Review by Geoff Coughlin (July 2015)
Price around: £29.99 GBP
Our thanks to Revell for supplying our review sample. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For details visit www.revell.de/en
A little bit of inspiration and reference here…
The Douglas AC-47 Spooky (also nicknamed “Puff, the Magic Dragon”) was the first in a series of gunships developed by the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War. It was designed to provide more firepower than light and medium ground-attack aircraft in certain situations when ground forces called for close air support.
The AC-47 was a United States Air Force C-47, (the military version of the DC-3) that had been modified by mounting three 7.62 mm General Electric miniguns to fire through two rear window openings and the side cargo door, all on the left (pilot’s) side of the aircraft, and the modified craft’s primary function was close air support for ground troops. Other armament configurations could also be found on similar C-47-based aircraft around the world. The guns were actuated by a control on the pilot’s yoke whereby he could control the guns either individually or together, although gunners were also among the crew to assist with gun failures and similar issues. It could orbit the target for hours, providing suppressing fire over an elliptical area approximately 52 yd. (47.5 m) in diameter, placing a round every 2.4 yd. (2.2 m) during a three-second burst. The aircraft also carried flares it could drop to illuminate the battleground.
The AC-47 had no previous design to gauge how successful it would be because it was the first of its kind. The USAF found itself in a precarious situation when requests for additional gunships began to come in because it simply lacked miniguns to fit additional aircraft after the first two conversions. The next four aircraft were equipped with 10 .30 calibre AN/M2 machine guns. However, these weapons, using World War II and Korean War ammunition stocks, were quickly discovered to jam easily, produce large amounts of gases from firing, and, even in 10-gun groups, only provide the density of fire of a single minigun. All four of these aircraft were retrofitted to the standard armament configuration when additional miniguns arrived.
The AC-47 initially used SUU-11/A gun pods that were installed on locally fabricated mounts for the gunship application. Emerson Electric eventually developed the MXU-470/A to replace the gun pods, which were also used on subsequent gunships.
The Revell Kit
This isn’t a new Revell kit, being first released many years ago but with new decals this time. It is pretty well detailed, has interior details – including those rotary guns for the fuselage side windows and cargo door. Raised panel lines are evident but the shape overall looks good.
The grey sprues (including the clear one) look and feel good quality with most parts clean and well-defined but some of the smaller detail like the lap belts on the seats look a little soft and not so well-defined. Here are a few of the manufacturer’s made up model to give you a good idea of what this model can look like – certainly looks like a Hind to me!
Here are some good photos of the manufacturer’s made up model and you can see that it certainly looks every bit an AC-47D “Spooky” Gunship!