Dragon 1:35 OH-6A Cayuse w/crew

KIT #: 3310
PRICE: NZ $42.50
DECALS: Two options
NOTES: Currently Out of Production


Along with the Bell 206 and UH-1, the Hughes 369 in its various guises is one of the most recognisable helicopters in history. The type was originally developed for the US Army’s Light Observation Helicopter competition, facing opposing designs from Hiller (the YHO-5, later commercially developed as the FH1100) and Bell (the YHO-4, which soon after became phenomenally successful as the Model 206 JetRanger). The Hughes YHO-6 was later chosen, and entered service as the OH-6A Cayuse. To its crews, however, it was more commonly known as the Loach, after the LOH designation. I personally love the name Loach, so I hope the reader forgives my usage of it throughout the article!

Production OH-6As entered service in 1966, soon after entering the battlezones of Vietnam in large numbers. There it gained a reputation for being highly survivable despite its small size and flimsy appearance, and was popular with crews. Nearly 1500 were eventually built by the time production ceased in 1970. The type was replaced in US Army service by the Bell OH-58 Kiowa, a redesigned JetRanger...which was, of course, itself a redesign of Bell’s own failed LOH competitor.

Large numbers of OH-6As still fly in the US with sheriff’s departments, with a small handful in private hands as “warbirds”. 


This is the first DML kit I’ve ever owned, so this will be a new experience for me. I have, however, been a fan of the Hughes 369 since I was a very young child, so I’ve built practically every other kit of the type on the market!

Opening the box you find four sprues of standard grey styrene, and one of clear, with a total parts count in the instructions of 85. Everything looks to be very nicely moulded with very little flash, although there are a large number of ejector pin towers to be separated from many parts. Panel lines are a mix of engraved lines, and prominent raised rivets. I don’t believe this would be scale, so the more experienced among you may wish to “accurize” if possible. 

The engine covers are moulded separate to the main fuselage “egg”, which is odd as nothing is given in the way of engine detail for this area. The instructions do say to cement them closed, but one wonders why this was done. No doors are provided for the cabin, meaning unless you scratchbuild a set, your finished build will have air conditioning for the crew. I think this is how they would’ve flown in the humid skies of Vietnam anyway.

Interior detail is very nice, with a full set of controls provided and even – a first for me – a fire extinguisher! The instrument panel has a very nice raised moulding, but no detail is provided at all for the faces. No moulded detail, no decals, nothing. The rotor head and mast detail is fair (some may want to improve on it) but, from memory, better than the 1:32 Revell offering. The tail rotor is very simplistic, with raised lines to aid in painting/decaling the warning stripes! Not too hard to sand off, I think.

One of the features which makes the Loach so distinctive is its V-shaped tail, which on many kits is moulded as separate, fiddly components. With this kit, however, the vertical components are moulded with a tailboom half, with only the angled stabiliser and its boom to affix. This looks to be quite easy due to the tab provided.

A nice touch is the inclusion of two seated figures, representing the pilot and his gunner/observer. These are superbly moulded, complete with separate holstered pistols and sheathed knives. To go with them is a selection of FIVE small arms, with an M60 machinegun (and ammunition belt) and an M16 for use in the kit, with another M16, an M4 carbine and an M79 grenade launcher, as well as a smaller ammo belt, marked in the instructions as “Parts not for use”. These others will probably come in handy for those diorama builders out there, and are very nicely moulded. The only fixed armament carried by most Loaches was the XM72 Minigun, with 6000 rounds carried onboard and the weapon mounted on the left side of the cabin. This is provided in the kit, as a faired weapon. Many operated without the streamlined fairing, but for this you’ll have to scratchbuild or hunt from another source.

The decals are, yet again, very nice and with minimal carrier film. Two individual aircraft are catered for: 17270 of E Troop, 1/9 Cav, 1st Cavalry Division, based at Lai Khe in 1970, and 17340 of C Troop, 16th Cav, Vietnam 1972 – Hugh Mills’ famous “Miss Clawd IV”. This is the more colourful of the two, and with – probably – a much richer history. It is, however, the most modelled Loach in history...which means a wealth of research material to draw on. Both aircraft are shown with the Minigun mounted.


To me this looks to be a fantastic kit, with loads of diorama potential and what seems to be fairly speedy assembly. Eduard make a photoetch set for this kit (in case you want to go all out), but even out of the box DML have provided enough for a great finished model. And, even at such a large scale, the completed aircraft is still less than two feet long, so won’t place a strain on display space.

I plan to get started on mine as soon as possible.

Zac Yates

February 2009

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