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Red Dawn (1984)

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Red Dawn
Movie poster
Country Flag of the United States.jpg United States
Directed by John Milius
Release Date 1984
Language English
Studio United Artists
Valkyrie Films
Distributor M.G.M./UA Entertainment Company
Main Cast
Character Actor
Jed Eckert Patrick Swayze
Matt Eckert Charlie Sheen
Erica Mason Lea Thompson
Toni Mason Jennifer Grey
Daryl Bates Darren Dalton
Danny Brad Savage
Robert Morris C. Thomas Howell
Lieutenant Colonel Tanner Powers Boothe
Colonel Ernesto Bella Ron O'Neal
Colonel Strelnikov William Smith

Red Dawn is a 1984 action war film that dramatizes the possibility of a Soviet invasion of the contiguous United States. Directed and scripted by John Milius, the film stars Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Lea Thompson, and Jennifer Grey as a group of mostly teenagers who become resistance fighters against the occupying force. The film is notable for the amount of effort put into accurately depicting modern Soviet armor and weaponry of the era, particularly for a production made during the time of the Cold War. A remake of the film was released in the US on November 21, 2012, re-casting the invading antagonists as North Koreans.


The following weapons were used in the film Red Dawn (1984):


Colt Single Action Army

Jed Eckert (Patrick Swayze) is seen using a Colt Single Action Army revolver with ivory grips as his sidearm in the film. The revolver is mentioned to have been previously owned by Jed and Matt's grandfather. The revolver used was a personal piece owned by director John Milius.

Colt Single Action Army w/ 4.75" barrel, case colored and blued, referred to as "Quick-Draw" or "Civilian" model.
Matt Eckert (Charlie Sheen) hands over the Single Action Army (circled in red) to Jed Eckert (Patrick Swayze).
Jed Eckert prepares to shoot Yuri (Sam Slovick) near the sign for the Arapaho National Park, with his Single Action Army.
"Because we LIVE HERE!!!" Jed (Swayze) pulls his Single Action Army.
Jed offers to end Toni's (Jennifer Grey) suffering though she declines.
"You lose." Jed Eckert announces his presence to Colonel Strelnikov, instead of just shooting him.

Walther PP

The Nicaraguan Captain (Judd Omen) holds a Walther PP Pistol as he hunts for Jed and Matt during the final engagement. In reality, the pistol was probably supposed to be a Makarov PM, but that is explained below.

Post war Walther PP Pistol - .32 ACP
The Nicaraguan Captain (Judd Omen) holds a Walther PP Pistol as he hunts for Jed and Matt. The Walther PP was standing in for the Makarov, which was unavailable at the time of filming.

Smith & Wesson Model 15

A Smith & Wesson Model 15 (denoted by its tapered barrel) with Pachmayr grips is the 'survival pistol' carried by USAF Colonel Andrew Tanner (Powers Boothe) before it is taken away from him by Erica. Interestingly enough, the Model 15 was the issued revolver to USAF Security Police from 1962-1985 so it is feasible for a USAF Colonel to wield one. Combat pilots were given a wide latitude of the personal sidearm they could carry, with many opting for small revolvers, like the Airweight, or traditional semiauto pistols like the M1911.

Smith & Wesson Model 15 - .38 Special
USAF Colonel Andrew Tanner (Powers Boothe) sleeps with his Smith & Wesson Model 15 with combat grips at his side.
Tanner's Model 15 is confiscated by Erica (Lea Thompson).
Later, during the liberation raid on the re-education camp, Col. Tanner again has the Smith & Wesson Model 15 in a shoulder holster.

Smith & Wesson Model 66

What appears to be a Smith & Wesson Model 66 is seen in the back of the waistband of Matt Eckert (Charlie Sheen). Matt also is seen checking the revolver right before he and Jed make the final assault. It's very likely that this is also the revolver used by Daryl during the Wolverines' first confrontation with Soviet soldiers in the forest.

Smith & Wesson Model 66 with 4" barrel - .357 Magnum
The revolver is seen of the waistband of Matt Eckert (Charlie Sheen)
On the right, Daryl Bates (Darren Dalton) appears to use this revolver.
Matt checking the revolver right before he and Jed make the final assault.


An M1911A1 pistol is first seen in the "cold dead hands" of an American who resisted the Soviet invasion. The pistol is pulled from the hand of the man and inspected by a Soviet Paratrooper who stuffs it behind his webbing belt. Later in the film, despite having his Smith & Wesson Model 15 revolver, Colonel Tanner (Powers Boothe) ends up with a military M1911A1 pistol with parkerized finish, seen during the snow battle. USAF planes during the Cold War were equipped with a survival pack that included a ".45 CALIBER AUTOMATIC" and 2 boxes of ammo. Colonel Tanner's Model 15 was most likely kept in his holster at all times and retrieved the 1911 from the survival pack in his downed plane.

US Army-issued M1911A1 with parkerized finish - .45 ACP
In the leadup to seeing the first M1911A1, this iconic bumper sticker is seen - this particular saying was popular during the 1970s and 1980s and indicated most American gun owners' disdain for draconian gun control.
In one of the most famous (and morbid) twists on a pop culture phrase, a Soviet paratrooper prepares to take a M1911A1 from the dead hands of an American who decided to fight back.
A clear shot of the 1911. Notice the parkerized finish and the plain checkered grips
Col. Tanner (Powers Boothe) fires at one of the Soviet tankers in the snow battle with his M1911A1 Pistol. His version appears to be parkerized, thus a military version.

CZ 75

The leader of the Soviet Paratroopers, in the attack on Calumet High School, motions to his troops with an original CZ 75 handgun, and not one of the later "B" models.

"Pre-B" CZ 75 - 9x19mm
Soviet Paratrooper officer (Fred Rexer) gestures with his CZ 75 pistol during the initial incursion.

Tokarev TT-33 Pistol

During the initial attack, one of the officers does have an actual Tokarev TT-33 Pistol (several viewings of the clip verified it, even though the actor whips it back and forth). He stands next to another paratrooper firing an RPG - with those bright yellow and blue rockets. A Tokarev also is seen in the hands of Toni (Jennifer Grey) when the Wolverines interrogate a captured Spetnaz soldier.

Tokarev TT-33 - 7.62x25mm Tokarev
A Soviet Airborne officer tells another paratrooper where to aim his RPG-7, while holding up his Tokarev TT-33 pistol. Though an accurate Soviet sidearm, this handgun was well obsolete by this time for frontline troops in the USSR.
A Tokarev also is seen in the hands of Toni (Jennifer Grey) when the Wolverines interrogate a captured Spetnaz soldier.
Right sideview of same pistol.

Submachine Gun

Jatimatic Submachine Gun

The Jatimatic SMG is the sidearm carried by Colonel Strelnikov (William Smith), which he keeps in a custom hip holster. He is seen using the SMG when he is hunting Matt and Jed at the end of the film. This SMG was was most likely used as a substitute for the Polish manufactured PM-63 machine pistol, as none were available in the country at the time of filming due to the Cold War.

Jatimatic - 9x19mm
Colonel Strelnikov (William Smith) actually wears the Jatimatic on a custom holster during his speech to the assembled Soviet and Cuban officers. It is a bit strange for the Colonel to wear his submachine gun on his hip when he is making a speech, however, always having the Jatimatic near him at all times, differentiated Col. Strelnikov from all other Soviet officers.
Colonel Strelnikov (William Smith) brandishes the Jatimatic when he hunts for Jed and Matt at the train station. Notice his excellent trigger discipline.
Colonel Strelnikov fires his Jatimatic submachine gun.
Colonel Strelnikov firing his Jatimatic submachine gun during a shootout.


Winchester Model 1912

The Shotgun that Robert takes from his father's Gas Station/General Store is initially a Winchester Model 1912 with a field barrel (28"). Robert Morris (C. Thomas Howell) uses it in the first encounter with Soviet soldiers in the National park.

Winchester Model 12 Shotgun with Field Barrel - 12 Gauge
Robert (C. Thomas Howell) prepares to fire his Winchester Model 12 field shotgun.

Remington 870 Wingmaster

In a continuity break, the Winchester Model 1912 previously seen morphs into a Remington 870 Shotgun with non-ribbed barrel. The Remington 870 Wingmaster is first seen when Robert is sawing down the long barrel to make a short barreled shotgun. The cut down 870 is used pretty much exclusively by Robert (C. Thomas Howell) for the rest of the film.

Remington 870 Wingmaster with 28" barrel - 12 Gauge
Robert cuts down the barrel of his Remington 870 Wingmaster. Legal note: Viewers have often pondered as to the legality of actually sawing off a shotgun barrel for the film. Since the actual Remington 870 firing gun from the armorers was already a short barreled shotgun, installing a long barrel on it and then cutting it down (while being filmed by the cameras) is not an illegal act, since the gun is not being converted into a something that it is not already.
Remington 870 with sawed off barrel and stock - 12 Gauge
Robert fires his short 870 while alongside Matt with his AKM.

Rifles & Carbines


The AKM is the standard weapon used by the Soviet paratroopers and the Wolverines throughout the movie. According to Long Mountain Outfitters, the AKM rifles used in the movie were actually Egyptian Maadi MISR (imported into the US as the ARM) semi-auto rifles, some of the first semi-automatic Kalashnikov-type rifles ever imported into the United States (besides the Clayco AKM copies). 53 such rifles were used in the movie, 32 of which were converted to full-auto by Class 3 manufacturer Pearl Manufacturing specially for the film. These guns were later used in numerous other movies. These weapons are not to be confused with the post-1989 imported firearms called "MISR" which were modified to comply with the federal import ban.

Maadi ARM (AKM) as used in Red Dawn (image from Long Mountain Outfitters) - 7.62x39mm
AKM - 7.62x39mm
"Wolverines!" Aardvark (Doug Toby) utters the now-classic line while holding a Maadi ARM rifle (Egyptian-made AKM variant) converted to full auto fire.
Jed (Patrick Swayze) delivers some hot lead to a Soviet tanker via an AKM.
Good sideview of an AKM held by Robert (C. Thomas Howell).
Daryl Bates (Darren Dalton) opens fire with the AKM.
Danny (Brad Savage) holds the AKM while asking what a "flank" is.

AKS-74 (Mockup)

Several AKS-74 mockups are used by Soviet paratroopers in the first attack on the school and Soviet Spetsnaz during the battle in the snow. They are actually Maadi ARMs that were very cleverly fitted with bakelite plastic magazines, skeleton stocks, and custom-made muzzle brakes that resemble that of the AK-74.

AKS-74 - 5.45x39mm
Spetnaz Snow troopers advance with faked AK-74 rifles made from Maadi ARMs.
Several angles of the mocked up AK-74 with the custom Muzzle Brake and the non-folding Skeletal stock. These rifles also use orange bakelite 7.62x39mm magazines. As a contrast, the standard AKMs in the film used metal magazines.


Cuban and Nicaraguan soldiers can be seen carrying FN FAL rifles as their main weapons.

FN FAL 50.00 - 7.62x51mm NATO
A quick but clear shot of the FAL rifle being brandished by the Cuban / Nicaraguan troops during an ambush. Most of the time the soldiers held the rifles close to their bodies, making a clear view difficult

Ruger Mini 14 GB

A Ruger Mini-14 GB is briefly seen being handed out to freed prisoners at the re-education camp, and later seen obviously by an escaping 'political prisoner' during the night raid.

Ruger AC556 Carbine - 5.56x45mm. Full auto version of Ruger Mini 14 GB.
A freed prisoner runs out the gate carrying the Ruger Mini 14 GB.


A few M16A1 rifles can be briefly seen being handed out to freed prisoners at the re-education camp, and later seen by another running 'political prisoner' during the night raid.

M16A1 with 20 round magazine - 5.56x45mm
Another prisoner with an M16A1 runs out the gate.

Marlin Model 336C

The Marlin Model 336C lever action rifle was picked up from the store just after the invasion. Arturo "Aardvark" Mondragon (Doug Toby) fires a single shot from the back of a pickup truck at Soviet troops, after an American UH-1 helicopter attacks the Soviets on the ground using rockets. He also uses it in some of the ambushes later in the film.

Marlin Model 336C - .30-30 Winchester
Arturo "Aardvark" Mondragon fires the Marlin Model 336C from the pickup truck.
Aardvark fires the Marlin Model 336C during an ambush.

Ruger Model 77

Jed (Patrick Swayze) picks up a Ruger Model 77 Ultralight bolt action rifle from Mr. Morris' store at the beginning of the film. He uses it as a sniper rifle during some of the ambushes.

Ruger 77 Mk II Ultra Light
Robert Morris (C. Thomas Howell) borrows Jed Eckert's rifle to hunt deer, while Matt Eckert carries the Marlin Model 336C.
Jed surveys the desolate battlefield with his rifle.
Jed says goodbye to Mr. & Mrs. Mason, the grandparents of Toni and Erica Mason, while holding his rifle on horseback.
Jed on an ambush with his rifle. Note the shape of the bolt handle and the bolt shroud projecting from behind it, features the Savage 110 does not have. A Savage 110 would also have a bolt-release catch forward of the bolt handle on the receiver. Note also the Ruger 77 scope mounts integral to the receiver, the slightly dog-leg Ruger bolt handle, and the short, light barrel and stock with forend tip that are distinctive features of the Ruger 77 Ultra Light Rifle.

Remington Model 572 Fieldmaster

Seen in the gun rack above Jed's Ruger M77 Ultralight bolt action rifle is a Remington Model 572 Fieldmaster pump action rifle. The 572 is a pump action 22 that will shoot .22 shorts, .22 long, or .22 long rifle cartridges. Ammunition is supplied by a tubular magazine under the barrel which holds 15-20 rounds depending on the caliber used. This ability to use all three cartridges is a major difference with other pump action .22s which use only the long rifle cartridge. The Remington 572 is a popular plinker and small game rifle which would be ideal as a survival weapon although it did not see additional use in the movie.

Remington Model 572 - .22 LR
The Remington rifle is seen at the top of the rack.
The barrel of the Remington is seen at the top.

Machine Guns

Valmet M78

The Valmet M78 LMG stands in for the Soviet RPK since none were available in the US when this movie was filmed. The M78 LMG was used by Soviet paratroopers in the beginning of the movie and, and later by several of the Wolverines including Erica Mason (Lea Thompson), Toni Mason (Jennifer Grey) and Jed (Patrick Swayze). The LMG is seen fitted with a 30-round "curved" magazine as well as a drum magazine.

Valmet M78 - 7.62x39mm
The Soviet paratrooper fires the Valmet M78 (used as a substitute for the more accurate Soviet RPK).
Soviet paratrooper fires the Valmet M78 LMG on the students during the initial attack on the high school.
Toni Mason (Jennifer Grey) fires her Valmet M78 LMG during an ambush.
A Valmet M78 LMG can be seen on a table along with the bright yellow RPG rockets with bright blue tubes.
On the left, Danny (Brad Savage) holds the Valmet fitted with a drum magazine.
On the right, Erica Mason (Lea Thompson) takes ahold of the Valmet.
Jed (Patrick Swayze) holds a Valmet M78 (now fitted with a drum magazine) while sitting in the snow.
Jed takes up the Valmet M78 upon the hearing of helicopter blades.

Fake DShK

At the time of filming, there were no authentic DShK heavy machine guns available for use in movies, so the armorers mocked-up DShKs from M60D machine guns (apparently the size difference between a 7.62mm gun and a .50 cal gun wasn't enough to distract people during the movie). The DShK mockup is seen being fired throughout the film by Erica (Lea Thompson). These particular mockups would be re-used in the films Rambo: First Blood Part II and Heartbreak Ridge, as well as several 1980's television series including Magnum P.I., MacGyver, and Airwolf.

M60D machine gun - 7.62x51mm NATO
An authentic DShk machine gun - 12.7x108mm
This is the first scene where the DShK Heavy machine guns are featured, mocked up out of M60D machine guns is when one is mounted on a faked T-72 Tank. What is confusing is that there is an Airborne officer 'commanding' a Main battle tank, which would not be the case. Blue was the color of shoulder boards and collar tabs for Airborne soldiers, Black was the color for Armored Units.
A better angle of the Fake DShK where we can see the M60 origins. The Airborne officer with the blue beret and goggles is Fred Rexer, the former Green Beret (and personal friend of Director John Milius), who trained all of the young actors playing the Wolverines in guerrilla warfare.
When American prisoners are executed, Soviet Tankers fire their DShK mockups.
During the winter battle, the fake DShKs are seen mounted on the fake T-72 tanks.
Erica (Lea Thompson) first uses a fake DShK during the ambush.
In the winter ambush on the Spetnaz troops, Erica (Lea Thompson) can clearly be seen firing the M60D, mocked up as a DShK.
One of the fake DShK heavy machine guns is seen mounted as a door gun on the fake Hind helicopter gunships.
During the final battle, this image shows how LONG and slender the faked DShK barrel is, when mounted on the M60D as a platform.

Fake Goryunov SGM

Yet another Soviet-era machine gun that was mocked up from the venerable (and available) M60 machine gun is the Goryunov SGM machine gun. This is primarily seen used by Robert (C. Thomas Howell) during the ambush on the Spetnaz troops. These machine guns also appear to be mounted in a Soviet armored carrier that is used for a firing squad.

M60 machine gun - 7.62x51mm NATO
SGMT machine gun - 7.62x54mm R. Solenoid-operated version intended for use as a coaxial weapon on tanks.
Robert (C. Thomas Howell) fires what appears to be a Goryunov SGM Machine Gun mocked up from an M60. The rate of fire was increased to around 1100 rpm versus the more standard 750 round per minute and the design of the gun was disguised by wrapping it in white cloth.
Robert pauses to throw a grenade which gives a clear shot of the front of the "Goryunov SGM"
Robert's position during the snow battle has a fake Goryunov, mocked up from yet another M60 Machine Gun. The white wrapping has fallen off, exposing the M60s' pistol grip lower receiver, whereas the SGM has spade grips.
These machine guns also appear to be mounted in a Soviet armored carrier that is used for a firing squad.

Browning M2HB

When Matt, Jed and Robert walk across a battlefield, a disabled Browning M2HB heavy machine gun is seen briefly seen mounted on a destroyed M42 "Duster" anti-aircraft vehicle. What appears to be an M2 also is seen mounted atop an M1 Abrams locked in a tank battle with the Soviet T-72s.

Browning M2HB on vehicle mount - .50 BMG
Matt, Jed and Robert run past a destroyed M42 Duster with a Browning M2HB Heavy Machine gun, lying cockeyed off of its mount, presumably inoperable, or else the Soviets would not have left it out in the open.
What appears to be an M2 also is seen mounted atop an M1 Abrams locked in a tank battle with the Soviet T-72s. The "M1 Abrams" also is a mockup.


An unmodified M60 machine gun appears to be used as a door gun on a US Army "Huey" helicopter that opens fire on a Soviet roadblock at the film's beginning.

M60 machine gun - 7.62x51mm NATO
An unmodified M60 machine gun appears to be used as a door gun on a US Army "Huey" helicopter.

GE M134 Minigun

An abandoned GE M134 Minigun, possibly from a crashed vehicle/chopper can be seen on the abandoned battlefield. It is noteworthy that there seem to be many 'abandoned' weapons, from .50 cal machine guns to .30 cal machine guns, however, it must be assumed that these are damaged and inoperable, or else the Soviets would never just leave them for anyone to pick up.

GE M134 Minigun - 7.62x51mm NATO
Visible to the right, on the ground is the GE M134 Minigun and the articulated belt feeding tray.
Just to the left of Matt Eckert is an abandoned GE M134 Minigun.

Fake Afanasev A-12.7 Heavy Machine Gun

The fake Mi-24 Hind-A helicopters in the film appear to have a mocked-up Afanasev A-12.7 mounted in the nose. This machine gun is not seen firing.

Afanasev A-12.7 12.7x108mm
Seen on the nose is a mockup of the Afanasev A-12.7 heavy machine gun that was standard on the Mi-24 Hind-A helicopter. Only the later models of the helicopter upgraded to the 12.7mm Yak-B Gatling gun (which in turn was later replaced by a twin 30mm autocannon setup on the right side of the forward fuselage).
Closeup of the machine gun mounted in the Hind's nose.


RGD-5 Hand Grenade (mockup)

In the film, both Soviet troops as well as the Wolverines use mocked-up RGD-5 hand grenades. Given the difficulty of acquiring an authentic Soviet hand grenade of any kind in the 1980s, they were mockups built by the props department based on photos of the RGD-5.

RGD-5 High-Explosive Fragmentation hand grenade
Robert drops "RGD-5" mocked-up grenades during one of the ambushes, off the roof onto the Cuban and Soviet soldiers. Note the incorrect flat base, being that the props department did not have a live or training model of the actual grenade to base their model on at the time.
An authentic-looking RGD-5 replica is seen strapped to Erica (Lea Thompson) clothing.
Toni Mason (Jennifer Grey) has an RGD-5 grenade placed as a boobytrap.

Fake RKG-3 Stick Grenade

Colonel Tanner uses a stick grenade to destroy a Soviet Navy YAK-38 VTOL fighter parked near the re-education camp. Though it is cool, it seems strange that the Soviet Navy would have VTOL fighters parked so close to an internment camp far inland, unless they were using the American hostages as human shields against long range US missile strikes or aerial bombardment. The stick grenade is a mockup of a RKG-3 anti-tank grenade.

RKG-3 anti-tank grenade
Col. Tanner shows a stick grenade to a YAK-38 pilot moments before tossing it in the plane's intake. Note the wooden handle which is not featured on a real RKG-3 grenade.

Heavy Weapons/Other

Fake RPG-7

RPG-7s are used by Soviet and Communist Bloc soldiers, and later Matt (Charlie Sheen). The weapon itself is a fabricated prop, utilizing a vintage 1950s era RPG-2 as a base. A flared rear blast cone and a second 'fake' pistol grip was added as well as a fake PGO-7 scope that was fabricated out of plastic (it's a bit too large and wrongly shaped for the real PGO-7 scope). The rocket warhead is a plastic and rubber fabrication and not an RPG-2 rocket head. The fuse tip itself is the cap from a Crest toothpaste tube!

RPG-7 - 40mm
An actual RPG-2 launcher for visual reference to the mockup.
During the initial attack, a Soviet paratrooper prepares to use the RPG-7. The weapon itself is a fabricated prop, utilizing a vintage 1950s era RPG-2 as a base.
Danny Bates (Brad Savage) fires the RPG mockup left-handed.
Matt (Charlie Sheen) aims his plastic and rubber mockup of an RPG-7 (though no RPG at the time had a bright yellow warhead with a Bright light blue rocket tube.)
Closeup of the rubber rocket head of the fake RPG-7. The fuse tip itself is the cap from a Crest toothpaste tube!
Later in the film, the rocket heads are less bright yellow, now a more mustard color. Robert Morris (C. Thomas Howell) aims his RPG-7 at a Hind helicopter.

On another note, the rocket of the fake RPG-7 (like many other films that use rocket launchers) is a foam rubber fake when firing around actors. Prior to the advent of CGI in films, they were fired with real Estes rocket motors and guided along wires to their targets. Below, a frame of film is seen where the wire can clearly be seen that will guide the foam rubber rocket head to its intended target.

A view of the wire that guides the phony rocket head to its target.
Robert fires the RPG. The warheads were made of foam and were fired with real Estes rocket motors.

Fake SA-7 Grail

A SA-7 Grail mockup (built from metal tubing and plastic) is used by a Cuban soldier to fire at an attacking American UH-1G "Huey" Helicopter (The "G" model was the post-Vietnam model Huey with twin turbines). The mock-up of the SA-7 is quite accurate. It is a little peculiar, however, that the soldier firing a heat-seeking surface-to-air missile cannot hit a slow moving UH-1G helicopter. (Unless the weapon was fired in completely the wrong direction!)

SA-7 Grail (Strela-2) surface to air missile - 72mm
Cuban soldier readies to fire his mocked up SA-7 "Grail" Surface to Air Missile at attacking American UH-1G Helicopters. This is an excellent movie mock-up.
SA-7 "Grail" Surface to air missile is fired at night in the downtown suburb of Calumet, CO. (actually a street in the small town of Las Vegas, New Mexico).

Fake UB-32 Rocket Pods (on Fake Hind Gunship)

Fake 32-round UB-32 rocket pods for the Soviet S-5 unguided air-to-ground rocket are seen on the mocked up Hind-A helicopter gunship, along with wing mounted hardpoints with mocked-up twin launch rails for fake AT-2 "Swatter" anti-tank missiles.

Fake Rocket pods are mounted on the wings of the Hind gunship.
Closeup of the pods. Trivia: note the writing in English inside the helicopter itself, something an actual Soviet helicopter would not have.

Soviet Armor and Aircraft

"Faux" Mil Mi-24 "Hind" Gunship

The "Mil Mi-24 Hinds" seen in the film are excellent mockups of Hind-A models (painted with winter camo). These helicopters were built up from French Aérospatiale Pumas and were later used again in other movies such as Rambo: First Blood Part II and Rambo III (and footage from this film was used in the series JAG.) The version depicted was the earliest incarnation of the Hind, the Model-A with the blunt angular "greenhouse" side-by-side cockpit rather than the later twin in-line "double bubble" canopy. The Hind-A was also seen in the film Firefox, however those were 1/12th scale radio controlled flying models. For the film Red Dawn, three Pumas were modified (and all seen on film) and all had a fake Hind-A 'nose' sections built with darked tinted windows that slipped over the front end of the real Puma helicopter. (If you look closely, you can see the real nose of the Puma 'underneath' the Hind nose section through the tinted windows in some shots.) However, this modification limited pilot vision and also restricted motion - quick turns were not possible lest the fake nose front end be ripped off the helicopter. Later incarnations of the same modified Puma helicopter removed the extended Hind-A nose sections, but kept the fake wings and rockets pods (as these were sturdy modifications and didn't adversely affect the aerodynamics of the helicopter.)

Two of the three faux "Hind" helicopters chase the Wolverines in the beginning of the assault.
One part of the PUMA helicopter that could not be modified was the bulging pods for the rear landing gear/wheels. The real Hinds are smooth sided, with retractable landing gear, to make them more sleek and aerodynamic in attack maneuvers.
Seen on the nose is a mockup of the Afanasev A-12.7 12.7mm heavy machine gun that was standard on the Hind-A helicopter. Only the later models of the helicopter upgraded to 12.7 mm Yak-B Gatling gun (which in turn was later replaced by a twin 30mm autocannon setup on the right side of the forward fuselage).
In real life, use of the Hind-As are a bit anachronistic, since the ubiquitous Hind-D (the version we see today with the twin tandem bubble nose canopies) replaced all previous Hind gunships in active service beginning in 1974. The Hind-As had design problems which forced their replacement by the Model D and had been replaced in most front line units by 1977.

In several shots, we can see the actual nose assembly of the original PUMA helicopter underneath the tinted glass windows of the extended "faux" nose.

Visible is the original nose of the Puma Helicopter under the tinted glass. The filmmakers just mounted the fake nose on top of the real helicopter nose.

"Faux" Soviet ZSU-23 Self Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun

A Fake Soviet ZSU-23 Self Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun was built on an American M8A1 Cargo Tractor chassis by Veluzet Armored Vehicles, out of Newhall, California. This ZSU-23 replica was also used in 1988's Rambo III as well as the 1991 John Milius-directed film Flight of the Intruder.

The faux Soviet ZSU-23 Self Propelled AA gun seen in the film during the night attack. Unlike the film Flight of the Intruder (which mounted a real quad 50 comprising Browning M2HBs), this ZSU-23 only has fake mockup AA guns, so it is never seen firing in the movie.
Front view of the mockup.
Behind the Scenes: Inside the Veluzat Tank shop, the M8A1 Cargo Tractor has a steel frame welded into place that will eventually become the Soviet ZSU-23 Self Propelled AA gun seen in the film Red Dawn.
Behind the Scenes: The faux Soviet ZSU-23 Self Propelled AA gun seen in the film Red Dawn is parked as mechanics do some last minute testing.

"Faux" Soviet T-72 Main Battle Tank

The Fake T-72 tanks from the film were built on the chassis of a surplus M8A1 Cargo Tractor, which itself was a stretched version of the M41 Walker Bulldog with four return rollers and six roadwheels per side instead of three return rollers and five roadwheels. The mockups were so realistic that the production mentioned that they were trailed by the CIA, who wanted to know where the tanks came from. These mockups would later be reused in several films including 1988's Rambo III, 1999's Three Kings as well as the series Tour of Duty.

A beautifully painted Faux T-72 Tank rolls up to the snow battle. The 125mm main gun is an aluminum and fiberglass tube that was built to mount a black powder charge in front to simulate firing. Note four return rollers in two pairs rather than the five of an M48 Patton or three of an M41 Walker Bulldog.
The T-72 mockup seen in a flat green urban paint scheme.
The T-72 mockup seen in the bottom left in a different paint scheme.
Behind the Scenes: The fiberglass turret of the faux Soviet T-72 built for and seen in the film Red Dawn has been painted with a different paint scheme. In all the Fake T-72s impersonated multiple tanks with different paint schemes, most seen is the green urban, the field camo and the winter camo patterns.

"Faux" Yakovlev Yak-38

During the Wolverines' raid on the re-education camp, a full size mockup of a Yak-38 VTOL strike aircraft is seen. In reality, this plane was mainly used by Soviet Naval Aviation.

During the Wolverines' raid on the re-education camp, a full size mockup of a Yak-38 VTOL strike aircraft is seen. Note the Soviet naval ensign painted on the side of the plane's air intake.
Col. Tanner shows a stick grenade to a Yak-38 pilot moments before tossing it in the plane's intake.

American Armor

M42 "Duster" 40mm Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun

An M42 "Duster" SPAAG that has been knocked out of action is prominent in the ghost battlefield sequence. Of course what is noticeably missing from the plethora of destroyed vehicles on the battlefield are main battle tanks like M1 Abrams or infantry fighting vehicles. The M42 "Dusters" were built on obsolete M41 Walker Bulldog light tank chassis that were outfitted with twin 40mm AA guns and were used by ground troops in Vietnam, before being retired from regular Army service in 1972. The M42 was then only found as a Corps Level asset in National Guard units until it was fully retired in 1988.

Jed, Robert and Matt walk past a knocked out M42 "Duster" - 40mm Main armament with a Browning M2HB mounted on the back.

Fake M1 Abrams

Like the T-72s, the M1 Abrams seen in the film was a full-size mockup. Unlike later mockups of this tank, this Abrams was not built up from a Centurion or Chieftain tank. It was only seen in long shots.

The M1 Abrams was a full-size mockup, but was only seen in long distance shots.
A BTS image of the Abrams being built.


Morris's Market

As many viewers remember, there was a large rack of sporting/hunting long guns in Mister Morris's Gas Station/General Store and Mister Morris hands out food, guns and ammunition to the boys and tells them to leave and "don't look back." However, the long guns in Mister Morris's gun rack are difficult to be accurately identify due to the dark lighting in the shot.

A view of the dark gun rack in Mister Morris's Market. It is extremely difficult to identify the weapons in the rack due to the dark shadowy lighting in the scene, but one of the rifles appears to be the Marlin M336C used throughout the rest of the film.

Inaccurate Captioning on the DVD

During the planning of the attack on the re-education camp, Col. Tanner mystifies most of the Wolverines with his military jargon. Apparently the jargon is unknown to the people doing the captioning of the DVD as well. He refers to grazing fire at a defilade (using the verb as a noun to refer to an area which the Soviets have prepared in such a way as to protect the position from enfilading fire). Erica Mason (Lea Thompson) responds with "Devolay?". The Closed captions on the DVD incorrectly quotes Tanner as saying "duffle-A" which makes no sense.

The caption of this scene incorrectly quotes Tanner as saying "duffle-A" when in fact he says "defilade" (which is a real military term).

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