The Boeing 737 family is one of the most successful airliner families of all time. First taking to the air in the late 1960's, the 737 has evolved over the years to become the most popular small- to medium-range airliner of all time. In the 1990's Boeing started the next generation of 737 with the 737-600, 737-700 and 737-800. These planes featured a newly designed wing and extended tailplanes, as well as the latest version of the reliable CFM-56 engine. This year Boeing has added a fourth type to this lineup with the 737-900, the longest 737 yet. With all these choices and the great flying characteristics, the Boeing 737 will be seen at airports around the world for decades to come.
For the longest time the only injection-molded kit of the Boeing 737 in 1/144 was the old Airfix kit, which depicted the early 737-200. If you wanted to build a model of a CFM engined 737 you had to look to vacuforms. Then Minicraft came out with their nice little 737-300 and 737-400, giving modelers their first injection CFM engined 737s. Now Revell AG has come out with a kit of a next generation 737, the 737-800.
Like the progression of the real 737, the injection-molded kits have also evolved. At the pinnacle of the 737 kit line, the Revell 737-800 is a little jewel. Finely recessed panel lines are present throughout as well as exquisite detailing in every corner. No interior is provided (like you'd be able to see it anyway), and the cockpit area is provided as a clear roof with windows. All the cabin windows are opened up, so those of you who prefer to use decal windows will have some filling to do.
The CFM-56 engines are very nicely done and accurately capture the shape of the squashed nacelles. The front intake lips are a separate part, which is a nice touch. If they fit well it would be possible to paint them metal separately, eliminating the need for some tricky masking.
The landing gear was a very pleasant surprise in this kit. In both the Minicraft and Airfix kit, no wheel well detail is provided. The main gear bay of the 737 is a very noticable open hole and Revell AG has duplicated this with an insert, complete with plumbing all around. This piece fits into the one-piece lower wing, which then fits into an opening in the bottom of the fuselage. A dry fit test run shows that this area seems to be a decent fit, but you'll want to take a lot of care to make sure that wing is set properly with the fuselage to avoid a sit problem.
Speaking of sit problems, you'll want to add a bit of weight to the nose of this guy. The long fuselage means that you won't have to add much, though. Of course, if you convert this kit into a 737-600 or 737-700 with their shorter fuselages, you'll need to add more.
The markings in this release are for a KLM bird, and are very well printed. Two choices are included, PH-BXA "Swan" and PH-BXB "Falcon". The cheatline is included, but the upper blue you'll have to match to the decal color. Coroguard areas for the wing are also included, as are the escape routes for the overwing hatches. Plenty of detail markings will really add a lot to your finished model.
This is going to be one fun kit to build. I've got a Minicraft 737-300 in the works and this one looks to be as easy or even easier to build than that kit. I plan on picking up several more of these to convert into a -600 and a -700, and once the -900 enters service I'll use the leftover parts from the -600 conversion to make one of those, too. With the huge number of 737s in the air right now, the livery choices available are astounding, guaranteeing a colorful addition to your shelf.