Internet Modeler : First Look : Aviation

Minicraft's Boeing 707-320B Intercontinental

By Chris Banyai-Riepl

History

The Boeing 707 marked a new era in aviation. With four jet engines slung under its wing the 707 could carry its passengers faster and more economically than the piston-engined competition. To further enhance this performance, Boeing came out with the 300 series of 707, with a lengthened fuselage and wing and an increase in wing area. This extended the range of the 707 to over 6000 miles, making it one of the first intercontinental jet airliners.

The Kit

This kit does a very good job at capturing the look of the 707, so much so that all of the Boeing people I've talked to here in the Seattle area (and for some reason there's a fair number of them here) say that it is spot on in accuracy. That's good enough for me!

This kit is typical Minicraft, with right and left fuselage halves, no window cutouts and the cockpit windows incorporated in a large clear section of the upper fuselage. Some people like the decal cabin windows, some don't. Me, I'm still up in the air on that one but for now the decal window option works pretty well. Once I decide to open one of these things up and have the boarding doors open with stairs and passengers walking up, then maybe I'll change my mind (if I haven't already lost it, that is!)

Minicraft has released a number of 707 kits recently and the main difference between them is the engines. This example has the JT-8D engines and the shape of these guys looks to be spot on. The detailing throughout the kit is soft like most of the other Minicraft airliner kits, with the panel lines having somewhat rounded edges and the various bumps blending a bit too much. After seeing the Minicraft 1/48 Skyrocket I know that they have the capabilities to make their molds much crisper and here's hoping that their future releases will show that.

The decals are very well printed and are for a Pan Am 707-320B. A full set of cheatline decals are included, with the windows integrated. The section for the nose has the anti-glare panel included and a set of overwing escape route markings are also included. A set of cockpit windows is also provided if you choose to paint over the clear section. The only complaint I have with the decals is a small one and that is I wish Minicraft had included the cabin window decals as a separate set. This would make it much easier to do different liveries.

Conclusion

This kit is very welcome, as are the other choices Minicraft has put out. With the large number of 707 operators you can bet on there being a bunch of aftermarket decals for this baby. If you're into airliners you'll definitely want to pick up a couple of these kits, and if you're not, perhaps it's time to build one and see just how fun doing a colorful airliner can be.


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