Gemini Jets don’t like me, that is no real surprise. I can’t say I’m a big fan of theirs either partly because of their model choices and partly because of their business practices. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean I am blind to their qualities either and at times Gemini produce models that I’m keen to collect. So, while the rest of the collector world was wetting itself and then fretting over Gemini CRJs, I was more interested in this recent IL-62 release. Even though Gemini do have some old and weaker moulds they also have access to a formidable mould catalogue, which when they use it can be a powerful weapon for quality releases.
Each review is to split into three key areas:
Soviet era moulds have had something of a renaissance of recent, but releases using them are still rare in 1:400 scale (Panda’s inability to use their Tu-134 is glaring for example). Gemini and JC wings have intermittently restarted the odd IL-62 release in recent years and they have been almost universally excellent as despite its age (the original tooling dates from 2004) the Gemini IL-62M is very nice. Although the IL-62 is frequently compared to the British VC10, when you see models of both side by side it is clear that they share only a passing resemblance, mainly due to the engine configuration.
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.
This is a cradle 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. 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 is perhaps a little short but 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. It also requires some blu-tack, or such, to keep either of the gear extras fitted. Nonetheless it is a sign of a more dedicated Gemini of old that this feature was made. I can’t imagine the Gemini of today creating a new Soviet-era mould let alone adding such a feature. If only they could modify the engines to make an IL-62 sans suffix as well.
SCORE – 9
PAINT & LIVERY
The East German state was no Socialist paradise but Interflug did have a rather attractive livery. This particular aircraft appears quite frequently in photos at locations such as Shannon, Helsinki, Heathrow and Glasgow (the latter in May 1989 appears widely photographed). This makes DDR-SEN a good example for a model and Gemini’s designers have done a topnotch job with this release.
The shade of medium red is very good and positionally the livery elements are well placed. I think perhaps the cheatline and windowline could be marginally lower but it isn’t a major problem. The title font and size is also good. Likewise, there are no issues with the tail markings, which show both the Interflug logo and the East German flag well.
Above: Black reg and grey radome
The livery application is not fullproof however as it shows two details that although correct are not seemingly correct together. Images from around 1983 show the aircraft with the black registration, as in this model, but always have a grey nose radome. Later images from 1989 show a white radome and red registration number - like this one. This model has the black rego but white radome. It may be that this combination did exist in reality, but if it did the most common pictures of the airframe do not show it. It is a minor issue on the whole.
SCORE – 8
PRINTING & QUALITY CONTROL
This mould has a lot of detailing on it that removes the need for extra printing, especially on the underside. The printing that is present is strong, including the complicated many window cockpit. The unusual window and door configuration is also good, including the small spotlight windows above the engine pylon on each side.
I am less impressed with the shape of the nose radome printing. The model has a flat sided radome line whereas in real life the radome line curved. The internal fanblades of the engines are also rather silvery.
Construction quality is excellent across the entire model. Unlike on the CRJs I’ve seen there is plenty of glue used and everything is in its place.
SCORE – 9
This model harks back to a forgotten age when Gemini Jets were a major component of my collecting. I really like the IL-62M mould and it has been sensitively updated to modern standards. I am glad that Gemini has seen fit to produce the odd new model on it and would love to see more usage of it, especially if new engines could be crafted to represent the earlier IL-62 variant, which I’d have thought would be a simple task. This is the sort of competition I want to see Gemini undertaking. Unique well thought out models that fill new territory in customer’s collections. Kudos to them for producing an excellent classic. Hopefully it won’t be the last IL-62 we see.
FINAL SCORE - 26
1/5/2021 08:37:10 pm
Good Review and i am glad to see not all Gemini Jets models are bad.
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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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