Roden 1/48 OV-1A Mohawk

KIT #: 406
PRICE: $34.98 MSRP
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Dan Lee
NOTES: Aftermarket abounds with Eduard Big ED Set, Royale Resin Wheels, and SAC Metal Landing Gear

HISTORY

 

Mohawk 1, Mig-17 1

The Grumman OV-1 Mohawk was originally designed to be a joint service observation plane for both the Army and Navy equipped with two turboprop engines and a variety of sensors.  The Navy dropped out when they got rid of the WW2 era escort carriers that they were supposed to fly off and left the program up to the Army.

 

It entered service in 1961 and was eventually sent to South East Asia where it performed recon and close support missions.  The USAF didnít really like the ďclose supportĒ part and fought bitterly to have the Mohawk A and C models disarmed.  The Army decided to keep it, but not mention anything to the air force which was fine till one Mohawk shot down a Mig-17 in the A Shau valley.

 

The story of Ken Leeís Mig kill can be read in Tom Cleaverís build of the Mig-17.

 

Unfortunately, the VNAF evened the score in 1969 when a Mig shot down a Mohawk.  Considering the performance/mission disparity between the two planes, a tie is as good as a win.

 

The Mohawk came in four models:

(J)OV-1A -Daylight Recon

OV-1B - Side Look Aperture Radar  Recon

OV-1C - IR equipped Recon

OV-1D - multi sensor version

 

The Mohawk served with the US Army till 1996 when it was replaced with much more sophisticated and (naturally) expensive systems like satellites and the E-8 JSTAR.  The Mohawk still flies in the air forces of Israel and Argentina.

 

Today, the Mohawkís actual battlefield recon role is now done by unmanned drones such as the Predator.  Use and arming of said drones has caused another Army/Air Force row as the Army recently formed their own drone units as they found that Air Force drone support was lacking.  Plus ca change, plus ca la meme chose.

 

From Wikipedia

Flight Journal Feb 2009 Issue

THE KIT

 

As previewed a few years back.

 

I picked up this kit because I was inspired by Tomís article in Flight Journal about a US Army Mohawk shooting down a Mig-17 in the A Shau Valley in 1968.  I didnít know much about the airplane so I started reading up on everything I could find on the web.  Over the course of which I did a comparison of the kit to the photos, I realized that there was a lot of  fine detail missing in the kit.  As I kept reading the on-line resources, I started to grow fond of this ugly airplane and wanted to do more.  Uh oh.  Yeah, AMS there I go.

 

Great Models had a rather large sale on stuff a while bag and one of those items was their Big Ed for the Roden OV-1A.  I later bought weighted resin wheels from Royale Resin and white metal landing gear from SAC.

 

It was my intent to build the best damn Mohawk I could build.  This very sentiment has gotten me into trouble before; my many trips to modeling hell (ex:  F-14s, D-558, F-117) began with such (dumb) noble intensions.  Of course, I took some tiny cold comfort that if things went messy I could blame Tom Cleaver for providing the initial spark (just kidding, Tom.)

 

CONSTRUCTION

 

I actually began with the wings due to the fact I wanted to use the Eduard PE gear wells.  The kit wheel wells are fine as long as one ignores all the injection pin marks or finds a way to deal with it, but I was going to go all AMS on it.

 

The whole wing gear wells had to be carefully cut out minus the supports for the landing gear and the remaining plastic sanded down.  Once that was done, the various PE parts were carefully cut away from the brass frets and folded into shape.  I used enough CA glue to stick the parts on and then used white glue to fill in the gaps.  At first I thought I did a good job of aligning everything, but it turned out that I did not and needed to make readjustments and reglue various parts due to the sanding filling process.  The nose gear well PE was added.  Eduard gives one a choice of using preformed piping or making your own.  I opted for using the preformed piping because I wasnít that crazy.

 

Next I glued in the plastic cockpit parts.  I discarded everything that needed to be replaced by PE and there was a lot.  There was no difficulties adding everything I needed to add (which is usually not the case with me.)  The various PE bits (including the cockpit console) were held in place with CA glue or white glue depending on the location and part.  One noticeable difference was that the prepainted Dark Gull Grey was lighter than the Dark Gull Grey I used.  Once I was done, I pre shaded the interior with flat black and then sprayed on Gunze Dark Gull Grey.

 

The cockpit console was added first, but that was actually a mistake.  I should have added the throttle column before I did that.  Donít do it that way as the throttle column is extremely difficult to slide under the cockpit especially when the fuselage halves are glued in place!! 

 

I added 10 1/4 oz sinkers to the portside fuselage half just behind the cockpit to keep it from being a tail sitter.  It seemed like enough during the test fitting stage when I added the wings and stabs/rudders (which werenít glued in.)  When I glued the fuselage together (fit seemed okay) and I added the wings and stabs/rudders (did not glue), the Mohawk dipped tail first.  GAAAAAH!

 

I gently (it was as gentle as I could considering how frustrated I was at the time) tore apart the fuselage using wood carving tools as I added more weight to the nose.  The final sinker total was 13 1/4 oz sinkers and a lot of CA glue to hold them in place.  I was very glad that I didnít install all the fine PE in the cockpit because several prominent PE pieces fell off during the ďgentleĒ tear down.  I managed to keep from losing them.

 

The roughest part of construction (besides my own stupidity) was the sanding and filling.  With all the re-glued rough seams, PE and lead sinkers jammed into fuselage, the fit wasnít perfect.  I used a lot of gap filling glue to deal with with gaps around the cockpit and forward wheel well.  I also had to add several layers of CA glue to the area behind the forward wheel well because it didnít line up very well and then I sanded it down to match.  It took four hours of work to deal with all the seams on the fuselage, wings and stabs and to rescribe the panel lines lost in the process.  The Mohawk has various antennas that are actually part of the fuselage.  I ended up sanding these away as they would be replaced with PE versions.

 

Tomís review stated that the plastic was very grainy and it certainly was.  I took various grades of micromesh sanding cloths to remove the parts best I could.  I rubbed down the fuselage, each wing and stab before gluing the wings to the fuse (the stab/rudder assemblies were left off for painting reasons.  One thing I discovered from this was that the air brakes had some visible sink mark issues and needed to be dealt with.  More sanding and filling, but nothing bad happened.

 

The fit of the wings to the fuselage went together very well.  I used a little bit of white glue to deal with some obvious seams.  I glued in the speed brakes without too much problem.

 

The weapons were done next.  This actually took a bit of work as the seams needed to be sanded down and details redone.  For the most part, I did not have problems added the PE bits to the rocket launchers.  The bit of scratchbuilding I did was to cut off the blast tubes for the .50 caliber gun pods and replace them with (oversized) metal tubing.  Both the metal tubing and PE were glued on using PE glue.  Although I have to admit that it was a bit of a waste as I didnít use the .50 caliber gun pods.

 

I bought some white metal landing gear from SAC earlier.  The way the Mohawk was supposed to be assembled, the landing gear was supposed to go in before you put in the fuselage.  I did not do that due to the fact that I was still waiting for the parts to arrive from Squadron and I have a habit of breaking landing gear during the sanding/filling process. 

 

I am thankful for the bendy properties of white metal or I might have had a miserable time adding the nose gear.  One of my main landing gear supports was slightly deformed so I had to add a piece of 30 thou plastic card underneath to provide support or it would fall apart.

 

At this time I added PE for the gear doors and cut away the thicker plastic doors and replaced them with thiner PE doors.  Normally, I wouldnít do that, but I was curious as to see how they worked which is why I did.  I actually replaced the nose gear doors with cut 20 thou plastic card because it was easier than sanding down the detail.   I took the time to add the PE details including hinges.  I normally donít do that, but I decided that this model would be a test bed for dealing with more advanced PE.

 

I opted not to use the very visible kit exhausts and replaced them with PE versions that were rolled into shape using a paint brush handle.  Instead of two seams to deal with, I only had one and this could not be seen without a dental mirror so I was fine with it.  Also I removed the detail from the engine facings and replaced them with PE.

 

It was at this point when I decided to go with a Mohawk scheme based on the browner OD than the glossy ones.  Unfortunately, I discovered that the markings I wanted to use  (for a JOV-1A) meant that I needed to replace the blunt nose with the FLIR nose.  This meant a rhinoplasty on the Mohawk and a lot more filling sanding work to do.

 

After, I sprayed the interiors of the gear wells white then stuffed them with wet tissue paper in preparation for painting.

COLORS & MARKINGS

 

Painting/Construction

I first masked off the canopy parts with the Eduard tape masks and glued them on with white glue.  Next I sprayed the plane flat black, especially on the leading edges of the wings, stabs, tail and rudders.  Once dry, I masked off the various areas that needed to remain flat black using Tamiya Tape.  Despite the fact that this plane is basically a single color, this planed required a lot of masking and wasnít the easiest to paint.

 

I sprayed on a first coat of Tamiya OD.  This did not turn out so hot as Tamiya OD is not really OD as it is too green and too dark (FS34079 I think.)  I had to use my remaining bottle of Gunze OD which is more brown.  Next I sprayed on two very light coats of OD to allow the preshading to appear.  Next I sprayed on a 50/50 mix of OD and dark yellow  in random places topside to give the paint a slightly worn and faded appearance.

 

It was at this point when I realized that several areas needed to be sanding again as my sand/fill work wasnít the best.  I ended up replacing one fairing using plastic cards as I sanded it away while dealing with those seams.

 

Once dry, I attached the props and hubs to the plane.  Make sure that the props are in the feathered position.  Next I masked off the areas that werenít supposed to be flat black and then painted the props and engines.

 

Next I had to spray the walkway markings dark grey.  This took a lot of masking and preparation to get right.

 

The resin wheels were painted flat red as per instructions.  When they were dry they were masked using the Eduard tape masks and painted NATO black.  The main gear wells were painted OD via air brush as well as the exteriors of the gear doors while the insides were done flat white.

 

It wasnít till when the plane was almost done that I realized that I had forgotten to paint the tips of the propellers.  Careful masking and spraying prevented overspray.

 

I sprayed two light coats of Tamiya gloss in preparation for the decals.

 

Decals

I am not happy with Roden decals.  Iím told they are much better now, but I think my model definitely had the earlier decals as they refused to settle down and silvered.  Even with my own gaffes in construction and dealing with PE, I have to admit that this was the most frustrating part of the build.  I had to slice many decals and pour on the MicroSol and/or Solvaset to get them to snuggle down.  I do recommend using aftermarket if they are available.

 

Weathering

I used a water color wash made up of raw umber and burnt sienna with a drop of dish soap.  I kept the plane rather dirty, but tried to make it not too dirty.

 

Once the excess was wiped away, I sealed it all in with a couple of coats of Vallejo Flat.

 

FINAL CONSTRUCTION

 

The landing gear proved to very complicated with all the various retractor arms.  I had to  readjust the landing gear several times to get everything to fit.  Eduard provides a lot of PE for this, but I didnít use most of it as this build was already a very long painful one so I decided not to do every last detail.  The roughest part was positioning the main gear doors.

 

The resin wheels were drilled out and glued in with CA glue.  The fuel tanks and rocket pods were added at the same time using CA glue.

 

The PE antennas were added and re-added when they fell off again and again.

 

The ejections seat plastic was assembled, painted and then modified with pre painted PE (it wasnít so bad, for PE.)   Once the seats were done and glued in place I added the tiny details to the cockpit such as various levers.  Iím actually happy how it turned out as the PE details do show up in such a wide open cockpit.

 

Finally, I had to stick the canopy bits on.  I first glued on the overhead instrument panel on and it was very fiddly due to the PE.  Next I added the main windscreen.  I secured this with Tamiya Clear and filled in the gaps between with white glue.  The biggest problem was the top piece.  The reason why it didnít fit so well was due to the PE which I had trim (and not very cleanly either.)  Eventually after much sanding, cutting, swearing and yelling, I managed to secure the top canopy on with white glue.  The doors proved to be another difficult issue as they didnít hinge at the top as I was reminded by Tom and others.  I almost preferred to do that instead of shoving them in without much to grab onto.  I solved that problem by gluing them on with white glue to the shoulder of the ejection seats.  I can live with this.

CONCLUSIONS

 

The Roden Mohawk is the only game in town of this unique bug eyed plane in 1/48 scale.  Despite all that happened, I enjoyed working on this one and glad that I have one on my shelves.  Donít expect it to be an easy build and be prepared to put in a lot of work as even without the PE I think this kit is a handful.

 

If I ever build another I think Iíd rather get aftermarket decals.

 

As for the Eduard PE, I had no problems with it aside from the usual headaches with PE such as bending, tiny parts flying from tweezers and the fragile delicate nature of PE.  I would recommend using at least a cockpit upgrade due to the rather open cockpit.  The rest is probably overkill to the regular modeler.  FYI Cobra Company has a similar type update set using resin and True Details has a resin cockpit.

 

Dan Lee

 

March 2010

Thanks to If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Previews Index Page