I purchased some Heroics & Ros aircraft recently and was disappointed to find that, unlike the helicopters, they do not come with external sources. Given all aircraft do in CWC is drop large quantities of ordnance for the purposes of landscaping, this was something of an omission.
Thankfully I recalled seeing a weapons pack on Magister Militum for GHQ NATO fixed wing aircraft stores and this is the subject of today’s review.
I think it’s worth going over the pack contents because neither GHQ or Militum have a good photo or description and it may help inform your decision whether to purchase the pack.
Now, I know an unhealthy amount about aircraft weaponry so identifying this stuff is childsplay for me. However, not everyone had a misspent youth with Jane’s “All the World’s Aircraft” as their spank material so I’ve circled the sprues and linked to wiki where possible.
A – A sprue full of AIM-9 Sidewinders. The Sidewinder, like HP Sauce, goes on everything so is probably the most useful store in the pack. GHQ have supplied it in a few forms. Dual Rail (no pylon) is handy for Falkland era Harriers and CW/Gulf I era Warthogs. Single Rails with and without pylon can be used for almost everything (single rail could also be used for AGM-122 Sideram ARM on Huey Cobra). There are also two F-15 Eagle Wing Pylons with stub rails which are probably the least versatile.
B – The top of the sprue has two small drop tanks (possibly for F-16). The left has three GBU-10 2000lb Paveway II Laser Guided Bombs. The right has three Multiple Ejector Racks, each carrying six Mk-82 500lb GP bombs.
The tanks could be used for most aircraft without too much modification (clip fins off, etc). The GBU-10 are useful for CW and Gulf War I and II and will go onto most US aircraft and a few non-US ones. The MER/Mk-82 are very useful for Vietnam and Gulf War I US aircraft (A-6 and A-10 especially!).
C – Five AIM-7 Sparrow AA missile. Handy for Vietnam F-4 (which almost always had four underfuselage) and any game with air-air rules. As I was planning on only using them for CWC which is strictly mud moving I chopped these up for rocket pods.
D – Eight GBU-12 Paveway II 500lb Laser Guided Bombs on pylons. Useful for most US aircraft in any conflict since Vietnam. Some non-US aircraft use it too.
E – Topmost store is a large drop tank typically used on F-15 centreline. Remaining six stores are Triple Ejector racks (TER) carry three Mk-82 bombs each. Like the MER, these are useful for Vietnam and Gulf War I. A-10 and F-16 would usually carry these during Desert Storm. F-4, A-4 and A-7 would carry them during Vietnam.
F – The top three missiles are more Sidewinders. The left of the sprue has three more TER/Mk-82 combos. The right of the sprue has three AGM-65 Maverick triple launchers. This is a fairly odd inclusion as the Maverick was rarely carried on this launcher. A-10 used them infrequently during Desert Storm. F-16 are cleared to use them it wouldn’t be out of place on one in a Cold War game (lets face it, drag is the least of problems in that scenario!).
G – The Amnesty International sprue has more Cluster Bombs than is probably healthy (certainly for massed armor formations or schools). The left of the sprue has three MER loaded with six SUU dispensers apiece. The right has three TER carrying three apiece.
Still with me? Okay, that’s the Safetystick school of US ordnance over and done with for the moment. Hopefully it will help!
£7 gets you all of the above. It’s a little pricey but there is probably about as much lead in the blister as a Chieftain pack so its not unfair, but probably ensures that this buy is strictly for those who really need their aircraft to look like they’re not just buzzing the local airshow. There is no equivalent that I’ve found so this is pretty much the only way of loading up.
Everything looks to scale relative to each other.
Detail of GBU-10. I’ve clipped the pylon off one of them and have yet to clean either to give an idea of mould quality.
Good. Mould lines were mostly easy to deal with and unobtrusive. A little flash, especially on the fins but easily cleaned. Detail, such as it is, is fairly crisp as to be expected of GHQ.
The fact that I was able to identify all of the stores with little trouble probably suggests ‘good enough’!
There isn’t a huge amount of detail here, probably due to the relatively small size of the stores. The GBU-10 impressed me by having the seeker head modeled. The join between tail and warhead on the bombs was generally missing so would have to be painted on. At this scale I can’t say I was surprised and what is present is sufficient but the Chieftain’s crazy level of detail had maybe left me expecting access panels and levers to be present!
So, good detail, good form and plenty of options. All’s well?
No, not really.
Firstly, there are some woeful omissions here. The main one is the lack of single air to ground stores. The Mk-82, Cluster Bombs and Mavericks only come on multiple launchers which is ‘okay’ for Vietnam and the opening stages of Gulf War I but not really representative of later periods (where they could be painted as ‘smart’ versions i.e. Mk-82 = JDAM. SUU=WCMD) or even the practical realities of pylon and envelope limits in high intensity warfare (An F-16 carrying four TER is dead in the water if pounced by a couple of Russkie MiGs).
There are also no rocket pods, which is strange given how often they are used throughout late 20th century warfare. I made my own by cutting up the Sparrows (a bit small in diameter but the 1/285 scale on a 1/300 aircraft helps).
Secondly, despite being listed under NATO fixed wing on the site, the pack is exceptionally US orientated. This is okay for most forces that tend to use US kit but French and British players may wonder where the love is. I converted the GBU-10 into a reasonable facsimile of the stubbier UK 1000lb LGB
. AIM-9 are also fairly universal.
Non-US aircraft like Jaguar and Harrier GR Mk.3 also tend to not use TER and MER making the multi-store carriers largely useless. I ended up giving most of mine to Mike to populate his H&R A-6 Intruders
So, final assessment. The quality of the contents is good, verging on great. This is a good pack to buy if you want to fit out some H&R/Skytrex US aircraft for high intensity warfare (Vietnam, Cold War, Gulf I). However, it’s not the pack for doing Falkland era Brits or Gulf era French as there will be a lot of wastage given the US focus of the contents.