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1/72 AC-130A Spectre - "Ghost Rider" 54-1623


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I have put the WC-130J in a holding pattern while I get started on this project. The plan is to finish the Weatherbird and the Spectre at the same time.

One weekend in the early Fall of 1993, I was called out to the airbase to work on a transient Herk that dropped in for RADAR problems. Well, I wasn't a Comm/Nav troop. I was a GAC troop. They Pro Super told me that they couldn't get a hold of the Comm/Nav person and since I was cross trained, it fell on me. I got out to the base to see an AC-130. The crew told me that they had already troubleshot the system and determined that they needed a new RT. So, I ordered the new RT and while we were waiting, I took a look at the aircraft and realized that this was a 1954 model AC-130A gunship. I looked up at the fuselage and on the side was the trademark crescent moon and skull emblem and the name "Ghost Rider". I will be modeling Ghost Rider as it appeared that day in 1993. Ghost Rider was retired in 1995. It was then flown to Dobbins AFB, Georgia to be put on static display. Ghost Rider is now on display at the Aviation Wing of the Marietta Museum of History.

The RT came in, I quickly op checked it and sent the aircraft on it's way. I always wanted to model that aircraft. Now, keeping in line with my, building a model of every aircraft I've ever worked on, technically, if I close my left eye and squint my right, I can say that I worked on an AC-130A. This isn't going to be a Jon Vojtech AC-130 build, but it will be an in-flight build similar to my C-130H "Damien" build and WC-130J build.

Beginning the build...

Like all of Italeri's C-130 kits, they look good, but they have their shortcomings. I found the Testors boxing of the AC-130A kits with the 54-1630 "Azreal - The Angel of Death" marking. On a side not, aircraft 1630 is on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

To build an AC-130A accurately, I would have to back date this kit to a C-130A. The C-130A had two cargo doors. There was a door on the left side forward fuselage and then the ramp and door oat the aft end of the aircraft. When the aircraft was converted to a gunship configuration, the forward cargo door was closed and doubler-plates installed to prevent the door from opening ever again. Holes were then cut into the door for cannons. Additional opening were added to the left side of the fuselage for gun placements. Many modifications were done to these aircraft during their service with the USAF. (All pictures are posted under "Fair Use


Most AC-130A model Spectre builds I've seen are lacking key backdating features to make them correct, most notably the forward cargo door. Here are photos of the aircraft:

Left forward fuselage

Left Aft Fuselage

The boring side of the aircraft

You will notice in the photos that the aircraft has three bladed propellers. The aircraft was originally delivered with three bladed propellers. It was then modified to have four-bladed propellers. When it was retired at Dobbins AFB, the USAF removed the the four bladed and replaced them with the original propellers.

I began the build by replicating the sealed forward cargo door. This was done by using .010 x .030 Evergreen styrene. All of the windows on the cargo door had been plated over during this period of time.

On the aft fuselage, the forward window of two aft windows over the left aft sponson had been plated over. On the left aft fuselage where the ramp is located was the search light. This too had been remove late in Ghost Rider's career.

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This rocks! I shall be following this with extreme interest. My father had over 100 missions over Laos as a navigator on one of these birds. All I remember is the tail number ended in 600. I need to get more info and see if I can't re-build his mount.


Keep going; I love seeing this.

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A little more work on Ghost Rider this morning...
I added patches and fairing to the ex-forward cargo door area. If you look at early Vietnam era photos of Ghost Rider you will see intake scoops in this are which had be removed by the time it was heading into retirement.
The fairing in the kit has an opening on the aft side of the fairing. This needed to be closed to be accurate.


I also closed the left aft paratroop door and removed the raised reinforcements from the upper section. A window was added on the door above the Beacon Tracking RADAR fairing. The spotlight area is closed, sanded and polished. Next step will be to add the forward fairing for the removed spotlight opening. This fairing is also molded with having an open aft side. This too will have to be closed.

Edited by stevee671
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  • 2 weeks later...
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  • 5 months later...

I've neglected some updates, so here goes.

Flight Deck. Not much to see here. Any detail in here is really lost when the model is closed up. I will dull this down a little bit before I close the fuselage.


Cut the window and added the doubler to the paratroop door

Boxed in the in Bofors cannons


I didn't like the mounting of the two forward guns

A side shot

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  • 3 months later...

Been a long while since a real update.


Ghost Rider is all together.


Props are painted. Lots of filling, sanding, primer in that order, over and over and over.


The chaff/flare fairings, the EW sensors just aft of the nose, the TACAN antennas as well as the VOR antenna on the tail are on!









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Nice work. She's lookin' deadly!


Just the most sinister, intimidating piece of airborne hardware, anywhere...IMHO.

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