the starboard) are all pretty god to be fair. The grey belly paint seems to be faultless and has no issues where it meets the white.
2.Wings and landing gear
Slot in wings make this so much better to look at. However while the starboard wing is fitted well, the glue is a bit visible on the port side. Otherwise painted to a high standard above and below, and importantly not over glossed. Plenty of mould detail is visible. The under-wing grey is also more of a silk finish than gloss so looks mildly more refined.
The landing gear is OK. It’s not quite seated in the wing spaces properly, which is a problem with both the wing mould and the gear mould, but it makes little visible difference. If you look closely you can see they’re still having problems with the mould, flashing is clearly visible in gaps around the hydraulics, that should be free of it.
The wheels are just grey plastic with good, lump free tyres. The nose gear suffers from a recent issue that’s cropping up more as time goes by – tyres coming off the wheels. I’ll have to add some glue because one of them has already come off twice just sitting there.
Nicely painted to be honest, even to the exhausts. The fans are silver but a much duller, less in-your-face type than say the Apollo 744. Generally quite competent although the rims are a bit dodgy if you look hard enough.
Plenty of detail with a good cockpit, clearly legible print and a crisp StarAlliance logo.That big red square though is way oversized – around four times what it should be.
Very neat, excellently assembled, reasonable quality logo if a tiny bit transparent on close up and a bit wooly looking in places.
Remarkably a genuine highlight. The grey is always the variable factor here, so to find that it’s pretty much as accurate as you’re ever going to get is a good thing. An excellent job.
7.Score and conclusion
- -2 for the rim paint on the engines, it’s just a bit rough and you can see it
- -1 for the dodgy tyres on the nose gear, to prone to coming off for their own good
- -4 for flash issues in the mould of the landing gear. As usual, inability to resolve small issues continues to plague these models
- -2 for slightly wooly looking tail logo and the random low-def detail on just one or two small graphics
- -2 for the wing glue being overly visible
- -2 for the grossly oversized red nose detail
- 87% though isn’t a bad score for Gemini these days.
My recommendation: I’m glad I didn’t have to pay anything like the £40 this is climbing towards as a retail price, it just isn’t that amazing, or that brilliant, quite ordinary really. However if you are a Lufty fan (and I know there are lots of us), it’s a nice thing to have, especially if you already have six other Lufty A321’s…did I say six? Amazing how fast they accumulate!
It’s highlighted something else too, but that’s a 2018 development I’ll be revealing in a few weeks!
For those of you who haven’t seen it before the illuminated base runway is by Delta Groove and is reviewed here: Delta Groove 1:400 Illuminated Runway Display Case