1/72 Heller Boeing 707 (CC-137)

Gallery Article by Dan McWilliams on Nov 24 2010


I built a small CC-137 a while back, but 1/144 is not a good scale for me – way too small.  So I picked up this big Heller kit, and mated it with a very old set of Leading Edge decals and resin air refuelling pods.  This is not quite up to the standard set by the Phantom with his big white cow, but I like it anyway.

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Dave Koss from Leading Edge was very nice – he took the time to dig up these old decals, even though they were listed as out of stock.  He even sent multiples of some like the window stripes, because they were so old and likely to flake to pieces.  I found it quite challenging to affix some of these, and the decaling is not perfect if you look closely.

I painted the white using Canadian Tire white primer – very hard to be patient and make several very light coats.  I used a grey spray can for the bottom. I think the engines turned out pretty well, with the different shades of metal and the grey doors around the intakes.  In pic 04, you can see the real thing, refuelling a couple old Canadian jets. My favourite story about this refueling aircraft is when two USN F-14s were out of gas and ideas egressing from Iraq during the first Gulf War.  They asked for a bailout vector, or a vector to a tanker.  When they caught sight of the tanker, they told the controller that it wasn’t a tanker – it was an airliner.  As they moved closer, they saw the hoses trailing, and promptly plugged in, one on each wingtip.  Canada hadn’t authorised refuelling on any aircraft other than F-18s for our CC-137s at that point.  When these big Tomcats plugged in, the pilots asked what had plugged so hard.  The operator of the refuelling system told him they were two Tomcats, and asked “what do I do – we’re not supposed to refuel these guys according to orders”.  The pilot probably said something like “well, it’s a little late now... give them gas!”  Our tanker crew received thanks from the USN for being able to give them fuel when they were running on fumes.  Shortly after that, National Defence HQ authorised refuelling of F-14s...

Dan McWilliams

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Photos and text © by Dan McWilliams