Adapting to the circumstances

So the rotator cuff injuries underwent a complicated repair last Monday, involving 8 different incisions and more than 2 hours under anesthesia.  The mapping on my right shoulder looks like the planning of a 1000 bomber raid over Germany in 1944. I have been pretty heavily medicated, significantly sleep deprived, and generally restless since the surgery, sleeping exclusively in a recliner in 2-3 hour bursts.  (I count today, post operative day #5, as a significant landmark because I wore big boy underpants again).

The above-mentioned factors result in such a limited attention span that I haven't been able to read any of the aviation, railroading, or general history magazines I so diligently stockpiled pre-operatively.  Fortunately, my Cleveland Indians (Who knew? But, Matt Underwood keeps telling me they're mine) have played several double headers in the last week, which occupy a good bit of time, and I found the library of the old Discovery/Wings Channel show "Great Planes" on YouTube.   Perhaps more on that later.

The poor attention and one-handedness have severely limited my efforts to resolve the Shelf of Doom and have led to rampant overestimations on other projects I'd like to do (P6M anyone?).  Painting is a skill that certainly lies far beyond my non-dominant hand right now. That alone would prevent me from progressing on several of those highly desired projects.  But I need to do something.

Now, I have an unexplained weak spot for classic propliners and early jet airliners.  I build mine gear up, with decals for windows and mounted on poles.  That means no interior painting.  I could thus glue together a whole kit before even considering paint.  This is like being 9 years old all over again!  Given my toddler-like attention span right now, it sounds like we have a match.

The first victim:  The old Revell 1/144 scale 727-100, in this case being boxed by Revell's Brazilian partner, and carrying the ever-so-subtle markings of Brazil's Cruzeiro airlines.

Saying there isn't much to this kit would be generous.  To begin with, there are no clear parts at all. Sharp-eyed viewers will notice that the windows are represented by dimples on the outer fuselage surface, thus lacking the advantages of both through-and-through window moldings (which, in Airfix kits of this vintage, were expected to be filled with clear plugs), and the common modern practice of no holes, with the expectation that decals will represent the windows.
On the  other hand, it appears that the moldmakers undertook a concerted effort to represent every weld and rivet on the airframe with a substantial lump of plastic. The result suggests that adhering medium saucepans to the surfaces was the preferred materials-bonding method of airliners in the early 1960s. That said, I am pleased with the general shape of the model, and feel confident in my abilities to bring the surface textures into line.  

Since, as noted,  I build my 1/144 scale airliners on poles, my first task was to  create a reinforced area to spread the weight of the model beyond the receptacle for actual pole.  I started by stacking basswood strips along the centerline where the kit's display stand was meant to go.  I tacked these in place to the starboard fuselage with thick superglue, and reinforced them with the Lightning Fill polymer system.  Finally, I used two part epoxy putty to further anchor the bracing to the fuselage.   This is very similar to the process I used on a recent 1/72 Hornet, which seemed to work well.

Since the the last photo, the 727's fuselage has now been closed up.  The next steps will be to tackle the surface texture.  The wings, tailplane (one piece!)  and engine nacelles will be addressed separately before mounting.  Then we'll need to see if I'll be physically ready for painting, or if we run another airliner up the flagpole and tackle their painting together.

Let's hope I haven't launched on a course toward a naked Shelf of Doom!


  1. Glad to see you posting again. You've inspired me. I hope the drugs don't take too much out of your will to model.


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