Cobra Company 44-005


1/144 Minicraft KC-97G




Scott Van Aken


KC-97L conversion set


If you are like me, as soon as the Minicraft 1/144 KC-97G hit the streets, I had one in my hot, little hands. Like you, I was disappointed by the rather bland engines and ho-hum props. In fact, I was so disappointed, that I have not touched the kit. It still languished in the kit dungeon. 

To the rescue, so to speak, comes Cobra Company. Not only have they fixed the original problem, but they also offer the ability to do the more widely used KC-97L. This version was used by every ANG tanker unit that ever flew the plane and includes jet engine pods where the wing fuel tanks are on the KC-97G. 

So what is in the set and is it worth the bucks? Well first of all, it includes four replacement engines. Unlike the kit versions, this one actually has engine cylinders visible in the front. What's more, there is also a second set of rows in behind them. Now to be perfectly honest, some of the engines has globs of resin over some of the back row cylinders, but frankly, unless you get out your official IPMS magnifying glass and laser flashlight, you won't be able to tell. I'm just jazzed that Cobra Company thought enough to mold in the second row!

As part of the engine upgrade, you get the proper looking cuffed props. Not sure what those in the kit are supposed to be, but they don't look like KC-97 props. These props are molded in metal. That makes sure that they won't be broken. Good thing too as the weight of all the resin bits bent a few of mine, but it was no problem to gently straighten them out.

The conversion part of the kit are the jet pods and antenna peculiar to the KC-97L. You get three antenna. Some aircraft carried a small one on the bottom of the aircraft and all carried a large and small one on the top. The jet pods consist of a pylon and the engine itself. The engine is molded in two parts, a front intake and the rest of the engine. It is impossible to mold the engine as one piece so this was deemed the best way to do it. All of the resin pieces are free from air bubbles, which is really nice. Historically, Cobra Company has done a superior job of casting and air bubble are not a problem.

The instruction sheet is to the point and shows exactly how to perform the conversion. It really is simple and should encourage a lot of modelers to knock the dust off their Minicraft KC-97s. A conversion well worth getting.

As you may know, Cobra Company only accepts direct orders and no longer sells to distributors. If you want a set, you need to contact them via their web site. Please visit the link below for more information.

Review copy courtesy of  Cobra Company

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly by a site that has over 1,100 visits a day, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.