Early Boeing aircraft
Boeing 200 – Boeing XF8B – Boeing 377 Stratocruiser

These days the name Boeing is almost synonymous with the aircraft making business in the United States, having absorbed most of its competition in the past few decades. However, in earlier times Boeing was but one of a large number of companies making aircraft in the United States, and probably not the biggest. So it might be interesting to have a look at three of the earliest Boeing aircraft we have in our galleries

Boeing 200 in 1/72 by Dekno

Only one Boeing 200 was made, along with a single slightly stretched Boeing 201. The 200 was designed to carry air mail and the 201 could carry eight passengers. For their time they were very advanced designs , most obviously being all metal monoplanes at a time when most aircraft were still fabric covered biplanes. However, they did not go into production because their performance was limited by the aero engines of the period and a few years later the technologies the 200 and 210 had pioneered were employed by more advanced aircraft such as the Boeing 247 and Douglas DC-2 airliners.

Dekno makes an interesting range of 1/72 models of interwar civil aircraft. The range includes a number of famous racing aircraft and what you might call executive or light airline aircraft. Their kit of the Boeing 200 is one of the largest of their kits I have tackled and is not too difficult if you are prepared to try your hand at limited run resin kits. So if you feel the urge to make some unusual aircraft models and to extend your modelling skills, give Denkno a serious look.

Boeing XF8B-1 in 1/72 by Valom

During the interwar period Boeing had provided excellent aircraft for the United States Army and Navy, aircraft such as the P-12, P-26 and F4B. Perhaps it was Boeing’s involvement with bigger aircraft such as the B-17 and B-29 that took the company’s priority in another direction so it did not produce any fighter or attack aircraft during or after the war. It did, however, produce the excellent XF8B fighter bomber that was designed to give the US Navy an aircraft that could attack Japan from aircraft carriers beyond the range of Japanese land based aircraft. Despite its excellent performance the US Navy had turned its future interests to jet powered aircraft by 1944 when the first XF8F flew and so none were produced for service.

The Valom 1/72 kit of the XF8F is quite a challenge and not something for modellers who only make Tamiya kits because they like easy builds. I’ve written quite a bit about this in a Workbench Note which you might find of some help is you do (foolishly) decide you have to have one of these in your collection.

Boeing 377 Stratocruiser in 1/144 by Minicraft

The Boeing 377 Stratocruiser was Boeing’s entry into the post war large airliner competition with the Lockheed Super Constellation and the Douglas DC-7. It was a development of the C-97 military transport which was a development of the Boeing B-50 bomber which was, in turn, an improved version of the famous B-29 bomber. It, along with its competition, was the epitome of high class intercontinental air transport in the 1950s and the Stratocruiser also offered a unique lower deck lounge and bar for its passengers. However, the reign of these magnificent airliners did not last long because they were soon replaced by the new jet airliners that began entering service at the end of the 1950s.

The Minicraft 1/144 Boeing Stratocruiser is far from being an excellent, or even good, kit. If you want that you might find better luck with the Welshmodels kit, but I haven’t seen one so don’t quote me on that. I’ve written about my experience with this kit in some Workbench Notes that you might like to read. You will note that I report problems with the paint, but I made this model before I had figured out the problems that can easily occur if you try using enamel and lacquer paints on the same model.  You will also notice how much the white enamel paint has yellowed in comparison to the white decals in the past twenty years.  If I were making this model again it would be lacquers all the way and much less of a headache.