SAS Scandinavian Airlines Dash-8 Q400 OY-KCF Gemini 1:400 GJSAS735 2007

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Please Note there will be no review on Friday 4th May due to travel commitments.

SAS ordered 28 of the aircraft in 1999 and took delivery of them over the course of 2000-2002. Their fate was simultaneous in August 2007.

After a series of landing gear collapses, the airline’s board met in emergency session on a Sunday at the end of that month, and decided the only safe thing to do, following yet another incident the previous day, was to withdraw the entire fleet from service instantly.

And that’s exactly what they did. They were formally withdrawn at the end of October 2007.

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Personally I loathe these aircraft. Flybe twice last year had issues with landing gear collapses (one in Belfast and one Amsterdam) and they don’t have the best record – in fact I understand it’s the worst of any commercial airliner made in a western country.

They’re horrible to fly in, noisy, pilots find them a challenge – one told me that when landing you basically have to leap on the brake pedal with all your weight to get it to slow down. The gravity lock landing gear is its worst aspect. I’ve only flown on them when I had to (28 times in total) and recently re-booked an upcoming flight from Düsseldorf because one of these came up as the aircraft involved!

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That said, I didn’t know Gemini had made one back in 2007 and it went for possibly too much money on eBay – I’ve never seen one before so didn’t mind. The box is a bit rough but the model is in superb condition and a novel find for the collection.

OY-KCF was the third from last delivered on 20th June 2002, and post 2007 ended up with Malev Hungarian as HA-LQC on lease from SAS. Malev went under and she was returned as LN-RDY and stored at Tenerife before being purchased by Widerøe in 2013.

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One of her sisters wasn’t as lucky: A recently ex-Malev, ex-SAS return, LN-RDX was broken up in August 2012 at Innsbruck following another gear collapse that wrecked the wing. Somewhat justifying the airlines concern about these aircraft.

In SAS service she was fitted with 72 economy seats, but has since been reconfigured to 78.  The aircraft is powered by the PWC PW150A.

1.Fuselage

I don’t think anyone other than JCW/Gemini make a Dash 8 Q400. It’s a pretty good mould and as so often happens with these small aircraft, it’s surprisingly neat, well painted and printed.

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Strictly speaking the aircraft were allocated to SAS Commuter and the silver lettering can be seen – but it’s very difficult.  The paint scheme at this scale doesn’t allow the lettering to leap off the grey fuselage colour easily – it barely works in real life let alone at 1:400.

Yet everything from flags to windows is present and correct an exceptionally well done.

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2.Wings

The wings, slot in neatly at the top of the fuselage, and are well painted and detailed above and below, al the way to their black leading edge.

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3.Landing gear

The landing gear drops out of the rear engine casing (and with quite a thud it has to be said, slightly alarming to the uninitiated), Both sets are excellent, simple double-wheeled struts, with tyres. The exceptionally small nose gear is also excellent.

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4.Engines

The engine nacelles and gear housings are all one large unit, with the forward end the SAS pinkish-orange red and the word Scandinavian in corporate font on the sides. The large 6 bladed propellers – often a problem as they easily fall out on the other versions I’ve had, still rotate and appear well fixed in. Each propeller has a neat yellow tip.

The turbofan exhaust is well shaped and neatly painted black.

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5.Nose detail

Excellent, indeed superbly done baring in mind the scale, all the way down to the star alliance logo.

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6.Tail detail

The tail is a part of the mould for the fuselage, with the horizontal stabilizers as two pieces that push into the top.

Everything works exceptional well and there are no apparent issues.

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7. Colour

The red of the engines is too pinkish orange to be perfect, a common problem, yet it shouldn’t  be because SAS publish the exact Pantone and colour references and have done for many years. The blue is ok, the grey frankly too pale.

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8.Score and conclusions

As a nearly 11 year old model it seems unfair to score it. It has some colour issues, but none of them are end of the world, and who knows how time may have changed them a little?  It is what it is and I’m not unhappy with it at all. It’s a nice decent model of an aircraft type, that from what I can find out, is the only model version ever made in this livery.

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