Airfix 1/144 Boeing 314 Clipper






2 aircraft ;  PAA and BOAC


Scott Van Aken


This is the 1960s release


The Boeing 314 Clipper was to be the best long distance, intercontinental aircraft yet to take to the air. When it first entered service in mid-1939, it was the most luxurious form of air transportation yet developed. Initially designed for the US-China route, it proved itself equally suited for the shorter US to Lisbon run. 

It was the largest and most powerful flying boat yet built. So large was it, that there were passageways built into the wing to allow in-flight servicing of its four 1,600 hp Wright Twin Cyclone engines. Despite all the power, the Clipper cruised at a now-sedate 180 mph.

Soon after the initial four had entered service with PAA, war broke out in Europe. An additional six were constructed, three of them going to BOAC, which operated them from Poole UK, to Baltimore, MD. BOAC kept them in service after the war, finally retiring them in the late 1940s. The PAA ones were sold off immediately after the war in 1946 and replaced by land planes, enough runways having been built across the Pacific to make flying boats no longer needed.


When you first look at this kit, you are amazed at how nicely it is done. Sure, it is raised panel lines and lots of rivets, but the rivets are quite tiny and look to be scale. There is no cockpit or interior to this aircraft as is typical with 1/144 airliners. There are a myriad of windows to put in as well as separate hatches and doors.

There are four tiny engines and props as well as some antenna and that is about it for detail. No alternate bits are offered. I mean, only 10 of these aircraft were built so what do you want? While it doesn't say in the instructions, you may want to add a bit of nose weight to keep it from sitting nose high. One nice thing about the design is that there are no wing tip mounted floats to have to deal with, making it a very sleek design. 

The white plastic is well formed and though there is a bit of flash on some of the props and engine cowling, nothing too bad. A nice addition is a small black stand for you to show it in flight. There are decals for both a BOAC and PAA version, the BOAC 314 being camouflaged. Frankly, time has not been good to the decals in this set and they are badly yellowed. Fortunately, Airfix reissues this kit from time to time so it shouldn't be that tough to get another set from them.

The instructions are a two step affair as there are minimal parts for a kit of this size, most of the construction being installation of the clear bits and the construction of the two row radial engines.

Overall a very nice looking kit despite its age and one that needs to be built much more often!

Review copy courtesy of me and my wallet!

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