The relationship between JC Wings and Gemini Jets appears to have been of major benefit to both as Gemini has had access to some excellent new moulds from JC and JC has gained access to some classic Gemini castings, which they have been able to update and modify. The A340-600 is a fine example of this whereby JC has gained access to a mould for the type that was originally Gemini's. There aren’t many A340-600s made anymore in 400 scale, one or two a year usually, and this is the first of the type I’ve reviewed in nearly four years of detailed reviews.
Each review is to split into three key areas:
The original Gemini Jets A340-600 mould dates from 2002, when this exact aircraft was produced by Gemini, and was used 24 times including 6 for Phoenix, back when Gemini and Phoenix shared a factory together. In 2010 Phoenix created their own new A340-600 and by this time Gemini was working instead with JC Wings. The original mould was last used in 2011 and then went into hibernation, only to reappear in 2015 updated with new rolling landing gear, aerials and domes.
As is often the case updating an older mould is a cost-effective way to allow JC Wings and/or Gemini to produce a model without building a completely new mould whose design cost would rule out the production of the model in the first place. So, the positive is that the model gets made, but the negative is that the updated mould rarely can outcompete more recent efforts. This is the case here, although Phoenix have not produced the original Airbus House Colours and so there is no direct competitor for this livery.
As with most early Gemini moulds the casting is solid and reliable but not outstanding. The nose region is ok but the underside of the nose curves upward too abruptly and the nosecone lacks the symmetry of the real thing. At the other end the tailcone isn’t long and pointy enough either.
This being an older mould is a cradle fit (the Phoenix is a slot in wings mould). This isn’t actually a major issue for me as the seam follows an obvious join line on the real thing, however the A340 wing front fuselage join is really obvious and clearly tapered on the real thing whereas on the mould it is just rather formless. So, it isn’t the seam itself but the poor detailing and moulding that let’s this mould down here. This is an area where the Phoenix mould excels.
The rest of the wings and engines are fine until you get to the winglets, which are not really the correct shape. They ought to be angular and wedge shaped but the model has a seemingly sloping curved front line, which is incorrect.
Updates to the old mould have improved it. The undercarriage is very nice (and doesn’t have any of the nosegear position issues of the newer JC Wings A330/340). The aerials and hump are also good, although as is common with JC Wings models the lower aerials are missing. The three on the topline are present.
Compared to the original release made by Gemini using the same base casting this release is a distinct improvement, however you have to accept that the mould is showing its age somewhat.
SCORE - 7
PAINT & LIVERY
The A340-600 must have been the last new Airbus product to have worn the classic 1980s era Airbus rainbow house colours before the change to a predominantly blue scheme. It is a simple scheme enlivened in this case by the extra titling added under the windowline, which really does improve the look of the pencil-like series 600.
There are no issues with the colours in use here. The dark blue looks a bit darker in many photos but that is as much a product of lighting conditions as of the real shade, I think. The slightly italicised main titles are accurate as is the under-window text.
This is such an easy scheme that there really is nothing to gripe about.
SCORE – 10
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
Printing detail is a JC Wings strongpoint and they have done a good job overall. The overwing markings are particularly nicely detailed as are the engine nacelles. On the underside they unusually don’t print the maingear doors but rely on the moulds own detailing to call out these details. It is not a complete success but the gear doors are present in relief.
Unfortunately, the inside of the engines and the fan blades are yet again silver. This draws the attention to the old-style solid core engines even more and they would look a lot better if they were darker, which should be a simple fix.
These older Gemini moulds have a weight to them that makes them seem very solid and reliable. Even with the added details this remains so with the updated mould and the build quality is of a high standard.
SCORE – 9
An updated version of this aircraft has been overdue to replace the ancient Gemini Jets and Dragon Wings versions so this is a most welcome release (there are actually two versions one with and one without the extra fuselage text). Yes it can’t necessarily outcompete the more recent Phoenix A340-600 mould but the updates that have been made do bring the model into the right decade and it is a nice solid release in one of JC Wings favourite focus areas – house colours releases.
FINAL SCORE - 26
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.
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