This is my first Gemini purchase of 2022 and my first acquisition of an interactive series model using the brand new 747-400F mould. I have to say that overall I'm a big fan of the interactive concept and applaud this kind of innovation being introduced into the hobby. China Southern and Air China are the only two major clients Gemini has in China and one of their relatively few forays into Asia, typically a stronghold of their partner JC Wings. I only reviewed a China Southern jet a few weeks back but this one looks too interesting to pass up giving a closer look to.
Each review is to split into three key areas:
This new mould has now been used four times by Gemini and not yet at all by JC Wings. It clearly shares an ancestry with the new JC Wings 747-400 passenger variant but with the 747-8 style interactive elements added onto it. Since both of those moulds are good it is a happy union.
As you would expect from such a new mould, and in keeping with the pax 744, this is a modern slot in wings mould with an intricate and tight wing join to the fuselage. It looks like it almost certainly reuses the same wings as the pax version mould too, which makes sense as they are very nice. Not being the flaps down version they are also slightly lower at the wingtip, which is good.
Also reused is the landing gear from the pax version. The geardoor is correctly sized and the leg well detailed however, the entire thing is just a little too short. The impact isn’t dreadful but I certainly would prefer it to be ever so slightly taller – more in line with the Dragon and Big Bird moulds.
In fact, most of the mould has the same styling as the pax version so the engines, engine pylons and rear fuselage all match too. All are broadly very good with just some minor imperfections at the engine exhaust and APU exhaust. Nothing to be too concerned about.
The shape of the shorter upper hump is very good and avoids any issues that the 747-8F version has. I am not 100% convinced by the angle of the cockpit area and I also think the nose is a little too long, but these once again match the passenger variant of the mould. The nose region is still ok but not perfect.
Obviously this is an interactive mould and therefore has two configurations - doors open or doors closed. With the doors closed there is still something of a seam line, although the join is quite tight. It looks ok but I have no intention of displaying the model this way anyway. If I was going to display it with the doors closed I may have thought twice about acquiring the model I admit.
The model comes out of the box with the doors all closed up, but does have a small wire tool to help you get them out. There are small holes in the cargo doors, which you can put the wire into, hook it around and then pull out the doors. This is a nice touch when it works - see the Print and Quality section!
The 4 cargo doors (2 right side belly doors, the left SCD and the nose cargo door) are plastic and share the same look and attachment mechanism as on the 747-8F interactive mould. Once the open cargo doors are slotted in the model really comes to life.
The effect is excellent and I admit to being impressed with the look of the model. This is definitely the way to display it as it looks superb. Overall it is a great mould, but I do think there is probably a space in the market for a non-interactive version of it also, to please collectors that don't want the doors to be open. Without the interactive features I may have scored it an 8 but with them I'll push it to a 9.
SCORE - 9
PAINT & LIVERY
I apologise, as I don't usually review the same airline livery so close together and only two weeks ago I reviewed the CZ A319neo from Panda Models. I'll try not to repeat what I said then too much but, as I said in the earlier review, I really like the classy CZ scheme. It is a shame it was never worn by a passenger 747-400.
The colours of this release match those Panda used and the gold pinstriping separates the two blues very nicely. The large red Kapok flower tail logo looks great and is repeated nicely on the outside of the winglets too.
No problems present themselves with the main titles either, however I do feel the cheatline itself is slightly too low at the nose and not exactly level under the titles. The result is that the cheatline feather-style tips at the rear fuselage are in the right spot but the lines at the nose are lower.
It isn't major, especially when you have the nose displayed in its up position.
SCORE - 9
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
Gemini Jets models do come with crisp, fine printing detail, and typically quite a lot of it. I don't have major concerns with any of the printing here, aside from I'd like to see the thrust reverser panel lines printed onto the engines.
There is also very nice print detailing on the plastic door components. This is unfortunately marred by the quality control of the model. Firstly the nose cargo door fitted in the closed version and attached in the box has suffered some print damage from what I assume was rubbing against the plastic cradle.
More annoying was that although 3 of the 4 cargo doors were removed without incident the rear right side belly door wouldn't budge, even with the use of the special tool provided. Indeed, the wire tool was ruined in the attempt to get it out and the cargo door itself was also damaged by the force required.
Below left: You can see the internal damage to the insert where it was stuck
Below right: The metal wire tool didn't fare too well. In the end I needed to use a pin
In the end I had to use a pin to get it out and when I managed that I found that part of the door insert remained stuck inside. It appears that it was partly glued in. Annoyingly even with most of it out I couldn't get the open door piece to fit as the slot it needed to go into was covered up. The result was a lot of frustration and some damage to the door area. I had to cut off some of the open door tab that goes inside to get it to fit at all.
While in the end this problem does not impact the look of the model when the doors are open, which is most important to me, it does mean it is effectively unsaleable and when displayed with the doors closed the damage to the door element is visible. That is not great when the model cost me over $50. I guess I could try and return it but that is a lot of hassle.
SCORE - 5
Hmm this is one of those times when the base released model gets a fine score but its overall performance is marred by a QC issue. I would be interested to know if anyone else has had similar issues. I have a couple of other interactive 747s and they have all been fine. For anyone who thinks I have some form of agenda against Gemini I can assure you I don't, and I am not in the habit of damaging models I acquire for my collection out of pettiness. Anyway, I assume the door removal issues I had aren't the norm and if that is the case this is a model scoring 26 or 27/30. My version only gets 23/30 and even that is mainly because I am still able to display it as I want to with the doors open.
FINAL SCORE - 23/30
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.
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