Minicraft 1/144 Boeing 707-320B
In 1954, Boeing took a major step forward in the aviation industry with the roll-out of the 'Dash 80', which was the prototype for what would be later called the 707. The Dash 80 was the first US jet-powered airliner (the de Havilland Comet was the first jet-powered airliner in the world) and became the starting point for the first production airliner adopted worldwide. The Douglas Company introduced the DC-8 as their answer to the 707, but it was never produced in the quantities that Boeing achieved with the 707 family.
As a footnote, Boeing's test pilot 'Tex' Johnson, rolled the Dash 80 over the skies of Boeing Field to prove how solid the aircraft really was. Nobody has admitted to intentionally rolling the 707 since!
Minicraft has released their first installment of the new 707 series in 1/144 scale. This version represents the Model 320B, the Intercontinental configuration which introduced the higher thrust, lower fuel consumption Pratt & Whitney JT-3D turbofan engines that replaced the JT-3P turbojets.
The kit is comprised of 56 parts, plus a few extras that are included on the engine trees for a turbojet version to be released in the future. Molded in light grey plastic, the kit features scribed panel lines and is free of flash and visible ejector pin marks.
The engine pylons are nicely done, showing the variations in shape for generator installations, etc. The landing gear is also nicely represented, though as the instructions indicate, at least 0.5 ounces of ballast will be required to allow the aircraft to sit on its nosegear and not on its tail.
As has been done in previous Minicraft kits, the windscreen is actually a whole section of nose, that gives you ample room to fit/trim/fill (if required) and not come near the actual windscreen. The kit appears very straightforward in construction, and the majority of the time will likely be spent in the painting/finishing phases.
The kit comes with a set of markings for Pan Am's Clipper Mercury, a 707-320B registered as N732PA. The decal sheet also includes wing walkway markings, and even windscreen decals should you choose opaque windows instead of clear. The side windows in the passenger compartment are also decal.
This kit is recommended to all aircraft buffs, especially those of us who've taken Pan Am over the pond to our duty stations overseas. My sincere thanks to Minicraft for this review sample!