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SUU-23A 20mm Gun Pod for the F-4 Phantom II

AMS Resin 1/32 SUU-23A 20mm Gun Pod for the F-4 Phantom II First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2008 Manufacturer AMS Resin
Subject SUU-23A 20mm Gun Pod for the F-4 Phantom II Scale 1/32
Kit Number 32020 Media Resin
Pros Finally! A beautiful gun pod for the gun-less Phantoms! Cons
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $19.00

First Look

AMS Resin continues to turn out some nice aftermarket detail sets at reasonable prices. With this release, we finally have a nice SUU-23A in 1/32 scale. This is a simple four-piece casting that has captured the scoops and vents on the pod, with the front and rear ends of the pod, the M61 Vulcan muzzle, and the pylon used to mount this weapon onto the centerline station of the F-4.

SUU-23A 20mm Gun Pod for the F-4 Phantom II

As you know, only the F-4E (and derivative F-4F) had internal guns. In the early days of the Phantom's development, planners were in love with 'push button' warfare and that future air combat would be supersonic and fought with missiles, not guns. I think history has shown that concept to be overly optimistic. In fact, during several dogfights over Vietnam, the US Navy crews were frustrated as they were locked in a rolling scissors with a MiG pilot looking back at them and no gun to shoot! Before long, the first gun pods were used on Navy and Marine F-4B and F-4J as well as the US Air Force's F-4C and F-4D. It didn't take long for crews to experience the gun pod's oscillations when firing which resulted in 100 rounds per second being fired in every quadrant ahead of the aircraft except for where the pipper was aiming.

Even is the gun wasn't perfect for air-to-air, it was better than nothing and it was useful in close air support missions. Even as the Air Force (and Luftwaffe) got their gunfighters with the F-4E/F, the RAF and Royal Navy were experiencing gun withdrawal as well. It wasn't long before the FG.1 and FGR.2 were carrying the SUU-23A on the centerline as well.

So in short, whether you're building Tamiya's magnificent 1/32 F-4C/D, F-4J, or modifying these kits with the (no longer available) Cutting Edge F-4B/N conversion or FG.1/FGR.2 conversion, this is the gun you'll need on your centerline station!

Recommended for experienced modelers!

My sincere thanks to AMS Resin for this review sample!