Having worked hard to complete his three 777 models, two from injection-moulded kits by Minicraft and one from a Welsh Models vacform, David Minton began painting anddecaling the large models using a mix of kit decals and Xtradecals.
I painted all of the models more or less at the same time so that 1 was able to share the colours where appropriate. I found the painting instructions in the Minicraft kits at best misleading and at worst wrong. For example, the instructions state that the compressor blades are silver, the engine intake is white and the exhaust areas are dark steel. No references are given for any of the colours. However, I’ve seen quite a few 777s and 1 don’t think I’ve ever seen one with silver compressor blades. All of those I’ve seen are either a black or very dark grey, so 1 painted mine accordingly. Likewise, I’ve never seen a 777 which had white on the inside of its engine nacelles, all of the those I’ve seen have silver in this area, so again I painted mine accordingly. I suppose it is correct to say that the engine exhaust areas are dark steel, but this is a pretty complicated area. The exhausts are made up of the rear of the engine, the exhaust cone, or plug, and the upper portions of the bottom of the pylon behind the engine. In general, the rear of the engine is steel in colour, the engine nacelle metallic portions either the same shade or somewhat brighter, and the centre cone much darker, even bluish. All of the engine nacelles I remember seeing, for all engine types, have a silver ring around the leading edge of the entire nacelle.
The Minicraft instructions note that the landing gear has black tyres, aluminum hubs, and white struts and gear door interiors. Again, mostly I find this incorrect. The interiors of the wells and gear doors are white, however, and the tyres black. I painted my tyres flat black on the sides and very dark gray on the running portions. The hubs, at least on all of the aircraft I’ve seen, are white. I painted mine by airbrushing the hubs Floquil flat white – you can get a similar colour using Ilumbrol paint if you add 5 percent tan to white. Then I used a very light coating of Burnt Sienna to shade the wheels and dry brushed with Ilumbrol white. Because they are so prominent on the real aircraft, I picked out every one of the bolts in black. On most aircraft, the main gear struts, part 32 in the Minicraft kit, are white, with various silver bands, but the rest of the gear, the side stays and retractors (parts 40 and 47), and the main bogies, vary in colour from aircraft to aircraft. From my research, they may be black, dull metallic, or white. On the British Airways aircraft they were black. I painted them Humbrol satin black. The United aircraft has white bogies and metallic retractors. The American aircraft had white everywhere. In general, although I did not research this specifically, it seemed to me that the earlier aircraft had black or metallic parts, while the later aircraft have white parts.
Painting the airframe
The wings and horizontal tail are painted either Boeing (sometimes called 707) Gray, with or without Corogard, with silver leading edges. Minicraft gives Boeing Gray as F. S. 16440. To my eye, this grey seemed too yellow, so I used Testor Model Master Light Gray F. S.36495, which seemed to me a pretty good match. I mixed the Corogard using Humbrol flat white and flat black, I think I used about 20-25 percent black to white. Again, it is important to verify the actual aircraft you are building if you can, because not all aircraft have Corogard on their top surfaces, but almost all I’ve seen seem to have it on the bottom surfaces. In my case, both the LInited and American aircraft had Boeing Gray on the entire upper surfaces of their wings, while the British Airways machine also has Corogard.
I painted the leading edges on each of the models differently, for no particular reason than I assembled them slightly differently. With the LInited aircraft I masked and sprayed using Tamiya X-ll. Although the masking was a bit of a hassle, I think this was the easiest method. For the British Airways model I sprayed the entire wing and tail Boeing Gray and when it was good and dry, I hand painted the silver leading edges using Testor silver. I would not have been able to paint the edges straight by hand, and indeed, I did not. Instead, I used a silver pencil and a ruler and ruled the straight lines along the edges using the kit scribing as a guide. Then I simply painted inside the ‘boxes’ I’d outlined. For the American Airlines aircraft I used decals. I’ve done this before using black, but I’d not tried it using silver and, on the whole, I would say it was the most difficult approach. Basically, I laid the decal along the edge of the appropriate surface and then used Micro Sol to get it to lay around the edges and conform to the surface. A couple of times, the decals cracked and I had to work pretty carefully to keep them aligned. I finished the first model in this manner, thinking it would be pretty straightforward, but it was not. I also note that for the British Airways machine the painting instructions supplied both in the Welsh Models kit and in the Minicraft kit, show a grey section between the inboard silver part and the outboard silver part of the leading edge. This arrangement can be seen on the prototype aircraft, but checking
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