Here’s hoping you all had an excellent Easter recess, so its back to reviews – this one is a day early as its been a while and it’s ready to go, next weeks will be Tuseday and Friday as ususal…
I very rarely indulge in fantasy models. This one is probably two years from even seeing service, as Delta have a contract clause, negotiated in January 2018, insisting that they want all of their aircraft built in Alabama at the new joint Bombardier-Airbus facility when it’s completed.
The whole saga of Boeing suing over the CSeries was ironically, partly caused by Delta, insisting on rock bottom prices for their 75 aircraft order. Effectively paying below cost, it forced Bombardier into a loss (also partly caused by harsh deals on two much smaller orders), of $500m. The state government loaned Bombardier the money to preserve thousands of highly skilled jobs (in the same way that Washington state gives Boeing massive tax breaks to keep it there), Boeing, cynically, used that as illegal state aid in its argument.
It had the potential to kill the CSeries, which Boeing laughably said was a direct competitor with its (at the time) not even flying Max-7 – you know, the one with just 65 orders, 55 of which are for Southwest. Having won the first round of the argument, with a compliant judge, Boeing conclusively lost it with the US Trade Commission who pretty much laughed them out of the room.
The irony is that the Delta order came close to destroying the CSeries – if Delta hadn’t been so demanding on its pricing, Bombardier would have avoided the loss, the state aid, and the legal case. Even more ironic, Delta would have been the cause of the loss of the order that caused the problem, that destroyed its own order, if things had gone the other way!
Fortunately Boeing did not get its way and the CSeries will continue. A truly cutting edge aircraft for the 21st Century. Delta are so convinced it’s the right choice they’ve said they’ll wait “as long as it takes” for the delivery of aircraft from Alabama. Frankly that’s the least they could do after the trouble they caused.
This of course is the JC Wings mould and the first time Gemini have been allowed to use it. It’s sat dormant for over two years, since the now hard to find original test flight model mostly vanished to a corporate buyer in 2015 – and few were ever delivered to the public, though they do crop up now and again, at one time for for silly prices. Their novelty value has somewhat reduced, and only die-hard collectors would pay high prices now (most have fallen to around £30/$50). JCW also did a house colours version, but it never seemed to appear and frankly, with JCW’s long, long delays between announcement and arrival, I couldn’t be bothered.
The CSeries has of course been dominated by Herpa of late, with two releases of a Swiss CS100, the original Swiss liveried Canadian registered TV5 test unit (reviewed here: Swiss Bombardier CS100 C-GWXZ Herpa 1:400 562522 Jan 2016), then later the first production unit HB-JBA reviewed here: Swiss Bombardier CS100 HB-JBA Herpa 1:400 562522-001 Nov 2016.)
These were followed in late 2017 by the airBaltic CS300 reviewed here: airBaltic Bombardier CS300 YL-CSA Herpa 1:400 562607 Feb 2018. Herpa have already announced the Swiss CS300, which I need to collect from Amsterdam as it’s waiting for me! There’s been no sign yet, of a JCW CS300.
Because I was never keen on being ripped off for the original JCW – despite having ordered one, this is the first Gemini/JCW version to make its way into the collection, so I’ve been keenly awaiting it. And that’s the only reason I’m buying a model of an aircraft that is years from seeing the light of day.
There are obviously many similarities in the Herpa and JCW/Gemini versions and I know some people think they’re the same model, but they clearly aren’t the same basic fuselage mould.
First thing is the stand hole arrangement is entirely different, the Herpa also has an aerial forward under door one, the JCW/Gemini doesn’t. There are also clear differences in nose shape – the Herpa has always been a little fat, but you really, really have to look closely to see the shape differences at this scale.
While the Herpa has two upper aerials (and should have three), the Gemini does have all of them.
There is something about the Gemini/JCW version that looks a little slimmer, slightly more crafted and defined. You could say it’s entirely subjective, but it isn’t. There is a sharpness to the mould – the same difference between the Panda A320neo and the Gemini version – the Gemini is too big, too flabby, the Panda neat and precise.
In other details it has to be said that there is more, sharper and clearer, on the Gemini version than the Herpa. Printed detail is better, but it’s marginal. Overall the whole standing 24″ away visual, is that the Gemini just wins. It seems crisper, neater somehow.
Then you look up close. Disappointment quickly starts to take a toll. There is too much dust and rubble in the paint, tiny surface issues that tell you this wasn’t painted in a pristine clean room!
The wings are a tiny bit different to the Herpa, the forward wing root is a tiny bit shorter, but the quality and mould detail is excellent. Still persisting with the chrome leading edge though. A safe option I suppose, but really I doubt the actual aircraft will have this embellishment.
A nicely detailed and finished set of wings, superbly attached and seamless.
Well it wasn’t any surprise if you’d looked at the publicity image. It was a big disappointment. What looks like A380-sized landing gear from a 1:500, nasty, cheap horrible and exactly the same as the Herpa. How to spoil a perfectly reasonable model in one cheap skate move.
This is what comes from Gemini being nothing more than a money-making brand rather than the actual manufacturer. If it had been me I would have specified a set at least equal in quality to those on the new A320neo, not a cheaply made piece of crap like this.
Both engines point upward too much. The rim on Number 1 engine is hideous, and it’s only a bit better on 2. The silvered pylons are a little rough, again especially on No 1.
They appear to be exactly the same as the Herpa engines, just not fitted as well. Of course they’re all plastic.
Engine fan colour is too silver, the exhausts an inappropriate silver all over.
Once again, if you look closely enough, the rubble in the blue paint is there to see. Along with small hairs stuck in the paint. Nice.
The Gemini is a winner here, it’s a better shape and better detailed, with cleaner, crisp printed detail and a neat finish.
While the tail is again, just like the Herpa, all plastic, the horizontals are noticeably better on the Gemini, because they slide into the mould, where the Herpa’s rest on the outside of the fuselage.
The verticals are identical, but the Gemini is full of hairs and dust, especially on one side.
The model is accurate for Delta colours as they are now, no issues. It has to be said the blue paint and the under-body Delta graphic are also excellent.
8.Scores an conclusions
- -10 for the landing gear – truly awful. I suspect we’re stuck with this crap for ages. No manufacturer listens to its customers so don’t expect any change. Maybe Phoenix will launch one superior to both? And maybe they won’t.
- -4 for the leading edge silver – not on the CSeries.
- -2 for the engine exhaust colour fail
- -5 for the poor quality of the inaccurate landing gear
- -4 for the engine rims – very messy
- -4 for dust and hairs in the paint – really not nice
- -2 for the poor installation of the engines, point upward too much
35/50 for quality
Overall score 69% – Below average.
This model is, like the Herpa’s, totally marred by unthinkingly cheap skate landing gear. Why? Tell me why you tight fisted profiteers! Gemini again – charging premium prices for sub-par product.
The dust is mostly minor in the display or diorama positions, but really? A modern, new-ish model produced in such poor facilities it gets this much crap stuck to it?
I love the CSeries. I love it because it got one over on the incessantly greedy and nasty corporate that Boeing has become – love what it produces, but it’s not the company it was or should be. The CSeries deserves to survive because unlike Airbus and Boeing, Bombardier started from scratch and created a real modern, new aircraft and despite the odds, brought it to market.
But the models? Surely they can do better than this? The model quality is mediocre and the CSeries deserves better, much, much, better.