Douglas Dc-9-30 ‘Adria Airways‘
Sabrekits 1/144, Ref. SBK14003
Fly’s 1/144 DC-9-30 makes another welcome return thanks to fellow Czech company Sabrekits, this time with markings for the recently (2019) deceased Adria Airways of Slovenia.
The kit dates back to 2009 and has been released since by a number of companies such as 26 Models, Karaya and AZ Model, the latter introducing a small PE fret (replacing a huge array of resin antennaes provided by Fly) that we also find in this second re-release from Sabrekits; the first one, back in 2020, featured markings for Swissair and JAT.
The plastic has not changed since 2009, the kit still being made up of a single sprue. No clear parts are included which will be OK for a lot of airline modellers with a liking for decals as windows and windshield. The ‘feel‘ of the kit is that of a short-run one, with a little bit of flash visible here and there and relatively large and sometimes annoyingly-located pouring gates. The location tabs are few and small, some strengthening may be required at some places such as with the elevators. The air-conditioning intake at the base of the fin is not quite properly contoured but this can easily be fixed with good references and a little bit of Milliput. The engine pylons are part of the fuselage halves; they may be the weaker point of the kit as they do not look wide enough to me, so the advantage of not having a joint between them and the fuselage may be lost if one has to extend their chord a little..
Comparing to far more recent 1/144 airliner kits, this is a ‘no-frill‘ offering: slats, flaps, airbrakes, ailerons and elevators all are set and fixed in their closed or neutral positions. The undercarriage wells are featureless (but little of them can be seen since the aircraft stands very low on its legs), while the undercarriage and wheels are simple (but adequate) and can easily be improved. The engine faces and exhaust cones are likewise adequate but filling in the inside seams of the engine nacelles will still be a tedious job, typical of an earlier generation of 1/144 airliner kit. The undercarriage doors are way too thick and should be replaced. Having said that the engraving is fine and regular all over the airframe and areas that have let down other earlier DC-9s, such as the double-bubble of the fuselage, have been well addressed by the original designer.
The provided new decal sheet is small but provides what’s necessary, including door outlines, various ‘stencils‘ for the fuselage and wings. The decals are however printed on a continuous sheet and markings will need to be cut apart. Adria used DC-9-30s from the late 1960s to the late 1990s and the offered livery is that of a late 20th Century aircraft. Various antennas are provided in plastic, some of them not to be used on this kit, but the above-mentioned PE parts will advantageously replace those needed for our Slovenian airliner.
So, even if the Adria ‘billboard‘ livery is not your cup of tea, it is still a decent idea to get the kit that is all in all very correct and pretty cheap and treat yourself to one of the many other liveries available from a large number of decal manufacturers the world over! Its low price is also a great incentive to those wanting to convert a DC-9-30 into one or several other variants (-10, -15, -20, -40, -50) of the Douglas best-selling airliner..!
Review and pictures by Domi Jadoul