In-Box Review
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by: Is a secret [ JESSIE_C ]

First impressions

Very little flash for a 38 year old kit. Fine raised panel lines that are out of scale for 1/144 and will be obliterated by all the sanding that will be necessary. Open doors but nothing to put inside them. Airfix never bagged their kits inside the box and over the years many of the parts will break free of the sprues to rattle around inside.
The kit has been released several times over the years and was boxed by MPC in the mid 80s.

The fuselage is two halves from nose to tail. The cabin windows are open. The first issue in 1973 had clear parts to insert in the windows but they were so thick and distorted nothing could be seen of the interior anyway so it's just as well that there's nothing provided. Either fill them and use decals or Krystal clear/Clearfix the windows; decal film alone just won't do it. The cockpit windows are a single piece strip that is easy to either break or lose within the fuselage. Its fit is less than precise. The poorly-fitting clear part leaves quite a large gap around the frames which will take a fair bit of work to eliminate without destroying the windows. The DC-9 has 2 eyebrow windows above the windscreen which are represented by black decals in the newer issues. Both of these problems may be avoided by using decal windows. No attempt is made to show the flat facets that are so prominent above and below the DC-9's centre windscreen panel as seen in this picture:
There is a cockpit bulkhead which prevents the see-though look and makes for a good place to put the nose weight. The instructions do not indicate the need for nose weight but from long experience I know it's needed. If you chose to leave the windows clear, the interior should be painted black to prevent it from looking toy-like. Airfix chose to mould the cabin and baggage doors separately for nearly all their airliners. Unfortunately they have never fit very well, and will need to be puttied and sanded after they are installed. The rear air-stair door is not equipped with its side rails, nor are there representations of the sidewalls and rear bulkhead that should be visible through the door. Those should be scratch-built if you want to leave the door down as it so often is when DC-9s are parked. If the door is glued closed, the very large gaps will have to be eliminated. All the sanding needed with this kit means that the raised panel lines will be obliterated. Perhaps this is a good kit to practise re-scribing on. There are sink marks above many of the alignment pins which will need to be filled. The fuselage does not portray the characteristic “double bubble” cross section. If desired, the crease line may be scribed at floor level and the contours sanded to shape. It's a very subtle and easy to miss error.

The wings are two pieces each. The trailing edges could benefit with a little thinning. Again most detail is raised, but it will generally escape the sandpaper. The fit is not good enough to enable the wings to be attached after painting; they will have to be done first and masked off. The flap actuator fairings are separate, as are the vortilons which mount below the leading edge. These parts are fairly small, and prone to pinging off to vanish into the lair of the carpet monster if the builder is not careful.

The tail-planes are one piece mouldings . They should be mounted at a slight anhedral angle. Since many DC-9 liveries cover the entire fin, the tail-planes should be left off until after painting and decalling is complete. The DC-9's elevators are controlled by servo-tabs and not interconnected so it is quite common to see them deflected at different angles while the aircraft is not flying:

The engines are two halves plus engine faces. There are no details provided for the exhausts, just an open hole. Half the pylon is included with the nacelle and half on the fuselage, leaving a nasty gap that is very difficult to fill and clean up.

Landing gear
The landing gear struts and wheels are basic. They could use some brake lines and whatever else the modeller likes, but will look acceptable. There is an option for raised gear, but no stand is provided in the current issue. Earlier issues had one of Airfix' famous clear plastic stands. There is no detail in the wheel wells. As with all 1/144 kits, the gear doors are overly thick and may be replaced if the modeller wishes.

I don't compare models to drawings or published measurements. When assembled it looks like a DC-9.

Decals and markings
The decal sheet is basic, with only the airline markings provided. This is yet another kit where Airfix expects the modeller to apply the cheat-line, punch the windows out and then assemble the fuselage. If you don't like the kit scheme there are many different choices provided by the aftermarket industry. No window decals are provided. Modellers wishing to apply decal windows must source them separately.

The DC-9 is another wonderful kit to get started with conversions. The many varieties of DC-9s may be produced by cutting the fuselage in varying places and mixing the parts. Russel Brown's Airline Modeller magazine Volume1 Number 2 from December 1995 ran an article detailing how to make all versions from the -10 to the -50. Back issues are available from Airline Hobby Supplies for US$5.00 each. The same issue includes a set of detail photos of DC-9-30s which will be quite useful when building the model. Volume 4 Number 1 from April 1998 has a build article describing an award winning build of this kit in Southern Airways markings.
Highs: It's inexpensive and fairly available. Good shape and wide variety of decal schemes available.
Lows: Raised detail that will be sanded away due to the poor fit. Some accuracy issues.
Verdict: A good kit to build skill with.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:144
  Mfg. ID: 03182
  Suggested Retail: OOP
  PUBLISHED: Jul 17, 2011
  NATIONALITY: United States

About Is a secret (Jessie_C)

Copyright ©2021 text by Is a secret [ JESSIE_C ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


Great review Jessica, but they are not exactly new kits. Has it been re-issued recently? H.
JUL 16, 2011 - 01:20 PM
Available from 1974 to 1979 in KLM markings. Reissued in 1984 in Swissair markings. Reissued from 1987 to 1996. Reissued from 2001 to 2002 in KLM and Iberia markings. Also issued by USAirfix in Delta markings as kit number 60030 (1980?) and by MPC (USA) in EAL markings as kit number 1-4703 (early 1980s). * *Info from the Airfix Tribute forum. Give it a little while and know doubt Airfix will re-release it. Andy
JUL 16, 2011 - 01:33 PM
Hi Jessica, Me thinx you like DC-9s? Good review, thank you for doing it! Hope to see more in the future. It is great to see civies getting attention. This'll make Siderius very happy!
JUL 21, 2011 - 04:11 AM
How'd you ever guess that? Yes, the DC-9 has been a favourite of mine ever since I was a wee thing living in Winterpeg watching the daily Air Canada flights. It was the first aircraft I learned to recognise reliably. This has always been for me how a DC-9 is supposed to look J
JUL 21, 2011 - 05:09 AM
Agree with you there JPTRR Agree with you there too, Jessie, except for me it was Montreal rather than Winnipeg.
JUL 21, 2011 - 03:24 PM

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