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Zvezda 1/144 scale Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner

Carrying more than 200 passengers, the 787-8 is designed to replace the 767 for long flights.
RELATED TOPICS: AIRCRAFT
144 scale Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner_box
144 scale Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner_2
144 scale Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner_4
144 scale Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner_5
144 scale Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner_3
Boeing’s newest commercial aircraft, the 787 Dreamliner, took to the air for the first time in December 2009, two years behind schedule. But Zvezda’s 1/144 scale kit has arrived just in time.

Just as Boeing’s creation is an engineering marvel, Zvezda’s kit is an ingenious tour de force – in fact, the finest scale plastic airliner I’ve ever built. I said this about the Russian company’s 767-300 in November 2009’s Workbench Reviews – but Zvezda has outdone itself.

The medium gray molding exhibits extra-fine recessed panel lines, a nice touch in a small-scale kit. Unfortunately, the lines are almost too fine and likely to disappear under primer and paint; I deepened them a bit, especially around the control surfaces.

The lower wing is a single piece incorporating a section of the plane’s belly; it fits well while setting the 787’s distinctive dihedral, including the slight change in angle outboard of the engine mounts. The upswept, curved winglets, molded as one piece with the upper wings, are beautifully thin, as are the trailing edges.

The fuselage halves capture the graceful lines of the Dreamliner’s nose and tail. Cabin windows are molded open with strips of clear inserts provided; I left those out in favor of filling the windows with Testors Clear Part Cement & Window Maker. The windshield is an insert that fits well with a little work. The framework is clearly molded, making masking easier.

The landing gear, like Zvezda’s other airliners, is finely molded; several parts come together to form a deceptively strong component without compromising scale appearance. There is detail in the gear wells, but they are boxed in.

The kit’s true marvel is the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines; easy to build, easy to paint, and effectively detailed. The front fans comprise interlocking sets of blades that form see-through disks that can rotate. These mount to the framework, and make up much of the intake trunk. Once these and the rear hot sections are sandwiched in the cowlings, the result is the most realistic model turbofan I’ve ever seen. The intake rings and the cowling rear, including the noise-reducing scallops, are single pieces, eliminating filling and sanding.

Everything fit well; just a little filler on the fuselage seam eliminated all traces of it. The fan blades are very fragile, and a couple had broken at the hub on my example, but I was able to fix them easily. I left the intake rings off for painting, as well as the wing and horizontal stabilizers.

Decals provide markings for the first test aircraft, N787BA, but include only titles, registration, and door surrounds. This means lots of masking and painting to achieve Boeing’s attractive house scheme.

I primed with Tamiya white fine-surface primer, which also served as the base white, then masked the swoopy white line that circles the fuselage and masked the upper surfaces to remain white, using paper masks raised at the edges for a soft demarcation. The lighter blue is a mix of Polly Scale GN Big Sky blue and St. Lawrence blue. Next, I laid sheets of Mr. Hobby 1mm Mr. Finely Slit Masking Sheet (No. GT53) on the rear section of the cabin, removed every other strip, then sprayed Polly Scale CSX blue.

The decals were thin and went down OK, but they reacted to Micro Sol and wrinkled badly.

The model looks like photos of Boeing’s test aircraft and is impressively large. And the kit even includes a stand! It was a fun, easy build except for the difficult paint scheme – but I suspect we’ll see a flood of aftermarket decals as the Dreamliner enters service, addressing the kit’s only drawback.

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