Lufthansa ‘5StarHansa’ 748i D-ABYM Gemini Jets 1:400 GJDLH1750 June 2018

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Let’s start by saying this model is going back and is being replaced. If the replacement isn’t any good it’s getting refunded.

You can read about the *****5StarHansa saga and how it came about under the A320’s review published a few months ago, so I won’t repeat all that here. (Review: Lufthansa ‘5Starhansa’ A320 D-AIZB & D-AIZX Panda 1:400 Feb 2018).

The aircraft, a 748-830 was part of Lufthansa’s order for 25 aircraft, reduced to 19 after it became apparent Boeing’s claims for the aircraft were exaggerated. At the same time Lufthansa also gave the aircraft a ten-year service life, after which they will commence disposal. It’s expected the 777-X will replace them. Lufthansa is the largest passenger version operator of the type.

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Yes it’s a Lufthansa 747-230 – the old D-ABYM at the Transport Museum in Speyer, SW Germany. If I’d have known I would have made time to go and have a look, but had to be back aboard our ship docked on the Rhine. There’s also an old Antonov and a couple of others.

This aircraft, D-ABYM, was the 11th to be delivered (and not to be confused with the original D-ABYM a 747-230 which is sat on a viewing platform at the transport museum in Speyer), in February 2014, and named Bayern (Bavaria when anglicised). She was modified into the current livery in October 2017, which she’ll probably keep for around a year.

The 748i’s are fitted with 8 First class, 80 business, 32 premium economy and 244 economy seats.

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1.Fuselage

This the standard JCW/Gemini mould of course and nothing’s changed.

There are only two aerials up top and there should be three. There are none at all underneath. The wi-fi dome which should be a sort of dark metallic grey is just grey and poorly inserted into the roof, not even sitting flush.

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I tried to straighten the nose gear, but the metal seems soft and just bends back!

The white paint and the graphics, technical detail, windows and doors, are all excellent.

Even the grey-white transition is quite good – it’s often been a problem, but not this time.

The fuselage is the least of the problems this model has.

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2.Wings

Utter pants. The white paint is badly sprayed onto the left wing especially – that’s the second time recently we’ve seen that problem on a Gemini model. The right wing is fine, the left is terrible.

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On top of that the right wing tip is noticeably bent upward, like a mildly camp air steward. For some reason the wing moulds don’t quite fit the fuselage at the front where the ‘shoulder’ joins – or in this case doesn’t quite, leaving a small gap.

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The wing tips aren’t right, and bent on one side.

3.Landing gear

Truly the worst landing gear I have ever seen on a Gemini model. The town drunk who wanders about all day with 5 litre bottle of Bulmers Cider he bought for a £1 in the corner shop, would have been better suited to put this lot on. Indeed one might think a blind hermit in a pitch black cave could have thrown them in the air, and stood more chance of getting them neatly on the model than the brainless monobrow who assembled these.

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Some of them don’t even touch the ground, never mind are out of shape, bent, or just plain crap. Gemini, quality control, what do they care? Just as long as we keep buying them and they make money.

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4. Engines

One of the engines – No.4 – had clearly been knocked off and glued back on. In fact putting my detective novel writer head on – all the evidence points to the model being dropped in the factory. More as we progress.

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The engines themselves aren’t too bad to be fair, just not well applied to the wings – head on they seem to go in different directions, not by much, but enough to look odd to the discerning eye. Something like a pair of boss-eyed twins; it’s a look but it’s not one you want on a £50 model.

5.Nose detail

The paint under the nose, where it meets the grey, is a different shape on one side to the other. The nose gear is bent.

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The wi-fi dome is very clearly not flush, main gear all over the place and the nose gear is tilted and bent

6.Tail

The port side horizontal underneath has paint missing – down to the metal – sizeable chips, and under heavy magnification there are clear cracks in the paint.

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The problems with this model are sad. It’s likely to be the last old livery new aircraft we get to see except for some world cup nonsense.

My theory is the model has been dropped, the tail paint, the bent wing, the bent nose gear. I don’t think the main gear is a result of a drop, it’s way to poor in so many other ways for it to be just that.  This is typical of lousy Gemini quality and lack of any efort to maintain quality control at any level.

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7.Colours

One good point amongst so many bad ones.

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I actually regret having spent so much time on this model. I always try to make them look their best, with varying results, but, to use a very ancient criticism,  you can’t make a silk purse out of a sows ear.

8.Score and conclusions

Accuracy

  • -3 lack of aerials underneath and one on top
  • -1 for dome colour

47/50 for accuracy

Quality

  • -3 for bad dome fit – it isn’t even flush with the roof
  • -6 for poor wing quality and awful paint – even worse than the Delta A350
  • -4 for large chips of paint under the port stabilizer
  • -10 for appalling landing gear quality right across the model, the worst
  • -4 for the engines being misaligned
  • -2 for excess glue on one engine pylon and cracks suggesting it had been snapped
  • -2 for under-nose paint shape

19/50 for quality

Overall score 66% – SEND IT BACK!

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This model is a joke. I swore off Gemini Jets A350’s but decided on one more – the Virgin Atlantic one to come, for many of the reasons we see on this 748i. I don’t buy their A320’s and I’m not struck by the 738max, indeed I’m now wondering what is left in the Gemini world for me to buy?

They have dallied with minor improvements then screwed them up. I’m told that Gemini models at the JCW factory are made separately – why would that be do you think? Cheapness? Because there’s less quality control, ie, none? Because quality control would eat into their already excessive margins? They certainly don’t leave much for retailers and the latest pricing round seems to have produced an extraordinary uniformity in UK pricing again. I wonder why?

Once Gemini were seen as the kings of the castle, but years of collecting have shown me their cynical pricing and attitudes, never mind their barely fourth-rate product, has left them on the bottom of the quality pile. Older and more experienced collectors have learnt their lessons, newer collectors do so ever more quickly.

If JCW and Phoenix would pick up their game a little more, if Aeroclassics would drop the pussy-footing over aerials (I noticed the latest 737’s had domes), then they’d be real contenders to teach Gemini a lesson as they trade on nothing but their brand image.

There are now just two more Gemini models in the pipeline…one will be reviewed next week. The other when it gets here. After that you can expect a very long wait.

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