All posts tagged: 737 Classic Series
Boeing 737-300 all white blank

It’s only taken me six years to get to this point, but finally – here is the template for the world’s most popular commercial aircraft! Before I in advertently dig a hole too deep to get myself out of, I fully admit that I’m not totally positive that the 737–300 is the world’s most popular airliner or not. I do know that it was the most popular 737 ever built (with 1113 sold), and combined with the fact that the entire 737 family is the most successful commercial airliner type in history (in terms of sales), I’m just making a broad and best-guess assumption that the 737–300 is the king of the hill. Even if I’m totally wrong, you have to give me credit for making a solid guess, right? 🙂

And before all of you Boeing historians out there start pecking away at your keyboards to inform me that it was actually the 737-200 which was the most popular with 1114 total sales, there were several different sub-variants of that one (cargo/combi) that helped to make up that overall number. Since the 737-300 didn’t have any sub-variants, I’m counting full-passenger versions only. In that case, the 737-200 only sold 991 times, versus the 1113 of the 737-300.

737-300 side view blueprint

Wireframe line drawing of a 737-300

I’ve received more requests for side view 737–300 templates more than any other aircraft since I started doing this way back in 2012, and I know that there are a lot of you out there who have been patiently waiting for these illustrations (for what seemed like an eternity for sure). That’s why it felt really good to put the finishing touches on them this morning and call ’em “done”, and I was half tempted to crack open a beer and light a cigarette even though I don’t drink or smoke.

Because I’ve been working so hard on the entire 737 family for several weeks now, there wasn’t much about the -300 which surprised me as I was illustrating it. It’s essentially just a shortened version of the -400, and a slightly longer version of the -500. There’s nothing special or unique about the design of this one that I haven’t already talked about in my posts for the -400 and -500, so it was a rather simple template to create all things considered.

The only thing that I learned from doing this illustration (which really surprised me) was the fact that blended winglets were developed for this model, which ended up becoming a very popular add-on. At first I thought it was a mistake when I discovered that little juicy little tidbit of info, but a quick search of revealed that there were quite a handful of 737’s out there that wore blended winglets at some point. No 737-300s rolled off the assembly line with winglets – it was solely an aftermarket option, but ended up being very popular due to how much it increased fuel efficiency on longer routes. BTW, 737-300s fitted with winglets were dubbed “Special Performance” models.

737-300SP winglets side view

Here’s the all white 737-300SP, which is the Special Performance version featuring blended winglets

737-300SP blueprint

And here’s the wireframe line drawing of the 737-300SP

purchase the boeing 737-300 template source files in vector and psd format

Anyway, now that I’m getting down to the end of the 737 line, I’m starting to understand firsthand how complex and massively huge this family of aircraft is. When I first committed to illustrating every single version of the 737 several weeks ago, I wasn’t expecting it to be such a heartburn-inducing chore. The naïve side of me was thinking that 737s were generally the same from generation to generation, with small visual tweaks here and there that were (for the most part) difficult notice with the naked eye. But now that I’ve got everything from the 737–300 all the way up to the 737–9 Max illustrated, I can really appreciate how much this aircraft has evolved over the years and it’s definitely not the same airplane today that it was when it first rolled out of the factory way back in 1969.

The good news is that at the time of this writing, I am darn near close to having the -200 fully illustrated and ready to post here to I fully expected to have it completed by now, but it turns out that the original version of the 737 was massively different from the Classic series and there were a lot of changes required which has unexpectedly eaten up a lot of my time this week. Anyway, I’ll get into that gory info in tomorrow’s post, but for now, I hope you enjoy the 737-300 that you’ve been been patiently waiting so long for!

737-400 all white side view

Thanks for all of your support (and patience) while I continue on this excruciating journey of creating templates for the entire 737 family of aircraft! “Excruciating” is probably too light of a word considering all of the blood sweat and tears that I’ve put into this little project over the past few weeks or so, but I will admit that most of the struggle has been my own fault due to not paying attention to the little (but oh-so significant) details.

Making mistakes on one template has never been that big of a deal, because it normally doesn’t take very long to go back in and fix whatever it is that’s wrong and to regenerate updated illustrations for this blog and my online store.

The problem with my 737 family of templates is the fact that I’ve done nine of them now (including this 737–400), and every time that I realize that I made a little mistake (it happens more often than I care to admit), I have to go back in and fix every single one of them. Making matters worse is the fact that most versions of the 737 have multiple sub-variants (winglets vs no winglets) and that just amplifies the pain and frustration. It’s a very time consuming and mind-numbing process to modify and then to regenerate final illustrations for every template, and now that I’m getting down to the final few 737 versions, it’s a really big (and soul-crushing) deal to discover a mistake and then have to go back and update everything.

Long story short, I guess what I’m trying to say is that this 737 series of illustrations has my my most frustrating series so far. However, I will admit that I feel immensely satisfied with what I have been able to produce over the past few weeks, and I’m very excited to be getting close to the end. There’s only three more to go after this one!

737-400 technical blueprint

Wireframe line drawing of a 737-400

buy boeing 737-400 source file airliner template in vector and psd format

Although the 737-400 was nowhere near being the most popular version of the 737 ever (that honor goes to the 737-800), it’s still the variant that I think of first when somebody says “737” to me. I’m pretty sure that I have Alaska Airlines to thank for that, because the -400 was the main type of aircraft they flew to my home airport of SAN (and nearby SNA) back in early 2000’s. For some reason another, all those -400s with that friendly Eskimo on the tail have been etched into my brain and it’s the 737 I think of the most when I think of the 737. Weird, I know.

486 737-400s were produced between years of 1988 and 2000, which is 97 more than the 737–500. The 737–300 (which I will post a template for next week) was the king of the 737 Classic series with 1113 total sales. If you’re curious, it was the 737-100 which was the major 737 variant with the fewest sales. Only 30 buyers lined up for that one, which is odd considering that the 737 went on to be the most popular jet airliner of all time.

Finally, I would like to apologize for the fact that I don’t yet have an illustration of the 737-400F for you like I promised yesterday. Remember at the top of this post where I was explaining how it takes a lot of time to go back in and fix mistakes that I inevitably make with each illustration? It turns out that the engine cowling that I illustrated for the -500 (which carries over to all 737 Classic variants) was all wrong and I had to go back and fix it this morning. So – the time that it took to fix that goof took away from the time that I was planning to use for creating the freighter version of the 737-400. No worries though, because I’m still planning on producing it and I hope to get it posted next week along with the 737-300.

I’d like to try to get the -200 posted next week as well, but no promises on that one because it’s going to take some time to draw those JT8D engines and get them strapped to the wing. Obtaining decent reference material for those really old aircraft isn’t easy, as I recently discovered with the template creation process of my Douglas DC-8. Cameras weren’t very good back then, so I hope that I’ll be able to find some decent photos which aren’t so grainy that I can’t see any of the details. But do you know me – I like a challenge, and I’m really looking forward to illustrating those old birds!

737-500 white side view

I actually had to do a double take as I was uploading the images for this blog post, because I thought for sure that I had made a mistake and that I accidentally grabbed my 737-600 illustrations instead. At first glance, the 737-500 and -600 look nearly identical – so it was a very easy mistake to make and I don’t feel too ashamed about admitting that I wasn’t able to tell the difference. There are actually some fairly significant differences between the two that took a little bit of extra time to illustrate, and those differences are really difficult to see if you don’t know what to look for. Once I took a moment to compare the two side-by-side, it was clear to see which was which and a wave of relief washed over me (confirming that I had uploaded the correct images and that I was still the nerdy and knowledgeable AvGeek I had been aspiring to be).

737-500 blueprint no winglets

Wireframe line drawing of a 737-500 without winglets

As I mentioned in my last post, the 737-500 is part of the “Classic” series of the 737 family (along with the -300 and -400), while the -600 is part of the “Next Generation” camp (along with the -700, -800, and -900). The most significant visual differences between the Classic and Next Generation series are different wings and vertical stabilizers, and you have to look really close to notice those differences at all. The wing is much smaller on the Classic series, while the vertical stabilizer is somewhat shorter – although it maintains roughly the same shape. The engines (CFM56-3B’s) are also completely different, and are smaller than later versions (which had CFM56-7’s). As I said, it’s really hard to notice these differences without comparing the two side-by-side, so go ahead and download both and place them over top of each other – then you’ll be able to see very clearly how different they are.

The other major difference between the -500 and -600 is the fact that the -500 was available with blended winglets (similar in design to the winglets available on the Next Generation series). I actually had no idea that they were an option on this version, and I find it odd that they weren’t available on the -600 at all. I had always assumed that winglets didn’t become available until much later in the 737 timeline, so once again I learned something new as I was digging around and doing my research. This side view airliner template thing is becoming one of the most educational projects of my entire life!

737-500 blended winglets side view

Side profile illustration of an all white Boeing 737-500 with blended winglets

737-500 with blended winglets blueprint

Wireframe line drawing of a 737-500 with blended winglets

buy boeing 737-500 source file airliner template

Oh – a few more interesting bits of technical data for those who are curious: the 737-500 was the direct replacement for the -200, and is roughly 19 inches longer than that first generation aircraft. It’s also 8 inches shorter than the 737-600 which replaced it. Neat, huh?

Launched in 1987 with Southwest Airlines, the 737-500 flew for the first time in 1989, and was launched into service in 1990. 389 airframes were built between the years of 1990 and 1999, which is a pretty respectable number – enough so that it was easy to spot in airports all over the world. I remember seeing a ton of them here in San Diego with Southwest, and it was a real bummer when they retired their last one in 2016. A quick check of my flight log reveals that I’ve flown on 6 of them over the years (2 of them with Southwest and 4 on United Shuttle), which is actually more than I recall. Geez, now I’m totally regretting not getting a ride on one of the last ones before right they were retired…

As I promised last week, my goal for this week was to post templates for both the 737-500 and the 737-400. The good news is that I am still on track to make good on my word, with the -400 illustrations coming tomorrow. Note that I will also be including the -400F (freighter) version along with it, which is one that I know a handful of you have been asking for. Make sure to check back 24 hours from now!