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AC-47 schemes and weapons


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Hi gents, 

 

Does anybody know if the AC-47D used in SEA ever had SUU-11 miniguns AND the late markings with the Spook nose art and the large white tail codes? 

 

I looked on the web, in Larry Davis 'Gunships' , Wayne Mutza 'Gunships' and the excellent article in volume 4 of IAPR but either found planes with two SUU miniguns behind the windows plus one at door level, no nose art (except for the initial plane named 'Puff') and the small Bu. Aer. serial number under 'usaf' in black on the tail OR the late type with three MXU-470 firing through windows, the Spooky nose art and the large white tail codes. That seems to indicate the planes were partly repainted when they were modified to get the new miniguns. 

 

Last, I had the feeling someone produced in resin a SUU-11 pod with the gun exposed in 1/32. Possibly Cobra company in an AH-1G set? I may be wrong. There are many options based on the M134 minigun in 1/35 scale but for obvious reasons I would prefer a correctly scaled one. The only 1/32 M134 I found was 3D printed and is available on Shapeways but it looks quite toyish... 

 

Thanks in advance for your help 

 

Thierry 

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Hi Thierry,

Someplace I have the USAF tome on fixed wing gunships, trying to get the books out of piles will help will keep you posted.

I am doing a Vietnam thing myself so will have a look through the stuff I have.

 

Bob

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Hi Bob, 

 

Thanks very much. I saw that old book mentioned here and there but had no clue regarding the value of the contents and more particularly the pictures. 

 

Are you going for an early one with SUU-11A or a late one with the MXU-470 type? Personally, I have not yet chosen definitely as in both cases, I will have to scratchbuild the miniguns and the mk. 24 flare boxes. 

 

I'm also hesitating regarding the ammo boxes. Cheat with 1/35th ones as they will not be very visible and nice ones are available or create a 1/32 one to replicate in resin. Wait and see. 

 

If I'm finally going for an early gunship, this will be either the original 'Puff' after being repainted in SEA colors or another bird nicknamed 'the leper' because her paint was badly damaged and touched up heavily. 

 

I also realized the propeller blades need to be replaced by paddle-shaped ones. Two Eduard F4U-1D propeller sets will do the trick! 

 

Cheers 

 

Thierry 

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Hi Thierry,

I can't remember myself I think the photos were not top spec. It's on Abebooks at £6.70 then silly postage.

Not sure what way I will go but getting the guns and boxes printed should be ok, but I have a couple of other projects to finish.

 

ATB

Bob

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Hi Bob,

 

I discovered this morning that the book is actually visible on Google books and indeed the pictures do not bring anything new. I'll try to have a look at the text to see if I do not get my reply regarding the scheme change.

 

Thanks again and please keep me informed if and when you go on regarding the internal components (the flares will also be required).

 

BR

 

Thierry

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Hi Thierry,

Yes will do, as I said I have a couple of projects to finish and I've just started a big figure job for a customer (so much for slowing down !!) some interesting  stuff WW2 French pilot and some Bomber Command aircrew that jump to mind .

 

Will keep you posted

 

ATB

Bob

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By the way, it is normally not visible on the kit but making an AC-47 is asking for changing radically the navigation and radio systems.

 

The sixties plane had more radio boxes and the navigator station got a big LORAN box on the table. Getting information on all the radio boxes is not that easy as finding internal pictures of C-47 of the end of the fifties/beginning of the sixties is quite difficult and preserved airframes were typically restored to the WW2 configuration or got newer radio systems as they are still flying.

 

Moreover, according to the planes, some had a fixed oxygen system whereas other had just portable O2 bottles.

 

Internal layout also changed noticeably in the cargo bay. The SUU-11 equiped planes had just five seats in the cargo bay whereas later ones had sometimes more of them. The flare storage location also evolved, notwithstanding the test to use different configurations of an automatic flare launcher (that was finally discontinued as the manual handling was finally considered to be safer and more efficient!).

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By the way, does anybody know any picture or detailed TM view of a sixties USAF C-47 radio rack?

I just found a schematic sketch showing where was going which type of box in the AC-47 and this is very different from the Hph wartime configuration (the rack was completely full of boxes). I found some pictures of part of the individual boxes but got zero information regarding the way that dozen of boxes were interconnected... 

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  • 1 year later...
On 5/17/2020 at 1:08 PM, thierry laurent said:

Hi gents, 

 

Does anybody know if the AC-47D used in SEA ever had SUU-11 miniguns AND the late markings with the Spook nose art and the large white tail codes? 

 

...

 

Thanks in advance for your help 

 

Thierry 

 

This one does, but it looks like a warbird to me (albeit before repaint).

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5 minutes ago, Grunticus said:

 

This one does, but it looks like a warbird to me (albeit before repaint).

Thanks but this is indeed a warbird and she was never an actual AC-47. Pictures of the interior show she was a cargo C-47 in which the three pods and their supports were added. All the other interior gunship features are missing.

 

Up to now I've never seen a wartime AC-47 with the 'late' markings (tail tactical code and Spooky noseart) AND SUU-11 miniguns. The dozens of pictures I checked only showed MXU-470 guns with the vertical ammo cylinder. The 'early' planes just had the BuAer number of the tail.

 

Thierry

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24 minutes ago, thierry laurent said:

Thanks but this is indeed a warbird and she was never an actual AC-47. Pictures of the interior show she was a cargo C-47 in which the three pods and their supports were added. All the other interior gunship features are missing.

 

Up to now I've never seen a wartime AC-47 with the 'late' markings (tail tactical code and Spooky noseart) AND SUU-11 miniguns. The dozens of pictures I checked only showed MXU-470 guns with the vertical ammo cylinder. The 'early' planes just had the BuAer number of the tail.

 

Thierry

 

 

"Experiments with new equipment continued throughout 1966. In March, smoke extractors were installed to remove fumes produced by the miniguns from the fuselage. By year’s end, more reliable General Electric MXU-470 miniguns began to arrive to replace most of the SUU-llA guns and all of the interim .30-caliber guns mounted in U.S. gunships. The new guns featured electric loading from a vertical drum that held an additional 500 rounds and required less space than did the SUU-llA."

 

The tactical tail code system was introduced in 1968, so if both these facts are true, it is unlikely but depending on the period it took to completely replace the SUU-11s. I'll keep looking, as I find the subject interesting.

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Indeed but based on pictures I'm convinced they modified the weapons, refreshed the paint and changed the markings at the same time. Otherwise I guess at least one picture or a movie would show an interim configuration.

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