Skip to content

History & Modeling: Fujimi’s 1/48 Alouette IIIB “K-Car” Rhodesian Air Force

My good friend Adam Coleman emailed this wonderful build report and history of his Aerospatiale Alouette IIIB “K-Car” in Rhodesian markings. I always enjoy Adam’s modeling, because not only is he a fine modeler, he also has a great love for the history of his subjects, and always brings interesting facts and stories in to his builds. Thanks for letting me share this with the readers of Agape Models, Adam!

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.