The appalling conduct of Russia hasn't dampened the release of more Soviet-era and Russian jets in 400 scale and that's fine by me. I think it is perfectly reasonable to be able to both buy models of Russian airliners and at the same time denounce the Russians for the invasion of Ukraine. Putin's regime has always been a corrupt disgrace and this war is just his latest in a set of abominable actions going back several decades. The sale of die-cast airliners doesn't aid the Russian cause in anyway and let's face it Soviet-era airliners are excellent. So with that out of the way I'm happy to have finally received the latest Gemini Il-62M - my first Gemini purchase of 2023.
Each review is to split into three key areas:
The renaissance of interest in Soviet-era types has picked up steam since Gemini last used this mould in 2021. Now we have multiple Tu-204s floating about, Tu-154s from NG, the Tu-104s from Retro Models, more Il-96s from Phoenix and the recent reappearance of the Il-86 too. Even so, that doesn't mean we're swimming in Il-62s and 19 models in near 20 years isn't a great return on what is at heart an excellent version.
The fuselage shape is very good. The nose shape and cockpit forehead angle aren’t 100% but they are close enough to provide the correct look. On the underside the mould shows well the bumps and strakes that gave the fuselage the designed extra strength to be able to survive gear-up landings.
It's age means this is a cradle mount mould but one where the seamline is tight and follows the correct lines of the fuselage. The long rear fuselage strake that runs along the fuselage side and behind the engines (an aerial of some kind perhaps) is not moulded on but is printed. In fact, the IL-62 has no modern style aerials on it at all.
The add-on components of the mould (wings, engines and tail top) fit snugly to the fuselage and vertical stabiliser. The wings are solid and correctly have the thick chord of the real thing. They also have some lovely flap detailing. I have no criticism of the engines or tail; they are all well shaped.
One of the upgrades to the mould that has been made since its creation was the addition of new rolling gears (in 2011). The new nosegear leg very well detailed compared to the older taller original gear leg. Unfortunately, one detail missing is the small, but noticeable, nosegear doors.
The maingear has also been replaced with rolling gears, which well show off the huge tyres of the IL-62. One of the IL-62's most characteristic features is the extendable rear landing gear strut under the tail, used to stop the aircraft tipping backwards when unloaded and on the ground. Gemini has catered for this novel feature with a detachable strut which can be fixed in place to represent the gear lowered or another piece which can be fitted inside the cavity to represent the gear raised.
This strut has been modified and is a lot thinner and more accurate than older examples. However, the new tyre, although closer to the real size, is now smaller than the real thing rather than larger as it was before.
The Il-62 is a great example of the strength in depth that Gemini and JC Wings together have to cater for an impressive range of types when they so choose to do so. Yes in small details the mould could be improved but that is never going to happen it seems (although you'd have thought a new set of engines to make an Il-62 sans suffix would be well worth the investment). Until a miracle happens this is a perfectly good Il-62 mould to be getting on with.
SCORE - 9
PAINT & LIVERY
It seems incredible that a standard colours Aeroflot Soviet-era Il-62 had not been made prior to this. Gemini did make one in 2013 but that example has the extra Olympics titling on it. Disappointingly that previous release is also one that has been impacted by zinc rot so not everyone's example has survived to the present day.
This classic livery was introduced in 1975 and the long fuselage of the 62 suits it well. CCCP-86492 was delivered to Aeroflot in December 1981 and as of 2015 has been preserved as a gate guardian at Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport. Judging by recent photos of it the scheme has faded quite dramatically since then but the aircraft itself still seems in decent condition, albeit engineless.
The livery has been well recreated by Gemini here. There are nowadays more photos of the aircraft as a gate guardian than when it was in service, but a few photos do exist such as here and here, from which to make a comparison. The rich blue and red look great and the titles do as well.
A nice feature worth calling out are the yellow tinged hubcaps on the undercarriage, which are accurate and something not seen on earlier Aeroflot Il-62 releases.
The aircraft correctly has an all-white tail with red tips to the wings and stabs. The only possible point of contention is the font used for the registration. It doesn't seem to match the gate guardian version but is much closer to the in service shots so I'm happy to overlook any issues here (in service shots of the wing tops are hard to find).
SCORE - 10
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
No aerials there may be but there's plenty of detailing to be had, although a lot of the heavy lifting is done here by the mould itself. The printing that exists is very fine and really nice. Paintwork around the engine exhausts is especially tidy and calls out the details well, however from the front the fans are a bit silvery.
Arguably it is a mould issue but neither the up or down components of the updated rear stalk strut gear fit the hole in the mould for them. This means they need to be held in place by some form of blu-tack of similar product, which isn't ideal.
Build quality on this solid old mould is strong and all the large gear wheels rotate nicely. If I'm being picky the only issue here is that the starboard side engines are not attached quite flush to the fuselage. It doesn't stand out and is most obvious from the underside.
SCORE - 8
It is hard to dislike any releases of either Il-62 or Il-86, as both moulds are really nice and the diversity these types bring to any collection is priceless. I know it is highly unlikely but I would love to see both Gemini and JC Wings branch out from just Aeroflot (and Air Koryo) releases and explore the history of these types more. As I said earlier an easy way to do that would be to produce new engines for this mould and therefore allow a raft of earlier IL-62 schemes (Aeroflot, CAAC, LOT etc) to be made. I don't want to complain though, this is a fine addition to the fleet and a worthy addition to your collection regardless of your disgust for the current Russian regime.
FINAL SCORE - 27/30
I'm Richard Stretton an aviation enthusiast and major collector of 400 scale models. On this page I take a detailed look at new releases.
This site is free. Please donate to keep it going.