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Minicraft Mc Donnell Douglas MD-82. American airlines md

11 Apr

Minicraft Mc Donnell Douglas MD-82. American airlines md,plane scale

The MD-80 family of airliners was a development of the successful DC-9 airliner which first flew in 1965. The MD-80s had a glass cockpit, improved avionics and aerodynamics plus the more powerful, efficient and quieter JT8D engines. The design was very successful with over 1,000 airframes delivered between 1979 and 1999.

In kit form the MD-80 has been produced by Minicraft and over the years has been released with a number of different airliner markings included in the box. Hannants provided us with two examples of Minicraft’s kit, the first with markings for Pacific Southwest Airlines with a prominent painted smile on the nose, and the second a very classy scheme worn during the final days of TWA operations. Both sheets are beautifully printed by Microscale and would make a very nice addition to any display shelf, but we had different plans for these two as can be seen from the photographs accompanying this article.

The Blue One

When my fellow club member, David, showed me an aftermarket decal sheet produced by Liveries Unlimited that he had obtained from the Internet for the MD-82 it definitely had the ‘Wow’ factor. Scandinavian Airlines painted two aircraft in a scheme they called ‘Paper Airplanes,’ one painted in red and one in blue, and this was very unusual as SAS is not known for special schemes. Even Liveries Unlimited – despite quiet a lot of effort – failed to find out why they were specially painted.


The kit is moulded is a soft white plastic, which is rather flexible and the only clear part is the cockpit windshield, which is a bit foggy. The passenger windows are supplied as decals which many modellers prefer to filling holes with PVA or Kristal Klear. I decided that the easiest way to assemble this model was as a number of sub-assemblies, completing construction and painting before final assembly, as this would save a lot of time in trying to mask the individual sections and was made possible due to the good fit of the Minicraft kit parts. I started by constructing the long fuselage sections but first I removed the blade aerials moulded on one of the fuselage halves – these will be destroyed in the building process in any case, and can be replaced at the end.

Before joining the fuselage halves you need to weight the nose with at least V* oz. I found an old bolt that would do nicely and in the spares box an old 1/48 fuel tank into which it was fitted prior to insertion as I have found a plastic-to-plastic join is much stronger than trying to glue metal to plastic.

I now joined the fuselage using masking tape and liquid poly; I did this late at night so the entire fuselage would be nice and solid by the next day. In the morning I checked the join, and the under surface, nose and tail were perfect but all along the middle section, over the wing, the edges did not meet. Did I say the plastic was flexible?

Now I had a nice step to fill. I found this very time consuming as some serious work was needed to make the step invisible.

I used Milliput as the filler, sanded down with wet and dry paper. Over-spraying with primer enabled me to check the finish and I had to do this three times before I managed to get a good smooth result two days later – that’s modelling for you!

Next came the wings, which are lovely and thin in cross section but were very warped. After cementing them together I used hot tap water followed by a dunk in cold which, with a little careful bending to get them straight, seemed to do the trick. After two tricky sections the engine pods went together well and at this stage I now reattached the blade aerials made from pieces of excess photo-etch frame filed to shape.

It was now time to start painting. The engine pylons and tail area were sprayed with Halfords white primer followed by appliance white, as were the engine pods. When this was set the vertical tail, engine pylons and wing roots were masked using Tamiya tape before the rest of the fuselage was sprayed grey primer followed by Revell 51 blue, which dries to a nice glossy finish ready for the decals. Grey primer was now applied to the wings before the silver areas were sprayed using Halford Peugeot platinum silver with the centre spare panels painted with Humbrol 166 grey.

The Liveries Unlimited decal sheet is excellent, providing all windows and stencils plus some spares. All of the white paper airplane decals are printed very opaque and do not change colour when applied over the dark blue fuselage. Some are supplied in blocks and some singly, and there are a few spares in case of mishap. The artwork on the instruction sheet is very clear as to the position of the decals so any mistakes made will be down to the modeller. The decals are strong, tough, and went onto the model with no problems at all. I just wish all brands were made to this standard.

Minicraft Mc Donnell Douglas MD-82. American airlines md,miniature planes

With decalling complete it was time to finish assembly. The engine pods were superglued to the pylons but I decided that the horizontal stabilizers needed to have metal pins attached to the joining surfaces as the plastic tabs are rather small and weak.

The wings fitted to the fuselage very well using just a little superglue to attach the parts and a small amount of PVA as filler. Finally, to finish the model, I added the main undercarriage and nose gear. One point to note is that the main gear doors are much too big and almost touch the ground. The drawing on the decal placement sheet shows the right size and I replaced them with some cut from plasticard.

The Red One

Strangely I had none of the problems George encountered with his kit – my wings were perfectly straight and the fuselage assembled easily. I used a slightly different method for assembling the fuselage by gluing a small section at a time. I also used my preferred method of dealing with long joins by applying a small amount of superglue to the seam with the edge of a scalpel bade and then almost immediately sanding the seam with a small bit of wet 800grit wet and dry paper to obtain a perfect finish.

This goes to show that two modellers can build identical kits and come out with a different experience of the model. However at the end of the day we both enjoyed assembling our airliners and they are certainly a striking pair. Though the MD80 kit is available in a number of attractive schemes from Hannants, finding a sample of the Liveries Unlimited sheet may be a bit more difficult. My samples were purchased online from www. airline-hobby. com and at the time of writing they still had a few in stock.

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