Beaten by a bad kit


I build bad kits.  I enjoy the challenge and seeing the history of how scale modeling got to be where it is today.  It is very rare that a kit beats me.   After all, I've finished a Frog Sea Venom, and a Matchbox F-86A Sabre.

Matchbox F-86A - Montana Air National Guard
Frog Sea Venom FAW.21 - Fleet Air Arm, 1956



I've even taken 1st place at a local contest with a converted Matchbox kit!
Matchbox Leyland Retriever with scratchbuilt Mobile Photo Lab body



This time, however, I admit defeat.  Oddly enough, it's not the 50+ year old 1/144 scale Revell kit of the first generation Boeing 727 that did me in, but rather some distinctly modern high end finishes.   More on that toward the end.

I have certainly found the Revell 727 to be  a challenge, but in a good way.  I pretty much knew what I signed up for before I began.  I've shown the fuselage modifications to bear the weight of the mounting stand previously in my Adapting to the circumstances post.  I had to complete interesting tasks like backing up the open windows of the cockpit from the inside while filling the cabin window dimples from the outside.  I added an intake trunk to the centerline engine from rolled paper.  There is also that pesky 8" seam right down he middle of the cylindrical fuselage, top and bottom, of course.

This meant putty.   Plenty of putty.  Putty of different types in different places.  



But putty and sanding don't bother me.  After all, I build bad kits.  



Delta MD-80 wing, ATL-CAK, November 2017



Between building bad kits, I also travel a fair bit.  On my trips, I enjoy deciphering the complicated color and texture patterns on airliner wings. I decided I wanted to reproduce something like this on my 727.  So after some protracted periods looking at wing details on sites like Airliners.net, I tried my hand at representing the varied gray tones across the control surfaces.  Oddly, a lot of the different model paints I used, trying to achieve variation around the flaps and spoilers, merged together into a plain neutral gray.  The main wing color was the distinctive and ever-elusive "Boeing Gray." Mine came from the Xtracolour enamel line that always provides a highly refined finish.  To get a little more punch, I dressed up the leading edge with some AK Interactive Super Metallics wax-based finish over the Alclad Polished Aluminum base coat. 

To add to the color and texture complexity of the wings, I decided to use decals for the subtly metallic "Corogard" inspar panels that make up the central portions of wing surface.  To expedite the decaling process, I shook up a spray can of my trusty Tamiya Semi Gloss Clear, shot it on the wing surfaces and walked away to let it dry.

Imagine my horror coming back an hour later to find that the Gloss had not only melted the bright metallic finish on the leading edge, but thoroughly and deeply crazed the Xtracolour enamel gray that had cured for several weeks!  
The fatal damage- underside

The fatal damage- topside

Your correspondent was not pleased.  The wings and wing-to-fuselage joins on this kit have plagued me for months.  Even after extensive work, they were still not good.  The prospect of stripping the paint (and likely a goodly portion of all that putty too) was more than I could bear.  I was done.  The project was terminated.  

Since I build bad kits, not abandon them, I am torn on how to grieve this loss.  Two options present themselves.  One is underway.  What better way to recover from terminal seam and joint repair than to build something with no seams and no joins.  No, I'm not talking about a 1/700 scale resin submarine.  How about a 3D printed Falcon 50 bizjet in 1/144?  Some local modelers have voiced concern that 3D printing will be the final nail in scale modeling's coffin, but if this model is any indication, it's taking much more patience and modeling skill to address the striated surfaces and unsandable plastic of this particular kit than any reasonably modern conventional kit.  Others' mileage may vary when it comes to the world of 3D printing, but I am not yet sold. 

The second option is also under way, more like on-its-way, from eBay-land.  After all, if the 21st century 3D printing approach to making a little jet is not the best route to healing from the travails of a 1960s airliner kit, then perhaps the best answer is...
Another 1960's airliner kit (albeit from a different manufacturer).

What about the future of that Revell 727?  So far, the now-permanently incomplete model has avoided the "controlled flight into wall" fate.  However, certain summer holidays are coming, and the derelict's demise may end up echoing a ritual of youth that I never completed myself.  It's really just a simple arithmetic problem:  What do you get when you add an M-1000 to a B-727?

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