Top Quality 757 at last!

Civil Airliner Boeing 757-200

Zvezda 1/144, Ref. 7032

Another large box coming from the East, this one is bound to please many airline modellers, as the 757 from Boeing, despite being almost 40 years old, has not been well served by model manufacturers. The easiest kit to get hold until now was the Academy kit (757-200) first released in 1999 and re-released with different decals about 10 times since. This kit was a bit rough and did not offer much in terms of options nor details.

The new tooling from Zvezda is likely to see all those unbuilt Academy kits hitting the second-hand market over the next few weeks.. Zvezda has become a kind of ‘standard‘ now with their airliner kits, and this new 757 is certainly very nice to look at.

120 parts, including 9 molded in clear plastic constitutes this offering, but many will remain un-used since the number of options is rather high, with two different sets of main landing wheels, two sets of engines (Rolls-Royce or Pratt & Whitney), hinting at re-boxings with different decals to come. Also hinting at other 757s to hit us in the future are the fact that this kit is equipped with the blended wingtips that were introduced in 2005, and fuselage windows strips asking to be shortened… The longer fuselaged 757-300 should therefore be an off-the-shelf option in the future.

The engraving is fine and delicate, a far cry from Academy’s.

The cockpit is furnished (Academy’s was not) but it is a (slight) shame that Zvezda did not offer decals for the front instrument panel and side consoles which are very flat looking as is.. Of course little of that will be seen I know.

My other issue with the new kit is the way the wings are made up of three main parts with a section of the fuselage included with the bottom part of the wings. This had been an issue for me with Hasegawa’s Airbus A300 (1/200), demanding a different way to approach the painting, decaling and weathering of the model, when the rest of the series featured separate wings with an excellent final fit with the fuselage, post-everything. Easier. Nevertheless, Zvezda’s parts may be just fine and offer a perfect fit. Only time will tell!

Other nice touches include one-piece flap actuator fairings, separate engine nacelle lips (so helpful for their painting), neat front engine fan blades and wing (and fin & stabilators!) leading edges in one piece with part of the wing underside included on the uppersides, guaranteeing easy to clean and sharp trailing edges.

The wings provided in the kit are meant to be used with the blended wingtips but the standard tips are provided as an option, clearly for future boxings of the kit.

Two choices of engines, as previously mentioned; Zvezda offers for each type an inlet ring for each intake, but it is still made up of two parts, meaning some putty will still be necessary to hide the joints, but at least it can be done before final assembly of the engine nacelles!

Each main undercarriage is made up of 10 parts, while the front one, whose main leg appears at first very frail end up being a lot more beefier with additional supports, bits and bobs (totaling 9 parts altogether).

Decals-wise, Zvezda’s release only offers one livery, that of Icelandair, maybe not the sexiest, but not bad looking at all. The aftermarket decal providers are certainly going to be offering a lot more choice soon, no doubt!

The decal sheets (there are two) offer a decent number of stencils, fuselage doors outlines and the silver lining for each cabin window and windshield, and the fine black lines for the no-step wing zones. Quite comprehensive, really.

The option of displaying the model in flight is entertained with the presence of a large plastic stand (and separate u/c well doors).

It’s a great kit, just go and get (at least) one!

Review by Domi Jadoul; pictures by Zvezda and Domi Jadoul.

http://www.zvezda.org.ru

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