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Rhodesian Alouette "K-Car" in 1/48

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Just finished today was my 1/48 Aerospatiale Alouette IIIB “K-Car†of the Rhodesian Air Force ca. early 1979. This is the Fujimi kit released in 1980 and heavily modified and converted to the unique Rhodesian version made famous during “Fireforce†operations in the Bush War of the 1970s. The kit when built out of the box assembles quite well, however the major modifications to convert the machine to a K-Car required including; Anti SAM shroud and the “Elephant ear†dust filters on air intakes. Also on the outside are the adding of antennas on the front of the cockpit and the cable cutter on the top of the fuselage. On the inside, I added the Matra 20mm cannon on its unique mount with ammo feed line and adjusted seating platform. The 20mm was made primarily of using the Aries 20mm resin gun body and adding a metal barrel and ammo feed. The pilots seat was modified and armored, and armored inserts added internally, as well as relocating the instrument panel and some wiring. The machine depicted is numbered R5278 (ex Portuguese AF from Mozambique), “given†to Rhodesia in 1976, and depicted for operations against ZANLA terrorists in southern Rhodesia in late 1978.

The K-Car gunship was a natural evolution of the Alouette III and the weathering and paint scheme on the “Allie†depicts its role as a workhorse and very capable light helicopter that could operate using multiple fuels, and take high volumes of battle damage and still do its job. Even in some instances with a tail rotor missing, the machines could make it back home. Interestingly, the camouflage of the machine includes almost no external markings – this is for multiple reasons, most importantly is that they were technically the only machines in the sky over Rhodesia, so no identification was needed. The scheme of the “X X x x†was a late 1970s’s paint scheme. So in building this kit, I felt it was important to depict the appearance as a working K-Car with dust, dirt and some scratches and cracks being evident.

This was a tough build for me, requiring lots of patience and working within multiple modeling mediums, but I’m really proud of her as she sits on my living room table.

But in another way, R5278 is modeled as ready to go for her “Fireforce†role and back-up the “Troopies†on demand.


- Adam









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Great to see a RhoAF build!

My dad flew Allo3s in the SAAF for a few years, and had a tail rotor failure in one... which killed his posting onto fast jets (Air Force docs told him no ejection seats)...

I'll always remember the oh-so-distinctive whine of the Allo 3, as one or two flew over as a young boy.

The men who flew those machines in combat have my absolute respect. No bullet proof perspex, not armor plating. The only thing that had any form of armor was the pilot's seat.

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Thank you everyone. Yes, the K-Car is not commonly known to many modellers, but if you were a Rhodesian ZANUPF/ZIPRA dissident in conjunction with your East German/North Korean advisor in the late 1970s in the general vicinity of Rhodesia, you were usually quite familiar with the type. The K-Car was operated mostly with a crew of three, (pilot, gunner and Fireforce commander) and used as a mobile command post to allow the army commander of the heli-borne troops to direct their operations from the air above them, although I have seen some photos of two seaters (like the one I built).

Ammunition for the 20mm Cannon was carried in a special bin in the left hand baggage compartment and fed to the cannon via a feed tray through the rear bulkhead. The spent brass was collected in a compartment below the cabin floor. The ammunition bin was supposed to be able to carry 440 rounds of 20mm ammuninition, but typically, only 400-410 rounds were loaded. The gunner in the K-Car was also a technician and therefore he was not only the gunner, but also responsible for all the maintenance of his aircraft. Interestingly, a K-Car had the distinction of shooting down a Botswana Defence Force BN Islander in flight on 9 August 1979 with its 20mm cannon.

The other version the Rhodesians used was called a "G-Car" and was used in general support, SAR, casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) and a variety of other roles. It has to be modeled the same way generally, but with modifications for the gun area obviously.

The Fujimi kit is easy to build for the most part - except for the cockpit glass which takes some work, but its overall just fine if you can find one.

Thanks again.


Edited by scooter
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