AML 1/72 O-47A with floats




$19.98 ($17.97 at Squadron)


two options


Scott Van Aken


Short run with etched brass and vacuform bits


Prior to America's entry into WWII, battlefield reconnaissance aircraft were considered a necessity. These planes were designed to carry an observer and cameras and to be able to fly over areas were hostile forces were massing or moving. It was expected that they'd be able to operate with some impunity thanks to fighter protection and its own defensive armament. They were also usually armed with an offensive gun and the ability to carry small bombs.

Such was the thought that allowed the creation of the O-47 as well as other similar aircraft like the O-52, and O-46. These aircraft were used mostly by the Air National Guard, though there were dedicated regular AAC units equipped with the type. It was considered to be the ultimate in its genre and was built in rather large numbers for the time with a total of 239 being procured.

However, it was painfully obvious from the war in Europe that what was good for 1935 (when the specs were developed) wasn't going to hack it in modern war. These large and relatively slow aircraft would be sitting ducks for enemy fighters. Only a handful ever saw combat and those were the planes caught by the Japanese during the battle for the Philippines during the early days of the Pacific War.

The O-47 was also one of many types that were fitted with floats for operation from unprepared areas such as inlets, lakes and rivers. However, the successful operation of long range land based aircraft and extensive use of carrier based planes made such requirements obsolete. Probably the best use of the O-47 was to allow the newly formed North American Aviation the opportunity to get experience in designing and building modern combat aircraft.

At least one still survives and is flown somewhat regularly in Southern California, though I've not seen it for many years. There is also one at the USAF Museum in Dayton, OH (which may be the SoCal plane).


It seems to me that I recall a 'normal' O-47 being boxed by AML not too long ago, so this is the basic kit with the addition of a sprue for the rather large floats. A typical Czech short run kit, it has finely engraved surface detailing and the usual vac canopy and etched brass fret. No resin is included with this kit as it really isn't needed. The overall part detailing is fairly good though there are the usual large mold seams and sprue attachment points that are the norm with the genre. Ejection towers are quite prominent inside the major parts like the fuselage and the wings, so those will have to be removed prior to construction. No real problems with sink areas were noted. Many of the smaller bits will have to be made with stretched sprue and dimensions are provided for those construction sections. A real plus is that this kit does not have individual prop blades and I'm quite grateful for that. One concern I have is that there is no positive wing location provided on the fuselage. Just a generally flat area. However, the lower side windows do need to match cut-outs on the lower wing so that would be the best way to align them with the fuselage. The etched metal fret contains the instrument panel and a plethora of smaller bits and pieces.

Instructions are quite complete and show the proper positioning of all the parts. If you live in the US and don't have a ruler in millimeters, you will need one for this kit. Color information is provided for several different paint lines and FS numbers where that is appropriate. The floats seem well done and are provided with beaching gear on both sides of both floats so one needs to be especially careful of proper alignment when done. I'd recommend some weight in the front of each float if not using the beaching gear. There are no water rudders provided for the floats even though they are shown on the box art and in the decal placement diagram. You'll have to make these yourself and I suggest brass sheet as the best material.

Nearly half of the instructions are dedicated to markings and color information. There is a separate three-view for the data stencils. Two schemes are provided. One is a bare metal with bronze cowling front scheme for the Ohio National Guard in 1938 without floats. The other is an OD over Neutral Grey scheme from 1943, also with the Ohio NG but with the floats. The floats are in aluminum. Decals appear to be quite well printed and are in register. I would anticipate no problems as Czech decals are usually quite good.


One thing for sure, this will make into a most unusual model, especially if put on floats

You can find this kit and many others at

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly by a site that has over 200,000 visitors a month, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page


Back to the Previews Index Page