Airlinercafe Home Page

A detailed review of the new Minicraft Boeing 727 by Marshall Lefferts.
Author: Marshall Lefferts
Submitted by: aro757   Date: 08-20-2005
Comments: (3)  

Minicraft Boeing 727-200-initial Review

I finally have one in my hands! One thing I do thank MC for is just releasing a new kit of such a beloved subject. The euphoria that builds up in anticipation of seeing/touching a new kit for the first time is part of what I enjoy most about this nutty hobby of ours. Of course it's all the better when the new plastic is so pleasing it sends chills up your spine! Don't get too excited.

17001950.JPGMC14465_1.jpgDying of curiosity to see the finished product assembled I immediately built the kit, no paint or decals, just raw plastic. From certain angles and viewed at a slight distance the model does capture the look of a 727 extremely well. The nose is a huge improvement over Airfix. I'm confident many contest show-stoppers will be created from this kit. Once you get a closer look, however, the multitude of fears we have been discussing come to light. It becomes sadly apparent how much work this kit needs to "become" accurate.

I know a lot of you don't like critisizm of new kits, but I just paid (full retail) for this one so I feel I'm within my rights to state it as it is with factual observations. At this price and with the resources available today, this kit should be state of the art or at least pretty close to it.

Here are my observations (my opinion only)

MC727b.JPGMC727e.JPG1. Fuselage fit is fair overall but putty and sanding will be needed in
spots, especially around the cockpit area clear insert.

2.Nose shape is very well captured, except when viewed from above there is a very apparent flat spot at the tip. Not sure on accuracy of this, I've never viewed a 727 nose from this angle. If incorrect some sandpaper will fix easily.

17001934.JPG17001502.JPG3. Wing leading edges are way too thick (I'm guessing about 5-6 scale inches) all the way out to the tips and have a flat appearance (instead of rounded) across the front edge. On my example there is a HUGE sink mark on both wings top halves, running along the line of flap/air-brake engravings. The air brakes are literally "U" shaped because of the sink. This will be very visible when painted but to fix you would have to putty the whole area and rescribe all the air brake detail. Flap track fairings are molded into the lower wing halves. On my example the left wing's fairings would not rest properly on the underside of theflaps, they will need to be cut to lay down properly. The engraved detail for flaps/trim is incorrect on the underside of the wings and does not match up with the detail on the wing tops, which I beleive is correct or pretty close. Interestingly, the painting diagrams show the proper underwing flap/trim detail which is not represented on the kit.

MC727c.JPGMC727f.JPG5. Tail section looks pretty good with excellent engraved detail although a bit too heavy. Looks like the top of the fin is a bit off on curvature but close enough and not something I would bother to fix. Stabs look a little thick and also have a squarish look to the leading edge.

6.Engine intakes, all 3 but especially #2, are way too thick, althought the fans (1&3 only)
and inside exhaust cone detail are excellent. 1&3 cowlings will need some sanding as the seams on all parts do not match up all that well. As everyone is aware there are no reverser fairings. Also, there is a curious extension ring piece that the instructions place at the tip of the #2 exhaust. When attached it looked way to long and pointy to me so I removed it. I think the exhaust looks more accurate without this piece (part #32).

7. Landing Gear are terrible. Main struts have similar layout to the real thing but the dimensions are way off so they look awkward and are way too tall.

17001539.JPG17002241.JPGOnly a tiny locator pin is provided to attach the main struts so some super glue is adviseable. The nose gear is not quite beefy enough, but rather a spindly little strut (like sprue stretched way out over heat) that is so delicate it will flex and break and the slightest touch. There is no adequate support structure designed into the nose gear. Mine broke off while GENTLY setting the model down. Next one will need some reinforcing. Nose wheels look reasonable but the main wheels are too square and have only minor detail on the hubs. I will say I like MC's design for the nose gear bay, it is a separate box you insert after the fuselage is complete and the gear doors are already attached at the right angles..nice! The under-wing main gear doors are completely wrong dimensionally (proportional to the incorrect struts, though). Strangely, the painting instructions indicate panel lines for the main gear fuselage bay doors, but there is no detail engraved on the kit belly itself, you will have to do that yourself if you want the gear doors to be visible.

8. No antennae or other small protrusions are included at all, with the exception of the tail-skid which looks too small and merely rests on the fuselage surface without an opening underneath.

Conclusion: I view this kit as a toy-like, reasonable foundation for a 727 but it is far below the expectations of any modeller who appreciates spending top-dollar for state-of-the art products. Out of the box you will get a model that does look like a 727 from many angles. But to really do it right, significant work is needed on the wings, gear and engine intakes. I truly hope aftermarket gear and intakes are forthcoming. Not sure anyone will want to tackle the job but perhaps even aftermarket wings will surface as the kit's need more work than I and perhaps others are willing to put in. If this is the best MC can or is willing to do, so be it. It is what it is. An expensive kit with many issues. I'm still grateful to MC for making it and I hope they will pay much more attention to accuracy when the DC-8 comes to fruition.


Marshall Lefferts

all photos by Ray Charles and Ahmed Orgunwall



by Marshall Lefferts

Member Comments :

 comment by: Tango-Bravo posted on 12-23-2006, comment #3000

Having heard much maligning of the Minicraft 727-200 kit, I finally got around to taking the plunge and building one. Must say that, after having read all the negative press the kit has received, I was pleasantly surprised by how bad it is [i]not[/i]. Sure, there's lots of room for improvement but all in all the Minicraft 727 kit is at least equal in quality to the Airfix 727 of the same scale. In fact, in my view, the Minicraft 727 is the better of the two. Besides having the more accurate detailing and overall appearance than the Airfix 727 (though [i]both[/i] kits are well below the standard set by the Hasegawa 1:200 727), the Minicraft kit assembles much better and requires much less attention with putty and sandpaper than the Airfix kit.

The main issues I have with the Minicraft kit are 1) the landing gear, especially the very flimsy guaranteed-to-break nose gear leg (repaired and strengthened with styrene tubing), 2) the much-to-thick center engine inlet ring, which was imporoved to a more correct-looking appearance by reaming with a drill bit by hand and 3) the missing reverer fairings on all three engines (added by fabricating from styrene strips). Have to say the Minicraft kit will be my first choice in 1:144 727 kits, even if the Airfix kit continues to be available -- wish I hadn't stocked up on Airfix 727s (4 unopened/unbuilt in my stash) as I did, before giving the Minicraft 727 a fair trial.


 comment by: Kev1n posted on 06-17-2008, comment #5855

Obviously each to their own but my personal view of this thing is that its high on the list of worst-ever kits for me....I bought ONE...and wont buy another.
I'm curious as to why people always ask for aftermarket this and that to replace inaccurate parts - this pushes the cost up considerably.
The problem with this kit is that Minicraft spent too much time on small things and took their eye off the big picture

 comment by: Jetson posted on 06-06-2012, comment #15171

Good review and very helpful. I'm working on the Eastern Airlines version right now. They give you two decal options: Bare metal and white-top "Whisperjet" liveries. I'm going with the latter: more rare. The engines did need a lot of work. Shortened the #1 and #3 considerably, and left off that extra piece on #2 as you suggested. Reamed out the #2 intake, and also all three exhausts so they look the same diameter. As Tango-Bravo suggested, I built reverser fairings out of styrene strips, sanding to shape. The cockpit window insert is disappointing, given that Minicraft 737 inserts are spot-on. I filled the curiously depressed window frames and will use a black-out decal. The leading edge of the vertical tail needed a little sculpting, to get that distinctive bump at the top. Still thinking of how to re-do the landing gear...
Jetson (George)