Revell Convair 990
Revell's 990 must be one of the hardest to find airliner kits on the planet! I had one of these many years ago and traded it away when I lost interest in airliner models. Once I got back into them about five years ago I started looking in earnest for an affordable example and just recently picked this one up at a decent price through the Plane Trading pages of Hyperscale. The model is 1/137 scale, close enough to 1/144 to suit me, and light years superior to the very basic Microscale (ex-Topping) kit which is little more than a small 1/144 scale travel agent model.
The kit contains 55 parts molded in off white plastic plus three clear parts and a metal ring for the famous Revell swiveling stand. Panel, control surface, and flap lines are finely recessed, as is rivet detail - unusual for the early sixties but some other Revell kits of this era have similar surface detail treatment. The only raised detail is a row of fine rivets above and below the slightly indented passenger windows. Strangely enough, and common to almost all of Revell's jetliner kits of the 60s, the windscreen is molded open but there is no clear part to depict the glass. Landing gear is simple and sturdy; entirely adequate for the scale, and the gear wells are typically shallow but acceptable for all but the most fastidious.
Catering to the "action" features popular at the time, Revell included not only rolling wheels but also crude depictions of the jet engines that could be displayed by removing one side the nacelle. Passenger and crew doors were separate, allowing the builder to glue them in the open position to display a completely empty passenger compartment! Fortunately, they fit quite well in the closed position, as do the gear doors - a welcome option for those who like to display their models "in flight". This is a very tempting proposition if, like me, you're nuts about the Revell swivel stands.
My kit is very smooth and cleanly molded with virtually no flash and very fine mold parting lines on the detail parts. The instructions are excellent; very clear and with color call outs throughout. The decal sheet appears to be of very high quality and mine would probably be usable after being bleached out in sunlight. Interestingly, the box art shows a Swissair bird prominently as per the kit decals, but there is an SAS example shown in the background, and directions for ordering an SAS decal directly from Revell are in the instruction sheet.
The only problem I can see with building this model is deciding how to do the windows and windscreen so that they're consistent. Either the passenger window indentations will have to opened the rest of the way through or they and the windscreen need to both be filled in and replaced with decal windows. Otherwise this is an outstanding kit that is very close to the current state of the art, showing that Revell was in many ways ahead of its time in the 1960s.
I was disappointed that the 990 wasn't reissued as an SSP subject and can only speculate that the tooling must be lost or damaged. This is definitely a keeper and any airliner fan that runs across one should snap it up if the price is anywhere near reasonable.
See you all again next month with another golden oldie from Revell's halcyon days. Till then, model on and "Build what YOU like, the way YOU want to."
Be sure to visit Al's Place while you're surfing the 'Net!