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WC-130A Rainmaker


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My stash has expanded rapidly since joining this forum.   The shelf of doom only has two models left, and the final parts for future builds are inbound (I hope).

I was going to build a KC-135R for a friend (guy I gave the C-9 too, but he passed away unexpectedly, so that project needs to be put off for awhile).

Strike Eagle, P-61,  F-22, 3x F-16's and a Squadron of 130's to choose from.  Parts and decals coming in from all over the globe. 

 

So after thinking about it, I decided to go with a 130, and in a go big or go home moment decided to build it as a WC-130A, with a goal of entering it in the local IPMS Squadron contest next January/February.

 

I am starting with the Italeri C-130E/H in 1/72nd scale.

 

My Ozmods engines and fuel tanks are in customs, so they should arrive this month.

I have to cast a couple extra crew seats, then scratch build the ARWO, Drop stations and a Benson Tank, a couple antennaes, and an external rack; this will be my first time doing this kind of stuff.

 

Things I still need: Colors, my google-foo is weak and I can't find a color schematic for a VN era C-130.  This image on scalemates is as close as I can get:  1241521-63-instructions.jpg

Does this look accurate?

 

The Air Force had exactly 3 WC-130A's, (56-0519, 56-0522, 56-0537) they were assigned to the 54th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron (my old unit).  Their primary mission was (at the time) the Top Secret Operation MOTORPOOL/POPEYE.  This was the attempt to increase rain rates over the "Ho Chi Minh Trail".  Aircraft 56-0522 will be my subject.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This is the plane I am using as my model.  Very plain looking, this pic was taken in Guam, and the external antennas have been removed.

 

56-0522_Guam

 

This closeup shows the external antennae (upper right)

 

wc-130a-02

 

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I listened to a presentation on the early Cloud Seeding project by Col. John Church (retired) at Hanscom AFB around 79/80. He was the AFGL or Cambridge Research Laboratory Science head of the project. 432rd TRW RF-4Cs were also tasked with the mission. He said that it was a very popular mission with the RF-4C crews, for obvious reasons.  MSGT Wettreck (Spelling?) was a MET/ARE trooper with Motorpool and had a war story where he mentioned a RHAW light in the WC-130 that illuminated during a flight. Fortunately nothing ensued. Speculation here... I believe that the pimple under 519 was part of that system. The Yagi antenna above the crew door might be for locating a ground signal. In the past I recall seeing pictures of HH-54Ds, HU-16Bs and HH-43s with that antenna. The yagi antenna was a later addition. I suspect it might be a piggy back mission to justify continuing the project. Col. Church said that results in the first year or so that he ran the project was mixed at best.  We might have still had the flare launchers in store at Keesler when I was there in 77/78. We did have the ice crushers for arctic fog dispersal. The WC-130As were supplemented and replaced with WC-130Bs and later with WC-130Es. The WC-130As had the earlier AMT-1 dropsonde system. It was different from the post Hurricane Camille Seek Cloud equipment. Maybe the dropsonde tube launcher might be similar. I have a b/w polaroid snapshot of a WC-130A given to me by Col. Church. It doesn't have the yagi antenna, hence my belief that it was a later addition. I believe that the flare launchers were standard RF-4C launchers (internal on the RF-4C rear fuselage) or maybe from an earlier recon aircraft. 

That's all for now.

 

The above is from memory with some speculation.

 

How about an F-4E OS tail code rigged for air sampling? 

The YC-121F, when based at the Sacramento Air Logistics Center sometimes flew sampling missions, like the C-54 and later C-118. 

 

Grant

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13 hours ago, gmat said:

I listened to a presentation on the early Cloud Seeding project by Col. John Church (retired) at Hanscom AFB around 79/80. He was the AFGL or Cambridge Research Laboratory Science head of the project. 432rd TRW RF-4Cs were also tasked with the mission. He said that it was a very popular mission with the RF-4C crews, for obvious reasons.  MSGT Wettreck (Spelling?) was a MET/ARE trooper with Motorpool and had a war story where he mentioned a RHAW light in the WC-130 that illuminated during a flight. Fortunately nothing ensued. Speculation here... I believe that the pimple under 519 was part of that system. The Yagi antenna above the crew door might be for locating a ground signal. In the past I recall seeing pictures of HH-54Ds, HU-16Bs and HH-43s with that antenna. The yagi antenna was a later addition. I suspect it might be a piggy back mission to justify continuing the project. Col. Church said that results in the first year or so that he ran the project was mixed at best.  We might have still had the flare launchers in store at Keesler when I was there in 77/78. We did have the ice crushers for arctic fog dispersal. The WC-130As were supplemented and replaced with WC-130Bs and later with WC-130Es. The WC-130As had the earlier AMT-1 dropsonde system. It was different from the post Hurricane Camille Seek Cloud equipment. Maybe the dropsonde tube launcher might be similar. I have a b/w polaroid snapshot of a WC-130A given to me by Col. Church. It doesn't have the yagi antenna, hence my belief that it was a later addition. I believe that the flare launchers were standard RF-4C launchers (internal on the RF-4C rear fuselage) or maybe from an earlier recon aircraft. 

That's all for now.

 

The above is from memory with some speculation.

 

How about an F-4E OS tail code rigged for air sampling? 

The YC-121F, when based at the Sacramento Air Logistics Center sometimes flew sampling missions, like the C-54 and later C-118. 

 

Grant

Good info, thanks.

The antennae info makes sense.

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@MHazthanks, picked paint up today.

@gmatMissed the small pimple on the nose. I think the external antennas helped locate thunderstorms (AM radios?) as that is where most of the seeding took place.

 

Tuesday is my weekly run to the model store.  Picked pain up and started looking at the model.  One nice bit is the Italeri has 5 seats on the cockpit, so I only have to scratch one extra seat for the cargo compartment (Dropsonde Operator).

The Ozmod engines and fuel tanks arrived, still waiting on the landing gear from SAC.

Really cold weather coming this weekend, so I have to do some winterizing before then, but I'll be stuck inside for two days and that means I can build in peace.

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