1/144 DACO Skyline 737-400 RAF

by Grae "Eng" Sutherland


Silly Week 2009


The kit is DACO Skyline’s 737-400 which comes as a “white tail” i.e. all (and there’s ton’s!) of the stencilling, but no airline markings. The kit has to be the most accurate 737 available in 1/144 (-300 and -500 versions are also available). There were no major problems with the build, a bit of filler around the wing to fuselage join, and that was about all. There are only main gear doors modelled in the extended position in the kit so some scratchbuilding would be required to model it in flight. I added a few bits from the spares box for ECM housings, and stopped short of a refuel probe although was very tempted!

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Here’s a wee bit of a background to my build -

“After reviewing the somewhat overstretched RAF transport fleet it was deemed necessary to find a suitable transport aircraft to help maintain the U.K’s support in numerous global conflicts. The MoD issued a request for a cheap and rapidly available short to medium range aircraft capable of carrying troops and/or cargo. At the time British Airway’s happened to be slowly reducing the size of their 737 fleet as new Airbus aircraft were brought in. As with some of the Tristars flown by the RAF, BA offered the MoD a pick of the 737-400 aircraft as an option, this option was quickly taken up as no other suitable alternative could be found.

The aircraft were initially routed back to Boeing for conversion to combi freighters with a large forward cargo door, this was deemed essential to allow carriage of palletised freight on the upper deck. The remaining modifications to the aircraft were carried out by Marshall’s in the UK, with winglet kits from Aviation Partners being retro-fitted to allow a better range/fuel burn performance, additional communications and navigation systems, and finally a self defence protection suite including chaff and IR protection systems completed the primary modifications. Consideration of in-flight refuelling capability was deemed to be unnecessary, and too complex to embody.

The first aircraft (as modelled above) was in service within 6 months of receipt from BA, such was the urgency of the requirement. The aircraft have not yet been allocated to any squadron, and carry no specific markings other than a registration and tail number. The aircraft has been used on routes including Afghanistan and Iraq as part of a route-proving program to determine the best possible load/range combination, and are proving popular with crews and passengers alike. Being introduced so rapidly the ground crews have been keeping a close eye on how hard the aircraft is being worked and this aircraft even carries a “tally” of operational missions flown so far under the captains DV window.

The current requirement is for 6 aircraft and the remaining 5 will be in service by the end of 2009.”

Grae "Eng" Sutherland

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Photos and text © by Grae "Eng" Sutherland