Vietnam USAF Airfield ICM OV-10A Bronco an O-2A Skymaster – DS4803 – 1/48 Review
ICM packs together models that belong together in this kit set: an OV-10A Bronco, an O-2A Skymaster, and figures to bring to life a small Vietnam airfield diorama. The two aircraft models are also available individually from ICM. Let’s take a detailed look at each kit one by one – let’s start with the OV-10A:
OV-10A Bronco Prototype:
The North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco is a two-seat, turboprop engine-powered, light observation, attack, and transport aircraft with short takeoff and landing capabilities. The main users were the US Air Force, the US Navy, and the US Marine Corps. As the successor to the O-1 and O-2 Skymaster, the Bronco quickly gained a reputation as an agile observation aircraft with excellent all-around visibility and the ability to operate from streets close to the front.
With her onboard weapons and missiles, she was often used for close air support and was, therefore, a welcome sight for troops under fire. The CIA also liked to use the pattern for less obvious missions. Germany was also an export customer, where the machines were used as carriers for towed targets during target practice.
OV-10A Bronco Model Kit:
ICM delivers a detailed kit for the Bronco, which was previously only covered in 1/48 with very old kits from the 1960s. It’s about time. The detailing in the relatively soft plastic is exemplary, you get fine engravings and sunken and raised rows of rivets.
All control surfaces and landing flaps are separate components and can be displayed with a little modification. The detailing in the cockpit is OK – there will soon be plenty of accessories from the usual suspects from the Czech Republic anyway.
The Bronco is like a greenhouse and lives from its large glass surfaces. The clear parts are also clear, allowing for an uninterrupted view of all the trouble that went into the cockpit. For those who do not want to afford a set of masks, the assembly instructions contain the printed outlines of the masks for you to cut yourself. Or cutting plots, if you can do that.
A Bronco would be nothing without a good load – and ICM didn’t skimp on that. The kit includes various rocket launchers (LAU-10, LAU-33, LAU-68, LAU-69A) as well as bombs with and without a delay set and various fuses (Mk-77, Mk-81, Mk-82).
OV-10A Bronco Instructions/Painting:
The instructions clearly guide you through the assembly. Five different machines in green and gray are possible paint variants, with Nos. 4 and 5 showing the same machine at different times and with a slightly different color scheme.
- OV-10A, 155471, Light Attack Sqn. 4 (VAL-4), ‘Black Ponies’, Binh Thuy, 1971
- OV-10A, 155456, Marine Observation Sqn. 6 (VMO-6), Quang Tri, 1969
- OV-10A, 67-14649, 20th Tactical Air Support Sqn., Da Nang, 1972
- OV-10A, 155416, Marine Observation Sqn. 2 (VMO-2), Da Nang, 1969
- OV-10A, 155416, Marine Observation Sqn. 2 (VMO-2), Da Nang, 1970
OV-10A Bronco Conclusion:
It’s about time that an up-to-date kit came onto the market for this perhaps somewhat exotic aircraft. ICM has done a great job and gives us a beautifully detailed kit with interesting livery options that lacks nothing. Maybe not the first kit for the absolute beginner, but recommended for everyone else!
Steffen Arndt already unpacked the Cessna O-2A for us in November 2020 – there is nothing to add to his report:
O-2A Skymaster Prototype:
The Cessna O-2 is a twin-engine military aircraft from the US aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company based on the civil model 337 “Skymaster”. Due to the experiences during the Vietnam War, the USAF had a need for small aircraft for air traffic control, whereby these machines were to be staffed with a so-called forward air controller, the observer, in addition to the pilot. Last but not least, these aircraft were intended to replace the now-obsolete Cessna O-1 Bird Dog. In order to save the costs of new development, a suitable series product was sought for this purpose. At the end of 1966, the choice fell on the Cessna 337 Skymaster.
Externally, the O-2 (the O stands for the English word Observation = observation) differed from the 337 only by additional windows for the observer and the four attached to the wings carrier for external loads. Flares, light weapons, or rockets could be attached to these supports. In contrast to the civilian variant, the O-2 was equipped with radio and navigation systems that were extremely modern for the time.
The full designation of the standard version of this aircraft, of which a total of 501 examples were delivered to the US Air Force and 12 to the Iranian Air Force in the early 1970s, was the O-2A. The US Air Force retired its last O-2s in the 1980s.
For psychological warfare, 31 machines were each equipped with three 600-watt audio amplifiers, directional loudspeakers, and a leaflet launcher. Built as a civilian Cessna 337, these aircraft received the designation O-2B. Furthermore, these were not provided with additional windows for the observer.
Under the type designation Cessna 348 (military: O-2T), a prototype equipped with two turboprop engines of the Allison 250 series, each with 317 WPS, completed its maiden flight in the autumn of 1969. The performance data of this version planned as a fire control aircraft were improved accordingly. Derived from the O-2B, the series version O-2TT with an extended fuselage (9.85 m) and larger wing (wingspan 13.11 m / wing area 18.81 m²) was to be created, but this was not realized. By the end of production in 1980, a total of 513 military versions of the Cessna had been manufactured.
O-2A Skymaster Model Kit:
After Roden had already brought out the O-1 in 1/48, the successor model was also expected from the Ukrainian manufacturer, especially as this is already available in 1/32. With ICM, however, another manufacturer got ahead of it and judging by the quality of the last kits from ICM, this is not necessarily a disadvantage. Two gray and one clear sprues can be found in the sturdy white box, which, as always, is completed with a slip lid printed in color. Decals and the building instructions round off ICM’s offer to the model builder. The quality of the plastic parts is excellent. There is hardly any burr and the engraving is sharp and even.
The division of the trunk is classic in the left and right halves. This applies analogously to the horizontally divided wing. The two vertically divided tail booms are glued into this. The well-visible cockpit is designed quite attractively, but a scratch or with the help of the accessories market is even more possible here. The engine is only shown as a relief, but only visible through the small ventilation openings in the front. So this is sufficient. The clear parts are glued in from the inside. You have to exercise caution here.
Nevertheless, it is essential to ensure good adhesion so that the panes are not pressed into the model when masking. There is a pattern for cutting the masks on the last page of the assembly instructions, very commendable. By the way, the interior is purely military. In addition, the kit is provided with a right-hand observer window in the door. An open representation of the doors is not intended.
The spraying of the main landing gear swing arm is not quite optimal. This is very narrow on the inside with six gates and is therefore very difficult to remove from the casting frame without damaging it. I got a replacement in brass from Aerocraft Models. This is certainly not necessary for reasons of stability, even if you should provide some ballast in the bow – the nose gear strut is also included with that set.
Only the ailerons have to be attached separately from the control surfaces on the wing. These are provided in the neutral position. Nevertheless, the entire construction with the tail unit and struts are not exactly trivial, the construction steps 51 to 69 are intended for this. You can then decide on an armament option. Nevertheless, the kit gives the impression that there will be a few problems with alignment.
O-2A Skymaster Instructions/Painting:
The decal sheet from ICM is quite small but contains many maintenance instructions. A manufacturer is not specified, so it remains to be seen how these decals perform. In any case, the visual impression is very good. Four painting variants can be shown with these water slides, three grey-white machines, and a black prototype. Unfortunately, there is no (no) information about the models. There are more e.g. in the sets of Caracal or AoA Decals.
- Cessna O-2A Skymaster, USAF, Bu.No. 21407; light grey/white (small kangaroo on the right and left of the bow), green tail tips
- Cessna O-2A Skymaster, USAF, Bu.No. 10868; light grey/white
- Cessna O-2A Skymaster, USAF, Bu.No. 11053; light grey/white
- Cessna O-2A Skymaster, USAF, Bu.No. 418; matte black throughout with red service cues and deployment markings on the left bow.
O-2A Skymaster Conclusion:
ICM brings a nice little model of the O-2 Skymaster to the model-building community. One could have wished that the doors had been hosed down separately and completely clear. But maybe that’s asking too much for the price range. In any case, it is gratifying that the Skymaster is now available as a modern kit.
As a bonus, ICM includes some pilot and ground crew figures in the kit.
The figures have good detail, even if the faces sometimes look a bit alike. But they are always a good first step for a landing field diorama.
This kit combo is a nice set and contains detailed kits for some classics of modern aviation – apart from the jets. The characters are a welcome bonus. A must for fans of post-1945 aviation and Vietnam experts.