Minicraft 1/144 B.314 Clipper




$20.00 MSRP


One aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Looks familiar


Back when Pan Am was a viable airline, it was well known for pioneering long, over-water flights. Natural for a company that started with seaplanes. Because of the long time it took a steamship to go from place to place, especially in the Pacific, Pan Am needed a fast, comfortable flying boat for its Pacific operations. Pan Am had been using Martin 130 flying boats but wanted something larger and faster. Boeing was contacted to provide what was needed and the result was the Boeing 314 'Clipper'. The first to fy was the 'Dixie Clipper', which was introduced into service in May of 1939 with service from the US to Europe. Pacific routes followed soon after.

With the start of WWII, operations were limited to non-belligerent nations, which basically meant Portugal, though some flights were made on behalf of BOAC to the UK. When the US entered the war, the planes were taken over by the Army and used as transports and high priority passenger transport. Though flown in Navy markings, they continued with Pan Am crews. Probably the most famous was the Dixie Clipper which flew President Roosevelt to the Casablanca conference in early 1943. The surviving aircraft were returned to Pan Am after the war, but by now a huge number of runways dotted the world and the age of the flying boat was over.


I was overcome by a sense of deja vu when opening the box. Darned if it didn't look like the Airfix kit minus the rivets. This was confirmed by looking at the underside of the stand where one can see a mirror image of the word 'Airfix' imprinted there. It is also on the inside of one wing with the date of 1964! Apparently Minicraft basically used the Airfix kit and scribed in panel lines. Even the parts layout on the sprues are identical.

What is different are the instructions and decal sheet. The two step construction sequence is well done with what few colors used plainly annotated. The only way to do this plane is in the early bare metal scheme with black lower fuselage and the bright orange upper wing markings. The decal sheet is well printed by Cartograf and very glossy. My copy seemed to have gotten stuck on the plastic bag and when I removed it, small bits of decal were left on the bag. The engine nacelle bits are separate, though it doesn't appear that they are large enough. Time will tell if they fit or not. Not only are the orange bits provided but also the anti-glare panel and the de-icing boots. A very thorough decal sheet.



Many have wanted a Boeing Clipper kit but couldn't find the Airfix version. Though a bit more expensive than the Airfix version, it is a cleaner mold and should look great when you get it finished.

Kit courtesy of my inability to pass up buying a cool kit. Especially when it is on sale!

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