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Zvezda Boeing 737-800

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/144 scale plastic model airliner kit
The latest from Zvezda’s 1/144 airliner factory is a 737-800 kit and — good news — parts breakdown and features all but guarantee other variants and configurations in subsequent releases.

Fine recessed panel lines mark the beautifully molded parts. Options include: three wingtips — no winglets, blended winglets, and split scimitar winglets — a standard tail cone and the redesigned, more aerodynamic one used on the 737 MAX; windscreens with and without eyebrow windows; and retracted or extended gear. A stand is included. Decals provide markings for two aircraft from Russian carrier UTair.

Clear cabin-window inserts can be glued in the fuselage halves from inside. But to ease masking and painting, I elected to use the provided window outline decals with their clear carrier film for windows instead. No flight deck interior is provided, and the clear part has minimal joining surface where it meets the fuselage; filling the lower edge took care.

The uniquely designed engines feature annular intake throats that eliminate interior seams.

Delicately thin, the wings and winglets require caution to assemble. A diagonal seam cuts through the lower elevator hinge lines after the horizontal tails are assembled; it’s difficult to fill and restoring the detail wasn’t easy.

The landing gear comprises numerous small parts, including separate brake stacks for the mains and seven parts in the nose gear alone. Those tiny details were tedious to assemble and required tweezers and patience. Antennas and drain masts were separate small parts.

Color callouts reference Zvezda and Humbrol paints. Photos of the full-size UTair aircraft indicate the tips of the horizontal stabilizer tips are painted red to warn ground vehicles servicing the aircraft through the rear main entry doors. 

Markings differentiate the UTair ships with different registrations and aircraft names. The thin decals fit the model perfectly. Unfortunately, they wanted to fold back on themselves during application. But they are pretty tough and withstood all my poking and prodding to straighten them.

I found a couple of errors in the marking instructions. The port-side cabin window outline strips called out as No. 03 should be No. 02, and the engine warning stripes are reversed — decal No. 26 should go on the starboard sides of the nacelles, and No. 25 should go on the port; this orients the intake warning marking “mushrooms” correctly. The small size of the marking diagrams and the shading used made positioning some of the smaller decals a bit iffy. On the whole, though, the decals were excellent, and the stencils really made the model pop.

Zvezda does a beautiful job with its airliner kits, and the 737 is no exception. Aftermarket decals provide bazillions of colorful options for this kit. Sixteen hours of pleasant work produced a nice replica, but I’d recommend this kit to a modeler who’s comfortable working with tweezers to handle small parts.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the December 2017 issue.
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