Gemini Jets March 2021
*All pictures used in this post are from Gemini Jet's stock photography and were shared publicly.
Gemini has been the subject of much discussion lately and not for good reasons. They are a brand continually plagued by reports of models assembled in clumsy ways. Often times, people report models arrive in pieces because if a lack of glue, or sometime, they arrive with missing pieces entirely like my recent copy of the Alaskan 737-700 which was completely without a main gear leg and gear fixtures! Gemini are also reportedly the reason why you no longer see non Gemini Delta models on the digital shelves of stores anywhere. They are clearly a brand that is scrambling and they are not scrambling gracefully.
AmeriJet International, 767-300F: N349CM
It takes a bit more cunning these days to find something that hasn't been made in 1/400 scale. Getting something made before anyone else is not something Gemini is really known for, but to give credit where credit is due, AmeriJet has never had an aircraft representing it in 1/400. That all changes this month as N349CM rolls out on Gemini's rather adequate 767-300 mould. This aircraft is line number 512. The frame was originally delivered to American Airlines in 1993 with a standard passenger configuration. The aircraft was part of the A.A. fleet until 2019. It was reconfigured to handle cargo with an intended second operator in UPS. Somewhere along the way the aircraft ended up in AmeriJet hands and is now part of their Caribbean and South American network.
Delta Connection (SkyWest), CRJ-900: N821SK
Are the days of paying three digit dollar amounts for Delta CRJs over? I'm not so sure. A common source of entertainment for some, and vexation for others is the going rate for 1/400 Delta CRJs on the secondary market. It has not been unusual for the Delta CRJ-900 released in 2008 to go for several hundreds of dollars. With the announcement of a rerelease in April, several short sighted collectors believe that those days are long gone. A little research however would show that the 1/400 CRJ-900 is a rare bird regardless of airline. The mould has been put into production just 13 times including this month's Delta Connection. Further, the mould has been collecting dust since 2017 (Air Canada, new colors). This is a mould that stands on its own. There are no other competing moulds on the market and JC wings is the only other manufacturer that has had use of the mould and that was for a scant total of two China Express Airlines jets made for Skywings. Why Gemini has called on this mould so rarely is beyond me. There are many great looking schemes from airlines and countries that rarely if ever get recognition that if made, I assume would be fast sellers.
To bring the attention of the article back where it belongs, my research tells me this aircraft is 14 years old. It was originally delivered to Skywest Airlines in 2007. It has been a part of the Delta network it's entire career and is most noteworthy for carrying special SkyWest colors for the first 7 years in service. The aircraft MSN is 15109.
Frontier Airlines, A321: N7O9FR "Steve the Eagle"
While you may imagine that with Gemini being a North American centric company, and Frontier being based in the United States, with dozens of different tail designs, there would be a new Frontier jet every few months. Surprisingly though, this is only the 5th FR registration Gemini has made (not counting the Lynx Dash-8Q-400), and just the third in the current scheme.
If there's any good news at all, Gemini elected to stay away from their ugly A321NEO, and the model is probably worthy of a look for serious collectors as a result. Sadly though, I'll put my faith in NG models that perhaps they will see a way to make money producing Frontier Airbus A321s on their superior mould. I won't be rushing to add this model as most of my Frontier jets are from AC and I like that mould more. To my eye though, there is a good possibility that Gemini's paintwork on the tail is finer and more neat than that of the AC versions. That is certainly something to consider.
N709FR has been in service since it left the Airbus production site in Hamburg, Germany in 2016. Frontier uses this aircraft on a variety of higher capacity routes to focus cities like Las Vegas and Charlotte. The airframe is currently in storage at the Roswell Industrial Air Center.
Jet2 Holidays, 757-200: G-LSAN
Jet2 is not a usual choice for Gemini Jets. While I commonly challenge how creative Gemini is with releases compared to other manufactures, Gemini has only released two other Jet2 models. So, with just three selections over the past 20 years, it's fair to say this is not usual Gemini fare. This is in fact the only Jet2 model from G.J. that's not in the typical red, sliver, and white scheme. Here we have the hybrid Jet2/Allegiant colors symbolic of the shared nature of this aircraft. It makes little sense to take the time analyzing the mould, as it is inferior to the like of NG Models which has made this scheme on a different registration. I have no interest in old moulds with awkward schemes, this is a pass for me.
The aircraft this model is based on is 757 line number 608. This aircraft has served with Transavia, ATA, Axis Airways, Avianca, and others. The airframe is a workhorse surely starting to show her age (27 Years!). Unsurprisingly, the aircraft is in storage in Spain as a result of Covid 19 impacting leisure travel around the globe. It'll be interesting to see if this aircraft returns to the skies, or turns to scrap.
Kalitta Charters II, 727-200: N726CK
Another reason for collectors to pay attention this month is the Kalitta Charters II 727. Although older, this is one of the better 727 moulds out there. For some, it's even better that a small U.S. based cargo charter company is the subject. Gemini Jets have made a point over the last few months that collectors are interested in freighters as there seems to be one offered every month. This is roughly the 56th 727-200 for Gemini Jets. The mould has been around since 2000, and Gemini have slowed the pace of the output on this mould to roughly once a year. The mould is unchanged but as with any other moulds, Gemini have added antennas and rolling gears. I don't really take much issue with it, but for all intents and purposes, Aeroclassics is in my opinion better. Gemini are finding unique and still operational 727s for subject matter as the last three done, including this one, have been either cargo, or municipal (Mexican Federal Police XC-OPF). I'm sure many American collectors are used to seeing this aircraft criss-cross the country on a variety of routes to many municipalities.
As shown above this aircraft is in a full freighter configuration. It has been for some time, it was originally switched from a passenger configuration in 2010 for DHL after serving her best years in the Middle East with delivery customer Emirates, and later on Qatar. The aircraft has also been subtly repainted in a lighter gray with solid gray titles which once were blocked with red. The aircraft came to be in 1980 and is clearly showing that there's still room in the world for a scrappy 727.
SAS (Scandinavian Airlines System) A320NEO: SE-DMO
For a minute I thought there had been a mistake with this aircraft. Primarily because of the twin overwing exits and the lack of more than two other passenger doors I thought that this was listed as an A321, but was truly an A320. What I didn't realize is that with the A321NEO, there are a variety of layout options available which even allows the customer to customize the door/escape hatch layout. What I will say, is that in looking at pictures of the 1/1 and then looking at this sample photo, I'm not sure that Gemini did actually get the mid-rear evacuation door frame painted on. It looks like they have the window spacing correct at least. Speaking of paint work, it looks like they have actually done a nice job. The new SAS coating color is not really white, and not really gray, although it is officially supposed to be gray. Almost everyone in the 1/400 game has tried their hand at the new livery. This short collections of photos from the DiMA Database show the variations however. For a great article on the new SAS livery, the International's Flight Network has done a nice overview. I care little for this mould however and sticking those gawking engines on means this is a no for me.
1/400 model aside, this aircraft was delivered to SAS in October of 2020. It hasn't seen much action as it and many others have been stored during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Presumably, the aircraft once reactivated will be serving within the SAS network across Europe and perhaps beyond.
Southwest 737-700 "Retro:" N714CB
The one you've been waiting for, right? I really don't know what to make of the 'Mustard Rocket.' I had high hopes. I think I'm going to be disappointed when my copy arrives in a few weeks. I know that that the 1/1 version has some sort of metallic flake or metal sheen, but whatever the hell Gemini tried to do to replicate it doesn't look like it's paid off. Adding metal flake in this scale is tricky business. If you don't do it right, all you get is what appears to be a bedazzled McDonald's Happy Meal toy. I'm just speculating here, but Gemini won't be the first to struggle with this color scheme as I'm hoping this will oneway be done on the new NG mould. As always, what matters most is what it looks like, once it's in hand.
So, what looks very much like a Cheeto covered in glitter, in 1/1 scale is actually a 23 year old 737-700. The aircraft came to be in 1998 and it certainly looks the part. The aircraft is NextGen line no. 61 and seems to be stored at Paine Field. It may once again be called upon, as at the time of this article, Being continues to struggle with the Max8s, of which Gemini have and have ordered many.
United (Skywest) CRJ-200: N246PS
Double CRJ's this month are just a nice treat. Even though the -200 isn't a real eye catcher, it's still more than great to have the mould in 1/400. It's another mould that could be developed and there are certainly many liveries out there still waiting to be done. This Untied Express jet will be a welcome addition to the collections of those who are fleet building (like me) the new United scheme.
The real N246PS is 17 years of age, it was delivered to PSA Airlines and was branded in U.S. Airways final colors. It continued to be operated by PSA through the U.S. Airways/A.A. merger. The aircraft survived the merger and was repainted in American Eagle colors. It finally changed hands and was taken up by Skywest in 2019. The aircraft continues to show it's usefulness and is based in Houston.
NATO/Royal Netherland Air Force A330-200MRTT: T-055
We all must have standards as 1/400 collectors so as to not get overwhelmed or wind up broke. I love military aircraft but for the time being, they just don't have a place in my collection. Gemini Jets is certainly 'in the MRTT game' with the other big 1/400 players, but I'm not sure how their version stands up to the competition. Either way, this rounds out this month's Gemini Jet's releases.
Gemini is clearly a brand embattled with a variety of issues and perhaps they have figured out that their model and mould selection plays a bigger role in their success than imagined. They have clearly pulled out a wide variety of stops this month and there are sure to be many happy collectors. Many of which want to be fans of Gemini, and perhaps this sets the company in the right direction for the remainder of 2021.
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