by: Is a secret [ ]
Originally published on:
The Boeing 707 was the most famous and successful of the first generation of jet airliners. It was produced in 4 versions, 2 of which were far more widely used than the others. The 707-120 was the first version to go into service, and was used by many airlines. The -220 was a re-engined -120 and used only by Braniff. The -320 was the lengthened “Intercontinental” version, which gained worldwide acceptance. The -420 was a -320 with Rolls Royce Conway turbofan engines, used by BOAC/British Airways, Lufthansa, Air India and a few others.
Details are fairly crisp and the execution is clean but some of the corners are fairly soft. The engine pylons are especially noticeable in this regard. The moulds are showing their age with a little flash, but it's thin and easy to clean up. Minicraft moulded both the early and late -320/420 wings, and several different engine types which are boxed to reflect the variant offered. Unfortunately they can be let down by the fact that the kits are boxed in China, and sometimes the wrong components will find their way into your box. Luckily, Minicraft are famous for customer service, so if you did get the wrong parts they will cheerfully replace them.
The fuselage is in two halves. There are full wheel wells but they are completely void of detail. This is acceptable, because contrary to Minicraft's instructions, the wheel well doors were always closed except when the gear is cycling. In any event, the main doors are in one piece when they should be two, which will only affect the modeller attempting a diorama of the aircraft in maintenance or taking off. Close the doors and scribe a line to represent the fold line to avoid the problem entirely. The cockpit canopy is provided with Minicraft's traditional piece of fuselage to enable blending without destroying the clear windows. Unfortunately, Minicraft didn't get the shape of the windscreen correct; it's too bulged and not raked back enough. It's nearer to the shape of a DC-6 than a 707. Contrails offers a replacement resin part with the correct shape, or the clear cockpit part from a DACO 737 could be adapted to fit. DACO's part is smaller than the Minicraft cutout, so the sides and front will need to be build up with strips of plastic. Kids building their first airliner will not care about this error. I've included a comparison picture showing the Contrails cockpit piece opposed to a painted Minicraft part. If you're building a -320B, fill in the emergency exit door at the trailing edge of the wing; that was only present on -320C aircraft. The fin tip HF antenna does not match its mounting very well, and the joint will be very weak. It would benefit by being replaced with a blunted needle or large pin. The ventral fin is incorrect for a -320 series 707. When mounted, they were much deeper than the kit-supplied fin which is more correct for a -120 series. Given that the great majority of -320s were not equipped with the fin this is not a huge error. If you are doing one of the aircraft equipped with the fin, it will have to be extended with plastic card. The fin does not fit very well , so it will have to be blended in with putty anyway. Clear window lovers will not love Minicraft; they went the route of solid fuselages and decal windows. This offers a bonus to Minicraft, because in these days of highly customised aircraft very often no two window patterns are the same between airlines, and sometimes even between individual aircraft, not to mention the windowless freighter versions. Not moulding windows means that Minicraft can offer the same fuselage for any variant.
Each wing is offered in two pieces complete from root to tip. They have a nice set of interlocking tabs which will ensue they stay where they're supposed to. The fit is not quite good enough that they can be attached after painting, but still very nice. The portions of the wheel wells in the wings are not detailed. They should be boxed in and given a modicum of detail. The engraved detail is slightly heavy and may be filled in with a thick coating of primer if desired.
The tailplanes are one piece mouldings and fit fairly well, although they will need glue. Given that the majority of airline liveries during the 707's time in service included full length cheatlines, they should be left off until painting and decalling are complete to avoid entanglements with the decals. There is a small root area moulded into the fuselage that should be sanded away. If left alone, it makes the tailplanes look like they're attached to a pedestal instead of blending smoothly into the fuselage.
The engines are offered in 4 parts plus separate pylons. The pylons do not fit very well to either the wings or the engines, and will take a fair amount of work to blend together properly. The fit of the pylon to the upper wing in particular is quite bad, and definitely needs some time and effort to make the joint seamless in this very prominent area. This is evident even in the photos of the built-up model on the box-top. The box art shows a 707 with fan engines and organ pipe sound suppressors, something I have never seen. The instructions do not show the suppressors, nor are they visible in any photos on airliners.net so you may feel safe in leaving them off. Contrails offers replacement resin engines and pylons which avoid some of the fit problems.
The landing gear struts and wheels are basic, and could benefit from a little extra detail, but they'll look good as-is. As is common with all 1/144 plastic kits, the gear doors are overly thick, and may be replaced if desired
I don't compare models to drawings or published measurements. When assembled it looks like a 707 as long as the cockpit is replaced.
Decals and markings
This kit offers Northwest Orient's white top scheme. Only the basic markings are supplied and the modeller is expected to paint the fin red to match the nose trim colour. A decal windscreen is provided. If you don't like the kit scheme, there is a wide variety of civil and military aftermarket schemes available.