|KIT:||Italeri 1/72 OH-58D 'Kiowa'|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Developed from the OH-58A, itself a replacement for the ancient OH-6, the OH-58D has added a number of capabilities not provided by the standard recon Kiowa. Specifically, it has been upgraded and up-engined to be more than a scouting helo. It has the capabilities of being a true attack helo and while it has no gun as does the larger and more capable AH-64 with which it works in concert, the OH-58D does have anti-tank missiles and a mast mounted sight. Since coming into the inventory in the late 1980s, the OH-58D has seen considerable action in the Near East as well as in the Balkans, where it is able to easily zip around to seek out targets of opportunity and call in more muscle if needed from the larger Apaches. This aircraft is in use with both regular army, the reserves and the national guard.
Let me just get it out now. This is not a new kit. I know that the OH-58D is rather new, but the basic kit is of the 'raised panel line' school. This means it was released when the OH-58D was originally prototyped. Fortunately, except for the 'disco lights' IR jammer now carried and not in the kit, the kit is pretty good. It has a nicely done interior with engraved detail on the instrument panel. It also has a cyclic but no collective, a typical fault of older helo kits, so you'll have to dig into the scrap pile for some sort of substitute.
The kit provides TOW launchers for the left side and a standard rocket pod for the right. The optical sight is mounted atop the mast and this kit does have the newer four bladed rotor. Probably the most difficult part of building this kit will be finding a place to put nose weight. Most of the small helos I've built have needed something to keep them from sitting back on the rear of their skids. In the OH-58D, this will be made even more difficult by having the clear lower nose section.
Instructions are well done with nicely drawn construction sequences. Colors are generic, FS 595 and Model Master. While it calls out standard Olive Drab for the outer color, I'm thinking that perhaps the darker 'Helo Drab' that Testors produces might be more appropriate. The small decal sheet is nicely done and provides markings for one rather generic aircraft. I know of no aftermarket for this kit, and too bad as it would benefit from some additional detail and optional markings.
As I tell myself when I look in the mirror, just because something is older doesn't mean it isn't good. That applies to this and some of the older Italeri kits. The only other option for this kit in this scale is by Matchbox, and I can pretty well guarantee this one has a greater detail level than that one. One thing for sure, this won't be an extended build as there just are not that many parts to it. A great kit for the tyro and helo fan in general.
Late Note: Thanks to reader Albert Farrugia, I can add a bit more information regarding this kit. Albert has noted that the tail boom is a bit too long by about 6mm (1/4 inch). He also tells me that no nose weight is needed and the kit sits well on its skids. Appreciate the feedback on this.
Thanks to for the review kit. You can find Italeri kits at your favorite hobby shop or on-line at www.testors.com
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