Hammer of Thor: 1/48th Italeri AC-130A Spectre
This 1985 release of Italeri's 1/48th Gunship version of the C-130 was preceded by the cargo version in 1984. Of course the most notable feature of the kit is its massive size! The kit's wingspan is 84cm (33") and it’s length is 62cm (24.5") long... so the first question is, do you have the space?
Notable Kit Features:
Decent interior (although maybe not realistic)
Includes rear ramp flare dispenser
Optional ALQ-87 ECM pods (two pairs), Black Crow and radar sensors included
Armament includes 2x Miniguns; 2x Vulcans; 2x Bofors canon
Raised Panel lines
Rear ramp may be displayed open or closed
It is a MASSIVE kit in 1/48th scale
If you followed the development of gunship aircraft, from A - Z, the AC-130 is presently the Zenith. The concept of a circling gunship is certainly interesting however, developing one from a cargo aircraft the size of the C-130 is stunning. Program developments during the Vietnam war included, Surprise Package (the addition of two 40mm Bofors canons); Black Crow (truck ignition sensor) & Pave Spectre (the upgrade to a 105mm gun armament).
Thick cockpit and portal glass (cockpit glass fit isn't great either)
Nose weight required for this tail dragger (unless you want to use the rear cargo door to prop up the back end)
AC-130A models didn't have inboard pylons and did not carry the provided tanks
The interior has been criticized as fictional (I didn't have good enough references to draw any conclusions here, so I went with the provided parts)
Apparently the front left sensor fairing should have about 2/3 of its height removed
On the forward left fuselage, above the 20 mm guns there was an air intake (on Thor) or two (on "Mors de Caelis") for purging gun gasses from the cargo compartment (early models had none of these intakes)
Some sink marks in the fuselage that need to be filled
Bulkheads may need to be trimmed in spots to get fuselage to fit around the interior (however that could have just been me)
The props appear to be slightly off in shape (but not enough for me to worry about)
The engines seams need a bit of work and the engines are reportedly a bit short in length on the undersides
Decent fit for the most part however, the main join seam along the underside will need some work and filler
The squared tail, aft of the rudder, is incorrect for an "A" and should be shortened and rounded off
Raised panel lines (do with them what you will)
Kit decals are thick but usable at least
Kit Additions / Modifications:
Added seatbelts to pilot seats
Used a load of BBs (fixed with white glue) to add nose weight under the cockpit floor
Added a cooling intake to left-side just ahead of the front Gatling guns
Blanked off forward left-side window as it wasn't present on "Thor"
Cut down "Beaver Tail" and reshaped to the early rounded style tail of the "A" model
Removed fuel dumps from wing tips (Not present on "A" series)
Suitably weighted the tires
The paint scheme applied to this aircraft is the USAF TAC Jungle (night version) consisting of FS 30219 Tan / 34079 Dk. Grn. / 34102 Med. Grn. over black. Weathering was done by varying the paint tones during application and applying exhaust streaks and chipping effects afterwards. The kit markings included "Thor" 16th SOS, 8th TFW, US Air Force, Thailand 1969 and that suited me just fine so I went with that.
The After-Build Report:
I don't recall any show-stoppers with this kit, and you could simplify things by closing up the tailgate and selecting a Gunship Grey or Black finish. Its sheer size means it won't be a quick build, however if you really want to turn some heads with a model in your collection or "Wow" one of your kids, this kit should do the job. Basic modeling skills, some patience and a generous application of glues required to get this one done. An experienced model maker could add detail, correct issues and even scribe the panel lines to make this one a star build... but you'll need some space to construct and display it more than anything!
Completed build #222 - December 2018 using the 1/48th scale Italeri #818 kit.
Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is suppose to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers