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KC-10 Extender Kit

AMP 1/144 KC-10 Extender Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2020 Manufacturer AMP
Subject KC-10 Extender Scale 1/144
Kit Number 14004 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Crisp moldings, delicate details Cons Nothing major
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $65.00

First Look

KC-10 Extender Kit
KC-10 Extender Kit
KC-10 Extender Kit
KC-10 Extender Kit

In the late 1960s, there was a growing concern that the fleet of USAF KC-135 tankers was being stretched too thin between support of air operations over Vietnam and the support of the strategic bombers around the globe. When the Yom Kippur War required extensive tanker support to ferry much-needed aircraft and supplies to Israel, tankers had to be pulled away from other operations to support flight operations into/out of Israel. A new effort under the banner of the Advanced Tanker Cargo Aircraft Program (ATCAP) sought to find an off-the-shelf solution for an aircraft that could carry greater cargo loads than the KC-135 and be adapted for air refueling to augment the KC-135 fleet. Boeing submitted the 747, Douglas submitted the DC-10, and Lockheed submitted the L-1011 and C-5 Galaxy. Under a previous evaluation, the DC-10 and 747 had been evaluated for air refueling viability in flight trials at Edwards AFB and in the end, the DC-10 was selected for the ATCAP solution.

The KC-10A Extender, and the aircraft was designated, is based upon the DC-10-30CF (freighter) version of the series, with specific modifications made for the mission including military cargo-handling system and avionics. Overall, the aircraft is still shares 88% parts commonality with its civilian counterparts making global maintenance support easy. Sixty aircraft were procured under ATCAP and the type entered service in early 1981. Until the KC-10 came along, air refueling the C-130 was limited to the KC-135 fleet. A handful of C-130s were air refuelable in the late 1970s and those crews trained with the KC-135A. When our C-130s came online in the early 1980s, there still weren't many Hercs that air refueled, so not only did we have to get our pilots up-to-speed on the boom, but we were also experiencing the differences with the updated KC-135E and KC-135R variants. All of the KC-135s had the high-speed boom which wasn't so effective at C-130 speeds, so there was lots of catch-up learning happening between the tankers and the C-130 receivers. When we got behind the KC-10 for the first time, it was quite a different experience as the KC-10 seemed to be fine at our airspeeds and the KC-10's refueling boom quite effective at our speeds as well.

Revell was first to market with their 1/144 KC-10 kit which dates back to the early 1980s and was a variation of their DC-10 kit first released in the early 1970s. Here we have AMP's new KC-10A which was just released, and while it has new parts for the tanker version, the kit is based upon the Eastern Express DC-10-30 released last year. The kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on nine parts trees plus fuselage halves, and one clear part. Assembly is straightforward and does not pose any challenges at first glance. Among the features and options in the kit:

  • Nicely detailed flight deck with four-place crew stations, flight controls, instrument panel/consoles, navigator console, and more
  • Instrument panel and console details provided on decals
  • Clear cockpit enclosure dome for ease of fitting/filling seams
  • Masks provided for cockpit windows
  • Optional cockpit window decal provided should you prefer to render your model like a factory display model
  • Detailed CF6 engines
  • Nice refueling boom
  • Optional Sargent Fletcher refueling pods for outboard wing mounting
  • Detailed landing gear and wheel wells

The nice decal sheet provides markings for the following subjects:

  • KC-10A, 79-1711, 78 ARS/98 ARG/SAC, Barksdale AFB, 1987-94
  • KC-10A, 83-0079, 32 ARS/2 BW/SAC, Barksdale AFB, 1981-92
  • KC-10A, 84-0190, 305 AMW/AMC, McGuire AFB, 1994-present
  • KC-10A, 79-1948, 60 AMW/AMC, Travis AFB, 1994-present
  • KC-10A, 86-0036, 458 OG/AMC, Barksdale AFB, 1992-1994
  • KDC10, T-264, KLu, Eindoven AB
  • KDC10, T-235, KLu, Eindoven AB

This kit provides a nice cross-section of color schemes used by the KC-10 including the white over gray worn by the SAC tankers, the overall AMC gray worn by AMC-assigned tankers, a Europe One gray over light gray example, and the neutral gray over light gray scheme carried by the KLu tankers.

This is a nice-looking kit and I hope to get this on the bench in the near future as I'm also curious if the Eastern Express kits go together as nicely as they appear out of the box. If you're looking for a nice alternative to the venerable Revell offering, grab one of these for your collection. I'm not sure what pricing will be in the US, but it will no-doubt be higher than the prices at online stores like HobbyTerra. In fact, eBay prices are sitting around $50 USD plus shipping, which puts the kit at your doorstep for around the above-listed $65 USD.

My sincere thanks to Micro-Mir for this review sample!