Testors 1/48 OV-10A Bronco
| KIT #: || 506 |
| PRICE: || I paid $11 for it still in shrink wrap |
| DECALS: || Two options |
| REVIEWER: || Scott Van Aken |
| NOTES: || Ex-Hawk kit |
In the early '60s, there was a requirement from all US Armed Services for a Light Attack and Reconnaissance Aircraft (LARA). The aircraft should also be able to perform the function as a COIN (COunter INsurgency) aircraft as well. This meant that it needed to be able to carry a variety of ordnace in addition to having internal guns. It should also be easy to maintain and equally easy to fly. North American's entry into the field was what was eventually to become the OV-10 'Bronco'.
It is powered by two small turboprops, has four 20mm cannon in a short weapons pod and is also capable of handling various ordnance including 2.75 and 5 inch rocket pods, 1,000 bombs, marker rockets and Sidewinder missiles for self defense. There is an aft cargo area that can handle two stretchers or five fully equipped troops.
The OV-10 was first introduced in the last few years of the Vietnam War as a replacement FAC (Forward Air Controller) to replace the Cessna O-2A. It was an instant success as it was armed, better protected and faster than the O-2. It was also used by several Marine Corps Squadrons and by one (perhaps two) Navy squadrons as well. After the end of the war, the OV-10 was still in use by regular USAF squadrons in both the US and overseas. It is one of the few aircraft that was not used by the USAF Air National Guard, those units getting the OA-37B instead. The final USAF OV-10 was retired in the late 1980s with the last USMC versions being retired in the early 1990s. Some are still flying with air forces in central and south America. Recently a trial was made using ex-USMC OV-10Ds to see how they compared cost-wise and in terms of effectiveness against F-16s in Iraq. The OV-10s were just as if not more effective in most instances and cost a tenth to operate.
This is a kit of the 1960s and in many ways is typical of the type. It started out in a Hawk box and here is a brief history of the company: Hawk Model Airplanes was established in 1928 by brothers Dick (Sr.) and Phil Mates, in Chicago, Illinois. Promoted as "America's Oldest Model Company", the company was purchased by the Testors Corporation in 1970. The Hawk Company assets were later acquired by J. Lloyd International, Inc. of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which, in turn, sold them to Round2 LLC of South Bend, Indiana in 2013.
So that means raised detail, minimal cockpit and various inaccuracies in the model itself. Specific areas are the engines, the too-close-to-the-fuselage booms, and an inaccurate tail section. But then again, it is at least 45-50 years old, so what do you expect? It is also the only game in town in this scale until someone decided that a better tooling will make them money.
The cockpit is a joke as there is only one seat and it fits on a floor piece. No instrument panel, not control stick or other 'extras'. There is a shelf under the forward anti-glare panel where you can stick a decal. Nose gear is a single piece which has be installed prior to closing the fuselage halves. This airplane will require a LOT of nose weight, but you have all that back seat area to use so shouldn't be an issue.
Gun pods are two pieces with the barrels of the two machine guns stuck in the front. The pro consists of separate blades with a fore and aft spinner. Note that these spin in opposite directions so don't mix up the props. These fit into engine faces which glue onto the front of the booms. Line the nose gear, the main gear need to be installed prior to closing the boom halves. Like the nose gear, there is no well. The single casting tailplane fits between the two pods. A two piece wing holds the booms away from the fuselage. The cockpit clear bits are a windscreen, two side pieces and an upper piece. This is pretty much like all the other OV-10s handle it. Under the gun pods with their molded in bomb pylons are four generic slick bombs. Exhaust are triangular pieces that fit on the boom sides. These have sink areas that will need filled.
Instructions are the booklet type used by Testors in the 1980s. Each of the well drawn construction steps provides the color of the various parts, which is nice. Markings are for two planes. One is the box top model with the USMC. This option is for a factory fresh plane with no unit markings. The other is a Euro 1 painted plane from the 27 TASS. Decals are by Scalemaster and since there is no red in them, no worries about bleeding red ink or registration issues. The decals include wing walkways and exhaust areas. There are a number of aftermarket decal sheets out there for this kit so I'd recommend locating one of those.
Just to close, this is not a great kit. It is a 1960s kit and has all the issues you'd expect. However, it is the only game in town in this scale. Fortunately, fans of the type have a number of aftermarket bits out there to take care of some of the more obvious flaws and I'd start out with a cockpit set if nothing else.
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