DML 1/35 OH-6A Cayuse w/Crew Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||March 2007||Manufacturer||DML|
|Subject||OH-6A Cayuse w/Crew||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||3310||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nicest kit of the OH-6A in any scale||Cons|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$22.50|
The OH-6A was the resulting design from the US Army's Light Observation Helicopter (LOH) program from 1963 where that service was looking for aerial scout platforms. The first flown in 1963, the type entered service in September 1966 and was swiftly deployed to Vietnam.
In combat, the OH-6A was an agile platform that could get scout crews VERY close to the enemy in attempts to get the enemy to open fire on them. While the more seasoned enemy troops knew that there were other aircraft waiting at a safe distance to drop on them should they give away their positions, invariably someone would open up on the scout. Once in a while, enemy fire would get accurate and down a scout, but the scouts gave as well as they received.
The aircraft crew chief doubled as the door gunner/observer and was armed with a variety of improvised weapons. It wasn't long before the scouts received a mini-gun which allowed scout pilots to give as well as receive fire. If you'd like to have a good read about Army aerial scouts in Vietnam, read Hugh Mills' 'Low Level Hell' - it paints a clear picture of the good and bad of the mission flown by these brave crews.
For many years, the Revell 1/32 OH-6A was the best Cayuse in any scale. It was a relatively simple build and featured some nice detail. Then along came DML nearly 10 years ago with their OH-6A, this time scaled to be compatible with the standard armor scale - 1/35. Some of the immediate improvements found in this kit were fewer molded-in surface rivets, open (removed) front and rear cabin doors, and a nicely detailed crew.
DML periodically re-releases this kit as it remains a steady seller with no competition at present. The latest batch have just arrived in the states with a nice low retail price, so let's take a look:
The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on two parts trees, plus one tree of clear parts. You can already see this won't be a difficult build! Two additional trees also molded in light gray are provided for the crew and an assortment of infantry weapons.
For molds that are ten years old, there is no sign of flash or other mold problems. The only issue I have is with the windscreen - even though the clear parts were protected in their own bag, the windscreen still arrived scuffed up. I fortunately have some good polishing tools that will fix this.
Assembly of the kit begins with the cabin interior. The center bulkhead that makes up part of the 'roll cage' mounts to the cabin floor. Crew seats, rudder pedals, collectives and cyclics all go in next. The two pilots' seats receive plate armor for some protection from small-arms fire. The rear cabin bulkhead goes in next along with some additional rear-area stowage.
The pilot figure goes in prior to installing the cabin interior inside the fuselage halves. The skids mount to the completed 'egg' though some care and alignment will be needed to ensure that the completed model sits level.
Mount the windscreen, tail rotor boom, doghouse roof, and engine compartment doors, and you're nearly finished! All that remains are the main rotor and mast, minigun, and door gunner/crew chief.
Markings are provided for two examples:
- OH-6A, 17340, C Troop, 16th Cav, Miss Clawd IV, Vietnam, 1972, as flown by Hugh Mills
- OH-6A, 17270, E Troop, 1/9 Cav, 1st Cav Div, Lai Khe, Vietnam, 1970
This is a beautiful model that is not complex and will give the average modeler some nice results. Eduard has released photo-etched parts for this kit should you want to add additional detail you your 'Killer Egg'.