Sad as it may seem, this is probably the last review I’ll do of a Lufthansa aircraft in the current livery. The new version is due to be rolled out some time in the first few days of February 2018, and indications are the new livery could possibly be a little bland. The current one is hardly the most adventurous, but airlines are on a trend to cut colour – colours cost more, but so far nobody has gone as far as China Eastern in terms of minimalism.
The model was a Christmas present that arrived a little late from Hong Kong so was way cheaper at £35, ($49.21US) than the appalling list prices in the UK – £54.95 ($77.21US) can you believe!
I didn’t really want it. A380’s take up a huge amount of space and I already have the 2013 version of D-AIMB, which I have never reviewed – the blog didn’t start until 2014.
I thought I would run through the brief history and then give you a comparison similar to that on the AA 773ER. That however proved slightly problematic.
Lufthansa operates 14 A380’s all named after a city except D-AIMN which is named Deutschland. D-AIMB is München and D-AIMC Peking – why it’s spelt the old way (which the Chinese dislike because its considered westernized) rather than Beijing, I don’t know.
Lufthansa recently announced the deployment of five A380’s to Munich Franz Josef Strauss, which will start to replace A346’s on some long haul high demand routes, like San Francisco, New York and Hong Kong.
The A380’s were delivered in batches, A-D were delivered in 2010, E-H in 2011, I&J in 2012, K&L in 2014, and M&N in 2015.
All A380’s were recently updated to carry the new Premium Economy offering so are fitted with 8 First class, 78 business class, (all upper deck) 52 premium economy and 371 economy (all lower deck, with the PE cabin split, in the lower deck nose and at the rear of the upper deck).
Lufthansa A380’s are powered by the Rolls Royce Trent 970.
Gemini/JCW’s A380 mould is the worst of those available – especially at the nose end which is just wrong in so many ways. You can see the differences here: Who Makes The Best A380?
One of the worst ones was Gemini’s Qatar A380 because the lower body line was high enough up to really make the nose shape appear at worst. Fortunately the Lufthansa line is lower and doesn’t highlight it as much.
Unusually Gemini haven’t gone back to the drawing board as they so often do – they seem to have duplicated the older model in its entirety for the most part, with individual exceptions. For the life of me I can’t find much that differentiates them – and that’s mostly a good thing!
D-AIMC does have aerials of course which its older sibling doesn’t. Three up top, but not one of the four underneath. Compare that to the recent Phoenix A343 with no less than eight!
The differences in technical print are mostly on the roof. The installation of a large and obtrusive satcomms dome at the rear clearly isn’t worthy of Gemini’s investment despite the gross overpricing of these models now, so that’s just an outline print on, as is the installed from new smaller dome, abaft lower deck door two. Not really good enough at these prices.
An under body dome under D-AIMB at the tail which should never have been there has gone from the mould, and isn’t visible on D-AIMC.
There is one huge difference between the two though, and while it normally works out worse on newer models, this time the reverse is true; the under body and under wing are just about the closest they’ve ever got to being an accurate light grey. The older model is too dark by a substantial margin.
Other than that they’re both so similar in technical detail and accurate finish you’d need to be an expert to spot any differences. In reality, with a consistent fleet, that’s exactly how it should be.
The chronically over-engineered wings designed for derivatives that will never see the light of day (the freighter version for FedEx and the imaginary -900 stretch), remain one of my favourite pieces of aviation engineering . There are a couple of documentaries that describe the awesome lift capabilities of these things on YouTube if you can find them. They’re capable of lifting almost 40% more that they actually do, even at full load.
The paint – white upper wings is spot on and doesn’t bury the detail in hideous gloss. The under wing is actually more a silk finish and looks more realistic than gloss by a good margin.
I’m always pleased to say that when they did the A380 nobody made the mistake of using a cradle system fit. Superbly installed.
The wheels are different on this model, they have more detail, and I’m glad to say the tyres are mostly free of lumps and bumps.
One of the things Gemini A380’s suffered from is a tendency to lean back on their gear with the nose wheel not touching the ground, the older model was one of the few that didn’t happen to, but the new one has a slight tendency to lean back, though not as badly as say G-XLEA, the BA version.
The new models gear is also completely functional, all 22 wheels rotate, all of the main gear bogies move and the central pair carrying 12 of the wheels are spring-loaded.
The downside, is more of that disgusting brown glue that looks like leaky sewage, it’s especially noticeable at the backs of the bogies where they’re not clamped shut properly, but I’ve managed to remove a lot of it with white-tac.
The old ones had a darker titanium colour for the fans. The new ones are slightly brighter and it stands out because they’re so huge. The nacelles detail is different but there are lots of it, especially underneath, and having looked into them both they’re both pretty accurate. Why they’re different, I don’t know.
Both have excellent exhausts and everything is neatly assembled.
Other than the shape, outstandingly good, refined and highly detailed.
If it’s true and the yellow/blue crane is to cast into the dustbin of history – this will be a monument to its successful application in 1;400. the entire tail, assembly and detail is outstanding
One of the rarest moments – a Gemini with accurate colours. When you think what they did to that wonderful A350 – the strange hint of yellow in the white paint – this came as a relief.
Still, with Gemini’s wing colour record for 2016-2017 I’m betting the underwing/under body colour was an accident rather than deliberate!
8.Score and conclusion
- -3 for lack of under body aerials
- -2 for lack of primary roof domes – print-ons at these price points are unacceptable
- -4 nose mould is just way off and always has been
- 41/50 for accuracy
- -2 That brown gunky glue
- -2 landing gear rear seals are not pretty
- -1 slight tilt rearwards, not always guaranteeing the nose gear will stay on the ground
- 45/50 for quality
OVERALL SCORE: 86% Now that’s a very good score under the new scoring – small improvements will take it higher, but you know how tight-fisted Gemini are when it comes to improving existing models or doing anything new.
My recommendation: Have Phoenix ever done a Lufthansa A380? I don’t remember one without looking it up, so in the absence of one from them – their mould is so much better – this will do, if and only IF you can buy it a good price. It isn’t worth £50+.
My first thought was one of these (D-AIMB most likely) should be sold off, I really do not need two of them. Then I saw them both on the diorama, in their A380 gates, and decided I’d keep them until I get two in the new livery. Fickle or what!