Airfix 1/144 DC-9




$3.00 (in 1973)




Scott Van Aken




Still flying the short and medium range airline routes of the world, the DC-9 was the first really successful twin-jet airliner. True, the Caravelle can justifiably claim the title of the first in its class, but sales of this French airliner were a pittance compared to the DC-9. A relative of the DC-9, now called the Boeing 717, is still being produced today, 35 years after the DC-9s first flight. 

The short DC-9-10 was first delivered to Delta airlines in December of 1965. The DC-9-30, by far the best looking of the lot, first flew in August 1966. All the military C-9s are based on the -30 airframe. When you go to any major airport, you will still see the DC-9 earning its keep with major airlines.


The DC-9 isn't a huge aircraft, at least, not when compared to a 747. However, it is very sleek looking and just oozes cool! It also has flown in a huge number of liveries. Any modeler who wants a lot of different airlines can use the DC-9 to fill the bill and not overload the shelf!

This is the first boxing of the Airfix 1/144 DC-9 and was issued in KLM markings in 1973.  Since then it hasn't been reissued more than once by Airfix though it was reboxed in the US in Eastern Airlines markings by MPC in the mid-1980s. It is really overdue for reissue as current kits demand a rather steep price on the 'used kit' market.

Typical of 1/144 airliners, there is no interior, though there are the usual myriad of cabin transparencies. The instructions would have you spend the first three steps painting and decaling the fuselage! Frankly, most airliner modelers will have tossed the decals and filled in the windows for preparation for aftermarket decals. There is a bulkhead just aft of the cockpit and all the doors and baggage hatches are separate items. Why is beyond me, but that was in vogue in 1973. The aft airstair is on hinges in case you want to display it with them down so you can see into an empty fuselage!

The kit does come with a stand and gear doors that can be posed in the up position. A nice touch that I wish other airliner kit makers would do. To me, airliners look perfectly OK on stands. The engines are two piece affairs with a front turbine blade for the JT8D engines. There is nothing in the aft section but the usual hole, so this will need to be painted black. The flaps and underwing strake are separate pieces so can be put on after painting if it will help to simplify things.

The landing gear are quite sturdy and of the several kits I have built, I don't recall using any nose weight, though putting in some won't hurt if you are building it gear down. The decals in this kit are for the cheat line and other ancillary markings. Because of the age of this kit, the decals are pretty badly yellowed and may be too brittle to use. No problem as there are literally hundreds of aftermarket sheets for this kit.

As you can see from the images below, this makes into a very nice airliner and can be recommended to any who want to get into airliner modeling in 1/144.



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