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1:144 Boeing 737-200. Improving an old 60's Airfix kit

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1:144 Boeing 737-200

Busy Bee. Lima November decals.

I saw this humourously liveried Boeing 737-200C parked on the ramp at Oslo Fornebu airport back in 1986, and thought 'I would like to make a model of that', so 30 years on, I have!


I started with the old Airfix kit of 1969, and decided to see what improvements to could be made to it. These came down to:

- Replace the cockpit glazing with the part provided in Daco's 737 kits.

- Scratchbuild some interior detail for the cockpit

- Open up the main and nosewheel bays, which are just shallow opening on the kit

- Improve the engines. They are too short in the kit, and have the early 'skinny' pylons only applicable to the first 100 or so machines produced.

- The passenger cabin windows are just little square shapes. I filed the all top and botton to open them up to oval shape. 2 were filled in and re-done further apart to allow for the cargo door.

- This aircraft was equipped withe the 'Gravel kit' for operation off rough fields and gravel runways. Basically this is a large deflector plate fitted behind the nose wheels, and some pipes feeding compressed air forwards from the engine nacelles to blast any FOD away from the intakes. The nose plate stays horizontal all through the retraction cycle as the leg retracts forward, and ends up in its own housing grafted onto the lower nose. There is a great youtube of one landing and taking off on Youtube here Just look at all the crud kicked up!


This is actually the second 737 that I have applied these mods too, the fiirst (in Air Europe livery) is complete but I have not posted it yet as I am making a diorama, and painting the little passengers walking out to it is taking ages!











Some of the scratchbuilt parts



Cockpit and crew painted up



Nosebay on an unmodified kit, and the modified/scratched parts



Noseleg additions. Done by eye from internet photos, as I could not find drawings



Main gear bay. Just a blank on the standard kit, looks so much better opened up;



Engines after accurising/improving. Lengthened with a section from a 1:48 bomb (covered with a band of white filler), and pylons fattened with plastic sheet & Milliput;



And finally 'with something else' - the other 737 waiting to be finished. I did even more on this one, opening up the front & rear galleys, and luggage bay, and integral front airstairs. It also has all the mods I did on 'Busy Bee' apart from the gravel kit.



Special thanks to Skodadriver Dave who very kindly sent me the Daco clear cockpit sections & the frame decals for them, and enabled this project to go ahead.


Happy new year to all, and thanks for looking.





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Good grief - that is amazing! I have built this kit about 30 times, but in effect, looking at yours, I have never truly built it. I recognized the gravel kit right away, but the dedication involved in correcting the shape of all the passenger windows, let alone installing a cockpit, well, wow. The quality does show. ( a lot )

How do you do the red light atop the fuselage? A small drop of CA?

Like the integral stairs on the Air Europe model too.

Good way to start the New Year - a huge dollop of inspiration to go with my coffee, Thanks John



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Hello,John - "Happy New Year" to you too! What a great start.My compliments to you on a fine looking build of your '737'. Along with her stablemate on the ramp,I love the quality and detail of the paint and finishing work and they are both resplendent tributes to this iconic airliner.All the very best,Paul.

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Happy New Year John.

Absolutely marvelous builds of the classic 737.

Your modifications just nailed it and improved the old Airfix kit a great lot.

I used to see Busy Bee's and Air Europe's 737s in the early 90s at EuroAirport Basel in Switzerland and your builds are a beautiful ride down memory lane.

I miss the sound of the 737-200 engines...

Edited by Alex1978
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Happy New Year, John -

Love the cockpit work and especially the crew figures - excellent! Where did you get the figures from?



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These look even better in real life.

Even the hostess has the Air Europe logo on her knickers. Either that or they're creased.

Nice one John.

Trust you to look!

Another stunner John, the detailing goes to show what can be possible with these old kits.

Happy New Year. Wonder what you're going to finish in 2016?

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Thanks for all the replies, much appreciated.

How do you do the red light atop the fuselage? A small drop of CA?

Mike, it is a drop of microscale 'krystal kleer' (white glue would be just as good) applied with the tip of a cocktail stick. Let it dy and apply a second blob to build it up. Finally a bit of Tamiya 'Clear red' applied with a fine brush to colour it.

Where did you get the figures from?

Dave, they are N guage railway figures;


I've sprayed grey primer on the lower set, they didn't come like that!

Some are seated figures but you can also chop the legs off standing ones, and reglue them in a sitting position.



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Really nice way to start the new year. As others have said, just goes to show what a bit if skill can do to an old kit. Many of the improvements you illustrate I do to my Airfix 737, but I have to admit to stealing your engine lengthening process - such a simple modification changes the look enormously.

I did it on my recently completed Southwest Airlines 737. At first I kept thinking it looked wrong being so used to how Airfix portrays it and I had to check photos to reassure myself.

Looking forward to seeing the Air Europe diorama. Wouldn't it be nice if BPK scaled down their 737 kit?


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Brilliant work there John - a real credit to your modelling skills and 2 most welcome additions to the forums collection of civil builds

top work and superb scratch building / detail expansion, particularly given that the old Airfix kit is not the most forgiving to base your build upon.

Give yourself a big pat on the back

"Doors to manual"

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Hi John

Congratulations on such an amazing build of such an ancient Airfix kit - yet another great 'Viking' build.

In particular, your scratch building / modifications are just top notch, especially the debris deflectors on the nose gear and engines, and the corrections to the engines. This level of detail at 144 scale takes some doing.

Just brilliant


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John, that is absolutely mind blowing!

That really must be one of the best looking 737-200 models I have seen for a long time. I am busy with one myself at the moment and this model of yours really inspired me to put the extra effort in as well.

Really amazing looking model!

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