Revell 1/139 Boeing 707






One aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Converted from E-3A kit


Back in the mid 1980s, I had discovered airliner modeling. As anyone who finds a new subject, I went whole hog on doing airliners of all sorts. The only one I couldn't easily find was a Boeing 707/720. Well, at this time. Revell had issued their 1/139 E-3A AWACS. This looked to me to be just what I was looking for. Here was a 707 that didn't have any cabin windows to fill. All I had to do was to take off the radome mounting holes and cover over the canopy and I was in. An easy mod.

Being ignorant of the differences between the E-3 and 707 made doing this model so much easier. I have found over the years that the less you know about a subject, often the more enjoyable the model. You don't have to agonize over modifying the kit or fixing any glitches. You just build it and have fun doing it!


  My knowledge of the Revell E-3A kit is sadly lacking, but I'd be surprised if it wasn't based in some way on the KC-135A kit. They both look quite similar to each other, though the KC-135 has the J-57 turbojets and the E-3A has the TF-33 turbofans. There is also the matter of the flying boom and the rotodome, but they look very close to each other.

You get the usual options of building the kit gear up or down, however the lack of a display stand will mean that most will do it gear down. The kit itself has the usual raised panel line detail of the time. There are no real options, though the rotodome can be made to move if you wish. No cockpit detail is given as there would be little to see anyway. The decals for the E-3A look fine, but were not used.


Typical of my construction speed of the time, I rushed into the kit and had it finished in record time. The overall fit of the kit is fairly good. No major problems with the fuselage or wings. There were sink marks over each of the alignment pins that had to be filled. The fuselage is also rather long so you may want to install some bulkheads to prevent flexing, but I didn't bother with those things.

Probably the worst part of this kit as with any airliner kit are the engines. There is no easy way to remove the seams from the inside of the intake so I didn't even bother to try. There were pretty good sized gaps on one side where the engine attached to the pylon. The pylon is part of one engine half and the other half glues up to it. The result is a rather large gap. At this time of my modeling career, I left these things alone. The fit of the engines to the underside of the wing wasn't the greatest either, however, I used no filler as I would have nowadays. In fact, I'm not sure I even glued them in!!

The landing gear fit well, but they really needed to be cleaned up well as there were ejector pin marks on all the gear as well as the inside of the gear doors and, if I recall, the back of the wheels as well! None of those glitches was fixed and the gear glued in place. Once the glue had dried, it was very sturdy. I should mention that weight needs to be put in the nose. I superglued some lead in there that broke loose during one of many moves. It makes a really neat rattling sound!


Here is the reason for being for these kits; the fancy decals. I had a great Sudan Airlines sheet that I wanted to use on this kit. It meant basically a white upper fuselage with aluminum lower and wings and stabilizers. I painted the center sections of the wings and stabilizers a dark grey (hey, I said I knew little about airliners so it is OK that I painted things the wrong color).

The fuselage was painted white first then a template was made for the swoop out of tape and the white parts taped off. Then the grey parts were painted and masked. When done, the rest of the plane was painted aluminum. I used Testors paints for all of these colors.

Now for the decals. I honestly don't remember whose decals they were, but if I had to guess, I'd go with Runway 40 or someone similar to that.

First thing was the large fuselage decal. Imagine my dismay when I found that the decal didn't go far enough up the fin! I should have painted that extra part, but didn't want to mess things up. The other side was put on at this time as well. Some will only do one side then the other, but I have found that you can have mismatches when doing that so did both at the same time. BTW, the tailplanes were NOT glued in during this time.

Once the main decal was on, the windows were applied and then the other little bits were added. Finally, the leading edge of the tail was covered with Bare Metal Foil. The end result was a pretty cool looking scheme, despite not going all the way to the tip of the tail. Not sure what became of the model. I'd like to think that it is still in the bottom of a box somewhere, but fear it succumbed to one of many moves


Well, I enjoyed building this model. It was fun and it was fairly quick to put together. Nowadays, it would take me weeks to finish and I'd do all the full painting. Actually, I wouldn't use this kit but the Airfix or the newer Minicraft versions of the 707. If you get a chance to find this kit anywhere, pick it up. I'm sure the E-3A version is just as much fun to do as this airliner!

Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!

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