I normally build 1/144, but I find the Hasegawa range of 1/200 widebodies good kits and not too small to display. Space is always a problem for us model builders. I bought this kit in about 1998, built half of it and like many other projects, ending up storing it and taking it in a box from house to house as I moved! This year, I decided to finally finish some of the half finished.
The kit I bought was the Hasegawa 747-400 with General Electric CF6-80 engines in Korean Air markings which I intended to do, but an old girlfriend spilt some massage oil over the decal sheet, therefore ruining it (TRUE!). There is a lesson there somewhere, but I haven’t figured that out yet. This particular kit comes moulded in light blue plastic for the fuselage and light grey for the other parts. The fuselage is in two halves and has all the windows hollowed out. The instructions tell you to fill some in for the Korean Air version. There is a clear plastic part for the cockpit window and behind it a bulkhead on which you glue the weights (ballast) which is included in the kit. A very good idea I thought. The wings, stabilisers and tail come with the trailing edge already thinly moulded, the joint for gluing the top and bottom parts being further away from the trailing edge. If you are used to building 1/144, you will notice that 1/200 kits have far less parts and are a little more straight forward to put together. The instructions are clear, the painting section shows top, bottom and both sides.
As I normally do, I filled in all the windows, doors and sanded the cockpit flush to the fuselage. When gluing the wings and horizontal stabilisers together there are small joints which need filling in. If my memory serves me well, the wing to fuselage joint was good, the instructions showing you the angle in which the wings should be glued.
The kit has all the gear doors already moulded onto the fuselage. They look too thick for this scale and the main gear doors on the outside legs are totally the wrong shape (parts D2 & D3). Closer inspection of photos revealed most of the doors are angled in or out in relation to the legs, the kit doors are moulded hanging straight down. All kit doors were cut off and replaced with ones made from plastic card and glued in the correct position. As an added detail I made gear door struts from stretched sprue.
Like all build projects there are always problems, so just to let you know that you’re not alone in your suffering, here is what happened to me. Having built the new gear doors to replace parts D2 & D3 I managed to vacuum both parts up while preparing the spray area. I then surgically cut open the bag and managed to find one piece broken. The other is still listed as missing in action. Then while washing the wheels for painting (there are a lot of them) I managed to wash a load down the sink. The removal of the ‘U bend’ pipe rescued 4 of them but 2 were never found and are probably now being nibbled on by fish! The front two wheels are actually now from a 777 kit.
A final problem was that the plane tipped back on it’s centre gear wheels giving a ‘rotating look’. The problem was found to be that the location holes for each wing gear leg are moulded too high, so the legs were much longer than the centre gear legs. The kit only sits right, when it sits flush on all the main gear legs. I therefore removed the outside legs and very carefully drilled flatter the location holes and shortened the gear struts too. Problem solved.
Painting and Decalling
With no Korean Air decals and a half painted 747, I decided to look to the after market decals for a GE powered 747-400. Garuda Indonesia is a scheme, that although a bit basic has a really colourful tail, so I opted for the Liveries Unlimited sheet.
I primed the kit with white Auto primer from a can and sprayed the fuselage with Auto Appliance White. A great colour, but the pressure from the can gives it the orange peel effect. However I have discovered the joys of Micromesh sanding paper which I used to bring up a great finish. I sprayed Extracolor X150 Canadian Voodoo grey on the wings and stabilisers. I hand painted the metal leading edges with Humbrol 27002 Polished Aluminium. The tail and winglets were sprayed Humbrol 15 Gloss midnight Blue. The fan blades were painted with steel, given a dark grey wash and then when dry the blades were highlighted with silver.
With such a big plane, decalling can be a problem, especially when all the doors and windows are no longer visible. Also it is difficult to match decals together, for example a name will be as long as a group of windows. As a starting reference point I used the cockpit decal. Everything went pretty well. The Liveries sheet is very nice, the windows seemed to be numbered and lettered according to the side which they should go on, but there is no reference in the instructions. Photos are very important, as was the case with the Garuda 747, as the window pattern doesn’t match the windows on the sheet.
I also used the Liveries corogard sheet for the centre-sections of the wings and tailplanes. It was overall a good fit but did require some trimming and patching by the flap track fairings. I used decal solution on these wing decals, some of the subsequent decal folding didn’t straighten out too well. Perhaps no decal solution would have been better.
All surfaces were sealed using Klear floor polish painted on using a brush. I weathered the model using pastel powder, especially around the flaps and in the wheel hubs. I also masked off each engine and brushed on powder to show the effects of reverse thrust. A thinned dark oil solution was brushed over the gear legs to highlight their shape.
A very nice kit that doesn’t require too much alteration. It looks like a 747. In retrospect I would have drilled out lights in the leading edge of the wings and filled the join where the two outboard engine pylons meet the wing. A very recommended kit.