Roden 1/144 Boeing 720 'Caesar's Chariot' Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||September 2013||Manufacturer||Roden|
|Subject||Boeing 720 'Caesar's Chariot'||Scale||1/144|
|Kit Number||0317||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Unique subject now in plastic||Cons||Engine pods a little too large, decals|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$35.99|
The famous rock band 'Led Zeppelin' used a Boeing 720 dubbed 'Starship One' as their transportation around the country for concert tours and the aircraft served them from the early 1970s into 1977, but by that time, the aircraft was having greater maintenance problems, especially with its engines. The group's managers leased the Boeing 720 from Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas dubbed 'Caesar's Chariot'. While not as comfortable as Starship One, Caesar's Chariot was still more convenient than regular commercial flights and the band put it to work for the 1978 tour. With the death of their lead drummer in 1980, Led Zeppelin would never tour again and Caesar's Chariot was sold in 1986 to become spare parts for the KC-135 fleet.
Here's a nice kit from Roden in 1/144 scale, the first time I've seen the Boeing 720 in styrene. This kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on six parts trees plus one tree of clear parts. This is also the first time I've seen the JT3C turbojets produced in this scale and if you look down the intakes, Roden has really done a nice job on the compressor faces. I had thought the engine pods were a little too large for this aircraft and subsequent emails confirmed that suspicion.
The cockpit transparency is produced as a cap similar to the approach used by Minicraft which makes it nice to glue and fill the parts without harming the cockpit windows themselves. Unlike Minicraft, this kit also provides the main cabin windows as clear parts rather than decals.
My only other complaint with this release is the decals. The kit provides the artwork for the tail and the chariot artwork for the forward fuselage along with the doorway outlines, N-number, etc. They didn't provide the brown band fading into gold nor the dark blue fading into light blue on the fuselage. Here is where your painting skills will be put to the test.
Aside from that, this is a nice kit of Boeing variant not often seen in scale and definitely not on the ramp any longer. As a smaller version of the 707, this 720 is a close cousin to the KC-135. It will provide an interesting addition to your scale flightline!
My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!