This is a page of "how to" build various versions of C-135 planes (Boeing 717 models)
and also similar looking KE-3A, CC-137, VC-137C, E-3A/B/C AWACS and E-8A JSTARS planes (Boeing 707 models).

Based on Boeing 717

C-135 - versions and kits

You can find all the detail sets and "goodies" for C-135s HERE

Engine pylons are shown from head on view - each type has different config, see text below.
H - pylon with "hump" which houses turbocompressor
NH - pylon with no "hump", straight pylon to the front of the engine pod

Note for modellers for RC-135V/W:

There are two types of AEELS (Automated ELINT Emitter Locating System) "cheeks" - fairings on the sides of the nose aft of the cocpit.
The shorter from Martin Marietta company were mounted on RC-135Vs.
The longer from E-Systems company (sometimes called "LTV" cheeks, E-Systems bought Ling-Temco-Vought company in 2000) were mounted on RC-135Ws.
RC-135Vs were retroffited with the longer cheeks AFTER the war
Beginning in 1986 all "Rivet Joint" airplanes were equipped with the AN/QRC 81-01 "Ten High" Infrared Countermeasures (IRCM) modification, undertaken as part of the "Have Siren" program.
This is part of an infrared jamming system designed to defeat heat seeking missiles. This system is mounted in a cylindrical fairing located on the trailing edge of each engine pylon above the engine exhaust - Pic 1 Pic 2 Pic 3
This modification was also installed on E-3B/C, VC-137C and EC-135Y/N.

Scale 1:144

Versions:

RC-135V - base kit Minicraft 14738 - future + details for specific version. Engines are TF33-P-9 WITHOUT thrust reversers.
RC-135W - base kit Minicraft 14738 - future + details for specific version. Engines are TF33-P-5 WITH thrust reversers.
Another option is Welsh models MT37R or MT38P resin/vacuform kit.
EC-135N - base kit Minicraft 14627/14743 + details for specific version.
Kit has CORRECT NH-H-H-NH engine pylon configuration. Engines are TF33-PW-102 WITH thrust reversers.
EC-135L - base kit Minicraft 14707 + details for specific version. Engines are J57-P/F-59W.
EC-135Y/N - base kit Minicraft 14627/14743 + details for specific version.
Kit has CORRECT NH-H-H-NH engine pylon configuration. Engines are TF33-PW-102 WITH thrust reversers.
WC-135B - base kit Minicraft 14627/14743 + details for specific version.
Kit has WRONG NH-H-H-NH engine pylon configuration, you need to correct it to NH-NH-NH-NH configuration. Engines are TF33-P-5 WITH thrust reversers.
KC-135A - base kit Minicraft 14707. Engines are J57-P/F-59W.
KC-135Q - base kit Minicraft 14707 + details for specific version. Engines are J57-P/F-59W.
KC-135E - base kit Minicraft 14627/14743
Kit has NH-H-H-NH engine pylons, check your airframe for exact pylon config (they are written at the C-135 page). Possibilities are NH-H-H-NH or NH-H-H-H. Engines are TF33-PW-102 WITH thrust reversers.
KC-135R - base kit Minicraft 14708. Engines are CFM56 (F-108-CF-100).
C-135FR - base kit Minicraft 14708. Engines are CFM56 (F-108-CF-100).
Some airframes had added "Sherlock/Adele" RWR antennas on nose and tail. French C-135FRs did not have the wingtip refuelling pods during Gulf war time.

Scale 1:72

Versions:

RC-135V - base kit AMT 8956.
Kit has WRONG NH-H-H-NH engine pylon configuration, you need to correct it to H-NH-H-H configuration. Engines are TF33-P-9 WITHOUT thrust reversers. Kit is missing turbocompressor exhaust on the left side of each "hump"
No overwing HF antenna on the left wing on RC-135V/W. Check antenna config with pictures from 1990s period and compare it with the kit. Kit is missing second air cycle machine inlet on Part 102.
RC-135W - base kit AMT 8956 + Spectre resin AEELS cheeks.
Kit has WRONG NH-H-H-NH engine pylon configuration, you need to correct it to NH-NH-NH-NH configuration. Engines are TF33-P-5 WITH thrust reversers. Kit is missing turbocompressor exhaust on the left side of each "hump"
No overwing HF antenna on the left wing on RC-135V/W. Check antenna config with pictures from 1990s period and compare it with the kit. Kit is missing second air cycle machine inlet on Part 102.
AMT kit offers only the shorter AEELS cheeks. If you want to build RC-135W, you need to buy the resin set from Spectre Resin or Air Graphic Models AC-389.
EC-135L - base kit AMT 8848, AMT/Ertl 9122, Italeri 1353, Heller 80437 + Flightpath J-57 engine cowling set + details for specific version. Engines are J57-P/F-59W.
WC-135B - base kit AMT 8848/8909, AMT/Ertl 1281/9122, Italeri 1353, Heller 80437/80384 + Flightpath TF-33 engine set or AVM TF-33 engine set or engines from AMT 8955/8956 or AMTech 729202 + details for specific version.
Kit needs engine pylons in NH-NH-NH-NH configuration.
EC-135Y/N - base kit AMT 8955 + Flightpath TF-33 engine set or AVM TF-33 engine set + details for specific version. Kit is missing turbocompressor exhaust on the left side of the "hump"
Kit has CORRECT NH-H-H-NH engine pylon configuration. Engines are TF33-PW-102 WITH thrust reversers.
KC-135A - base kit AMT 8848, AMT/Ertl 9122, Italeri 1353, Heller 80437 + Flightpath J-57 engine cowling set. Engines are J57-P/F-59W.
KC-135Q - base kit AMT 8848, AMT/Ertl 9122, Italeri 1353, Heller 80437 + Flightpath J-57 engine cowling set. Engines are J57-P/F-59W.
KC-135E - base kit AMT 8848/8909, AMT/Ertl 1281/9122, Italeri 1353, Heller 80437/80384 + Flightpath TF-33 engine set or AVM TF-33 engine set or engines from AMT 8955/8956 or AMTech 729202. Kit is missing turbocompressor exhaust on the left side of the "hump"
Engines from AMT 8955/8956 or AMTech 729202 kits has NH-H-H-NH engine pylons, check your airframe for exact pylon config. Possibilities are NH-H-H-NH or NH-H-H-H. Engines are TF33-PW-102 WITH thrust reversers.
KC-135R - base kit AMT 8909, Italeri 1281, Heller 80384 + Flightpath CFM56 (F-108-CF-100) engine set. Engines are CFM56 (F-108-CF-100). Or you can use base kit AMT 8848, AMT/Ertl 9122, Italeri 1353, Heller 80437 + HaHen CFM56 (F-108-CF-100) engine set no. 72008.
C-135FR - base kit AMT 8909, Italeri 1281, Heller 80384 + Flightpath CFM56 (F-108-CF-100) engine set. Engines are CFM56 (F-108-CF-100). Or you can use base kit AMT 8848, AMT/Ertl 9122, Italeri 1353, Heller 80437 + HaHen CFM56 (F-108-CF-100) engine set no. 72008.
Some airframes had added "Sherlock/Adele" RWR antennas on nose and tail. French C-135FRs did not have the wingtip refuelling pods during Gulf war time.

Based on Boeing 707

E-3A RSAF and E-3B/C USAF AWACS

You can find all the detail sets and "goodies" for E-3A/B/Cs HERE

Engine pylons are shown from head on view - E-3B/C has H-H-H-H config. The "humps" are different from C-135 "humps" and are shorter.

Scale 1:144

E-3A - base kit Minicraft 14639/14703 + Phase Hangar Resin 144001 corrected nose + Minicraft 14521BC CFM56 (F-108-CF-100) engines (Note: these engines come from the Minicraft DC-8-70 series kits and the pylons will require modification to fit the Minicraft 707-320 wing) + Phase Hangar Resin 144001 corrected nose. Do not use parts 54, 55 and 57 from kit 14639. Kit is missing the AN/QRC 81-01 "Ten High" - like squared boxes on engine pylons.
E-3B/C - base kit Minicraft 14639/14703 + Phase Hangar Resin 144001 corrected nose. Kit DOES NOT have correct engine pylons, you need to reshape them for correct dimensions. Do not use parts 54, 55 and 57 from kit 14639. Kit is missing AN/QRC 81-01 "Ten High" mods to pylons.

Scale 1:72

E-3A - base kit Heller 80303/80383. Engines are CFM56 (F-108-CF-100). Kit is missing the AN/QRC 81-01 "Ten High"-like squared boxes on engine pylons.
E-3B/C - base kit Heller 80303/80383. Engines are TF33-PW-100/100A. Kit has wrong engine pylons config. You can use Flightpath TF-33 engine set FP-72-104g + Detail set FP-72-104b which includes PE set and also the TF-33 engines. Kit is missing AN/QRC 81-01 "Ten High" mods to pylons.

E-8A JSTARS

You can find all the detail sets and "goodies" for E-8As HERE

Engine pylons are shown from head on view - E-8A has H-H-H-H config. The "humps" are different from C-135 "humps" and are shorter.

Scale 1:144

E-8A - base kit Minicraft 14613/14703
The 14613 kit has completely wrong instructions about painting the aircraft, and the decals are also not so good, so check my Decals page for proper colors and decal options (Wolfpak 1:72).
Kit has correct engine pylons as option. Kit is missing the Flight Test Data Link (FTDL, or "Fiddle") antenna. The kit is missing the left-side fuselage cargo door.

Scale 1:72

E-8A - base kit Heller 80452
It's probably noted in the decal instructions for Wolfpak sheet no. 72-018, but for an E-8A of the Desert Storm era the Flightpath conversion doesn't quite cover everything.
The two prototypes (86-0416 and 86-0417) were pressed into operational service during Desert Storm, when both still had the Flight Test Data Link (FTDL, or "Fiddle")
teardrop antenna on the underside just aft of the wing root (you can see it in the profile drawing of the decal sheet).
Unfortunately this isn't included in Flightpath's conversion set, which is meant for later E-8A/E-8Cs that didn't have that antenna.
Another note for anyone doing the E-8A in 1/72: Flightpath's conversion suggests using the Heller/Airfix E-3 kit as a basis, but you can save yourself a good deal of work
by starting from the 707 kit instead. The JSTARS were all converted from existing airliners, and have quite a few more cabin windows than the AWACS.
In fact, looking at the JSTARS aircraft "in the flesh," the windows that were plated over are still very visible, so it would be more accurate to install
the airliner's glazing and paint over the redundant windows, rather than cutting/scribing in a few new ones on the AWACS as the Flightpath instructions recommend.
The airplanes did not carry the "US Air Force - US Army Joint STARS" inscription on the fuselage during the Gulf war.
The Heller 80452 has correct engine pylons.

VC-137C USAF

You can find all the detail sets and "goodies" for VC-137Cs HERE

Engine pylons are shown from head on view - VC-137 has H-H-H-NH config. The "humps" are different from C-135 "humps" and are shorter.

Scale 1:144

VC-137C - base kit Minicraft 14594/14624. Kit has correct engine pylons. Kit is missing AN/QRC 81-01 "Ten High" mods to pylons. Check the windows config against pictures.

Scale 1:72

VC-137C - base kit Heller 80452. Kit has correct engine pylons. Kit is missing AN/QRC 81-01 "Ten High" mods to pylons. Check the windows config against pictures.

CC-137 CAF

You can find all the detail sets and "goodies" for CC-137s HERE

Engine pylons are shown from head on view - CC-137 has H-H-H-NH config. The "humps" are different from C-135 "humps" and are shorter.

Scale 1:144

CC-137 - base kit Minicraft 14594/14624. Kit has correct engine pylons. Kit is missing underwing refuelling pods. Check the windows config against pictures.

Scale 1:72

CC-137 - base kit Heller 80452 + Air Graphics AC-153 Beechcraft 1080 refuelling pods. Kit has correct engine pylons. Check the windows config against pictures.

KE-3A RSAF

You can find all the detail sets and "goodies" for KE-3As HERE

Scale 1:144

KE-3A - base kit Minicraft 14708. Engines are CFM56 (F-108-CF-100). Kit is missing the AN/QRC 81-01 "Ten High"-like squared boxes on engine pylons. Kit has the correct underwing refuelling pods.

Scale 1:72

KE-3A - base kit AMT 8909, Italeri 1281, Heller 80384 + Flightpath CFM56 (F-108-CF-100) engine set. Engines are CFM56 (F-108-CF-100). Kit has the correct underwing refuelling pods. Kit is missing the "AN/QRC 81-01 "Ten High"-like squared boxes on engine pylons.