KC-767J & E-767 AWACS – J.A.S.D.F.
Hasegawa continues their fantastic line of small scale airliner aircraft, with this release of the military Boeing KC-767J tanker and E-767 AWACS versions. I have built a number of their other civil airliners, and they are designed to build easily and fairly quickly, by all levels of modeler. I have included pictures of the instruction sheets that cover the history and details of these ex-airliner, Japanese Air Self-Defense Force aircraft.
The two kits come in Hasegawa’s standard sized box, and packaging. Inside are two clear plastic bags, each of which contain the individual model sprues, clear parts, large ballast screws, a stand and poly caps. Loose in the box are two sets of instructions and one good quality decal sheet. Each kit also includes the extra parts specific to the tanker and AWACS.
The plastic is fairly hard, but easy to remove from the sprue and clean up. It responds well to liquid cement that I prefer for long seams. The 767-200 kit is an older mold for Hasegawa, and dates back to when they were produced with fine raised panel lines. The wings, tail planes (except the flaps, slats, ailerons and elevators), and engines all feature raised panel lines, while the fuselages are re-tooled, with quite large for the scale recessed lines. Also, these older models only allowed the undercarriage to be installed down and locked. Newer releases included the option for gear “up” or “down”.
The wings are in two parts. The top part includes the flaps and the complete outer third of the wing, resulting in a nice sharp trailing edge, and fine wing tip detail. The lower part contains the wheel well openings, and flap track “canoes”. I was not happy with the contrasting look of raise and recessed panel lines, so I scribed all the raised panel lines on the wings and the raised lines on the tail planes. Also, I had obliterated some of the raised lines on the underside where I joined the two wing parts. The AWACS had trailing wingtip HF antenna that I accidentally broke off, and were reattached at the very end.
The engines assemble easily with just four parts each. I painted the compressor faces beforehand, and this is trapped between the two main cowling halves. The fit is pretty good, and the intake seams were taken care of with a few swipes of sand paper. Pictures on the web of these particular aircraft showed “polished” bare metal behind the high by-pass cowling, no doubt a fallback to when these were civil aircraft. I wrapped metal foil around these engine parts. The rear, “hot” sections were painted jet engine exhaust.
The fuselage is in two parts and goes together fine. Take your time getting the joins aligned, especially along the flat wing box between the wings. It is easier to deal with the seam and any filling if the two fuselage parts are joined here with no lip. That suggestion goes for any part of a build, really!! The KC-767J tanker also requires panel lines to be filled where cargo doors on both sides of the forward fuselage are located. I photo copied the decal sheet and cut out the doors, including the bare metal rub strips. With double sided tape, I stuck them on the fuselage, and traced around them. I masked around the drawn lines, and filled the panel lines with putty. The only “glass” is the windscreen and a beacon light on the tail top. The Windscreen fit well. The tail light was microscopic!
Several antennas are molded onto the fuselages, and I either knocked them off or removed them until later. Some I replaced with thinner plastic sheet. The KC-767 tanker has a plethora of them in varying sizes and types, as can be seen in the picture. The instructions have you glue the flat base of each tiny antenna to the fuselage. An invitation to be knocked off! I saw a stronger solution (see drawn picture), and referencing the locations shown on the instruction sheet, drilled small holes in the fuselage. There are no locating marks on the fuselage plastic, so some careful estimating, and measuring was required. When I removed the antennas from the sprue, I included the sprue attachment, thinned and slimmed them down, and inserted them into the predrilled hole with super glue. Result: an antenna that can take just a tiny bit more abuse, and easier to attach!! These antenna parts are the only parts, except the beacon on top of the tail that may be challenging for an early stage modeler.
The E-767 AWACS has the rotating early warning radar mounted on the upper, rear fuselage. There are two small tabs on either side of the fuselage, and a slot in the bottom of each mounting pylon. A cylinder attaches to the top of the pylons with tabs and slots. This is in two parts with a poly cap trapped inside to spin the radar. Getting these pieces together and aligned accurately took some concentration. I attached the pylons to the fuselage with liquid glue, and then the cylinder on top. I then centered the assembly with reference to the tail. The radar disk contains a shaft that is pushed into the poly cap in the cylinder. The radar disk was the last item I attached to this model.
The nose and main undercarriage are simple, but look good. They are the same color as the aircraft, so I attached them before painting. Another way would be to paint and assemble the legs, doors, and wheels completely first, making it simpler to align all four wheels on each truck. Once assembled, each completed truck can be attached to the aircraft to better align all eight main wheels on the ground. I ended up with some small gaps between tarmac and tire that I eliminated by taxiing my aircraft over a sheet of sand paper with the brakes on! Don’t tell the “Airline” I took tread off the tires – Too much paperwork and difficult questions!!
The rest of the assembly was uneventful. The wings attach nicely against the fuselage. The tail planes are quite loose, but alignment is not difficult. I attached them towards the end. The engines are left/right handed, but the rear of the pylon has different angles on either side, as do the wing slots they go in. Take some time to get the vertical alignment right.
Both aircraft are painted overall light ghost grey, and the AWACS has white trailing edges of the wings, tailplanes and rudder. All leading edges were treated to Alclad polished aluminium. The gear oleos were painted silver.
The decals performed well overall, although I had some silvering, which was my fault for not glossing the paint up enough. They are a little thick, but settled down nicely. On the decal sheet, I thought the cockpit windscreen side windows looked to be the wrong shape, but are fine once on the aircraft. The two parts come together at the front, and fit fine.
Two large white decal stripes for the AWACS radar disk are supplied and include the “wavy” edges, stencils, a black rectangle and straight white lines extending forward on the top. I assume these are “antenna” and “walkway” markings? I applaud Hasegawa who kindly provided the builder with separate decals for the white stripe “antenna” and “walkways”, if you choose to paint the white band. I initially applied the complete upper and lower decals, with less than desirable results. I could not get them to conform to the compound curves around the edges, and ended up with raised areas of decal. Following a liberal dose of decal softening solution, the white became a splotchy grey, as the black underneath showed through. I solved my problem by lightly sanding and smoothing the problem areas, masked the wavy edges of the white band with post-it notes, and spraying the center white. I then applied the separate black rectangle decal, and the problem was solved. It would have been easier and quicker for me to spray the white band, excluding the edges. Then cut a thin strip off the white decal band with the wavy edge and apply that to each side.
The final assembly was attaching the tiny beacon to the tail top, carefully installing the radar disk on its mount, and reattaching the wingtip HF antennas. I had planned from the start to have the tanker on the ground, as there is no provision for the boom to be extended, and the AWACS airborne. The stand is a great addition, and something Hasegawa included in all their airliner types models. I liked the smoked color they come in, but there were ejector pin marks to be sanded from each part. I mixed up a blue that I liked and sprayed the stand. I added the Aircraft type name and spare marking from the decal sheet.
The couple of issues I had were mainly self-inflicted. Apart from the very small antennas, there is no reason a modeler of any experience couldn’t build these great little Boeings.
I am most grateful for Hobbico and Hasegawa giving me the opportunity to review these fine models, as well as the good folks from IPMS.