Minicraft 1/144 KC-135R
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker is a military aerial refueling aircraft. It and the Boeing 707 airliner were developed from the Boeing 367-80 prototype. It is the predominant variant of the C-135 Stratolifter family of transport aircraft. The KC-135 was the US Air Force's first jet-powered refueling tanker and replaced the KC-97 Stratofreighter. The KC-135 was initially tasked with refueling strategic bombers, but was used extensively in the Vietnam War and later conflicts such as Operation Desert Storm to extend the range and endurance of US tactical fighters and bombers.
The KC-135 entered service with the United States Air Force (USAF) in 1957; it is one of six military fixed-wing aircraft with over 50 years of continuous service with its original operator. The KC-135 is supplemented by the larger KC-10. Studies have concluded that many of the aircraft could be flown until 2040, although maintenance costs have greatly increased. The aircraft will eventually be replaced by the Boeing KC-46 Pegasus.The KC-135R is the result of a second engine modification program which retrofitted 500 aircraft with new CFM International CFM56 (military designation: F108) high-bypass turbofan engines produced by General Electric and Snecma. The CFM56 engine produces approximately 22,500 lbf (100 kN) of thrust, nearly a 100% increase compared to the original J-57 engine. The modified tanker, designated KC-135R (modified KC-135A or E) or KC-135T (modified KC-135Q), can offload up to 50% more fuel (on a long-duration sortie), is 25% more fuel-efficient, and costs 25% less to operate than with the previous engines. It is also significantly quieter than the KC-135A, with noise levels at takeoff reduced from 126 to 99 decibels.
A nice addition to this kit are a pair of wing tip pods. These are not always carried so it is nice to have a choice in this regard. One also ha to do a bit of trimming to attach the APU exhaust port, which fits within the fuselage reinforcement bands.
Instructions are nicely done and offer Model Master paint references for the overall airframe. The two markings options are overall AMC grey with a black radome and nose anti-glare panel. Markings are provided for two planes. The box art plane is from McConnell AFB in Kansas with the 22nd ARW in 2013. This seems to have the current tail band. The other is from the 126 ARW, Illinois ANG from nearby Scott AFB in 2005. It has the older tail band and unfortunately, does not include any of the nose art that was so prominent at the time. Decals are nicely done, but I'm wondering if the fuselage alignment stripe is not too orange. I always thought this was closer to yellow. I've included a photo so you can judge for yourself. As I mentioned earlier, there are aftermarket sheets for this kit and those will offer a bunch of additional options.
My experiences with Minicraft kits have been mixed. Most of the ones I've built have been a bit of a chore. I am hoping that the 'new tool' aspect of this one will make for a more pleasant experience. One thing for sure, Minicraft has cornered the market on 135 variants in this scale.
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My thanks to
www.dragonmodelusa.com for the review kit. Get yours today at your local
retailer or ask them to order it in for you. January 2011
My thanks to www.dragonmodelusa.com for the review kit. Get yours today at your local retailer or ask them to order it in for you.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
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