Aeroflot, IL-62M: CCCP-86492
Gemini Jets are the owners of the sole IL-62 mould in in 1/400 scale. The casting has remained relatively unchanged since 2006 when it was first put into production. They have lent the casting to JC Wings a few times over the last few years, but altogether there have only ever been about 20 releases and this will be the 16th for GJ. There have been 2 previously released Aeroflot IL-62Ms. Only one of those was registered as "CCCP." CCCP-86485, (which Gemini released in 2013 with Olympic carrier titles), has a known history as a model prone to 'zinc-rot.' Gemini are surly aware of this and are offering a reprint so-to-speak as a way for people to replace their disintegrating collectables. I forecast that baring any production issues, this will be a good seller and a nice addition to those establishing Soviet fleets.
American Airlines, Boeing 787-9: N835AN/ (Flaps Down Configuration)
American Airlines operate some 22 Boeing 787-900s. They also operate a further 33 Boeing 787-800s with more on the way. As a major dependent of the type, it's interesting to see that only four 787-900s have been made in 400 scale and two of those have been on the old, seemingly now retired, Gemini casting which began circulating in 2014. Thankfully, the likes of new players such as AV400 and NG Models have forced Gemini to adopt the use of the far superior JC Wings mould. The implementation of this chassis also allows for a flaps down variant that GJ has fortunately made good use of. I missed out on the American 787-9 from 2020 that NG Models produced. So for that reason, I'll be anxiously seeking this model. Unless you have the NG version, you should be looking for this one in whatever configuration you can get it in.
British Airways, Airbus A380-800: G-XLEL
In the same way that the A380 jumbo's best days are in the past, so too does it seem like an A380 from Gemini is a bit old fashioned. Last week, collectors world wide observed the debut of the elite looking A380 from AV400. The mould features state of the art casting as well as magnetic gear that can be removed. You can have all of that for a dollar more retailing at around $57 USD. Why someone would place a pre-order for one of these is beyond me. Most people who are interested in the A380, or British Airways, or both probably already have one of these at this point, and if you don't, just wait a bit longer. I assure you it will be worth it.
Eastern Airlines, L-188 Electra: N5507
I was surprised to learn that Gemini Jets have only made about six L-188 Electras in 1/400 scale. Competitor Aeroclassics have made well over 100. But the AC mould isn't necessarily the better bet even though this airplane would seem to be part of their skill set. (The Gemini Jets mould has a much nicer wing-join seam. That basis along is enough to make one mould better than another). This airplane in fact was replicated by Aeroclassics back in 2004 when AC debuted its second attempt at the L-188 casting in 1/400. Their first go at an L-188 would be recognizable by the hand applied decals those models had. Gemini has been using a casting originally created by Jet-X in 2008 (and now owned by JC Wings) to make their recent L-188s. The mould is in my opinion better, but there have been a few instances where some very suspect construction has sabotaged opportunities. Poorly formed wheels, crooked gear legs, and even awkward gear lengths have distorted the finished product to represent something other than a proper L-188. I'm hoping for the best here.
Emirates, 777-9X: A6-EZA
Emirates, by far and away, have the most invested in the 777X program. The airline utilizes nearly 150 triple sevens and the active fleet is past an average of ten years old. This means that the mega-airline that is the fifth largest in terms of countries served worldwide (roughly 78 different nations) will be looking to replace and upgrade it's existing fleet in the next ten years. Boeing has responded in kind by developing the 777 with modern technology and engineering. JC Wings also responded by developing the only known moulds for the 777-9X back in 2020 (one for wing tips up, one for them down). The mould however has only been used once (tips up) and twice (tips down) to represent both 777-9X testbeds. I'm always happy to see when Gemini utilizes newer JC Wings moulds. It's not surprising of course to see that the first airline getting representation in Emirates both considering the size of their order with Boeing and their relationship with Gemini Jets. I haven't bought an Emirates model in a long time. Maybe these will justify a purchase.
Emirates SkyCargo, 777F: A6-EFG
There are two freighters this month from Gemini Jets. The first of which is this 777F operated by Emirates' SkyCargo division. Emirates operates eleven 777F freighters, but this isn't one of them. A6-EFG was dismissed from the cargo fleet in August of 2022, so it is surprising that Gemini have chosen this registration. The airframe is now operated by AeroLogic. Gladly though, Gemini is avoiding the mundane by giving this the 'interactive' treatment. This will be the third installment on this series for GJ. It follows a Fedex 77FF, and a DHL 777F with the same features (open or closed cargo bay doors).
Fedex, 767-300F: N104FE
2014, 2015, and 2018 saw Gemini Jets release N101FE, N102FE, & N103FE respectively. Based on that schedule, it is certainly about time for another 767 Fedex freighter. Fedex operates one hundred and twenty-five 767s. They are ultra critical to the Fedex network. There isn't a whole lot to say about this model as it is essentially a re-release. The 1/1 was built in 2013 and has only ever worn purple, orange, and white. For this model, execution will be everything.
Sun Country Airlines, 737-800: N842SY
N842SY was originally delivered to Thomson Airways, (now TUI Airways Limited) in 2012. The world's largest airline charter company has made a habit lending and leasing their 737s to American leisure airline Sun Country for years and in this case has permanently sold ship number 3955 to SY in 2021. Sun Country 737s in this new livery have become quite a hot commodity lately. This is in large measure thanks to new moulds from NG Models and Panda models which have revealed new opportunities. From 2001-2019, only Gemini Jets released Sun Country 737s. Just twice were they put on the market and remained available from many retailers. Since 2019, there have been eight SY models released across the board, and this makes nine. NG Models was the first to tackle this technical topographical livery in 2020 (I wrote about their version giving it a full review, here). Panda Models then tried their hand quite successfully at it in 2022. Now in 2023 we will see what Gemini can do. I doubt that what Gemini makes will be able to compete with either of the other two, but the Gemini 737-800 mould isn't bad when constructed well. The proof is in the pudding however, so we'll see. The only other thing to discuss here is the special banner. I've only been able to find a few pictures of what this looks like in 1/1. I'm not crazy about the add-on, but I'm sure this will be enough to entice completionists.
World Atlantic Airlines, MD-83: N808WA
There aren't many 'Mad Dogs' left over American skies. As Delta, American, and Allegiant have all phased out their fleets. But six still remain in service with World Atlantic. N808WA, a 32 year old MD-83 has continued to fly for the small charter airline. This is one of those obscure releases that highlight all the possibilities in 1/400. I love the livery. It walks the line between tropical and basic, but the unique bandit mask around the flight deck windows gives this airplane a competitive and aggressive posture. It also highlights the opportunity for someone else to develop a more accurate and competitive mould. Gemini continues to use the one they have and they picked a good subject. I'm looking forward to this one.
USAF Boeing B-52 Stratofortress: 60-0044 'Minot AFB'
As always, I don't focus or much care for MACs in 1/400. Frankly, they are too tempting. I may one day start to chase these but you have to have limitations. The Gemini B-52 mould is certainly nice to have. It isn't anything revolutionary, nor does it look like it was carefully developed. You can have one of these this month however. It will be the second copy of Gemini's B-52 mould.
This is a good start from the Las Vegas based company. Gemini Jets has had two main issues in recent times. Creativity, and quality have been major focal points. With inflation and global commodities markets going completely off the chain, models have become a serious luxury. Therefore, to commit money to a product, it better be good. I think Gemini Jets have done enough to buy into the product this month. But ultimately, it's down to the collector. Time will tell!
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