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Minicraft Models 1/144 scale United Airlines 727-200

Kit: No. 14465
Scale: 1/144
Manufacturer: Minicraft Models, 921 N. State St., Elgin, IL 60123-2146,
Price: $24
Comments: Injection-molded, 40 parts, decals
Pros: Fine details, well molded, good fit, beautifully printed decals
Cons: Thick wing tips, decals don't line
up with fuselage details
Minicraft's new kit of the ubiquitous 727 "stretch" is sure to be popular with airliner modelers and aftermarket decal companies alike.

The kit has some interesting contrasts. The landing gear is beautifully detailed, and the turbine faces are cleverly mounted behind fully formed intakes with no visible seams. On the other hand, the wings have flat, thick tips, and the engine pods are too flat in cross-section. None of these shape problems are beyond fixing by a capable modeler armed with sandpaper and time.

The fit of all the components was good enough that I could leave off the wings and stabilizers until after painting and decaling. When I built the fuselage, I had to remember to insert the center engine exhaust before attaching the tail cone. I needed a little filler around the clear cockpit insert.

I painted the wings light gray, then the leading edges Testor Metalizer buffing aluminum. I polished the edges to a high sheen with SnJ polishing powder. Then I masked the center area of the wing, and applied a mix of non-buffing aluminum and light ghost gray which yielded a flat metallic gray.

The instructions include a diagram for masking the demarcation line on the fuselage for the gloss-white and natural-metal scheme. They also tell you to paint the engine pods white, but photos show them to be natural metal.

The decals are superbly printed by Italy's Cartograf and went on fine, but if the cutouts at the rear of the blue cheatline are lined up on the engine mounts, the forward end of the cheatline will be below the cockpit windows. I chose to correctly align the cheatline and touch up the cutouts with Testor Ford engine blue enamel.

The door outlines on the decals are too large and, perhaps because of my correction, placed too high compared with the recessed door lines molded in the fuselage. The contrast between the white-painted nose and the white decal area below the cockpit is noticeable. After the decals were finished, I added the wings, stabilizer, engines, and landing gear.

With some work with sandpaper and a little touch up by the engine pods, you can create a handsome model of one of the world's most famous airliners.

- Chuck Davis


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