DACO 1/144 737-300 Kit Build Review
By Tom Flynn
|Date of Review||April 2006||Manufacturer||DACO|
|Kit Number||SKY144-03A||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Best 737-300 in this scale||Cons|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$15.00|
Five years in the making, DACO of Belgium, has released the epitome of scale airliner models. Utilizing hundreds of photographs and “hands-on” measurements of the actual aircraft, it is refreshing that a model manufacturer has got the “model” right.
Packaged in a sturdy one piece box with a forward opening panel it is enclosed with a three view drawing on the top and pictures of various operators from around the world and illustrations to guide the modeler.
There are three part trees (spruces) molded in light grey with one clear sprue. This consists of the optional windshield fashioned in the same manner as Revell and Minicraft kits, inboard landing lights, anti-collision lights and navigation light lenses. Each of the trees sealed in individual bags.
The model has 83 parts, measures about ten inches (25.3cm) in length, and has a wingspan of about eight inches (20.1cm).
The eight-page instruction booklet explains a brief development history and specifications of this airliner. The straight forward well illustrated assembly procedures provides an uncluttered simple step by step process that eliminates paragraphs of foreign languages making it “fool” proof to put this beauty together. There are no painting directions provided. Again, this could clutter and be confusing.
Due to the many world operators, with over 5000 delivered to date, the builder has many resources readily available to determine the colors necessary to build a very accurate and attractive model of the best selling commercial airplane ever built.
I assembled the model per the kits’ instructions starting with the fuselage halves. I use bee bees for the counter weights attached with super glue. Using a drafting pen and Tenax glue, I glued the halves together starting at the bottom of the fuselage and working my way around through the upper portion until it was completely together. I have found this technique quite useful to due to the “welding” action created eliminating the need for fillers.
There are areas that needed filling and that is when I pulled out the good old standby, superglue (CA) and applied just enough to leave a slight ridge over the gap, sprayed the accelerator and using 600 grit wet dry sandpaper smoothed it all over. If you leave the CA on over night then it will harden and a more aggressive approach will be necessary, so I recommend that you sand the filler off as soon as it has cured.
This technique was applied throughout the assembly process. I left the stabilizers off until the aircraft was completed due to the outstanding fit. This included the wings, which have a unique interlocking ability to ensure that the dihedral is set at the correct angle and wing roots are pulled in tight against the wing root fairings, again eliminating the need for filler.
For those of you that prefer to have open windows, DACO has molded indentations on the inside of the fuselage halves where the passenger windows are located and provided a clear one-piece front cockpit. You have to remove the scribed area that is inside the left and right halves of the forward section, but this modeler prefers to use window decals due to the small scale and I personally think they look more realistic.
Painting & Finishing
Prior to assembling the engines, I applied various shades of ALCLAD metal finishes to duplicate the various metals found on the CFM engines. Once they were painted, I used parafilm to mask over those areas and applied the white color using Krylon spray paint from the can. I do most of my painting using an airbrush, but since so many of the aircraft I do are white, I use Krylon “Fusion” white straight from the can.
I warm the paint up in the sink for about five minutes, shake it for about a minute, and spray coating the parts with a light mist letting each coat cure for about five minutes each. The advantage to using Krylon is that it cures quickly and is very durable. After curing for 24 hours, I start to cut and buff the finish.
Starting out with 4000 grit micromesh film and lots of water, I lightly cut down the paint eliminating the “orange peel” and progress up to 12000 grit and the results leave a glass smooth finish. Just prior to applying the decals, I buff all the painted surfaces with Tamiya final rubbing compound.
Other paints used were, Xtra colour Boeing aircraft grey, Xtra colour Tire, Alclad Titanium (engine fans), dural aluminum (upper wing panels and hot section of the engines) and bright aluminum (engine intake lips and hot sections). I mix a couple of drops of lacquer thinner in all my paints, except the Alclad, to help the drying process as well as give it an extra “bite” for adhesion.
The leading edges of the wings were given the bare metal foil treatment to enhance the wings and give them a little more attraction.
I built my example in the current Alaska Airlines color scheme using Draw Decals sheet number Set 44-737-48. The sheet that accompanies the kit has almost 200 individual stencils so patience and care is necessary. The result will be well worth it.
The decals were applied using just water. They are thin enough that the need for any solvents were not necessary.
I thoroughly enjoyed putting this kit together. It is great to have an airliner that is right in every way. Thanks Danny!
Now was I going to do that 500 series as “Shamu” or Continental? Decisions decisions.