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OV-10D Bronco

Kitty Hawk Models 1/32 OV-10D Bronco Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2014 Manufacturer Kitty Hawk Models
Subject OV-10D Bronco Scale 1/32
Kit Number 32003 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros First styrene kit of this subject in this scale Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $79.95

First Look

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Even before the United States entered the Vietnam War, the US Marine Corps was looking for an effective close air support aircraft that could perform the forward air control mission. In those days, the USAF was still focused strategic and tactical nuclear strike while the Army was integrating the helicopter into its concept of operations/tactics. Eventually, a tri-service requirement was established for the Light Armed Reconnaissance Aircraft (LARA) and numerous designs were submitted. It would be the North American Aviation Model NA-300 that would be accepted.

The design was based upon a twin turbo-prop powered airframe with tandem seating, a high wing for ample ground clearance, short take-off and landing (STOL) capability, integral guns as well as the ability to carry external stores, and a cargo/personnel bay behind the cockpit. The aircraft would be designated as the OV-10A Bronco and would be operated by the US Marine Corps, US Navy (for a relatively brief time), as well as the US Air Force. After combat experience in Vietnam revealed the Bronco to be underpowered, the OV-10D was developed to provide more power as well as integrate FLIR and targeting capabilities for day/night operations. Some OV-10As were also upgraded with more power as well.

The OV-10A saw combat with all three services (Navy, Marines, Air Force) during Vietnam and would remain as the primary forward air control platform for the US Air Force until replaced by the OA-37B and OA-10A in 1991. The Marines took the OV-10D into Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and would keep their Broncos into 1995.

When Kitty Hawk first announced an OV-10 Bronco in 1/32 scale, many of us were cautiously optimistic as this was a subject never done in styrene in this scale. While Kitty Hawk has had some growing pains with some of their earlier releases, it is clear that they're now past that phase and these latest kits are looking really nice. This is the long-nosed OV-10D operated by the U.S. Marine Corps and this kit looks great!

Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on 11 parts trees plus one tree of (very) clear parts, one fret of photo-etched details, and one essential ballast weight of white metal. You've likely seen some of the test builds and it looks like the feedback they've received was factored into this release quite effectively. Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Nicely detailed front and rear cockpits
  • Ejection seats have photo-etched crew restraints
  • Instrument panels are decals and represent OV-10D+ configuration with vertical tape engine instrument displays
  • Positionable crew entry doors
  • Rear compartment is boxed in and has structural details
  • Rear compartment door has avionics rack and is positionable
  • Nose 'hood' is positionable to reveal FLIR pedestal
  • Sponson access doors are positionable
  • Sponson gun bays have two M60 machine guns in each bay plus ammo feeds
  • Two detailed Garrett T76 engines
  • Positionable nacelle access doors
  • Detailed landing gear
  • Weighted landing gear wheels
  • Positionable flaps
  • Positionable flaperons
  • Positionable spoilers
  • Positionable elevator

The kit has a nice selection of external stores including:

  • 2 x AIM-9 Sidewinder (choice of AIM-9B or AIM-9L seeker heads)
  • 2 x 68 gallon external fuel tanks
  • 2 x 34 gallon external fuel tanks
  • 2 x four-shot Zuni rocket pods
  • 2 x seven-shot rocket pods
  • 2 x Mk.82 500lb slicks
  • 2 x Mk.82 500lb Snakeye

Markings are included for four options:

  • OV-10D, 155498, VMO-4, MU/511
  • OV-10D, 155468, VMO-2, UU/21
  • OV-10D, 155472, VAL-4, UM/107
  • OV-10D, 155479, VMO-2, UU/753

The decal set provides maintenance stenciling for the airframe as well as all of the distinctive markings.

From what I've seen here, this is the best kit from Kitty Hawk to date, and I really liked the T-6 Texan. The second edition of the T-6 is due out soon and Kitty Hawk has also announced the OV-10A coming early next year. While I do look forward to replicating one of the noisy 23rd TASS OV-10As that were on the other end of our flight line, it is the OV-10D that is my favorite Bronco variant and this kit has some really nice options to display this aircraft with lots of maintenance panels open or buttoned up and ready to fly. What's more, you would be equally able to display this model on a concrete flightline or on a carrier deck base since this STOL aircraft could operate from the flight decks of aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships. So many options and lots of distinctive camouflage schemes to go with it!

My sincere thanks to Kitty Hawk Models for this review sample!

References:

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