Zvezda Boeing 777-300ER, part 1

I found myself torn between projects I could start after finishing the A320, going so far as to post a picture of my kit stash on Facebook for suggestions of what to tackle next. I’ve got a bunch of the amazing Star Wars kits that Bandai’s been releasing for the past couple of years but nothing was calling to me. I started considering the Polar Lights Delorean Time Machine, but as I began looking into it, I found that there were so many little details that I’d want to get as correct as I could that I needed to put that on the backburner for awhile and do plenty of research in the meantime. So I came back to my small stack of airliner models and picked another Zvezda kit, this time Boeing’s huge 777-300ER. In short, my brain is in airliner-mode and I’ve already done a bunch of research and photo gathering.

This is quite a bit more simple than the A320. Even though it’s about 5 times the size of the A320, it’s a pretty basic kit – no flap or door options here. But it’s beautifully crafted with a lot of fine detail all over. A great example of that is found in the twin engines. The fan blades are two separate discs that slot into each other, allowing a lot more detail than would normally be allowed.

I painted these up with Model Master Metalizer gunmetal grey, buffing the central “hub” of the fan to make it glossy and stand out, then lined each blade with a thin strip of steel.

The fans themselves mount into a two-part sleeve that will then be mounted inside the outer halves of the engine. This is pretty nice because it makes it a lot easier to smooth out the seam and then paint it. No concerns about masking off the fans that you just spent a bunch of time on.

If there’s one weak spot so far, it’s these vents (?) that open into the gear bay area, just in front of the wings. The fuselage is molded with an opening and an accompanying part to fit into it, but that part is crap and doesn’t fit very well.

I decided to take the more difficult route of creating my own openings that look much more like those on the real plane. For the long floor of the scoop, I used some thicker sheet styrene, .20″ I believe, and walled it off with some paper-thin sheet styrene, and then shaved the edges down even with the fuselage. The effect is pretty nice – a big improvement over the chunky kit parts.
And since I have slipped into the “obsessing over details” portion of the build, I ordered a set of extremely detailed decals consisting of the myriad warning/info/no-step decals that pepper aircraft surfaces. This set from Avia Decals on Ebay, if you’re looking. Hopefully they’ll arrive before I’ve gotten to the point where I need them. Given my slow progress, that’s pretty likely.
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