If you want to look at a VC10 the number of places you can go is limited, the next option would be a nice photo on the wall and of course you could also choose a scale model. From a situation where VC10 models were hard to find a few years back the situation has improved dramatically to a range of 1:400, 1:200 and 1:144 models which are readily available. Discontinued models are also shown on this page for completeness.
When the VC10 first emerged model maker Airfix was quick to issue a kit in BOAC colors, but obviously finding an example of that these days will not be easy. I've heard that they sometimes do show up on Ebay, but obviously only for outrageous sums of money. In later years Airfix reissued the kit as a VC10 K2 Tanker, and also as a civil British Airways version. Both kits for some reason lack the large inboard wing fences that are so prominent on the real aircraft, an omission still present in the 2003 re-release!
The first version was kit number SK601, which was released in three versions with the first BOAC colours (see first image below) turning up in 1964, a second version in the revised BOAC scheme in 1966 and a third version with the third BOAC scheme in 1968. In 1973 the kit was re-issued with number 0-4171-3, initially in BOAC colours but in 1975 the livery changed to BA colours as seen on the second image below. A third version of this same kit showed the VC10 in flight instead of during take-off (3rd, 4th and 5th image below).
The initial release as a tanker version was based on ZA141's camouflage scheme. Both the original civil and tanker versions are a hard to find item these days, but fortunately for the modellers amongst us the summer of 2003 saw the re-issue of this kit with new artwork and decals. It is now available at a reasonable price, for more details visit the Airfix website and look for model number 04026.
This kit has long been out of production but in its time it was an interesting one as it included working flashing lights! It is a 1:144 scale kit with injection moulded parts and BOAC decals for Super VC10 G-ASGD, G-ASGF and the (then) fictional G-BOAC (this registration was later used by a Concorde). Sometimes it turns up on Ebay for silly prices, apart from that obtaining one will be very difficult. The photos below, showing a finished example, were kindly supplied by Mr. M. Yachad.
This same kit was later reissued by Novo but without the flashing lights.
The next option is Welsh models. This company produces vacuform kits with additional metal parts, enough material for a good-looking model in the hands of a skilled modeller. If you're only used to injection-moulded kits these kits look daunting, but I've been told that it's not that tricky!
I've found examples of a BOAC Super VC10 and a VC10 K3/K4 Tanker in a local shop, but for more details visit the website http://www.welshmodels.co.uk. I think that 'short body' versions used to exist in their product range, but I'm not sure if they are still available. A striking detail is that the decals for the BOAC version show registrations G-ARVB and G-ASGA, a Standard and a Super! Perhaps the same decal sheet serves both version. The models I've found were numbered SL38A for the BOAC version, and PJW56 for the RAF version. According to the Welsh models website only the RAF K3/K4 Tanker version is currently available (January 2006).
A new search of the Welsh models website shows that kit number SL38 is now available with EAA decals as well as the K3/K4 kit (PJW56). Also there is a new kit number (SL137) which enables you to build a BOAC Super (May 2007).
Ukraine based Roden have produced and issued two 1:144 scale Super VC10 kits in 2015. These contain decals for EAA 5H-MMT and BOAC G-ASGI respectively. Although the Frog kit mentioned above may have inspired this issue, the kit is a new release that should include better detailing. Photos of a test sprue (see below) indicate that parts are included to create a tanker, opening up possibilities of building a K3 or K4 tanker variant. In May 2016 kit #327 was announced which allows you to build K3 ZA149 in two colourschemes. In February 2017 kit #328 was released. This kit includes decals to create K4 ZD241 as it is preserved at Bruntingthorpe airfield.
Apparently, as I found out through a search on Ebay, there is a 1:72 scale kit for a VC10. I've only been able to find the images below which shows an Airways Vac Form kit for a RAF C Mk.1 version in the grey/white scheme. I'm guessing that this is an old kit which is not available anymore through regular channels.
In March 2015 RAM Models announced that they had purchased the tooling for the old Airways kits and would reissue them, starting with the 1:72 scale VC10. Following on from their 1:144 scale decalsheet they have decided to offer four versions of the kit, three of which feature one of the 'Anniversary' schemes that the VC10 carried while the fourth one is a white/grey 10 Squadron version. Others might follow. Each kit includes two moulded styrene sheets, clear moulding for the cockpit and white metal undercarriages and wheels. Full decals for the scheme are included. Pre-orders can be placed on their site, the kits are expected to be in the shops by the end of February 2016.
In 2019 French kit producer Mach2 released a VC10 kit in three different versions. This is an injection moulded kit, which is a first for this scale, but with some caveats. Photos taken at the Telford ModelWorld show that the nose profile is more Tristar than VC10, although buyers should of course judge for themselves. The larger scale means that there is more plastic to work with, so perhaps the flaws can be adjusted by a skilled builder.
The options are all Standard VC10s, you can choose from a BOAC version, or a K2 tanker in either low viz grey colours or the unique camouflaged ZA141 version. At this time, the kits are available to pre-order from Hannants, with release dates in January 2020 mentioned, although they were for sale at the Telford show.
Kit number MAG9072 will set you back a bit in funds but it will build you a 1:72 scaled VC10 C.Mk.1 K with decals for XV103 'Edward Mannock VC'. The kit was first released in 2007 and quickly sold out, as it is currently (October 2008) listed on many sites as available I take it that it has been re-released since. It is a resin kit which includes some white metal parts as well, because of this it is suited for the more experienced modeller.
Anigrand's #AA-2096 kit is an impressive set of parts that will enable you to build VC10 K2 tanker ZA141. Reviews of the kit's accuracy have been mixed. I have not been able to get a close look at one of these kits and cannot offer any comments on the looks myself. Let me know if you have experience with this model.
Apart from building a kit model as per the included instructions, various firms offer additional parts and decals to create an individual favourite scheme or version.
To improve the detailing of your kit, or to convert it to a different version, Bra.Z Models offers a few resin kits with VC10 parts.
Air-Graphics is working on some replacements parts for the Mach 2 1:72 scale VC10 kit.
Decal sheets for 1:72 and 1:144 scale kits are available from F-DCAL and TwoSixDecals and RAM Models. I've also listed decals by S&M models but have been unable to find an webpage showing them. All decal sheets are for 1:144 scale models unless marked otherwise. Some of the links below may not work anymore, apologies for that!
Photo J. Hieminga, decals kindly provided by RAM Models
For the less-skilled enthusiast or those that appreciate the aesthetics of metal models there are other options that provide instant results. A good place to start if you are in the UK is the Collectors Aircraft Models shop which can be found at Heathrow Airport. This shop specialises in aircraft models and usually stocks VC10 models from various manufacturers. All models can be ordered through their website at http://www.collectorsaircraft.com - Website dead as the shop closed in 2011.
Update (January 2006): Judging by the CAM shop website this range of models is no longer available. I suspect that the 'Skyline models' range of VC10s which is currently being sold is a rebranded version of the Heathrow Models VC10 and Super VC10.
The first manufacturer is 'Heathrow Models'. These 1:200 scale models were available in several civil and RAF liveries.
Update (January 2006): Judging by the CAM shop website this range of models is no longer available. I have not been able to find another source for these models.
The second manufacturer is British Classic Aircraft, also available from the Collectors Aircraft Models shop. These larger models (about 45cm / 18inch) are made to be displayed on a desktop stand and are available in three civil liveries.
The abovementioned Heathrow models seems to be out of business, with their place taken over by Skyline models. A range of 20 different civil and military liveries are available on both Super and Standard VC10s in 1:200 scale. For more information see the CAM shop website through the link below and search for 'VC-10' (please note that the hyphen, although incorrect, needs to be used here to get the wanted results).
Heathrow models and Skyline models were 1:200 scale models produced by a small shop that was in some way related to the CAM shop that used to be at Heathrow Airport. The moulds were later picked up by SMTS Models who have just (2016) released several types with some additional details and a new satin paint finish. The company offers its models through an Ebay shop (see website below) but they can also be obtained through Aviation Retail Direct. As these are UK produced models, the prices are a bit higher than the JC Wings models for example, but the original models were quite nice and Sky Classics have chosen to release some of the less obvious liveries such as the Omani VC10, Nigeria Airways, Ghana Airways and an EAA Super VC10.
These photos show three options available from Sky Classics.
Some photos of the models in the Aviation Retail Direct shop. Looking at these models in real life, I did notice some areas where the shape of the model is a bit off.
In 2018 Aviation Retail Direct announced a list of new VC10 models on their Facebook page. Click on the link to see the photos. Judging by these photos there are still some issues with incorrect wing fences for the specific type, and I can also see some strangely positioned doors, cheatlines and cockpit windows. On the other hand, these are heavy, large, metal models and the quality of the printing and painting is very good. There aren't all that many VC10 models in this size, so if you're into 1:200 scale models, you may need to accept some shortcomings.
Around 1973 the company Aero Mini produced VC10 models produced in Japan by Masudaya. In 2003 I was able to take the photos below of an example that was then for sale at the local Aviation Megastore. The scale is approximately 1:250 and the model features a retractable undercarriage. I guess that examples might be available on the collector's market but they would be pricy.
Photos J. Hieminga, with thanks to Marcel v/d Willik
In October 2006 Gemini Jets announced that they would add the Super VC10 to their 1:400 scale model range with a BA and EAA Super VC10. The models are: British Airways Super VC10 G-ASGP and East African Airways Super VC10 5H-MOG. Both modeled in 1:400 scale from metal and priced at $29,95 each, this will give you a model which is just over 13 cm long (5 inch). These models should now be available from your trusted aircraft model retailer.
The list of November/December releases also saw the addition of RAF C Mk.1 XV104 in the '40 years' anniversary livery, and BOAC Standard VC10 G-ARVH.
Images from Gemini Jets website
In 2007-2008 the list of available Gemini Jets VC10s has expanded rapidly. All released and/or announced models in 1:400 scale are listed below:
For a while they also listed a 1:250 scale British Airways Super VC10 model. This was the result of a project where Corgi and Gemini would work together on a VC10 model in this scale but this never progressed beyond a pre-production model.
A few photos of the Standard VC10 model are shown below. Of interest is the fact that the XR808 model shown in the second set of photos seems to have been produced using the tooling from the Jet-X 1:400 scale VC10s. The details on the wings and tail are different between the G-ASIX model and the XR808 one. Further down the page are photos of A4O-AB and G-ARVM from Jet-X, comparing these it is obvious that the same tooling produced XR808 for Gemini. The third set of photos shows a model of XV104 with its '40 years' commemorative tail art. While the finish is a bit glossy, the detail on the model is very good, including nicely proportioned wing pods, a SRIM antenna as well as clear and precise markings. This model obviously came out of the same (modified) mould as the G-ASIX model.
In 2015 Gemini issued a single 1:200 scale VC10, XR808 in the anniversary colourscheme that she last flew in. Unfortunately this otherwise great looking model sported a major flaw in that the mould included a centerline hose-drum unit which was never installed on a C1K model. On a model in this scale this hump beneath the rear fuselage is quite prominent. Gemini most likely used the same mould that was used on the JC Wings models for this one.
These photos show the 1:200 scale XR808 model from Gemini. Although very detailed and good looking, the incorrect centreline HDU under the rear fuselage is a significant flaw.
Photos J. Hieminga with thanks to Diecast Trading
Ever since Corgi started their Aviation Archive range, they have been a favourite to produce a VC10 model. Next to their Britannia and 707 models in 1:144 scale, a VC10 certainly wouldn't look out of place. Sadly though this took a long time before it happened.
In the 2004 catalogue a hopeful note was added at the end, announcing a VC10 model by mid-2005. This was partly due to their brief partnership with Gemini, who were already producing metal models in 1:400 scale and were adding the 1:250 scale to their range. Looking at their DC-8 models in this scale they would certainly have been a good choice for this task but the model never got beyond prototype stage.
In 2006 Corgi released a VC10 model in their Corgi Collectable '100 years of flight' collection. This range is designed to a generic size, rather than a set scale, which means that the Hawker Hurricane is larger than the VC10. The model itself is available in BOAC and RAF C Mk.1 colours and has a wingspan of 96 millimeters. For 2006 British Caledonian and RAF C1K (gray scheme) versions are added. Images taken from the 2006 brochure have been added below. It is worth noting that these models suffer from some very course detailing, and due to their size and this fact are perhaps nearer the 'toy' range than the serious collector's range. In 2015 XR808 was also added to this range.
In 2006 this situation changed with the news emerging that Corgi would be issuing a 1:144 scale VC10 model. Although unofficial, the Tricatus website had preview photos available in October of a VC10 model in the 1:144 range. At first this model would be available in three different guises with release dates spread throughout 2007. The first three models are:
The inclusion of G-ARVM as part of the BA Heritage collection seemed bit odd to me as the former British Airways collection at RAF Cosford had just fallen apart amidst cries of protest from many supporters, and 'VM itself had just been partially scrapped, with the fuselage saved and moved to Brooklands. On the other hand this model is a fitting tribute to this great airliner.
In late 2007 the first of the line, XV107 as detailed above, is available in the shops and news emerged that the fourth model would be:
This one and the other two models would become available later in 2008 but by June 2008 they hadn't appeared yet.
A bit more info about these models, since the first one (XV107) hit the shops a few problems came to light. There appeared to be some problems with the moulds and also decals detailing the doors were left off. Early models have had these reapplied but the Union Jack on the front door was misaligned because of this. By November 2008 Corgi was busy sorting these issues which delayed the release of the other models.
The winter catalogue for 2008-2009 saw a fifth model announcement in the shape of a VC10 in current grey 101 Sqn colours. This same model was canceled again in January 2009 because of low customer order numbers. The positive side of this is that the other three yet unreleased models apparently will make it to the shops and at the end of February 2009 the K.2 Tanker and G-ARVM became available.
Images from www.Tricatus.co.uk
The problems that plagued the first model (XV107) meant that Corgi had to rethink their tooling on these models and that, coupled with some manufacturing problems and a new owner for the company meant that there has been quite a delay. Now that the re-tooled model is in the shops we can have a look at the results. So what has been done? The nose of the model no longer has an insert containing the windows, these are now painted on. This means that there is no joint line around the cockpit windows anymore which for me distracted from the overall image. The panel lines are not very subtle but the overall effect isn't bad. On photos of the pre-production models the tunnel housing the centreline hose on the tanker was present (even on the civil versions) but on the released ZA140 model this has been removed again and the centreline hose position is now painted on. A shame as this is a structural feature on the tankers that although hidden below the tail and therefore not often viewed is still an important part of the task of this aircraft. Also the ZA140 model has a few problems in the paintjob: the forward freight hold door is on the wrong side and there is an extra window painted on the front cabin door which shouldn't be there. Also the underwing pods have a hemp coloured nose with the rest being grey while the pods should reflect the paintjob on the fuselage with hemp on top and grey below.
The model of G-ARVM looks quite nice, there seems a bit less detail on this model (which is logical as there are no external pods or refuelling probes on this version) and the overall finish is quite glossy. There are no major mistakes on the detailing, if I had to point something out then it would be the lack of freight hold doors but this doesn't distract from the overall look.
Three images of the ZA140 model
More images of the BA and BOAC
In May 2009 the fourth model, G-ARVA in early BOAC colours has been released and apparently the decision not to issue the 101 Sqn version has been reversed. It has been released in december 2009 in a limited production run of 1000 models. Pre-production model photos can be found on Tricatus, the Unofficial Aviation Archive. The BOAC model looks very good, there are no mistakes that I can find on this model. Similar to the BA version, the cargo doors are not printed on but while this is a shame, the overall look of the model doesn't suffer from it. Comparing the model to photos of the early VC10 colours shows that the prototype G-ARTA (see photos on this page) had different stencils around the passenger doors but apparently these were changed on G-ARVA as photos in several books show.
This line has offered Super VC10 models of an EAA and BOAC aircraft in 1:500 scale. A British Airways Super VC10 became available in spring 2008.
This brand focuses on 1:400 scale diecast models of older airliner types and they have produced VC10 models on and off throughout their history. Currently the VC10 models are showing as 'sold out' on the company's website, the model range consists mainly of BOAC and BA schemed examples with some small runs of small airlines also having been produced. Information on the various models is shown in the table below or on their website.
This brand offers a 1:400 scale model of a RAF Standard VC10 in the grey scheme. Their website doesn't offer much info but apparently a hemp coloured K2 will also become available. Briefly in 2007 they also supplied a model of Omani A4O-AB but that one probably sold out rather quickly as I am not able to find it again in the shops. In 2008 the product line was extended with a line of RAF Tankers in various schemes and Ghana Airways aircraft. Details are in the tables below.
The quality and finishing of these models is similar to Gemini Jets but because of smaller production runs the prices are a bit higher.
Three images showing the details on the Jet-X A4O-AB model in 1:400 scale.
Photos J. Hieminga
A new player in the 1:200 scale market is JC Wings. They have released a model in this interesting scale at a very affordable price which should make it a serious competitor. There are two variants as detailed below. The news is not all good though, initial images from forums here and here show a model with various mistakes (extra doors, doors in the wrong places, details from different versions) and a set of aerials that appears to be in a completely different scale. My initial impression from seeing some photos is that the tail is a bit too large for the airframe.
Recently I had the opportunity to get to see one of these models for myself. My personal opinion is that while you get a decent model for a decent price, I wouldn't choose to get one myself. It looks like a VC10 from a distance and the markings on it are quite good but as you keep looking at it a feeling remains that it's just not quite right. The nose could be a Boeing shape with different windows on it and the sweep of the tail doesn't look right. The engine nacelles lack detail and are too thin at the exhaust end and there is an extra cargo door on the rear RH side which shouldn't be there. Just my two cents of course, make sure to get a good look at the model yourself and make up your mind before buying.
Two photos showing a British Caledonian
version of the JC Wings model, note the large aerials.
I do not know much about this manufacturer but they've had a 1:200 scale model of an RAF K2 Tanker out for a while now (model number FC-VC1010). It seems to be a reasonably priced model at this scale but photos on Tricatus show a slightly odd colour and some over-engineered aerials. Also the tail shape seems to be off. You get what you pay for in this department I guess.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the VC10's first flight Herpa issued a 1:500 scale model of the Super VC10 in BOAC/Cunard colours. The registration is G-ASGC, currently preserved at Duxford. There is one small error on this model: the cheatline curves down and disappears underneath the fuselage but should end in one point on the centerline. On the model it ends in two points each side of the nose gear. An earlier version of this same model from 2009 (exclusively for Wingsclub members) had a correct cheatline, in this case it also depicts G-ASGC, but with the interim British Airways titles over the BOAC colourscheme.
In December 2013 Herpa issued a special Christmas version of one of their models, as they do each year, and it turned out to be a VC10. This may not be everyone's cup of tea and I personally don't think that the VC10's lines are enhanced by the colourscheme.
Although mainly French oriented, this company also offers mahogany desktop models in 1:72 scale of the VC10. So far three options have been shown on the Aviation Megastore website: BOAC, British Airways or EAA Super VC10. These models are fully painted and assembled and come with a display stand.
Desktop Models - Bravo Delta Models
This company offers high quality hand-crafted wooden display models, fully painted and with a display stand. The models are hand carved from mahogany and then hand painted. Any scale or scheme is possible and the level of detail is also customisable according to the client's wishes. Creating a Bravo Delta Model will take between 10 and 12 weeks as up to 35 coats of paint are applied after carving. Retailers are listed on their website but clients are advised to contact the company direct, particularly if they have special wishes.
Visitor R. Brown sent me a message with photos of a model he bought from Atlantic Models. It is made from solid resin with decals in 1:100 scale and includes such small details as windscreen wipers.
Photos copyright R. Brown
Another option for a desktop model would be to get in touch with Nice Airplanes Ltd. This company offers a large range of models and they have a special page displaying a number of VC10 models in civil and RAF colours. The models are approximately 45 cm in length and will set you back some 150 pounds. But for that sum you will get a solid wood model with a detailed colourscheme and various small details.
If the options above don't satisfy you, we'll move on to the next step. A real eyecatcher would be an old (restored would be best) travel agent model. These cannot be bought outright, you'll have to look on Ebay or deal with another collector to get one. The photo below shows an example, with some details. Westway used to build these in large numbers and in several scales for use by travel agents and the airlines themselves. Several thousand were built in 1/72nd scale, about 200 in 1/24th scale and four in 1/16th scale. These last ones were about eleven feet long and featured a complete cutaway fuselage to show the interior. On the other end of the scale, tens of thousands of four-inch plastic models were produced to be used as give-aways to first-class passengers. A 1966 article stated that about 15,000 VC10 models in various scales were in circulation around the world.
Aidan Turner sent me these photos, showing his restored 1/24th scale Super VC10 model.
This clip from the British Pathé© archives shows how Westway built their models, including the VC10s.
Another eyecatcher would be a wooden handcrafted (unpainted finish) model. The company Planecraft produces these, their website has more details.
The last option to have a really special VC10 model on your desktop is provided by Stellar Images, they create aircraft models from stained glass. I have been unable to find a photo of the VC10 model they produce, but their website provides plenty of examples of other aircraft types.