Boeing 777-300 JAL
This is another of Hasegawa’s 1/200 series. This is their third 777-300, the other ones being done in ANA markings and a different JAL scheme. There are also two 777-200s in the series, both JAL. This is my first 1/200 scale kit.
The fuselage comes in white plastic, while the wings, horizontal stabilizers, landing gear, wheels, and doors all come in gray. There is no cockpit interior, but there is a clear windscreen.
Early on in the instructions, Hasegawa provides a wonderful feature, a nose weight. It’s a large screw, about 3/8 diameter, and about 1 inch long. It goes through a bulkhead which is glued into the fuselage. It’s plenty heavy, and there’s no danger of this model becoming a tail sitter.
I took a photo of this feature, but I’ve had some computer trouble, and the “in process” photos for this build are gone to the great bit-bucket in the sky.
The fuselage halves fit very nicely. I did a little seam scraping to get the edges of the fuselage halves to meet exactly, but it required no putty – which is a good thing, because any putty other than white putty would show through the white paint you need to put on the fuselage.
The engines go together quite nicely, with only some sanding to get the seams to look smooth.
Boeing and Airbus airliners use Corogard to protect the wing. On the 777, it’s only applied to the bottom of the wing. It appears as a darker gray stripe. I painted the Corogard area after I assembled the wing top and bottom, but before I added the engines and bulges, which are different colors. This simplified masking.
I did have some problem with the fuselage. Hasegawa gives you holes for the windows, then wants you to apply decals over the holes. I used Elmer’s Glue All to fill the windows, as I had already put the fuselage halves together. It might have been easier to fill the windows from the inside, but this worked. Also, the 777-300 has 3 windows on each side which have to be filled. OK, Elmer’s worked there, too.
The paint scheme was pretty simple. The fuselage is white, the wings are gray with Corogard underneath. I put on the underwing bulges and the engines, and applied Future to the entire plane with the wings unattached. It sure made it easier to put on decals without having to be careful of the wings and engines. That’s another reason I save the landing gear and gear doors until the very last.
The decals were nicely printed, and the windows lined up nicely with the little spots where I had filled the holes in the fuselage. I used Micro-Sol under the decals, and they went on cleanly, moved around some if necessary, but when I blotted them with a tissue, they stayed put. Doing the decals took me a day and a half because I did an area then let everything set up, since these decals take up large areas on the fuselage and it’s far too easy to put a finger on a decal and move it or destroy it.
I attached the wings to the fuselage with CA. Once they were set up, I put another coat of Future on, using the airbrush. Here my problems began. These problems are NOT with the kit, it was just a lot of bad luck which happened all at once. I blew one of the window decals right off the fuselage with the air. It didn’t come completely off, but I still have no idea where that decal part went. Fortunately, I was able to take a photo of the other side and use that to make a new decal on my laser printer.
While I was putting this decal on, I managed to knock the engine off of the wing on that side. OK, fixable. But when I picked up the model by that wing, the wing came off. The CA I used was too old and didn’t hold. But it was hard and thick enough that it wouldn’t let the wing go back on cleanly. I had to scrape the built-up glue off the fuselage and the wing root. I used a seam scraper for this job. While doing this, the scraper slipped and gouged the ball of my thumb. Blood all over the bottom of the wing. So now we know that Future also prevents blood from attacking paint and decals. After bandaging, I put the whole thing away and went to bed.
The next day, I painted the landing gear, bought a new tube of CA, put the wing back on, and installed the gear and doors. Wonderful fit, not a problem. I guess my luck changed. Or maybe just a night’s rest was what I needed.
I had a challenge getting the clear windscreen to fit into the hole in the fuselage front, but it appeared to be a miniscule bit of flash causing the tight-fitting part to not want to go in place cleanly.
Finished, and it’s a good looking aircraft.
Recommended. The kit is very good. Fit is great. I might suggest putting some Future under the window decals, and be sure your glue is fresh. I was impressed that the main landing gear sits with all 12 wheels on the ground just using the kit’s alignment. No fooling around, just install the gear and the retractor arms, and it sits like it should.
This project goes to something my friend and mentor George Reny used to tell me – “Don’t give up on a kit. There’s very little that you can screw up that you can’t fix.”
Thanks to Hobbico/Hasegawa USA for the kit, and to Steve Collins for allowing me to review it and expand my horizons even further.