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AC-130E Spectre
by David W. Aungst




There are so many successful sub-variants of the C-130, it is hard to say which one is the most successful.

One sub-variant that definitely has been up there on the success scale is the AC-130 Spectre ground attack version. This aircraft has the distinction of carrying the world's largest airborne gun, a 105mm Howitzer cannon. With all the side firing weapons on the AC-130, an orbiting Spectre can bring a massive amount of firepower to bear on a ground target.


Building the Testor (Italeri) AC-130A as an AC-130E

The Testor (Italeri) model is an AC-130A, complete with the correct three bladed propellers. While good for the modeler wanting to build an early version of the Spectre, it did not help me since I wanted to build a later version. When I built this model, I was also building a DC-130A. Testor (Italeri) provides the four bladed propellers in the DC-130A. Since the DC-130 kit really needed the three bladed propellers, it was a simple matter to swap the engine nacelles and propellers between the kits.



The result of the new engines and propellers in the AC-130 kit was that I now had a kit of an early AC-130E. Very early on, the AC-130E's all had the 105mm Howitzer installed, but the Testor (Italeri) kit does not provide this. It was close enough, having a pair of 40mm Bofors cannons in the rear fuselage. I otherwise kept it simple and mostly out-of-the-box, doing only the following things to the stock kit.


I swapped the engine nacelles and propellers from a Testors (Italeri) DC-130A kit to get the desired four-blade style of propellers for the aircraft.


I added the line antennas stretching from the fuselage to the tail top.


Paint, Markings and Weathering

I used all Model Master enamel paints. The kit provided no real issues to overcome and the one-color camouflage made painting the model a quick process.

The markings (the few that existed) are taken from the kit decal sheet. For the wing-walk markings, I created a mask using a file card and tape. Then I painted the wing-walk markings as it was going to take "forever" using decal striping.



For weathering, I used my typical style of thinned down enamel paint washes and air brush shading. I finished the weathering with some dry brushing to pop out the surface details. For a more complete discussion of what I do to weather my models, see my posting on "Weathering Aircraft".


More Pictures

Click the thumbnails below to view larger pictures:

Project Statistics

Completion Date:

October, 1988

Total Building Time:

30.5 (estimated)





Painting (includes creation and printing of custom decals):


Decals / Markings (includes creating and printing custom decals):


Extra Detailing / Conversion:


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Photographs and Text Copyright 2003 by David W. Aungst