Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Aurora Hughes Airwest DC-9 'Top Banana'

The Aurora Hughes Airwest DC-9 was another early model I built while living at J-5. There are some memories associated with it such as hearing Paul Simon's "Still Crazy After All These Years" playing on my Dad's stereo, having trouble with my homework, and a new microwave oven not far from where I sat and worked on my models. My parents probably bought it for me at Gemco, or at a toy store during one of our frequent trips 'down below' to the L.A. area to shop. For some reason, I must have picked this one out because I liked the box art, or perhaps because I remember seeing Hughes Airwest DC-9s fly over my grandparents house in Downey on their approach into LAX. For whatever reason, this model has always been a favorite because of its large size, and bright yellow color.
My original DC-9 was put together rather hastily, and while attempting to put the decals on myself, one of the side window strip decals broke, and was ruined. My Dad helped me with the other side, and it came out okay. Isn't that the way it is with all models? There's always a good side and a bad side! I didn't paint my original, and so most of the decals ended up flaking off anyway, until I was left with a plain yellow DC-9.

This rebuild presented me the opportunity to do it right this time. I found one on EBay, with all parts except the display stand, and good decals. The parts are molded in yellow, and I would liked to have left them unpainted like the instructions say, but the yellow just wasn't the right shade - it was more a lemon yellow rather than the correct 'sun dance' yellow. So I sprayed the body with Tamiya yellow which went on like a dream, and is more the correct shade. For the wings I sprayed them Testors primer gray for the inner panels, and tried Testors chrome for the outer strips. The chrome spray paint didn't adhere well to the primer however, so I tried using aluminum foil. The results are better than I could have ever hoped for. She looks like a company desk model. I was worried about the old decals; they didn't looked cracked, but one never knows until soaking and getting them to loosen from the backing paper. To my amazement and pleasure, the decals held together, and slid on perfectly. I didn't bother to use Micro Sol since the plane's surfaces are smooth and glossy. I put clay in the nose so she'll sit properly on her wheels, but if I can find an original Aurora display stand someday, then I might put her on the stand.

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