First of three releases of the 777-200, each featuring different engines; this kit has Rolls-Royce Trent engines
The 777-200 was the first all-new airliner design from Boeing in almost 15 years. Designed initially to replace the McDonnell-Douglas DC-10 and Lockheed L-1011 on short to medium range routes, the 777-200 evolved into a multirole airliner capable of both short range and long range missions, competing directly with the Airbus A330 and A340. The Boeing 777-200 is the first airliner to be designed without conventional blueprints; instead all design work was done digitally.
The 777-200 uses the largest turbofan engines ever developed, with a choice of 3 different manufacturers: the Pratt & Whitney 4000 series, the Rolls Royce Trent, and the Generel Electric 90. The latter engine is the largest ever fitted to an airliner, with a forward compressor fan diameter of 120 inches (3.04m) and 100,000 lbs thrust! The diameter of the GE nacelle is as large as the Boeing 737's fuselage.
The first flight of the Boeing 777-200 was in June 1994, and the type entered service with United Airlines, the launch customer, in June 1995. The care taken in designing the aircraft, done in close cooperation with the initial 8 airlines to order they type, has paid off. In service the 777-200 has proven to be popular with both crews and passengers, and 597 orders have been received for the type to date, which should make the 777 another winner for Boeing.
The first impression is that this is a BIG model; assembled, it is over 17 inches (43.2cm) long and nearly that large in span. It is very impressive-looking in the box!
Parts breakdown is standard Mincraft: vertically split fuselage halves with a large clear insert for the windshield and wings attached with interdigitating tabs to help set the dihedral. The detailing is entirely engraved; it looks a touch heavy, not as good as the MD-80 kit, but much better than the 707 kit.
The Rolls-Royce Trent engines are very well depicted. Finally a manufacturer has done the parts breakdown for a high-bypass engine correctly, with a full hot-stream cowling attached to the strut, clamshell parts attaching around the hot stream cowling, and--best of all--a one-piece, seamless trunk intake section!
Landing gear makes a good attempt at capturing the complexity of the actual airplane's landing gear. Wheels are good. The nose gear well is boxed in, but the main gear wells are not; fortunately this is not a difficult fix.
Dry fitting revealed good but not great fit on most parts; some adjusting and trial fitting will be needed to get everything just right, but not much. The windshield clear piece is a TIGHT fit, so care will be needed here. Trailing edges on the wings and cowlings are rather thick, so thinning will be required for the best appearance.
The windshield piece has the cockpit windows rather deeply inset, and for a clear windshield builder, this is going to be an extremely difficult fix without changing the contour of the windshield area. It's probably better to just fill in the indented windshield area with putty, use a windshield decal, and be done with it.
Markings are for an American Airlines 777-223 in the company's standard markings. For the most part, the decal is done very well. I'm not sure the italicized registration numbers are accurate, and according to an AA mechanic that posts to the Airliner Digest, they got the alphanumeric fleet number wrong--but hey, if you don't work for AA, who's to know?
The painting instructions left out the Corogard inspar area that is painted on the underside of the wing. Yes, AA's 777s are "backwards" to the norm--all gray wings on top, Corogard on bottom.
In my experience Minicraft decals are very easy to work with and respond well to setting solutions. Since this is not the first 1/144th scale 777-200 kit to come out, there are a number of existing aftermarket decal choices out there, so finding markings to suit you shouldn't be too hard.
When I found out Minicraft was tooling this kit in China, like they did for their 757, 707, Electra, Connie, and DC-6 kits, I must admit my expectations were pretty low for this model. So I am very happy to say that this is a very good airliner kit, and with a little care and patience, it should assemble into a very impressive model. I can't wait to get started on it.
Minicraft will be issuing other 777 kits with the other engine choices within the next few months. Continental (GE 90) is next in April 2002, followed by United (P&W 4000) in May, according to Minicraft. In case you want to know which kit to buy for a particular airline's livery, I have included a chart at the end of this article.
Personal photo archives
Norris, Guy, and Wagner, Mark: MODERN BOEING JETLINERS, MBI Publishing Company, 1999
The readers of the Airliner Model Digest
BOEING 777 OPERATORS AND ENGINE CHOICES:
Air China PW4077 -200
Air France GE90 -200
Alitalia GE90 -200ER On order
All Nippon PW4074 -200, -300
All Nippon GE90 -300ER, on order for delivery 11/2004
American Airlines RR Trent -200ER
Asiana PW4090 -200ER, -300
British Airways GE90 -200ER G-ZZZA - G-ZZZE, G-RAES, G-VIIA- Y
British Airways RR Trents -200ER G-YMMA - G-YMMP
Cathay Pacific RR Trent -200, -300
China Southern GE90 -200
Continental Airlines GE90 -200ER
Delta Airlines RR Trents -200ER
El Al RR Trent -200ER
Emirates RR Trent -200, -200ER, -300
Eva Air GE90 -200LR, -300ER, On order
Garuda GE90 -200ER, On order
Japan Air Lines GE90 -200ER, 300ER, on order
Japan Air Lines PW4090 -200, -300
Japan Air System PW4074 -200
Korean PW4090 -200ER, -300
Kuwait Air GE90 -200ER
Lauda Air GE90 -200ER
Malaysian RR Trent -200ER
Saudi GE90 -200ER
Singapore RR Trent -200ER, -300ER
Thai International RR Trent -200ER, -300ER
United Airlines PW4090 -200, -200ER
Varig GE90 -200ER
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