For many people under 35, the 727 is what the Curtiss Jenny and the
DC-3 were to older generations. Many people—your reviewer included—made
their first flights in the Boeing tri-jet, and more than 30 years after
its introduction the 727 is still a common sight at the world’s airports.
Upon its release, the 727-100 was an instant hit with airlines, but
for reasons that would escape today’s air passengers. It had a then-unique
ability to deliver passengers over regional routes at jet speed at economical
costs, and a tail-mounted air-stair door that allowed service to fields
without expensive passenger handling equipment. It was the first medium
range airliner to have an APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) so it could be used
at less sophisticated airports. At the time of its release, it was considered
to have exceptional takeoff performance and had the optional capability
to operate on unprepared surfaces if necessary.
the 727-100’s success, Boeing tailored a cargo version (-100C) and a variant
that could be converted between passengers and cargo in less than 30 minutes
(-100QC, for quick change). Domestic carriers began calling for a stretched
version for greater passenger capacity a year after the first 727 hit
the airways, and the result was the 727-200. The only major change was
the addition of two fuselage plugs about 10 feet in length ahead and behind
the wing. This increased the passenger capacity by 58 to a total of 189.
The first flight of the -200 model was on July 27, 1967, with the first
airline delivery to Northeast Airlines in December that year. A total
of 1832 727s were manufactured before production ended in 1984, 1260 of
them 727-200s. By September 1995, 727s had transported an amazing 4.3
Kendall Model Company’s 727 is big, to say the least, as a model of
a 153-foot aircraft should be. The model measures out well in length and
wingspan, and it provides the modeler with an impressive starting point.
The fuselage and wings are scribed with rather heavy panel lines, with
the wings being much more heavily scribed than the fuselage. Oddly, the
rudder, where heavier scribing would be appropriate, is scribed in some
of the lightest panel lines in the whole kit! The fuselage fits together
well, and Kendall is to be commended for avoiding the warp that hits almost
all large model aircraft fuselage halves. However, the fuselage does have
a few problems. The vertical tail comes to a very thick edge, and the
entire vertical tail is almost teardrop-shaped in cross-section.
The fuselage-to-engine fairings on both halves have massive sink marks
that will be difficult to eradicate. The windows are provided as individual
pieces, but they’re located too high on the fuselage in relation to the
passenger doors, whose windows need to be drilled out. The belly appears
too deep; the nose is too square in cross section and too long in profile.
Sink marks mar the area around the nose gear well cut-out and ventral
intake. There are some very nice touches, however, like the vortex generators
on the tail and the rain gutters over the boarding doors.
There is no interior detail outside of a bulkhead between the "cockpit"
and the "cabin." The windows are provided as individual clear
pieces, with the cockpit glazing a single piece. The eyebrow windows are
scribed on the fuselage but are not provided as
clear parts. A resin nose gear bay goes in the nose; this would be clearly
visible through the cockpit glazing. The instructions say that no nose
weight is necessary, but taping the parts together revealed that nothing
could be further from the truth. Add weight, or else!
The reason the model is tail heavy is that most of the engine parts
are detailed with resin pieces. The side engine pods themselves are injection
molded styrene, but the exhaust sections and intakes are resin. The parts
are detailed nicely enough, but the rear ends on the exhaust sections
in my kit are so pitted with air bubbles as to be almost useless. Although
the No. 1 and No. 3 engines get resin intakes, the No. 2 engine is ignored,
leaving a nightmarish gallery of hard-to-get-at seams for the modeler
to deal with.
wings are depicted cleaned-up, with the leading edge slats and triple
flaps retracted. The styrene wings are outfitted with resin flap fairings
and clear position lights and landing lights. The wheel wells start on
the wing and carry on to the fuselage, leaving another interesting seam.
The detail of the landing gear is quite nice, comprised of nine parts
for each of the main gear and eight for the nose wheel. These are all
cast in resin. This is a major concern; resin is not a solid but a very
slow-flowing liquid, much like glass; when a large amount of weight is
placed on it, it tends to deform.In the near-term, it’s brittle
and subject to snapping under stress. How well these resin gear stand
up over time is very much in question. The gear doors are also cast in
resin; one of mine had a very large raised blemish that needs to be sanded
The decals instructions depict one American Airlines 727, N107AA in
the description and N707AA on the drawings, as it appeared in Miami in
1998. This is a primarily natural metal aircraft, with a gray wing. The
American Airlines blue-white-red stripes are provided in eight sections
for the starboard side and seven for the port side, requiring a good eye
and a steady hand. The printing is bright and in registration. Elsewhere,
however, there are problems. The serial is provided not as a single decal
but as part of a "number jungle." The font used for the "American"
legend on the fuselage side is far too thin and anemic.
This kit is a living example of the proof that size isn’t everything.
From the difficult-to-correct profile errors on the nose and the srtangely
fonted decals, to the lack of interior and the use of resin for landing
gear, Kendall’s 727 is peppered with problems small and large, problems
of detail, engineering and planning. At a lower price, fixing these problems
would be something of a labor of love, but at $70, the modeler should
expect a lot more. KMC is to be commended for taking on the subject, but
their 727-200 is perhaps the most frustrating kit I’ve ever seen.