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Kitty Hawk OV-10A/C Bronco

RELATED TOPICS: AIRCRAFT | MILITARY | REVIEW
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Odd looking but capable, the North American OV-10 has been used by the U.S. military as a counter-insurgency and forward air control aircraft. Kitty Hawk is the first company to produce the Bronco in 1/32 scale.

Sprue and parts breakdown was fairly logical, making assembly easier. And there are options — a lot of options: two Mk.82 500-pound bombs; two Mk.82 500-pound Snakeyes; two AIM-9B Sidewinder missiles; two AIM 9L Sidewinders; two 2.75" rocket tubes; two 5" Zuni rocket tubes; two 130-liter fuel tanks; and a 260-liter fuel tank.

You also get two complete engines (I used only one), and the sponsons come with two complete M60 machine-gun bays (I left only one open).
 
Typical of Kitty Hawk kits, you get a nice instruction booklet with color profiles covering all six sets of markings provided. I chose the “Air Force Euro I” scheme.

Construction starts with the cockpit. Decals are provided for both instrument panels, but the panels have extremely good molded detail. So, I hand-painted them.

Step 3 brings the cockpit and nose-gear bay together. The bay and nose-gear strut are specified as FS36622 gray, but everything in there — as well as the main gear bays and gear and the inside of all gear doors — should be gloss white.

A kit-supplied 1.15-ounce weight goes under the rear-seat compartment, but it’s not nearly enough. You’ll have to add an additional 1.3 ounces (2.45 total). Good luck figuring out where to put it. I used my trusty little punched-steel discs (emptied from an old pair of ankle weights years ago).

The fuselage halves and the cockpit/nose gear assemblies come together in Step 4. If you’re going to add weight, do it before joining the fuselage halves; mount the cockpit assembly in a fuselage half and determine where to add weight. Otherwise, just prop up the tail.

In Step 6, don’t install any cockpit components until later; it makes painting easier.

The fuselage gun sponsons are assembled in steps 7 and 8. You get complete bays, including ammo cans and feed chutes.

In Step 8, the cargo bay door comes with a bulkhead that has a few radio faces. I discarded that and just closed the door.

The kit provides some nice little engines; I assembled one and closed the other cowling. (If you close the cowlings you’ll have to trim the molded hinges.) Leave that assembly off until after painting. By the way, color instructions are to paint the engine light blue; I am not sure about that.

The landing-gear boom and wing assemblies all went together without a hitch.

I didn’t use the photo-etched spoilers provided for the wings. These were deployed in conjunction with the ailerons to improve maneuverability and roll rate, but I didn’t see them deployed (except for maintenance) in any of the pictures I had.

Step 26 brings wings, booms, and stabilizers together, and everything lined up pretty well — no gaps and pretty solid assembly. It was actually kind of surprising; twin-boom aircraft (like the P-38 and P-61) usually have alignment issues. None here.

I chose the Euro I scheme marked for the 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina.

The decals went down well. After they dry you can install all the little pieces and canopy glass.

I ran into a few problems with the canopy. I think Kitty Hawk engineered it to be displayed wide open (both sides). I decided to close the port side, but it threw off the fit a little. The side panels have molded lips that I assume hook onto the top panel. I had to trim them off for a better fit; on the open side, no problem. My fault.

Oh well. It took me 44 hours to complete, not bad for a 1/32 scale plane. A little experience helps.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the February 2016 issue.

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