1/48 DeHavilland Canada CA-123B Attack Otter

Gallery Article by Mark Lougheed on Jan 8 2011

Silly Week 2011


In the mid 1950’s, incursions across national and provincial borders were becoming a problem for the Canadian Government. Several Counter Insurgency aircraft were looked at for patrolling said zones, but an indigenous solution was available in the CC-123 Otter. Re-engined with a Wright R-3350 radial engine, the Attack Otter differed externally in its’ four-bladed propeller and weapons stations under the wings, but under the skin, it was a whole new aircraft. Stressed to take the pounding an attack aircraft would endure, it was also wired to have hardpoints under the wings as well as under the fuselage. 20mm miniguns were fitted to fire out the port side, and an armoured fuel tank was an usual fit. Rocket pods and a directable searchlight added to the capability, and Tundra Tires made it able to land almost anywhere as well. 


The Attack Otter became such a success inside Canada it eventually was made available for export and had a brisk sales period in the 1970s. Brushfire wars around the world were good business for DeHavilland Canada! 


Notable operations for the CA-123 were Operation Ashtray, an anti-cigarette smuggling operation in Southern Ontario, The Neo-Fenian Raids of 1966, and the Cyprus Intervention. The Attack Otter was a feared and capable ground attack aircraft, and also scored several air-to-air kills with it’s amazing maneuverability and a devastation rate of fire from a variety of weapons. Two MiG-17s crashed attempting to turn with a CA-123 over Cambodia, and a Montana National Guard A-38 Super Lightning was destroyed in a “broadside” of minigun fire while mixing it up with an Attack Otter during Red Flag in 1988.

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This fictional, but quite believable aircraft was built using a 1/48 scale DeHavilland Otter. Modification include adding the engine, cowling and prop from a ESCI kit of the Douglas Skyraider. Miniguns came from the Revellogram AC-47, and tanks pods and other additional weapons came from the spares bin. Decals are from a variety of sources. 


The HobbyCraft kit of the Otter is pretty sparse, so not much was done to jazz up the office area. The engine and cowling dropped right onto the from of the plane it was like it was designed to...hmmm? The kit is currently on display in a local hobby shop, confounding and confusing many who see it.  Unfortunately, there are no pics of it with the "Tundra Tire" option, which is now installed.  It really gives the plane a decent sense of heft.

Mark Lougheed

Photos and text © by Mark Lougheed