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This is the Eastern Express 1/144 scale MD-80 finished in the earlier American Airlines livery, as ship #567. N567AM was the last MD-80 delivered brand new to American in 1992 from the factory in Long Beach, California, serving well for 24 years before being retired in 2016. She was stored in ROW before being returned to service in 2017 as a cargo carrier still active and operating south of the border.

 

This model was a first for me in a few areas; my first attempt at an Eastern Express model, use of acrylic paints (I usually use enamels), and first use of Xtreme metal (I usually use Alclad) for the finish. Quite a few challenges for sure, but the model came together well in spite of the issues that the EE kit presents. Painting and finishing challenges were new to me, as I am sure they are old to many, but didn’t prove impossible…just different from what I have done in the past. Good learning experiences and I would most definitely build this kit again.

 

To mix the AA gray I used Tamiya X-1 and X-2 until it “looked about right,” using photos of the actual airplane in sunlight from different angles. Tamiya gray surface primer, then Tamiya TS-14 gloss black as a base coat for the metal finish (I usually use the Alclad base coat, but thought this time I'd try the less expensive Tamiya gloss black...won't do that again!). Xtreme metal airbrushed along with light polishing to achieve the natural metal finish. Flying Colors details; Draw Decals details, cheat lines, and livery markings; Authentic Airliners life like windows; Platz PE parts for the landing gear, antennae, and pitot tubes.

 

Of the pictures below, a few are taken while she was still on the workbench; the rest were taken on a bright sunny day while clouds occasionally passed overhead, giving a shaded look to some of the shots.

 

Hope you enjoy!

 

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3 hours ago, Challenger350Pilot said:

Flying Colors details; Draw Decals details, cheat lines, and livery markings; Authentic Airliners life like windows

Not an ounce of kit decals mentioned. I really like that point. :clap::goodjob::clap:

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Really nice. Flew on one of these mad dogs PHX-ORD when they were brand new, and connected to an AA B727. Your lovely MD80 brings back good memories 

 

SD

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Very impressive!!!!!!!! :clap::goodjob:

 

Mike

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What an absolutely beauty - excellent build and superb finish. The AA natural metal scheme really suited McDonnell Douglas aircraft for some reason. The DC-10 and MD-11 looked great in it as well.

 

You mention "issues" with the kit. How does it compare with the Minicraft version which I have always found an easy and pleasant build? I can see from the photos that EE have made a better job of the fin which is one of Minicraft's weak points.

 

Well done and thanks for sharing

 

Dave G

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Great job on the Maddog! I've got the Minicraft one on the bench right now which will be finished in Alitalia's livery.

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Exquisite build. Just beautiful.

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6 hours ago, Skodadriver said:

You mention "issues" with the kit. How does it compare with the Minicraft version which I have always found an easy and pleasant build? I can see from the photos that EE have made a better job of the fin which is one of Minicraft's weak points.

Thanks, Dave. Always appreciate your comments. I began this project with a Minicraft kit, and liked it very much. Parts go together well, and that kit is a great example of the MD-80. I switched to the EE kit after studying it a bit closer, and looking at photos of the built model. I like that the brakes are molded onto the gear, but did not like that the tires come in halves and have to be cemented together. They don't fit well, so they require filling and sanding, thereby losing the detail of the tire tread. There are no guide holes on the EE kit, so putting together halves of anything can be tricky, and require extra support. The largest issue, I think, is with the nose gear...requires that the gear box and strut be installed prior to the fuselage halves going together...apparently that's an EE trait for all their airliners. I actually installed the gear box, then installed the gear strut near the last, so as not to break it...went in just fine with no issues. EE also gets the gear placement correct, and the finished model sits slightly nose low, like the airplane. The wing dihedral on the EE kit is also correct, and molded on the bottom half of the wings as one long assembly, including the wing box. Mine was slightly warped, but straightened easily with some heated air from a blow dryer.  Minicraft kit is a good one, so is the EE kit...I just preferred the better details on the EE one. Can't go wrong with either one...they are just different in different ways. 

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Hi Paul,

Wow this is just stunning!!

Such a superb finish and with lots of nice details like the FOD deflectors on the wheels and pitots etc. I'm particularly impressed with the details on the inside of the engine intakes, are they from the Flying Colors detail sheet or on the Draw Decal sheet? Of course the Authentic Windows add the icing on the cake.

I have an EE DC9 on the go at the moment and am quite impressed with the level of detail and general shape, the MD80 appears to be similar and it's nice they have got the nose down stance just right and, as Dave says, the tail too.

A great model to add to your growing collection!

Cheers,

Ian 

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That is a stunning MD80 Challenger Pilot. The natural metal finish is truly amazing. Very impressive.

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Lovley 

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Absolutely gorgeous build! You’ve nailed that natural metal finish. 

 

Fantastic,

 

Eng

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what a nice piece of art!! really love it and would love to do this one as well! maybe i would take my own windscreen ISO AA decal, cause the shape is incorrect.

Keep on posting your stuff here, really appreciate well made airliners here!

best regards

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21 hours ago, Turbofan said:

Such a superb finish and with lots of nice details like the FOD deflectors on the wheels and pitots etc. I'm particularly impressed with the details on the inside of the engine intakes, are they from the Flying Colors detail sheet or on the Draw Decal sheet? Of course the Authentic Windows add the icing on the cake.

 

Thank you, Ian! Much appreciate your kind words, as always. The FOD deflectors come in the kit, mounted thickly to the sprue. Which only means they come off with great coaxing and high probability of breaking, which the nose one did. Replaced it with cut pieces from the PE fret, cut down to size. The main gear deflectors are attached at only one point, and separated just fine. The detail in the engine intakes was pretty easy; just studied a few pics of the actual airplane's engine intakes, and improvised the result using some spare decals that I had in the stash cut to fit properly. Ordered the livery decals from Draw, "sans windows," so that I could specifically use the AA ones. The cheat lines are quite thick and challenging to handle, but they dry beautifully once in place. Difficult to cut to size, and overlapping is not recommended. 

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On 3/27/2020 at 1:43 AM, Abandoned Project said:

Not an ounce of kit decals mentioned. I really like that point.

Yep...and there are a handful of reasons for that........

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What a fantastic finish - apart from the overscale trees photo #6 could easily be the real thing.

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On 3/27/2020 at 7:11 PM, RCI said:

what a nice piece of art!! really love it and would love to do this one as well! maybe i would take my own windscreen ISO AA decal, cause the shape is incorrect.

Thank you! I actually wanted to use one of your “caps,” but it wasn’t available to me. Really would like for you to make them available again...as would others, I am sure. Your MD-11 build was inspiring, and was a very good tutorial. Would love to see more from you soon...perhaps an MD-80!?!?!

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On 3/27/2020 at 2:25 AM, Swamp Donkey said:

Really nice. Flew on one of these mad dogs PHX-ORD when they were brand new, and connected to an AA B727. Your lovely MD80 brings back good memories 

Stirring up great memories when I post a build is actually THE best compliment I can receive. Thank you. Glad you have some great memories of American Airlines, and especially the MD-80.

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On 3/28/2020 at 12:19 PM, FortyEighter said:

What a fantastic finish - apart from the overscale trees photo #6 could easily be the real thing.

Thank you! Yeah those trees are the real life real size ones...right in my back yard! Someday when I shoot some pics of a finished model, I'll go to the airport and try to get some background scale that looks a little more real. 

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