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Airfix 1/144 737-200 BA


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I intend to build quite a few small-scale airliners this year, and am taking advantage of some rare enthusiasm and motivation to queue a few of them up. The process has involved marrying up kits from my stash with relevant aftermarket decals, and doing any easy preliminary work to get them off the starting grid.

 

This one is Airfix's ancient 737-200 kit. In fact, it's so old that Boeing decided release an actual aircraft based on it (it's not very accurate, of course).

 

8yA0wO.jpg

 

I'll be pairing this one with a set of British Airways decals from F-DCAL:

 

7VMbE7.jpg

 

This build will require more work than some of the others I'll be tackling, so won't proceed quickly. I'm yet to discover if there's any aftermarket improvement parts available for this kit, but I'll certainly consider using any that are out there! Let me know if you know of any. I'm contemplating opening up and detailing the main landing gear bay, for starters.

 

Anyway, hopefully it won't be too long before my next update!

 

Kev

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2 hours ago, LSP_K2 said:

You're probably already aware, but Authentic Airliner Decals makes some killer window and 'pit decals, many with people depicted in them.

 

Actually, I wasn't! The F-DCAL sheet already has the windows, so I probably won't use something like that on this build, but I'll definitely keep them in mind.

 

Kev

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6 minutes ago, LSP_Kevin said:

 

Actually, I wasn't! The F-DCAL sheet already has the windows, so I probably won't use something like that on this build, but I'll definitely keep them in mind.

 

Kev

 

I'll be using some on my MD-80, for sure. The guy I'm building the model for, is just such an excellent fella, I want it to be the coolest job I can muster for him.

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Just now, LSP_K2 said:

 

I'll be using some on my MD-80, for sure. The guy I'm building the model for, is just such an excellent fella, I want it to be the coolest job I can muster for him.

 

The problem I can see with those window decals is that most aftermarket sets already have them built in, often as part of the fuselage cheat stripe, so you'd have to overlay these ones on top, risking them being different sizes or shapes (not to mention increasing your expense for decals). I can see replacing the windscreen being much more straightforward, however. I have seen some aftermarket decal producers (8A Decals comes to mind) incorporating this feature into their sheets, however. Of course, then you have a problem if you don't actually want that effect!

 

Kev

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've circled back to this one to start my window-filling experiments, and thought I'd post my progress. For this build, I decided to try a method I read about a long time ago, but have never actually tried before. The basic idea is to cut out the entire strip of windows, and replace them with solid styrene. That way, you're filling like with like, and should have no seam ghosting or issues with filler. That's the theory, anyway!

 

I started by removing all the plastic between the window holes, to create long letterbox holes in the fuselage halves:

 

Mcom6Q.jpg

 

I used a Dremel for this, and that decision turned out to be a mistake, as it was impossible (for me, anyway) to get anything like neat, straight cuts. I cleaned up the results as best I could with a hobby knife and diamond files, but they were still pretty wobbly. This partly defeats the object of the exercise, unfortunately, which is to neatly and completely fill the holes with suitable styrene material, leaving no gaps to be filled later. This of course is not possible with wobbly edges, so I soldiered on to see if I could make this method work anyway, and adjudge its efficacy. If I try this approach again, I'll definitely be using a manual razor saw!

 

Anyway, the next step was to add some styrene backing to the openings:

 

6PB8fe.jpg

 

So the other challenge with this approach is finding suitable lengths of styrene to fill the openings. Ideally, you'd use the kit sprue, and not use a backing plate behind it. But it has to have the correct dimensions to work properly, and the Airfix sprue is not only way too stout, but also positively arthritic. In this particular case, I found that two lengths of .040 Evergreen strip, one on top of the other, did the job pretty well:

 

E8StvX.jpg

 

There's still a decent amount of filling and sanding required right now to achieve the desired result, and as I mentioned, this somewhat defeats the original goal of this approach, but I'm confident it'll look OK in the end. I might give this approach one more try, but being much more careful to produce a neat, straight opening.

 

Once the liquid cement has had a couple of days to do its job, I'll come back with some filler and finish the job. A coat of primer and we'll see how it looks!

 

Kev

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That box illustration is setting a new standard for odd proportions...

 

I'm intrigued by your window-filling experiment!  If you want to try to avoid seams with the like joined to like principle, I've seen someone (I think Chuck) describing using "liquid sprue" - essentially a saturated solution of scrap kit plastic dissolved in extra-thin cement - as a filler that melds seamlessly into styrene parts.  You could try that.

 

Your many airliner projects are really tempting me to start another one in parallel with my GB Mustang...

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On 1/6/2021 at 11:42 PM, LSP_Kevin said:

 

This build will require more work than some of the others I'll be tackling, so won't proceed quickly. I'm yet to discover if there's any aftermarket improvement parts available for this kit, but I'll certainly consider using any that are out there! Let me know if you know of any. I'm contemplating opening up and detailing the main landing gear bay, for starters.

 

 

Just for the contrast, you ought to build the Zvezda 737 after this one.  It will be a very different experience...

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6 minutes ago, Alex said:

If you want to try to avoid seams with the like joined to like principle, I've seen someone (I think Chuck) describing using "liquid sprue" - essentially a saturated solution of scrap kit plastic dissolved in extra-thin cement - as a filler that melds seamlessly into styrene parts.  You could try that.

 

I've never actually got along with that technique, as it takes an inordinate amount of time for the solvents to completely gas off. Even Chuck got caught out the first time he used it (on his P-38 build, if I recall). Still, this is all in the name of experimentation, so it may well be a good approach to apply over the top of what I've done so far. I'll ponder it.

 

Kev

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5 minutes ago, Alex said:

 

Just for the contrast, you ought to build the Zvezda 737 after this one.  It will be a very different experience...

 

I didn't realise Zvezda did a 737! I have a few of their kits, but have yet to build one. Might add one to the build queue in this series!

 

Kev

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4 minutes ago, LSP_Kevin said:

 

I didn't realise Zvezda did a 737! I have a few of their kits, but have yet to build one. Might add one to the build queue in this series!

 

Kev

They offer the 737-700, -800, and the star-crossed "MAX".  I did the -800 in Aerolineas Argentinas livery shortly after my trip to Argentina (which was the last trip I did before COVID paused all vacations until who knows when). 

 

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The problem of using cockpit window decals on the Airfix 737 is that they won't fit.  The nose is wrong as is the cockpit windows so your frames won't match the plastic.  To make it fit, you can copy the window decal to a thin sheet of brass, then cut that out, bend to fit the fuselage (making sure all the panes are flat) and fair in the brass with Milliput.

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48 minutes ago, jenshb said:

The problem of using cockpit window decals on the Airfix 737 is that they won't fit.  The nose is wrong as is the cockpit windows so your frames won't match the plastic.  To make it fit, you can copy the window decal to a thin sheet of brass, then cut that out, bend to fit the fuselage (making sure all the panes are flat) and fair in the brass with Milliput.

 

That's a pretty brutal fix, Jens! The only 737 I've built so far is a Minicraft -300, so this is my first go-round with the Airfix kit. Once the fuselage is glued together, I'll check out the nose, and compare it to whatever cockpit window decal I end up going with. Thanks for the tip!

 

Kev

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The same approach can be used on any of the old airliner kits that are less than accurate in the cockpit area when you need to match cockpit decals to the kits.  Like the Airfix VC10 or Revell Boeing 747 kits (the -800 should be quite accurate being a far newer kit).

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