Academy 1/72 OV-10D 'Desert Storm'
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco is an American twin-turboprop light attack and observation aircraft. It was developed in the 1960s as a special aircraft for counter-insurgency (COIN) combat, and one of its primary missions was as a forward air control (FAC) aircraft. It can carry up to three tons of external munitions, internal loads such as paratroopers or stretchers, and can loiter for three or more hours.
The OV-10D is aecond generation Bronco developed under the NOGS program. The D-model was an extensively modified OV-10A airframe, adding a forward-looking infrared night-vision system with a turret-mounted camera under an extended nose, visually distinct from the short rounded nose of the A-model. The D also has bigger engines and larger fiberglass propellers. Other noticeable external differences are the chaff dispensers installed midway down the booms and infrared-suppressive exhaust stacks (which mix the exhaust with colder air to reduce the aircraft's heat signature). 17 modified from OV-10A.
In 2012, $20 million was allocated to activate an experimental unit of two OV-10s, acquired from NASA and the State Department. Starting in May 2015, these aircraft were deployed to support Operation Inherent Resolve flying combat missions over Iraq and Syria, flying more than 120 combat sorties over 82 days. It is speculated they provided close air support for Special Forces missions. The experiment ended satisfactorily, but an Air Force spokesman stated it remains unlikely they will invest in reactivating the OV-10 on a regular basis because of the overhead cost of operating an additional aircraft type. What the spokeman probably did not say is that it cost a tenth of what it does to operate an OV-10 doing the same mission as an F-16. Several of these aircraft are still flying with foreign governments, fire departments, NASA and the Department of State. The latter uses them under contract to South American nations in the fight against drug growers.
Academy has basically taken their OV-10A kit and added in the E sprue with some items that are unique to the D model. This includes the longer nose and FLIR turret along with extended exhaust, a mount for the IR suppressor system and wing pylons. A long centerline fuel tank is also added.
You get a nicely done interior that includes decals for the instrument panels. The extended nose leaves room for the 8 grams of weight this will require to keep from tail sitting. I'd add 10 to be sure. The wing is a single upper and lower half onto which oyu attach the tail booms and the fuselage pod. The gun pack fits under the fuselage. The forward engine cowlings are separate bits and are to be put on after most of the airframe is built so that you can have spinning props.
Landing gear are well done and strong enough to hold up the model. What I found to be a bit of a pain when doing the OV-10A was the clear assembly. It is a bit fiddly and I recommend gluing all the bits in place at the same time to ensure a proper fit. For weapons you have rocket pods, bombs and fuel tanks. You also get Sidewinders for the wing tip pylons.
Instructions are well done with FS 595 and generic color references. There are markings for two Desert Storm planes, one from VMO-1 and the other from VMO-2. Both are in different desert camouflage schemes. Decals are well printed and my experience is that you need some pretty strong setting solution.
Despite the fact that both Hasegawa and Airfix do OV-10As, with Airfix also doing a prototype NOGS plane, this one is the only true OV-10D in this scale. It will make into a nice model for your shelf and doesn't take a lot of room.
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