Saturday 2 May 2015

AC130H Spectre Unboxing

Today we will be opening up ESCI's 1/72 AC130H "Spectre".

It's not a kit that I though I would be building anytime soon. Admittedly, the C130 Hercules (which I though this was after a cursory glance at the box) is a formidable transport plane and I've seen it fly overhead at low altitude a few dozen times (we have a few in our army), but it hadn't quite peeked my interest yet to promote it from the stash to the workbench.

What is it?
The AC130H is no transport plane. It's a gunship, and heavily armed at that. Basically, it's a flying tank, with all the advantages, but without the disadvantages of a tracked vehicle.

Lockheed calls it "A fixed-wing, side-firing aerial gunship that provides close air support, air interdiction and force protection".

During the 1950's, the C130 Hercules was adapted for a variety of missions. This particular version (130H "Spectre II") is the 1973 version. Ten of the previous versions (-E) were converted into this model. In 1986 thirteen more were build, then converted into the 130U "Spooky".

They are highly efficient, but a bit slow. Of the total of 53 planes that were made between 1953 and 1995, 8 were shot down in action, 2 of which were 130H (january '91 and march '94). The remaining 8 of this model are still in service with the 16th Special Operations Squadron (SOS) at Hurlburt Field, Florida.

It's onboard armament consists of :
- 2 x M61 20mm Vulcan cannons (3000 rounds)
- 1 x L60 40mm Bofors cannon (256 rounds)
- 1 x M102 105mm Howitser (100 rounds)

Each wing supports 2 pylons for fuel tanks or missiles.

What's in the box?
On to the contents of the box. 4 sprues contain all the parts we'll need and - at first glance - some extra's. Dry-fitting the 2 fuselage halves tell me I'll be working some extra hours on them. All part of the job ...

Decals appear to be lacking a bit of colour, but I'm glad all those little lines are included and I do not have to paint them.

The building instructions are adequately detailed, but going through it, I already see there will be need for a lot of "guestimation" on some parts' correct placement.

I've already started construction (and postponed posting this entry), so expect part 2 to come really quick.

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