Minicraft 1/144 KC-135A

KIT #: 14707
PRICE: $32.30 on discount
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2015 tooling


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.


I have hesitated at purchasing this and other 135 kits due to the high retail cost of the kit. However, I knew that at one time I'd end up buying one, especially after Caracal Models came out with a super decal sheet just for this kit. I found one on line at a reasonable price so I bought it.

If you have their 135R kit, then you will find this one to be pretty much the same. All Minicraft did to model the A was to provide the earlier engines. Obviously they have had some success with this kit as there are several other variants out there for the 135 fan.

Looking over the sprues, I was impressed by the detail work. The engraved lines are crisply done and though perhaps a bit overstated, Minicraft has included the rear fuselage external reinforcement bands. Not surprisingly, there is no cockpit at all. The only thing to put into the fuselage halves before joining them is a half ounce of weight and the nose gear well. It appears that one cannot install the nose gear strut after the fact so that will have to be added prior to closing the halves. At this time, the cockpit transparency is added.

The instructions then would have you attach the upper and lower wing halves, and then put those as well as the tailplanes and the HF antenna on the fin tip onto the fuselage before going any further in the build. Some of us might like to attach the built up engines first, but it seems that either way will work.

Engines are nicely done with five pieces per engine. I is nice to have a separate front cowling piece so we don't have to deal with seams. 

When building the main gear and completing the wells, Minicraft provides three color options for the ballast tank in the main gear well. One will also have to fold the outer main gear doors and a diagram is provided to show how that is done. If one wants to model the plane gear up, there are instructions for that as well. A neat touch is the inclusion of a tail prop, something that is often seen on fully loaded 135s. You can build the model gear up, but you'll need to source a display stand.

Instructions are nicely done and offer Model Master paint references for the overall airframe. The two markings options are overall ADC grey with a black radome and nose anti-glare panel. The markings options are for unidentified units with the box art plane being from Ellsworth AFB in 1984 and the other, with a black and yellow checkered tail band, being from Robbins AFB in 1975.  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.


April 2017

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My thanks to for the review kit. Get yours today at your local retailer or ask them to order it in for you.

January 2011

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