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OV-10D Bronco

Academy 1/72 OV-10D Bronco Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2005 Manufacturer Academy
Subject OV-10D Bronco Scale 1/72
Kit Number 1680 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice rendition of the Bronco Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $10.00

First Look


The OV-10 Bronco aircraft was the result of a industry competition for a tri-service, multirole aircraft with Short Take-Off and Land (STOL) capabilities. The winning design came from North American, who's design was capable of operating from aircraft carriers without the aid of catapults or arresting gear.

The OV-10A was used extensively in Southeast Asia as a Forward Air Control (FAC) aircraft by the USAF. In USMC service, the Bronco was capable of airlifting up to five fully equipped troops and inserting them anywhere on the battlefield with the rear fuselage doors removed. The Bronco was also capable of carrying two stretchers and a medical attendant or up to 3,200 pounds of cargo in this same compartment.

The OV-10D was developed to modernize the Bronco with advanced sensors and weapons under the concept of the Night Observation Gunship (NOGS) program, which mounted a FLIR turret in a stretched nose and a gun turret under the fuselage aft of the cockpit. While the gun turret didn't stay in service very long, the FLIR system gave the OV-10D a significant round-the-clock capability as an observation and FAC platform. The FLIR system also included a laser target designator which enabled the Bronco crew to guide LGBs to their targets. The OV-10D was retired from service a few years after Desert Storm.

The Academy 1/72 kit represents the post-NOGS OV-10D. The kit is molded in light grey styrene with crisp molding, scribed detailing (except where appropriate, such as the vortex generators), and no flash. As usual, ejector pin placement has been limited to areas that are not visible after assembly.

The detailing in this kit is very nice, starting from the ejection seats in the cockpit to the nicely rendered rough-field main landing gear assembly. The transparencies are also molded flawlessly clear. The canopy is actually comprised of the windscreen, overhead and side panels, enabling the rendering of the unique greenhouse cockpit of the OV-10 quite nicely. While there is no stock provision to pose the aircraft with its door panels open, the more experienced modeler can perform some careful surgery to separate the appropriate panels.

Assembly of the kit appears to be very straightforward, with no obvious challenges apparent in the kit. The only area of caution for the inexperienced modeler will be the assembly of the four-piece canopy as one glue smear will mar the whole project. For this type of assembly, I prefer to use either watch crystal cement (found in model railroad departments of better hobby shops) or a little patience and Elmer's White Glue.

Armament for the OV-10D includes a pair of LAU-10 rocket pods, a par of LAU-3 rocket pods, your choice of a 150 or 230 gallon centerline fuel tank, four Mk.82 500 lb bombs and a pair of AIM-9 Sidewinders mounted on a pair of underwing pylons/rails.

Markings are provided for two examples:

  • BuNo 155395, VMO-1, USMC, staging from Al Zubail, Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm
  • BuNo 155468, VMO-2, USMC, also staging from Al Zubail during Desert Storm

This kit provides a nice gap-filler in the 1/72 FAC line-up, rendering my favorite version of the versatile Bronco. While Hasegawa and Airfix previously offered releases of the OV-10D, both kits have been out of production for some time and have become difficult to find. This Academy offering will please modelers of all skill levels.

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!