Revell 1/144 Boeing 727-100 "Europa-Jet"

By Al Superczynski

This is a 1982 German release of Revell's venerable 727-100 kit from 1964. The original issue date was 40 (!) years ago this year. Since I can distinctly remember when this kit first appeared on Woolworth's shelves in the American Airlines 'Lightning Bolt' scheme I must officially qualify as an olde phart. The kit has been released with numerous different airline markings in virtually every country where Revell in its heyday ever had a factory - I can think of Mexico, Brazil, Great Britain, and Japan at least and I'm sure there are others I've forgotten.

Originally issued in a silver plastic this example is molded in white but is otherwise unchanged from the first release out of Venice, California. There's some flash on the 51 parts (including two for the display stand) but the tooling had stood up well to this point, especially considering how much molten plastic was forced through its cavities. I suspect that there must have been more than one set of molds - if not this was some very well-travelled tooling indeed!

Typical of Revell's airliner kits, the model follows their usual strange practice of semi-recessed passenger cabin windows but open cockpit windows with no clear parts to fill them. The landing gear and engines are fairly well detailed but the gear wells are far too shallow and completely devoid of any detail. There's absolutely no representation at all of the 'S' duct leading to the number two engine and the assembly breakdown of the fuselage-mounted engines makes smoothing the internal intake and exhaust seams a very difficult and awkward job. In contrast, unfortunately, to petite surface detail on most of its other airliners Revell represented the panel lines and rivets with excessively coarse raised detail, worse even than in the companion 707 kit. On the plus side it outscores Airfix's effort, the only other 1/144 scale 727-100 kit, in the area of outline accuracy (especially in the nose), has the wing fences correctly represented on the leading rather than the trailing edge, and thankfully doesn't have Airfix's separate and ill-fitting passenger doors.

The decals are typical Revell-Germany of the era; pre-yellowed for your enjoyment, matte finished, and probably stiff and unusable even when brand new; very reminiscent of Heller decals. I certainly wouldn't want to even attempt applying that huge one-piece decal to the tail, a much better option would be to use either Revell's or Xtracolor's Lufthansa blue to paint both that area and the cheat line.

This kit, while old, isn't especially rare since so many copies were made and should be readily available on the secondary market at a reasonable price if you're not concerned with which markings are included. For the time being it's the best choice in 1/144 and I recommend it for that reason alone. Looking to the future however, Minicraft is very close to releasing a completely new-tool 727-200 kit that's reputed to be equal to or better in quality than the best of their current airliners and I'm crossing my fingers that they'll follow with a -100 some time later.

Till next month, "Build what YOU like, the way YOU want to",
and be sure to visit Al's Place while you're surfing the 'Net!

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