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  1. North American OV-10 Bronco – Warpaint #140 Guideline Publications The Bronco was conceived as a light attack, long loiter aircraft of modest size, enabling it to operate from unprepared fields and roads close to the combat zone. As so often seems the case, the final design turned out to be much larger and heavier due to the requirements of the avionics and ejection seats, thus limiting its use to conventional airfields. The twin boom aircraft first flew in 1965 and was destined to serve with the US Navy, Air Force and Marines as a replacement for the ageing Cessna O-1 Bird Dog & O-2 Skymaster. The Marines were the first to take the OV-10 into service as a forward air controller platform operating both night and day missions. Whilst the Bronco is best known for its operations in Vietnam, it also served in later conflicts as late as the Gulf War before being retired from US front-line service in 1995. The USAF received Broncos in 1968 and deployed the aircraft in the Forward Air Control (FAC) role, using smoke laying methods initially, and later using laser targeting designators. Eventually after extensive modernisation to the -D model with the addition of a FLIR turret and new avionics, then another upgrade to the -D+ version that involved replacement of much of the wiring loom and further stiffening of the wings to enable it to carry more and fly harder. By this time it carried its own ground attack armament including rockets, machine guns and bombs, plus targeting equipment that gave it the capability of Light Attack Aircraft, and made it a scary prospect for the enemy to see overhead. Seven export contracts were signed with other foreign operators including Germany, Columbia and Indonesia, each having their own letter suffixes, and the very last of which will be leaving service in the near future after long service. The last action of the Bronco in US Marine service was the first Gulf War, where a mixture of As and D+s fought side-by-side bravely carrying out the Forward Air Controller (FAC) task against enemy forces, although they did suffer some losses due to equipment inadequacies and possibly owing to its relatively slow speed making it an easier target for the anti-aircraft assets of the opposition. Although efforts were made to keep the bronco in service, by 1995 it was withdrawn from active service and handed-off to other government institutions, with the job being carried out from there on by two-seat F-18s that had speed, modern avionics and plenty of self-defence capabilities to hand. The Book The book by author Mike Verier is in the usual Warpaint format of portrait A4(ish) with a soft card cover utilising a perfect binding instead of the usual pair of staples to accommodate the genuine total of 100 pages plus content printed on the four sides of the glossy covers, including a two-page spread of plans in 1:72, penned by Sam Pearson. The initial section details the birth of the type in detail, with some interesting information included about the pre-cursors and competitors for the contract, then the subsequent pages detail the different types, that amazingly includes one on floats that didn’t see service. Most of the photos are in colour, with some from the various trials and equipment fits that were developed, as well as the usual official sources and historical records that were kept by the developers, restorers, civilian operators, and during service from Vietnam to the Gulf War. The pages include a lot of useful photos with informative captions of aircraft on the apron, on the field, in the air, during tests, and photos of equipment trials aircraft, including the German mounting of a jet power unit mounted on the wing over the fuselage. The Profiles section shows a range of schemes in which the type was painted, including some of the military and more colourful schemes, encompassing the full gamut of service including NASA, Forestry Protection, and a modernised airframe in Blue Air Training colours, the only airframes still licensed to carry live ordnance. My favourite variant is usually the slightly weird one, but the Bronco is all weird, which is probably why it’s a personal favourite. It’s a testament to the quality of the original design that the majority of the airframe has gone unchanged, while the avionics and equipment fits have progressed alongside the march of technology. The In Detail section is an interesting look at the aircraft closely that spans three pages, and concentrates on the exterior, engine and equipment bays on the first two pages, with the cockpit on the third, including up-close pics of the instrument panels from different eras and variants. There’s been a huge influx of new Bronco kits and its variants in recent years, although the 1:32 Kitty Hawk offering is getting harder to find now. We have many boxings from ICM in 1:48 and 1:72 that are right up to date in terms of detail and moulding technology. This book will be great news for people with those kits in their stash. Conclusion The Warpaint series always gets a thumbs-up due to their consistent layout and quality. This is an excellent book that will see plenty of use by anyone interest in, or in building this long-serving Observation and Ground Attack oddity. There’s literally no reason not to get one unless you’re allergic to paper or twin-boomed aircraft. Note: You can buy either the traditional physical version of the book by following the link below, or the digital version if you’re more modern and forward thinking, or have limited storage space. Digital reference as a concept is starting to grow on me. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. OV-10D+ Bronco (72186) 1:72 ICM via H G Hannants Ltd The Bronco was conceived as a light attack, long loiter aircraft of modest size, enabling it to operate from unprepared fields and roads close to the combat zone. As so often seems the case, the final design turned out to be much larger and heavier due to the requirements of the avionics and ejection seats, thus limiting its use to conventional airfields. The twin boom aircraft first flew in 1965 and was destined to serve with the US Navy, Air Force and Marines as a replacement for the ageing Cessna O-1 Bird Dog & O-2 Skymaster. The Marines were the first to take the OV-10 into service as a forward air controller platform operating both night and day missions. Whilst the Bronco is best known for its operations in Vietnam, it also served in later conflicts as late as the Gulf War before being retired from US front-line service in 1995. The USAF received Broncos in 1968 and deployed the aircraft in the Forward Air Control (FAC) role, using smoke laying methods initially, and later using laser targeting designators. Eventually after extensive modernisation to the -D model with the addition of a FLIR turret and new avionics, then another upgrade to the -D+ version that involved replacement of much of the wiring loom and further stiffening of the wings to enable it to carry more and fly harder. By this time it carried its own ground attack armament including rockets, machine guns and bombs, plus targeting equipment that gave it the capability of Light Attack Aircraft, and made it a scary prospect for the enemy to see overhead. Seven export contracts were signed with other foreign operators including Germany, Columbia and Indonesia, each having their own letter suffixes, and the very last of which will be leaving service in the near future after long service. The last action of the Bronco in US Marine service was the first Gulf War, where a mixture of As and D+s fought side-by-side bravely carrying out the Forward Air Controller (FAC) task against enemy forces, although they did suffer some losses due to equipment inadequacies and possibly owing to its relatively slow speed making it an easier target for the anti-aircraft assets of the opposition. Although efforts were made to keep the bronco in service, by 1995 it was withdrawn from active service and handed-off to other government institutions, with the job being carried out from there on by two-seat F-18s that had speed, modern avionics and plenty of self-defence capabilities to hand. The Kit This is a reboxing of the brand-new tooling from ICM, bringing the fruits of their research creating the 1:48 tooling of this aircraft to the smaller scale modeller. The kit arrives in a shallow top-opening box with a captive flap on the lower tray, and inside are four sprues of grey styrene, a rectangular sprue of clear parts, a decal sheet, and glossy-covered instruction booklet that has spot colour throughout, and profiles of the four decal options on the back pages. The level of detail on the sprues is excellent, and almost identical in terms of content as the larger kit, differing mostly in terms of sprue-count due to the comparative size of the parts, as more can be fitted on one sprue in this scale. Construction begins with the rear seat, which is made from six parts, and is inserted into the back of the cockpit floor in front of the aft bulkhead, which has moulded-in equipment boxes on the top shelf. Side consoles, control column and throttle quadrants are added, then the bulkhead between the seats is made up with rudder pedals on a cross-brace under the bulkhead between crew. The instrument panel is then cemented to the top of the bulkhead, with a decal and its own coaming moulded into the top of the part, slotting it into the space between positions. The front seat is built using the same four parts in the initial step, but with three different parts on the back that have two “ears” behind the head-box. A control column and individual rudder pedals are added to the floor, then the side consoles are fitted either side of the seat. The front bulkhead has three detail parts for the nose gear bay glued to the rear, then it is put into the front of the cockpit, to be joined by detailed tops to the side consoles. The pilot’s panel has a decal applied as it is inserted under the coaming, which has a shallow central box glued into the top, allowing it to be fitted into the front of the cockpit. The cockpit is mated to the fuselage pod floor, and is flipped over to add a pair of sidewalls with moulded-in bay doors for the nose gear bay, the top section of the nose gear strut, and a retraction jack. The nose sides have moulded-in cockpit sidewalls with plenty of detail, adding a document box to the port side, and painting them according to the colour call-outs that appear throughout the instructions. A small bulkhead with kinked pipe is inserted into the tip of the nose, adding weight of just 5 grams to be placed in the space in front of the bulkhead before you close the two halves around the cockpit. An insert is inserted in front of the cockpit, and a circular light is inserted under the moulded-in probe at the tip of the nose, adding a pair of intakes to the sides of the nose, and a strake under the rear centreline, then building up the two winglets from top and bottom halves, plus an insert that depicts the gun openings, and a wingtip to finish them off. They glue into the fuselage in shaped recesses on either side, and four raised turrets are added either side of the belly strake, with a small bay door fitted to the retraction jack in the nose bay. The nose wheel is made from two halves and is slipped between the legs of the yoke that is glued onto the upper nose strut along with a linkage, joined by a pair of gun barrels in, and four sway-braces under each winglet. A hemispherical faceted FLIR turret is inserted into a hole under the nose, which quickly differentiates this boxing from earlier variants. The upper wing is a full-span part, and has a long spar that doubles as the back of the flap bays fitted in a recess with locating ribs helping achieve the correct position. The lower outer wing panels each have 1mm holes drilled in them if you are installing the underwing pylons, then they are added to the upper wing along with the inner panels, leaving space for the engine nacelles and fuselage nacelle that will be fitted later. The four flap sections are built in mirrored pairs from three parts each, and the ailerons have two small parts added to the top and bottom before all six flying surfaces are glued into the rear of the wing, fitting an actuator to the inner edge of the ailerons, a laser warning sensor on a hump on the wing over the fuselage, and two intake baffles above where the engines will be built shortly. Firstly, the wings are mated to the fuselage nacelle from above, and the windscreen part with a clear instrument in the top framing is fitted over the coaming. The canopy roof joins the windscreen to the rear of the cockpit opening, then the two side glazing panels are fixed to the remaining gaps in the side, with no in-built option to pose either entryway open, other than taking a razor saw to them. Unless you’re very brave, that’s going to be a job for the aftermarket folks. The two engine nacelles and their booms are built in mirror image, starting by adding the main bay doors and an instrument box on one wall, then building the main gear legs onto the forward bay roof from several parts, fixing the main roof and aft bulkhead before they are trapped between the two nacelle halves, finishing off the front with the intake fairing and a two-part shaft that is linked to the back of the spinner, leaving the prop spinning if you go easy with the glue. The lower nacelle skin fits on a pair of ribs, fitting the two-part exhausts for the turbo-prop engines, an auxiliary intake and the rudder panel as the last step. Once both booms are complete, they are offered up to the wing underside, remembering to add the three-part elevator panel between the two tail fins. The Bronco had dive brakes in the shape of four fin-shaped protrusions that popped-up sideways from inside the wing, and these can be depicted deployed, or left off if you prefer, adding a pair of three-part props with spinners to the front of each nacelle. A windscreen wiper blade is fixed to the windscreen with as little glue as possible to avoid marring the screen, two small blade antennae are inserted into depressions in the top of the nacelles, and a horn balance is installed on the top and bottom of the elevator, adding a blade antenna to the port nacelle behind the gear bay. The main wheels are each two parts, and are glued to the swing-arm at the bottom of the main gear legs, adding a lateral towel-rail antenna behind the nose gear bay, and another small antenna at the rear of the port nacelle. The optional wing pylons are two-parts each, and fit under the wings in the holes you drilled earlier. Weapons There is a substantial range of munitions supplied on the sprues, as follows: 2 x LAU-33 Rocket Pod 2 x Mk.81 Snakeye Iron Bomb 2 x Mk.81 Lowdrag Iron Bomb 2 x LAU-69A Rocket Pod 2 x LAU-68 Rocket Pod 2 x Mk.82 Snakeye Iron Bomb 2 x Mk.82 Lowdrag Iron Bomb 2 x Mk.77 Incendiary Bomb 2 x LAU-10A Rocket Pod 1 x 150 gal. Fuel Tank Each weapon is well-detailed, all made from two halves, adding end caps to the tubular rocket pods, and even individual rocket tips on the LAU-10A. There is a full range of stencils supplied for the various weapons on the decal sheet, with diagrams to the sides of the four pages of profiles. An additional page in the instructions shows the correct location for the various weapons, and which are compatible with the mounting points under the wings and fuselage. Markings There are four options on the decal sheet, three in various camo schemes, one in an all-over grey scheme. From the box you can build one of the following: OV-10D+ 155489 Marine Observation Sqn. 1, (VMO-1), USS Theodore Roosevelt, 1990 OV-10D+ 155494 Marine Observation Sqn. 2, (VMO-2), Saudi Arabia, 1991 OV-10D+ 155473 Marine Observation Sqn. 2, (VMO-2), Saudi Arabia, 1991 OV-10D+ 155499 Marine Observation Sqn. 1, (VMO-1), early 1990s The instruction booklet includes a half page diagram of the canopy, giving silhouette drawings of masks that you can cut yourself to avoid having to shell out for a masking set, and you can either apply tape then cut them out, or lay a clear acetate sheet over the drawings before applying tape, cutting the masks carefully with a new #11 blade to protect the instructions, and avoid the difficulties that may occur releasing the tape from the paper if they come away together. Decals are by ICM’s usual partners, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion This is a reboxing of the first new tooling of this type in the new millennium, and benefits from the advances in injection moulding technology and CAD rendering that give the modeller a thoroughly modern, well detailed kit of the last Bronco variant that is complete with a host of weapons, some of which will remain in the spares box. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  3. OV-10A Bronco US Attack Aircraft (72185) 1:72 ICM via H G Hannants Ltd The Bronco was conceived as a light attack, long loiter aircraft of modest size, enabling it to operate from roads close to the combat zone. As so often seems the case, the final design turned out to be much larger and heavier due to the requirements of the avionics and ejection seats, thus limiting its use to conventional airfields. The twin boom aircraft first flew in 1965 and was destined to serve with the US Navy, Air Force and Marines as a replacement for the Cessna O-1 Bird Dog & O-2 Skymaster. The Marines were the first to take the OV-10 into service as a forward air controller platform operating both night and day missions. Whilst the Bronco is best known for its operations in Vietnam, it also served in further conflicts as late as the Gulf War before being retired from US service in 1995. The USAF received Broncos in 1968 and deployed the aircraft in the Forward Air Control (FAC) role, using smoke laying methods initially, and later using laser targeting designators. Eventually it carried its own ground attack armament including rockets, machine guns and bombs that gave it the capability of Light Attack Aircraft, and made it a daunting prospect for the enemy to see overhead. Seven export contracts were signed with other foreign operators including Germany, Columbia and Indonesia, the very last of which will be leaving service in the near future after long tenure. The Kit You may think your eyes are deceiving you, but you read that correctly. This is a brand-new tooling from those lovely people at ICM, the same people that recently brought the fruits of their research to their new tooling of this aircraft in the larger 1:48 scale, a scale that is very dear to my heart. Now the 1:72 folks get their turn, and we can’t say fairer than that. We’ll leave the 1:32 people out of the discussion, as their wishes were granted several years ago. Using their research to tool this new 1:72 kit isn’t as straight-forward as hitting the ‘shrinko’ button on the injection moulding machines, so a lot of additional work has gone into developing it, so let’s first give credit where it is due. The kit arrives in a shallow top-opening box with a captive flap on the lower tray, and inside are four sprues of grey styrene, a rectangular sprue of clear parts, a large decal sheet, and glossy-covered instruction booklet that has spot colour throughout, and profiles of the four decal options on the back pages. The level of detail on the sprues is excellent, and almost identical in terms of content as the larger kit that is close by, differing mostly in terms of sprue-count due to the comparative size of the parts, as more can be fitted on one sprue in this scale. Construction begins with the rear seat, which is made from six parts, and is inserted into the back of the cockpit floor in front of the aft bulkhead, which has moulded-in equipment boxes on the top shelf. Side consoles, control column and throttle quadrants are added, then the bulkhead between the seats is made up with rudder pedals on a cross-brace under the coaming. A choice of instrument panels is then cemented to the coaming, with a decal and its own coaming moulded into the top of the part, slotting it into the space between positions. The front seat is built using the same four parts in the initial step, but with three different parts on the back that have two “ears” behind the headbox. A control column and individual rudder pedals are added to the floor, then the side consoles are fitted either side of the seat. The front bulkhead has three detail parts for the nose gear bay glued to the rear, then it is put into the front of the cockpit, to be joined by detailed tops to the side consoles. The pilot’s panel has a decal applied, as it is inserted under the coaming, which has a shallow box glued into the top, allowing it to be fitted into the front of the cockpit. The cockpit is flipped over to add a pair of sidewalls with moulded-in bay doors for the nose gear bay, the top section of the nose gear strut, and a retraction jack, then the lower fuselage skin is glued in place, locating on a raised square behind the bay. The nose sides have moulded-in cockpit sidewalls with plenty of detail, adding a document box to the port side, and painting them according to the colour call-outs that appear throughout the instructions. A nose weight of just 5 grams is suggested to be placed in the space above the nose bay before you close the two halves around the cockpit. A circular light is inserted under the moulded-in probe at the tip of the nose, and a strake is fitted under the rear, building up the two winglets from top and bottom halves, plus an insert that depicts the gun openings, and a tip to finish them off. They glue into the fuselage in shaped recesses on either side, and four raised turrets are added either side of the strake, with a small bay door fitted to the retraction jack in the nose bay. The nose wheel is made from two halves and is slipped between the legs of the yoke that is glued onto the upper nose strut along with a linkage, joined by a pair of gun barrels in each winglet. The upper wing is a full-span part, and has a long spar that doubles as the back of the flap bays fitted in a recess with locating ribs helping with location. The lower outer wing panels each have 1mm holes drilled in them if you are installing the underwing pylons, then they are added to the upper wing along with the inner panels, leaving space for the engine nacelles and fuselage nacelle that will be fitted later. The four flap sections are built in mirrored pairs from three parts each, and the ailerons have two small parts added to the top and bottom before all six flying surfaces are glued into the rear of the wing, fitting an actuator to the inner edge of the ailerons, a GPS hump on the wing over the fuselage, and two intake parts above where the engines will be built shortly. First, the wings are mated to the fuselage nacelle from above, and the windscreen part with a clear instrument fitted to the top framing is fitted over the coaming. The top of the canopy joins the windscreen to the top of the fuselage, then the two side glazing panels are fixed to the remaining gaps in the side, again with no in-built option to pose either entryway open. That’s going to be a job for the aftermarket folks again. The two engine nacelles and their booms are built in mirror image, starting with drilling two holes in both sides, adding the main bay doors and an instrument box, then building the main gear legs onto the forward bay roof from several parts, fixing the main roof and aft bulkhead before they are trapped between the two nacelle halves, finishing off the front with the intake fairing and a two-part shaft that is linked to the back of the spinner, leaving the prop movable if you go easy with the glue. The lower nacelle skin fits on a pair of ribs, and two optional U-antennae are inserted into the holes drilled earlier, fitting the two-part exhausts for the turbo-prop engines, an auxiliary intake and the rudder panel as the last step. Once both booms are complete, they are offered up to the wing underside, remembering to add the three-part elevator panel between the two tail fins. The Bronco had dive brakes that popped-up sideways from inside the wing, and these can be depicted deployed or left off if you prefer, adding a pair of three-part props with spinners to the front of each nacelle. A windscreen wiper blade is added to the windscreen, two small blisters are inserted into depressions in the top of the nacelles, and a horn balance is installed on the top and bottom of the elevator, adding a blade antenna to the starboard nacelle behind the gear bay. The main wheels are each two parts, and are glued to the swing-arm at the bottom of the main gear legs, adding a lateral towel-rail antenna behind the nose gear bay, and another small antenna at the rear of the port nacelle. The optional wing pylons are two-parts each, and fit under the wings on the holes you drilled earlier for two of the decal options. Weapons There is a substantial range of munitions supplied on the sprues, as follows: 2 x LAU-33 Rocket Pod 2 x Mk.81 Snakeye Iron Bomb 2 x Mk.81 Lowdrag Iron Bomb 2 x LAU-69A Rocket Pod 2 x LAU-68 Rocket Pod 2 x Mk.82 Snakeye Iron Bomb 2 x Mk.82 Lowdrag Iron Bomb 2 x Mk.77 Incendiary Bomb 2 x LAU-10A Rocket Pod 1 x 150 gal. Fuel Tank Each weapon is well-detailed, all made from two halves, adding end caps to the tubular rocket pods, fuses of two lengths to the iron bombs, and even rocket tips on the LAU-10A. There is a full range of stencils supplied for the various weapons on the decal sheet, with diagrams to the sides of the four pages of profiles. An additional page in the instructions shows the correct location for the various weapons, and which are compatible with the mounting points under the wings and fuselage. Markings There are four options on the decal sheet, two in olive green, two in grey schemes, with white upper surfaces to the wings and elevator on the first option. From the box you can build one of the following: 155427 Marine Observation Sqn. 2 (VMNO-2), Marble Mountain Air Facility, Vietnam, 1969 155495 Light Attack Sqn. 4 (VAL-4) Black Ponies, Binh Thuy, 1969 67-14649 20th Tactical Air Support Sqn., Da Nang, 1972 155472 4th Light Attack Sqn. Black Ponies, Bin Thuy, 1972 The instruction booklet on our example has a typo on decal option 4, which differs between the Ukrainian and English translation – someone pasted the wrong option in English, it seems - it's far too easy to do with modern tech if I'm honest. A quick photo of the Ukrainian text on my phone and a the translate feature gave us the text we’ve reproduced above. Decals are by ICM’s usual partners, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion It appears that this is the first new tooling of this type in the new millennium, and benefits from the advances in injection moulding technology and CAD rendering that give the modeller a thoroughly modern, well detailed kit of the Bronco that is complete with a host of weapons, ready to delight and amaze. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  4. OV-10A Bronco US Attack Aircraft (48300) 1:48 ICM via Hannants The Bronco was conceived as a light attack, long loiter aircraft of modest size, enabling it to operate from roads close to the combat zone. As so often seems the case, the final design turned out to be much larger and heavier due to the requirements of the avionics and ejection seats, thus limiting its use to conventional airfields. The twin boom aircraft first flew in 1965 and was destined to serve with the US Navy, Airforce and Marines as a replacement for the Cessna O-1 Bird Dog & O-2 Skymaster. The Marines were the first to take the OV-10 into service as a forward air controller platform operating both night and day missions. Whilst the Bronco is best known for its operations in Vietnam, it also served in later conflicts as late as the Gulf War before being retired from US service in 1995. The USAF received Broncos in 1968 and deployed the aircraft in the Forward Air Control (FAC) role, using smoke laying methods initially, and later using laser targeting designators. Eventually it carried its own ground attack armament including rockets, machine guns and bombs that gave it the capability of Light Attack Aircraft, and made it a daunting prospect for the enemy to see overhead. Seven export contracts were signed with other foreign operators including Germany, Columbia and Indonesia, the very last of which will be leaving service in the near future after long service. The Kit This new tooling from ICM relieves us all of the ancient Testors kit with its legendarily incorrect wings and nacelle locations, which could only have been fixed with the help of a Paragon Designs set. This is a relief for this modeller, as there were also other blank areas that would have required some further work. Back to the matter in hand. A 100% new model from ICM, which arrives in one of their standard top opening boxes with the captive inner lid, and has ten sprues in grey styrene, one in clear, two sheets of decals and a glossy instruction booklet with spot colour inside and glossy colour profiles on the back pages. De-bagging the sprues reveals the detail is excellent, and the booms have raised as well as engraved rivets on their surface, which is just as it should be if you check out any walk arounds that get close enough to the aircraft to see them. The clear parts have been engineered so that they fit together as individual facets, and are crystal clear, allowing the modeller to see their hard work in the cockpit, providing they don’t put any gluey fingerprints on the glazing during the build. Overall, it looks like it will build into an excellent replica of the aircraft. Construction begins predictably with the cockpit, starting with the crew seats, of which there are two. The base of the seats are made from the curved lower and cushion, while the backs are formed from a shell with two cushions, one for the pilot’s back, the other for the headbox. The two elements are brought together and a small part is added to the headbox, then different rear detail and a launch rail are added to the rear of them both. There are colour call-outs as we go along, and two warning decals are supplied for the seats, although these are shown applied to the cushions, which seems odd, but having checked some references, that’s where they go. Every day’s a school day! The rear seat is glued to the cockpit floor which has a bulkhead and a shelf moulded into the rear, then side consoles are fixed onto the floor around the seat with control column on a lateral support, and a throttle quadrant that sits on top of a raised portion of the port console. A divider between the two seats is prepared with rudder pedals and other details, then has a choice of either of two instrument panels added atop the flat section, based on your decal choice. These are well detailed and have dial decals for each option. The divider is glued in place, then the front cockpit is made up starting with the seat again, but with a different set of launch rail parts with “antennae” to the side of the headbox. He too gets a control column and floor-mounted rudder pedals, after which the seat is bracketed by side consoles that have detailed tops, but no decals which is a shame. A bulkhead for within the footwell of the front cockpit is created from a number of parts, and fixed in place with the details facing forward, forming the rear bulkhead of the nose gear bay. The pilot gets a well-appointed instrument panel with coaming and decal, plus a number of small parts sitting on top of the coaming. This is glued in, and more details are added to the rear shelf in the shape of equipment boxes that probably have festive twinkling lights on the real thing, especially at Christmas. The cockpit is put to the side briefly while the crew nacelle is prepared with interior sidewall details, plus an internal frame that runs up the side of the canopy. You are advised to align this with the canopy sides, which have a shallow groove running top to bottom, so it would be an idea to glue the parts, then tape the canopy sides in place and align the frame with the groove, taping it in place until the glue sets. With the sides complete and painted internally, the cockpit can be secured inside and locked in place by bringing the two halves together. Providing you have painted the front of the crew nacelle, the nose gear bay is already complete and just needs the main strut, a diagonal support that goes far back under the canopy, and a pair of bay doors. The underside of the cockpit floor is then covered over by a well-detailed underside panel that has recesses ready for the stubby weapons pylons, and has a small central strake added toward the rear. Here it will be key to align the nacelle skins before the glue sets to avoid having to make good later and risk losing any of that lovely detail. The weapons “wings” need four holes drilling in their underside if you are going to hang weapons from them, then they are closed up around a small rectangular insert that the barrels later plug into, the wingtips are added, and each one has an insert applied to the leading edge that makes up the rest of the fairings for the weapons. These are glued into their recesses on the underside, and are fitted with shackles on the twin pylons on their undersides if you plan on using weapons. Another small nose gear door fits to the diagonal leg, and the four-part nose wheel with separate hub parts is first trapped between the yoke, which is then glued to the bottom of the nose strut along with the other half of the oleo scissor-link. I suspect this could be a weak point of the nose gear, so ensure you leave this to set up for a good while before attempting to put weight on it. The addition of the four gun barrels to the winglets and a couple of sensors completes the crew nacelle for now. The upper wing of the Bronco is a single full-width part that also has a section of the fuselage upper and the twin boom tops moulded-in, while the underside is in four sections. Before the two surfaces are joined, two spar sections are attached to the upper wing straddling the future location of the engine nacelles, and if you plan on adding wing pylons, there are a few holes to be drilled in the outer lower panel of the wings. All the flying surfaces are separate and the twin flap sections per side are made of three parts laminated together, while the ailerons are a single part each to which are added balances and trim actuators. When completed, the six flying surface sections are fitted to the cut-outs at the rear of the wing unit along with a pair of actuators for the ailerons, a pair of exhaust deflectors on top of the engine nacelles, and a large sensor blister at the centre-rear. The wing assembly is then mated to the crew gondola, and the canopy is begun. The blown windscreen that offers the pilot a good field of view has a sight fitted to the top centre before it is glued to the front of the cockpit, then has the clear canopy roof put in place, bridging the gap between the windscreen and cockpit rear. The two canopy sides are next, and these parts are each single pieces, which doesn’t give the modeller the opportunity to prop the front two sections in the open position without taking their life in their hands and cutting the parts with a razor saw or fine scriber and a lot of trepidation. No doubt an aftermarket company will step-in here. Building of the two nacelles begins with the gear bays, which starts with the making of the gear legs that have two main partss and a Y-shaped insert that traps the lower section in place but leaves it movable. Two more parts make up the suspension strut, which are also trapped in place by a V-shaped insert, and then glue is applied to the previously mobile joint, setting the correct angle for the leg permanently. It is glued to the stepped bay forward roof with a number of small parts, after which it is joined by the detailed sidewalls, rear bulkhead and another few parts to close over the rear of the roof and add more detail. The nacelle sides have a couple of holes drilled on each side, and these are joined around the bay assembly, capped off at the front by the intakes and propeller backing plate. Underneath, the triangular inserts with their many raised rivets are glued in carefully to avoid damaging that lovely detail, and two optional towel-rail antennae are glued into the holes on the sides of the nacelle. The two-part rudder is fixed to the tail, and an exhaust is made up from two halves, with baffles within. Align these carefully to minimise the join-line and check your references to get these right. A small intake is added to the side of the nacelle just forward of the exhaust. This process if carried out twice of course, in mirror-image so your Bronco doesn’t fly round in circles. The large horizontal elevator panel is made from top and bottom surfaces plus the elevator itself, and this is slotted into position between the nacelles as they are glued into place under the wings. You might need to grow another hand or two to make this happen, or get yourself one of those wonderful jigs like that of EBMA to help hold everything in place for this. Four optional shark-fin spoilers can be glued onto their corresponding slots in the top of each wing if you wish, or leave them in the box for a clean upper wing. The twin props have the three blades moulded as one, with a front and back boss, and take care to install the correct props on the nacelles, as the blades (and the turboprop engines) are handed, spinning in opposite directions to cancel out the effect of torque steer. A windscreen wiper and various sensor lumps are added around the fuselage, with more underneath, at which point you’ll notice that the main gear is without wheels. Each of these are made of a two-part wheel and two-part hub, with no weighting moulded-in, although that’s easily remedied by a quick sanding of a flat-spot on the bottom, just don’t overdo it so it looks like it needs more air. Fun with weapons is next, and this modeller thinks that the Bronco looks best when loaded for bear, as they say. There are two wing pylons on long supports to add to the outer wing panels, then it’s just a case of choosing which munitions you want to hang from them. There is a diagram showing which weapons can be fitted to which pylons, but if you’re aiming for realism, check your references to establish real-world load-outs for training and live-fire missions. In the box you get the following: 2 x LAU-33 twin rocket pods 2 x LAU-069A 21 rocket pods 2 x Mk.77 Incendiary bombs 2 x LAU-68 6 rocket pods 2 x 150gal fuel tanks 2 x Mk.81 Lowdrag iron bombs with optional daisy-cutter fuse 2 x Mk.81 Snakeye iron bombs with optional daisy-cutter fuse 2 x Mk.82 Snakeye iron bombs with optional daisy-cutter fuse 2 x Mk.82 Lowdrag iron bombs with optional daisy-cutter fuse 2 x LAU-10A 4 rocket pods The detail of the individual weapons is excellent, with multiple parts for fins, fuses and rockets, and only the seamlines to clean up along the way. The canopy is about as clear as can be, so it’s going to be important to mask it up before you inadvertently ruin the startling clarity. Although masks aren’t included in the box, there is a handy template near the back of the instructions that you can place tape on and cut out masks for your use on the model. Each section is numbered and there is another drawing showing their location on the canopy. Very handy! Markings There are five options in the rear of the instructions in various shades of grey and camouflage green, and there’s also a new paint set from ICM themselves that gives you all the shades you’ll need to paint the majority of the airframe as depicted in this boxing. You can read about that in a later review that we’ll link back once we’ve had chance to spray them out. From the box you can build one of the following: 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 The 4th and 5th options depict the same airframe at different periods, which possibly had light grey wings earlier in its career, which was later painted green on the topside, and may have been painted a lighter or darker grey on the underside. The profiles give you the option and leave it up to you. Decals are printed by ICM’s usual partners, with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The weapons all have stencils to apply, which are shown next to each profile, as their colours varied over time. There are also rear and white tip decals for the props, and the large wide T-shapes on the upper wings are also included as decals, as are the tapered exhaust gas “hiders” on some of the decal options. Conclusion I’m a happy bunny. I’ve always liked the Bronco, and this new tooling is an excellent looking model that is crammed full of detail that will doubtless encourage new decal sheets into the market to cater for the many buyers. The launch of the paint set is a clever move, encouraging modellers to try their new(ish) paint system. You know you want to! Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  5. OV-10A Bronco US Navy (48304) 1:48 ICM via H G Hannants Ltd The Bronco was conceived as a light attack, long loiter aircraft of modest size, enabling it to operate from roads close to the combat zone. As so often seems the case, the final design turned out to be much larger and heavier due to the requirements of the avionics and ejection seats, thus limiting its use to conventional airfields. The twin boom aircraft first flew in 1965 and was destined to serve with the US Navy, Airforce and Marines as a replacement for the Cessna O-1 Bird Dog & O-2 Skymaster. The Marines were the first to take the OV-10 into service as a forward air controller platform operating both night and day missions. Whilst the Bronco is best known for its operations in Vietnam, it also served in later conflicts as late as the Gulf War before being retired from US service in 1995. The USAF received Broncos in 1968 and deployed the aircraft in the Forward Air Control (FAC) role, using smoke laying methods initially, and later using laser targeting designators. Eventually it carried its own ground attack armament including rockets, machine guns and bombs that gave it the capability of Light Attack Aircraft, and made it a daunting prospect for the enemy to see overhead. The US Navy used it in this capacity in Vietnam, although attrition was quite severe, and later in its service several airframes were used as testbeds for special operations, eventually being transferred to the Marines. Seven export contracts were signed with other foreign operators including Germany, Columbia and Indonesia, the very last of which will be leaving service in the near future after long service. The Kit A reboxing of a 100% new model from ICM with new decals, which arrives in one of their standard top opening boxes with the captive inner lid, and has ten sprues in grey styrene, one in clear, two sheets of decals and a glossy instruction booklet with spot colour inside and glossy colour profiles on the back pages. Unpacking the sprues reveals the detail is excellent, and the booms have raised as well as engraved rivets on their surface, which is just as it should be if you check out any walk arounds that get close enough to the aircraft to see them. The clear parts have been engineered so that they fit together as individual facets, and are crystal clear, allowing the modeller to see their hard work in the cockpit, providing they don’t put any gluey fingerprints on the glazing during the build. Overall, it looks like it will build into an excellent replica of the aircraft. Construction begins predictably with the cockpit, starting with the crew seats, of which there are two. The base of the seats are made from the curved lower and cushion, while the backs are formed from a shell with two cushions, one for the pilot’s back, the other for the headbox. The two elements are brought together and a small part is added to the headbox, then different rear detail and a launch rail are added to the rear of them both. There are colour call-outs as we go along, and two warning decals are supplied for the seats, although these are shown applied to the cushions, which seems odd, but having checked some references, that’s where they go. Every day’s a school day! The rear seat is glued to the cockpit floor which has a bulkhead and a shelf moulded into the rear, then side consoles are fixed onto the floor around the seat with control column on a lateral support, and a throttle quadrant that sits on top of a raised portion of the port console. A divider between the two seats is prepared with rudder pedals and other details, then has a choice of either of two instrument panels added atop the flat section, based on your decal choice. These are well detailed and have dial decals for each option. The divider is glued in place, then the front cockpit is made up starting with the seat again, but with a different set of launch rail parts with “antennae” to the side of the headbox. He too gets a control column and floor-mounted rudder pedals, after which the seat is bracketed by side consoles that have detailed tops, but no decals which is a shame. A bulkhead for within the footwell of the front cockpit is created from several parts, and fixed in place with the details facing forward, forming the rear bulkhead of the nose gear bay. The pilot gets a well-appointed instrument panel with coaming and decal, plus a number of small parts sitting on top of the coaming. This is glued in, and more details are added to the rear shelf in the shape of equipment boxes that probably have festive twinkling lights on the real thing, especially at Christmas. The cockpit is put to the side briefly while the crew nacelle is prepared with interior sidewall details, plus an internal frame that runs up the side of the canopy. You are advised to align this with the canopy sides, which have a shallow groove running top to bottom, so it would be an idea to glue the parts, then tape the canopy sides in place and align the frame with the groove, taping it in place until the glue sets. With the sides complete and painted internally, the cockpit can be secured inside and locked in place by bringing the two halves together. Providing you have painted the front of the crew nacelle, the nose gear bay is already complete and just needs the main strut, a diagonal support that goes far back under the canopy, and a pair of bay doors. The underside of the cockpit floor is then covered over by a well-detailed underside panel that has recesses ready for the stubby weapons pylons, and has a small central strake added toward the rear. Here it will be key to align the nacelle skins before the glue sets to avoid having to make good later and risk losing any of that lovely detail. The weapons “wings” need four holes drilling in their underside if you are going to hang weapons from them, then they are closed around a small rectangular insert that the barrels later plug into, the wingtips are added, and each one has an insert applied to the leading edge that makes up the rest of the fairings for the weapons. These are glued into their recesses on the underside, and are fitted with shackles on the twin pylons on their undersides if you plan on using weapons. Another small nose gear door fits to the diagonal leg, and the four-part nose wheel with separate hub parts is first trapped between the yoke, which is then glued to the bottom of the nose strut along with the other half of the oleo scissor-link. I suspect this could be a weak point of the nose gear, so ensure you leave this to set up for a good while before attempting to put weight on it. The addition of the four gun barrels to the winglets and a couple of sensors completes the crew nacelle for now. The upper wing of the Bronco is a single full-width part that also has a section of the fuselage upper and the twin boom tops moulded-in, while the underside is in four sections. Before the two surfaces are joined, two spar sections are attached to the upper wing straddling the future location of the engine nacelles, and if you plan on adding wing pylons, there are a few holes to be drilled in the outer lower panel of the wings. All the flying surfaces are separate and the twin flap sections per side are made of three parts laminated together, while the ailerons are a single part each to which are added balances and trim actuators. When completed, the six flying surface sections are fitted to the cut-outs at the rear of the wing unit along with a pair of actuators for the ailerons, a pair of exhaust deflectors on top of the engine nacelles, and a large sensor blister at the centre-rear. The wing assembly is then mated to the crew gondola, and the canopy is begun. The blown windscreen that offers the pilot a good field of view has a sight fitted to the top centre before it is glued to the front of the cockpit, then has the clear canopy roof put in place, bridging the gap between the windscreen and cockpit rear. The two canopy sides are next, and these parts are each single pieces, which doesn’t give the modeller the opportunity to prop the front two sections in the open position without taking their life in their hands and cutting the parts with a razor saw or fine scriber and a lot of trepidation. No doubt an aftermarket company will step-in here. Building of the two nacelles begins with the gear bays, which starts with the making of the gear legs that have two main parts and a Y-shaped insert that traps the lower section in place but leaves it movable. Two more parts make up the suspension strut, which are also trapped in place by a V-shaped insert, and then glue is applied to the previously mobile joint, setting the correct angle for the leg permanently. It is glued to the stepped bay forward roof with several small parts, after which it is joined by the detailed sidewalls, rear bulkhead and another few parts to close over the rear of the roof and add more detail. The nacelle sides have a couple of holes drilled on each side, and these are joined around the bay assembly, capped off at the front by the intakes and propeller backing plate. Underneath, the triangular inserts with their many raised rivets are glued in carefully to avoid damaging that lovely detail, and two optional towel-rail antennae are glued into the holes on the sides of the nacelle. The two-part rudder is fixed to the tail, and an exhaust is made up from two halves, with baffles within. Align these carefully to minimise the join-line and check your references to get this right. A small intake is added to the side of the nacelle just forward of the exhaust. This process if carried out twice of course, in mirror-image so your Bronco doesn’t fly round in circles. The large horizontal elevator panel is made from top and bottom surfaces plus the elevator itself, and this is slotted into position between the nacelles as they are glued into place under the wings. You might need to grow another hand or two to make this happen, or get yourself one of those wonderful jigs like that of EBMA to help hold everything in place for this. Four optional shark-fin spoilers can be glued onto their corresponding slots in the top of each wing if you wish, or leave them in the box for a clean upper wing. The twin props have the three blades moulded as one, with a front and back boss, and take care to install the correct props on the nacelles, as the blades (and the turboprop engines) are handed, spinning in opposite directions to cancel out the effect of torque steer. A windscreen wiper and various sensor lumps are added around the fuselage, with more underneath, at which point you’ll notice that the main gear is without wheels. Each of these are made of a two-part wheel and two-part hub, with no weighting moulded-in, although that’s easily remedied by a quick sanding of a flat-spot on the bottom, just don’t overdo it so it looks like it needs more air. Fun with weapons is next, and this modeller thinks that the Bronco looks best when loaded for bear, as they say. There are two wing pylons on long supports to add to the outer wing panels, then it’s just a case of choosing which munitions you want to hang from them. There is a diagram showing which weapons can be fitted to which pylons, but if you’re aiming for realism, check your references to establish real-world load-outs for training and live-fire missions. In the box you get the following: 2 x LAU-33 twin rocket pods 2 x LAU-069A 21 rocket pods 2 x Mk.77 Incendiary bombs 2 x LAU-68 6 rocket pods 2 x 150gal fuel tanks 2 x Mk.81 Lowdrag iron bombs with optional daisy-cutter fuse 2 x Mk.81 Snakeye iron bombs with optional daisy-cutter fuse 2 x Mk.82 Snakeye iron bombs with optional daisy-cutter fuse 2 x Mk.82 Lowdrag iron bombs with optional daisy-cutter fuse 2 x LAU-10A 4 rocket pods The detail of the individual weapons is excellent, with multiple parts for fins, fuses and rockets, and only the seamlines to clean up along the way. The canopy is about as clear as can be, so it’s going to be important to mask it up before you inadvertently ruin the startling clarity. Although masks aren’t included in the box, there is a handy template near the back of the instructions that you can place tape on and cut out masks for your use on the model. Each section is numbered and there is another drawing showing their location on the canopy. Very handy! Markings There are four options in the rear of the instructions in various schemes, including blue and camouflage green. From the box you can build one of the following: #155470/RA-8, VS-41 Shamrocks, NAS North Island, 1969 #155470/RA-8, VS-41 Shamrocks, NAS North Island, 1971 #155473/RA-09, /VS-41 Shamrocks, NAS North Island, 1971 #1554880, Naval Air Service test Centre, NAS Pax River, early 1980s Decals are printed by ICM’s usual partners, with good registration, sharpness, and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The weapons all have stencils to apply, which are shown next to each profile, as their colours varied over time. There are also rear and white tip decals for the props, and the large wide T-shapes on the upper wings are also included as decals, as are the tapered exhaust gas “hiders” on some of the decal options. Conclusion The Bronco is an appealing aircraft, and this new boxing with Navy schemes is an excellent looking model that is crammed full of detail, and opens up a new market for the Navy loving modeller. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  6. OV-10A & OV-10D+ Bronco ‘Desert Storm’ (48302) 1:48 ICM via Hannants The Bronco was conceived as a light attack, long loiter aircraft of modest size, enabling it to operate from unprepared fields and roads close to the combat zone. As so often seems the case, the final design turned out to be much larger and heavier due to the requirements of the avionics and ejection seats, thus limiting its use to conventional airfields. The twin boom aircraft first flew in 1965 and was destined to serve with the US Navy, Airforce and Marines as a replacement for the Cessna O-1 Bird Dog & O-2 Skymaster. The Marines were the first to take the OV-10 into service as a forward air controller platform operating both night and day missions. Whilst the Bronco is best known for its operations in Vietnam, it also served in later conflicts as late as the Gulf War before being retired from US service in 1995. The USAF received Broncos in 1968 and deployed the aircraft in the Forward Air Control (FAC) role, using smoke laying methods initially, and later using laser targeting designators. Eventually after extensive modernisation to the -D model with the addition of a FLIR turret and new avionics, then another upgrade to the -D+ version that involved replacement of much of the wiring loom and further stiffening of the wings to enable it to carry more and fly harder. By this time it carried its own ground attack armament including rockets, machine guns and bombs, plus targeting equipment that gave it the capability of Light Attack Aircraft, and made it a scary prospect for the enemy to see overhead. Seven export contracts were signed with other foreign operators including Germany, Columbia and Indonesia, each having their own letter suffixes, and the very last of which will be leaving service in the near future after long service. The last action of the Bronco in US Marine service was the first Gulf War, where a mixture of As and D+s fought side-by-side bravely carrying out the Forward Air Controller (FAC) task against enemy forces, although they did suffer some losses due to equipment inadequacies and possibly because of its relatively slow speed making it an easier target for the anti-aircraft assets of the opposition. Although efforts were made to keep the bronco in service, by 1995 it was withdrawn from active service and handed-off to other government institutions, with the job being carried out from there on by two-seat F-18s that had speed and plenty of self-defence capabilities to hand. The Kit This is a twin-boxing of ICM’s excellent new Bronco kits, and includes one of each of the OV-10A and OV-10D+ in one fairly compact box that will be stash friendly due to the two-for-one size of it. The kits arrive in a slightly larger top-opening box with the usual captive lid, and inside are twenty sprues in grey styrene, two clear sprues, a decal sheet and a thick instruction booklet that has sprue diagrams at the front, and here a little oopsie occurs. There’s a mistake in the binding of the instructions of my example due to the inclusion of a duplicate leaf in the booklet (pages 3, 4, 41, 42), as some of the decal options were also duplicated at the rear of the leaflet. The correct sprues are used in the instructions however, so just ignore or remove the extra pages if your example is affected, and everything should be fine. We’ve reviewed these kits in great detail before, and because it’s a rebox of two of them, the review would be far too verbose and many of the paragraphs would be almost identical, so we won’t subject your scrolling finger to all that work unless you really want to. You can see the links to the original reviews below, which has a ton of photos of the sprues, detail photos and a full description of putting each one together. Once you get to the Markings section, come back here and have a look at the new decal sheet for this boxing. Review of OV-10D+ Review of OV-10A Markings This boxing depicts two airframes that took part in the Gulf War in 1990/1, all of which were in service of the US Marines in two Marine Observation Squadrons during the period. They all wore the same two-tone sand-brown scheme during their time there, and that differed only slightly between the As and Ds because of slight differences in their nose shape. From the box you can build two of the following, taking into account that you have one of each variant: OV-10A 155428, Marine Observation Sqn. 2, (VMO-2) Saudi Arabia, 1991 OV-10A 155454, Marine Observation Sqn. 2, (VMO-2) Saudi Arabia, 1991 OV-10D+ 155473, Marine Observation Sqn. 2, (VMO-2) Saudi Arabia, 1991 OV-10D+ 155494, Marine Observation Sqn. 2, (VMO-2) Saudi Arabia, 1991 Decals are printed by ICM’s usual partners, with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The weapons all have stencils to apply, which are shown next to the profiles, and there are also rear and white tip decals for the propellers, and the T-shaped walkways on the top of the wings in a dark brown, as are the majority of the main markings. Conclusion This boxing is very good value for money, giving you two kits in a one kit sized box that can be depicted on the same runway or apron once complete. Even if you don’t want two desert birds, it’s still good value, and it helps immensely that it’s a great kit. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  7. OV-10A Bronco Interior 3D Decal (QD48227 for ICM) 1:48 Quinta Studios When Quinta’s innovative products first came to our attention, they caused quite a stir, as well they should. The replacement Instrument Panels and internal details are mind-boggling to look at, because we’re used to seeing simplified styrene instrument panels, or Photo-Etch Brass panels with either two layers of etch, or laminated parts that can be tricky to glue together, even though they are pre-painted for your ease. But decals? These aren’t your run-of-the-mill decals though, they’re 3D printed in many layers and colours on a flat carrier film, having as much in the way of elevation as is needed to complete a realistic panel printed in the correct colours, complete with shiny dial faces and metallic-effect hardware, and often including cushions and seat belts in the set. Each set arrives in a Ziploc bag with a folded instruction booklet protecting the decals, which are also separately bagged, so they should reach you in good condition. The pictorial instructions are printed on glossy paper, and are shown in full colour as befits the awesomeness of the sets, showing exactly where each part should go on the actual model, so there’s no confusion due to the “pictures speak a thousand words” maxim. Additional hints and instructions are also included, marking out parts needing bases, kit parts that are used or replaced and other useful tips. The technical instructions in the text-based, giving additional tips to the new user about maximising adhesion and preventing lift at the edges by wicking in super glue. Although you are advised to use Super Glue (CA) to attach the decals to the surface permanently, preparation is much the same as your standard decal, but you will need to remove any raised detail that would be underneath the location depicted in the instructions, and some new parts will need small backing panels or bases on which to apply the decal. A slim piece of sheet styrene would perform that task, and painting the edges a matching colour should minimise its appearance or turn it completely invisible. This set is patterned for the fabulous and much anticipated ICM kit, which has a great big clear canopy through which you’ll be able to see all that detail. The set comprises three sheets of decals, containing instrument panels for the pilot with upper ancillaries plus two styles of panel for the USAF or USN rear seater, and a large instrument pack for the rear shelf. There are also side console decals 3D relief on the rear consoles, additional black boxes and a document bag for the sidewalls, small levers, and a full set of seatbelts for both the crew’s convenience and safety. Finally, there is a striped yellow and black pull handle to the side of the headbox, which is also augmented with a relief decal to add detail. Conclusion The detail on the parts is incredible, even down to the infinitesimal switches, glossy dials and impressive crispness of the set. This cockpit really needs a crystal-clear or opened canopy to show off the details, and you’ll find one of those in the kit's clear sprue, providing you mask it off as you start. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. Sources: https://vfrmodels.co.uk/product/172-rockwell-commander/ https://www.facebook.com/vfrmodels/posts/pfbid02UkBYzS4JVPN7JVagXt3F35q7oCQbxKHaz3BjKiBp6mZeyKVvSU8Q5KZa8XbLYbrAl V.P.
  9. OV-10D+ Upgrade Sets (for ICM) 1:48 Eduard All praise ICM for providing us with a modern quarter scale OV-10 Bronco over the last few years, with so many variants that there can’t be all that many options that aren’t yet catered for – maybe a Luftwaffe one would be nice? I know at least one sale they’d make there. The current latest is the OV-10D+, which saw some of the most recent use by the US Marines after upgrading from earlier models. Eduard's new range of sets are here to improve on the kit detail in the usual modular manner. Get what you want for the areas you want to be more of a focal point. As usual with Eduard's Photo-Etch (PE) and Mask sets, they arrive in a flat resealable package, with a white backing card protecting the contents and the instructions that are sandwiched between. SPACE 3D Printed Cockpit Decals (3DL48062) The Eduard SPACE sets use new 3D printing techniques that lay down successive layers of different colour resin, creating highly realistic almost full complete panels that are supplied on a decal sheet. They can depict metallic shades, plus glossy, satin and matt colours too, which really ups the detail on everything they print. In addition, a small sheet of nickel-plated and pre-painted PE is included for the aspects of the set that lend themselves better to this medium, such as seatbelts and rudder pedals. The seats are upgraded first with PE seatbelts for both crew members plus other detail updates including rudder pedals and ejector handles, then the focus shifts to the extensive and highly visible instrument panels, side consoles and equipment boxes within the cockpit, which are incredibly well-detailed and are in 3D relief that is much more appealing than flat PE or moulded-in styrene. More equipment is added to the windscreen interior by way of a 3D printed panel, with traditional PE added to the inside of the four expansive side windows, which should be painted before installation as they will be seen through the glazing once complete. Seatbelts STEEL (FE1265) These belts are Photo-Etch (PE) steel, and because of their strength they can be etched from thinner material, which improves realism and flexibility in one sitting. Coupled with the new painting method that adds perceived extra depth to the buckles and other furniture by shading, they are more realistic looking and will drape better than regular brass PE. As well as the two sets of crew belts, you also get a set of the pull-handles to the side of the pilot's knees that gets them out of there in case of an emergency. Masks (EX846) Supplied on two sheets of yellow kabuki tape, these pre-cut masks supply you with a full set of masks for the canopy, with compound curves in the roof glazing handled by using frame hugging masks, while the highly curved gaps are in-filled with either liquid mask or offcuts from the background tape. Masks Tface (EX847) Supplied on a larger sheet of yellow kabuki tape, these pre-cut masks supply you with everything above, but also give you another set of canopy masks tailored to fit the interior of the glazing so that you can paint the interior and give your model that extra bit of realism. They will be especially effective when used in conjunction with the PE details added to the windows as mentioned in the above SPACE set. Review sample courtesy of
  10. OV-10 Wheels (648735) 1:48 Eduard Brassin Kit wheels are generally in two halves, which means you have the resultant joins to deal with, possible mould-slip issues on single part wheels, and sometimes less than stellar detail due to the moulding limitations of styrene injection technology, especially in the tread department. That's where replacement resin wheels come in, with their lack of seamline and superior detail making a compelling argument. They are also usually available at a reasonable price, and can be an easy introduction to aftermarket and resin handling, as they are usually a drop-in replacement. This three-wheel set is a direct replacement for the kit parts, and has much finer detail all-around, from the tyre's tread pattern and maker’s information embossed on the sidewalls, to the hubs with brake detail on the rear sides of the main wheels. They’re designed to fit the range of new ICM kits, and will fit any and all versions, but you’d be well-able to use them on the old Testors kit with its too-close-together engine nacelles if you’re brave enough to tackle that with the ICM kit around. All the casting blocks are sensibly placed on the contact-patches of the tyres, with little work needed to make them ready for use. The smaller nose-wheel tyre has the anti-shimmy groove down the centre and deep hubs that have a depression in the centre to mate with the yoke on the kit nose gear leg. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  11. OV-10D+ Bronco (48301) 1:48 ICM via H G Hannants Ltd The Bronco was conceived as a light attack, long loiter aircraft of modest size, enabling it to operate from unprepared fields and roads close to the combat zone. As so often seems the case, the final design turned out to be much larger and heavier due to the requirements of the avionics and ejection seats, thus limiting its use to conventional airfields. The twin boom aircraft first flew in 1965 and was destined to serve with the US Navy, Airforce and Marines as a replacement for the Cessna O-1 Bird Dog & O-2 Skymaster. The Marines were the first to take the OV-10 into service as a forward air controller platform operating both night and day missions. Whilst the Bronco is best known for its operations in Vietnam, it also served in later conflicts as late as the Gulf War before being retired from US service in 1995. The USAF received Broncos in 1968 and deployed the aircraft in the Forward Air Control (FAC) role, using smoke laying methods initially, and later using laser targeting designators. Eventually after extensive modernisation to the -D model with the addition of a FLIR turret and new avionics, then another upgrade to the -D+ version that involved replacement of much of the wiring loom and further stiffening of the wings to enable it to carry more and fly harder. By this time it carried its own ground attack armament including rockets, machine guns and bombs, plus targeting equipment that gave it the capability of Light Attack Aircraft, and made it a scary prospect for the enemy to see overhead. Seven export contracts were signed with other foreign operators including Germany, Columbia and Indonesia, Each having their own letter suffixes, and the very last of which will be leaving service in the near future after long service. The Kit This reboxing of a new tooling from ICM that relieved us all of the ancient Testors kit with its legendarily incorrect wings and nacelle locations, has been partly retooled to reflect the changes to the fuselage sponson and tail booms that had occurred by the time the D+ went into service. It arrives in one of their standard top opening boxes that has their usual captive inner lid, and has ten sprues in grey styrene, one in clear, two sheets of decals and a glossy instruction booklet with spot colour inside and glossy colour profiles on the back pages. De-bagging the kit reveals that one of the sprues has been snipped in half to fit within the smaller bags, the detail is excellent, and the new booms have raised as well as engraved rivets on their surface, which is just as it should be if you check out any walk arounds that get close enough to the aircraft to show them. The clear parts are the same, and have been engineered so that they fit together as individual facets that are crystal clear, allowing the modeller to see their hard work in the cockpit, providing they don’t put any gluey fingerprints on the glazing during the build. Overall, it looks like it will build into an excellent replica of the aircraft. There is also a diagram containing templates for masking up the canopy in the rear of the booklet, which will come in useful if you don’t trust your own skills or have the Eduard masking set that is probably making its way here as I type this. Construction begins predictably with the cockpit, starting with the crew seats, of which there are two. The base of the seats are made from the curved lower and cushion, while the backs are formed from a shell with two cushions, one for the pilot’s back, the other for the headbox. The two elements are brought together and a small part is added to the headbox, then different rear detail and a launch rails are added to the rear of them both. There are colour call-outs as we go along, and two warning decals are supplied for the cushions, and that’s exactly where they should go. The rear seat is glued to the cockpit floor, which has a bulkhead and a shelf moulded into the rear, then a divider between the two seats is prepared with rudder pedals, equipment and other details. The front seat with its “ears” is inserted into the cockpit, and side consoles are fixed onto the floor around him with control column and pedals on a lateral support, plus a throttle quadrant that sits on top of a raised portion of the port console. The consoles have detailed tops but no decals, which is a shame. A bulkhead for within the footwell of the front cockpit is created from a number of parts, and is fixed in place with the details facing forward, forming the rear bulkhead of the nose gear bay, then the pilot gets a well-appointed instrument panel with coaming and decal, plus a number of small parts sitting on top of the coaming. This is glued in, and more details are added to the rear shelf in the shape of equipment boxes that probably have blinking lights on the real thing, just in time for Christmas. The cockpit is put to the side briefly while the crew nacelle is prepared with interior sidewall details, plus an internal frame that runs up the side of the canopy. You are advised to align this with the canopy sides, which both have a shallow internal groove running top to bottom, so it would be an idea to glue the parts, then tape the canopy sides in place and align the frame with the groove, taping it in position until the glue sets. With the sides complete and painted internally, the cockpit can be secured inside and locked in place by bringing the two halves together with a small bulkhead and linking hose added into the new nose. With the fuselage closed up, a small insert is glued into the hole in front of the cockpit, and the underside of the cockpit floor is then covered over by a well-detailed underside panel that has recesses ready for the stubby weapons pylons, and has a small central strake added toward the rear. Here it will be key to align the nacelle skins before the glue sets to avoid having to make good later and risk losing any of that lovely detail. Providing you have painted the front of the crew nacelle, the nose gear bay is already complete and just needs the main strut, a diagonal support that goes far back under the canopy, and a pair of bay doors. The weapons “wings” need four holes drilling in their underside if you are going to hang weapons from them, then they are closed up around a small rectangular insert that the gun barrels later plug into, the winglet-tips are added, and each one has an insert applied to the leading edge that makes up the rest of the fairings for the weapons. These are glued into their recesses on the underside. Another small nose gear door fits to the diagonal leg, and the four-part nose wheel with separate hub parts is first trapped between the yoke, which is then glued to the bottom of the nose strut along with the other half of the oleo scissor-link. I still suspect this could be a weak point of the nose gear, so ensure you leave this to set up for a good while before attempting to put weight on it. The addition of the four gun barrels to the winglets, the weapons shackles underneath, the FLIR turret and a couple of sensors completes the crew nacelle for now. The upper wing of the Bronco is a single full-width part that also has a section of the fuselage upper and the twin boom tops moulded-in, while the underside is in four sections. Before the two surfaces are joined, two spar sections are attached to the upper wing straddling the future location of the engine nacelles, and if you plan on adding wing pylons, there are a few holes to be drilled in the outer lower panel of the wings. All the flying surfaces are separate and the twin flap sections per side are made of three parts laminated together, while the ailerons are a single part each to which are added balances and trim actuators. When completed, the six flying surface sections are fitted to the cut-outs at the rear of the wing unit along with a pair of actuators for the ailerons, a pair of exhaust deflectors on top of the engine nacelles, and a large sensor blister with infrared dazzler turret at the centre-rear. The wing assembly is then mated to the crew gondola, and the canopy is begun. The blown windscreen that offers the pilot a good field of view has a sight fitted to the top centre before it is glued to the front of the cockpit, then has the clear canopy roof put in place, bridging the gap between the windscreen and cockpit rear. The two canopy sides are next, and these parts are each single pieces, which doesn’t give the modeller the opportunity to prop the front two sections in the open position without taking their life in their hands and cutting the parts with a razor saw or fine scriber and a lot of trepidation. Hopefully an aftermarket company will step-in here to help those of us that like to pose our cockpit open. Building of the two nacelles begins with the gear bays, which starts with the making of the gear legs that have two main parts and a Y-shaped insert that traps the lower section in place but leaves it movable. Two more parts make up the suspension strut, which are also trapped in place by a V-shaped insert, and then glue is applied to the previously mobile joint, setting the correct angle for the leg permanently. It is glued to the stepped bay forward roof with a number of small parts, after which it is joined by the detailed sidewalls, rear bulkhead and another few parts to close over the rear of the roof and add more detail. The nacelle sides are joined around the bay assembly, capped off at the front by the intakes and propeller backing plate. Underneath, the triangular inserts with their many raised rivets are glued in carefully to avoid damaging that lovely detail. The two-part rudder is fixed to the tail, and an exhaust is made up from two halves, with baffles within that fits into a recess in the nacelle side. Align these carefully to minimise the join-line and check your references to get them right. A small intake is added to the side of the nacelle just forward of the exhaust. This process if carried out twice of course, in mirror-image so your Bronco doesn’t fly round in circles. The large horizontal elevator panel is made from top and bottom surfaces plus the elevator itself, and this is slotted into position between the nacelles as they are glued into place under the wings. You might need to grow another hand or two to make this happen, or get yourself one of those wonderful jigs like that of EBMA to help hold everything in place for this. Four optional shark-fin spoilers can be glued onto their corresponding slots in the top of each wing if you wish, or leave them in the box for a clean upper wing. The twin props have the three short blades moulded as one, with a front and back boss, and take care to install the correct props on the nacelles, as the blades (and the turboprop engines within) are handed, spinning in opposite directions to cancel out the effect of torque steer. A windscreen wiper and various sensor lumps are added around the fuselage, with more underneath, at which point you’ll notice that the main gear is without wheels. Each of these are made of a two-part wheel and two-part hub, with no weighting moulded-in, although that’s easily remedied by a quick sanding of a flat-spot on the bottom, just don’t overdo it so it looks like it needs more air. The weapons are next, and this modeller thinks that any Bronco looks best when loaded for bear, as they say. There are two wing pylons on long supports to add to the outer wing panels, then it’s just a case of choosing which munitions you want to hang from them. There is a diagram showing which weapons can be fitted to which pylons, but if you’re aiming for realism, check your references to establish real-world load-outs for training or live-fire missions. In the box you get the following: 2 x LAU-33 twin rocket pods 2 x LAU-069A 21 rocket pods 2 x Mk.77 Incendiary bombs 2 x LAU-68 6 rocket pods 2 x 150gal fuel tanks 2 x Mk.81 Lowdrag iron bombs with optional daisy-cutter fuse 2 x Mk.81 Snakeye iron bombs with optional daisy-cutter fuse 2 x Mk.82 Snakeye iron bombs with optional daisy-cutter fuse 2 x Mk.82 Lowdrag iron bombs with optional daisy-cutter fuse 2 x LAU-10A 4 rocket pods The detail on the individual weapons is excellent, with multiple parts for fins, fuses and rockets, and only the seamlines to clean up along the way. There are also plenty of stencils for the weapons that you can see below: The canopy is about as clear as can be, so it’s going to be important to mask it up before you inadvertently ruin the startling clarity. Although masks aren’t included in the box, there is a handy template near the back of the instructions that you can place tape on and cut out masks for your use on the model. Each section is numbered and there is another drawing showing their location on the canopy. Markings There are five options in the rear of the instructions in various schemes, that should please a lot of people. From the box you can build one of the following: 155473 Marine Observation Sqn.2 (VMO-2), Saudi Arabia, 1991 155489 Marine Observation Sqn.1 (VMO-1), Aircraft Carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, 1990 155494 Marine Observation Sqn.2 (VMO-2), Saudi Arabia, 1991 155494 Marine Observation Sqn.2 (VMO-2), early 1990s (assumed) 155499 Marine Observation Sqn.1 (VMO-1), early 1990s Decals are printed by ICM’s usual partners on bright blue paper, with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The weapons all have stencils to apply, which are shown at the bottom of one page and next to each profile in the case of the fuel tanks and props. There are also red and white tip decals for the props, and the large wide T-shapes on the upper wings are also included as decals, as are the tapered exhaust gas “disguisers” on some of the decal options. Conclusion I’m an even happier bunny than I was before. I’ve always liked the Bronco, and this new option with the extended nose appeals to me, and should build into an excellent looking model that is crammed full of detail that will doubtless encourage new decal sheets into the market to cater for the many buyers. I also still can’t believe how cheap it is currently. You know you want one! Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  12. GBU-15(V)21/B (648646) 1:48 Eduard Brassin The GBU-15 series of guided munitions are based upon the same basic structure, fitted to a Mark.84 iron bomb and including a set of guidance vanes of the short-chord variety in the case of the 21/B, plus the seeker head at the front, which is a visual or TV guidance system, projecting a picture of the target into the cockpit of the releasing aircraft. An enhanced variant was introduced in the new millennium with improved guidance and more independence from its originating aircraft. As is now usual with Eduard's larger resin sets, it arrives in a deep Brassin cardboard box, with the resin parts safely cocooned in bags, a layer of foam, and the instructions folded around acting as padding. There are two bombs in the set, both of which are found sealed inside a pink bubble-wrap bag, as they have their square rear fins moulded-in, which are quite delicate. Another bag contains the forward steering vanes, two clear seeker lenses, and a pair of FOD guards that require removal of a short length of the nose cone to fit. The forward vanes slot into cruciform sockets in the missile body, which upon testing makes for a nice firm joint, but take care to fit them all perpendicular to their neighbour. The clear lens fits over a realistic representation of the inner workings of the weapon in the nose, and they should be painted black, however a little dry-brushing to bring out the detail would look nice behind the lens. The front of the instruction sheet has a colour diagram showing the painting of the bomb with their usual Gunze colour call-outs, plus the location of the various stencils that are applied to the finished article from the small sheet that accompanies the set. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  13. B-1B "Lancer" Bomber Platinum Edition (04963) 1:48 Revell After the cancellation of the Mach 3 B-70 Valkyrie due to the vast improvements in Soviet anti-aircraft missiles that resulted in the infamous downing of Gary Powers' U-2 spy plane, the nuclear bomber's days were numbered, and in order to maintain their usefulness the profile was switched to low-level in order to avoid detection for as long as possible and allow them to drop or launch their payload on the enemy targets with a good chance of success. The B-1 bomber was put forward with the capability of reaching Mach 2 at height and being able to maintain a high Mach number at low-level thanks to variable geometry wings, all while carrying a heavy bomb load and enough fuel to get there and back again. The new look-down/shoot-down radar that was to be incorporated into the Mig-31 Foxhound gave the administration pause for thought that led to the eventual cancellation of the project after the original prototypes had been built and flown, as the thinking was that the B-52 was just as likely to get through at a substantially lower cost. That wasn't the end of the Lancer though, as the expected entry into service of the stealthy B-2 Spirit was pushed back and an interim gap needed filling, a fact that was used by the political parties to beat each other with during the 1980 election. The incoming Reagan administration decided to reawaken the stalled project with substantial changes to meet the new requirements that led to the B-1B with a lower top speed at altitude, a higher top speed at low level, and a substantial increase in bomb load. Accompanying these changes were a similar improvement in avionics and electronic self-defence systems due to the time elapsed between cancellation and reactivation. There was still plenty of opposition and political wrangling over the type until and since the delivery of the last of 100 airframes, centring around its cost and initial short service expectation. The type's role has transitioned to conventional bombing, and it has undergone much improvement and adaptation over the years to keep up with the march of munitions technology, which includes the cockpit instrumentation moving over to glass Multi-Function Displays (MFDs) and electronic integration with other assets to improve overall situational awareness. The remaining fleet is currently expected to stay in service until the 2030s, but knowing politicians and their motivations, this could change any day. At present it is intended to be replaced by a remote-piloted bomber with a similar planform to the B-2, called the B-21 Raider. The Kit The origins of this kit date back to the 80s as can be seen from the raised stamp on the underside of the fuselage, but it is still an impressive model and not just because of its size. For a while it was touted as the largest injection moulded part for a model kit, but with the recent influx of heavy bombers in 1:32 it may no longer hold that crown, although that probably depends on how you measure "biggest". It has been re-released a few times over the years and is still an impressive tooling, although as years have gone by and the original aircraft has evolved, some work is required to make your model up-to-date. There are a few issues "baked-in" around the shape of the engines, which need some work to be totally accurate and Cutting Edge once had a set to do just that. With them out of the picture for some time however, other companies such as Metallic Details have taken up the challenge. The box is gigantic and will take up quite a lot of space in your stash, so be prepared to make room, and if you're planning on sneaking it past your other half, it's safe to say that's not likely as the box is 75cm x 46cm x 11cm! With it being the Platinum Edition, you get some additions that weren't included in the original in the form of two Photo-Etch (PE) detail sets and a set of masks that are Revell branded editions of previously released Eduard sets for the exterior and importantly for the cockpit, including detailed instrument panels and a set of kabuki-tape masks. It totals five frets of differing sizes, and two of the internal sheets are nickel-plated and pre-painted for your ease. The sprues of the B-One (hence the nickname Bone) have always been a little prone to losing their parts due to their size and relatively small sprue gates, but some of the sprues have been separated to fit within the bags, so in my sample more than a few parts had come loose and they rained out of the bags as I unpacked them. The main fuselage parts are massive and have deep engraved panel lines that could do with reducing a little bit before painting. The same detail extends to the wings and other external parts, and where the wings pivot there is a slight unevenness to the surface due to slight shrinkage of the thicker areas whilst cooling. This is pretty easy to fix due to the deep panel lines and is best done with your favourite sanding sticks and putty (if needed) before you begin construction. It is an ageing kit, but it's still a good one that should be improved further with the additional PE parts, plus a little care in preparing the exterior surface. If you want to go for ultimate detail and improve the engine nacelles that's down to you and your wallet, or you could build it as is and enjoy it anyway. Inside the gargantuan box are technically four sprues in dark grey styrene, two in black, one in a smoked clear styrene and of course the five PE sheets within a separate card box that is intended to protect them from damage due to shifting contents. The instruction booklet has the decal sheet sandwiched between its pages, and the painting and decaling instructions can be found on the back pages in colour as it the new normal from Revell. I say "technically" as there are a number of cuts to the sprues as mentioned earlier to get them in the bags, possibly due to the addition of the box that contains the PE. To avoid confusing the issue by interleaving the PE instructions into the build, I'll detail those parts and their use after the main review. Construction begins with a choice of whether to pose the model with wheels up or down, in which case you don't need the crew entry ladder. If you're using the ladder it's more of a ramp, with rungs down the centre and guide rails at the sides. It gets put to one side while the nose gear bay is built up from panels and bulkheads then it too is put to the side while the cockpit is made up on its tub. The instrument panel and coaming are added along with the twin control columns then the two pilot seats and the identical back-seats are made up and the pilot's are added to the front with the rear-seaters behind a bulkhead and facing forward, to be seen through a doorway between the compartments and the escape hatch until it is closed up. Both assemblies are brought together on top of the nose gear bay once painting has completed, and the two nose parts are decked out with their smoked side glazing parts in anticipation of joining them around the cockpit/gearbay assembly. There is no detail inside the nose parts and you are advised to put 70g of weight into the nose to avoid having the largest tail-sitter you'll ever see, and as you join the halves together, you add the crew ladder if you are using it, allowing it to pivot open or closed. The nose is a separate cone that fits over a small radar assembly attached to a bulkhead, which you can leave unglued so you can see it later. Before the main fuselage and wing roots can be made, a number of areas must be detailed first. The huge bottom moulding has main gear bay and all three bomb bay apertures cut out for later, and the upper halves of the engine pods are attached at this point, but I suspect they'd be more useful to be left off until later for painting and ease of handling. The gear bays are first and these are made up with a base part decorated with bulkheads, a pair of central dividers and right and left side panels. This is set aside for a while until all the assemblies are ready, and the bomb bays are next. Here Revell have got the front two bays set up as two separate entities when they are in fact a single bay with a divider suspended around half way and the outer skin panel attached to the bottom of that and the sides. If you have a look in the excellent Daco book on the B-1 you'll be able to see that very clearly, but for the sake of ease of moulding (I suspect) they have been made separate. The rotary launchers that allow the B-1 to carry so much weaponry are provided in a simplified format with a set of 16 AGM-69 SRAM nuclear missiles, which won't be appropriate if you're building a modern Bone, as they gave up the nuclear role a long time ago. The missiles are three parts each, and the launcher is two parts with splined plates that slide over the conical sections and butt up against the flanges on the cylindrical section. Eight missiles are clustered round each launcher and they are installed into the arched bay, which has detail inserts added along the sides and bulkheads fore and aft that hold the launcher in place. The finished assemblies are added inside the lower fuselage along with the main gear bay, and the third bay that is usually used to hold additional fuel is added at the rear with another arched shell around the cylindrical fuel cell. The interior is now complete, but the two massive variable-geometry outer wing panels need to be made up from their two parts, then slipped into their circular recesses inside the fuselage so that they can be left to pivot later on. The fuselage top is then glued in place thus trapping the wings, and you should ensure that the two halves are well glued together to avoid cracking later. The size of the parts is such that pressure at the wingtip could result in damage to your careful work closing up and minimising the seams, so do take care. The engines reside in pods under the wing roots and Revell's instructions have you adding the upper portion of these to the fuselage early on in the build, but that would make sorting the seams a bit difficult, so I'd leave them loose for now. The lower portions of the engine pods have intake trunking within, which are Y-shaped and have two engine faces inserted inside at the aft end. The trunking is then glued into the lower cowling located on pins and once dry the upper and lower halves are joined together. These are topped and tailed by the sloped intake lips, which we've already mentioned are not quite the right shape, and the exhaust cans, which have the rear faces of the engines inserted. These two aren't quite accurate, but if you choose to investigate the correction sets they will add to the total cost of your model. With the fuselage together the cockpit section can be added and again take care to glue it well, considering adding some reinforcement to the joint to avoid issues down the line. At this stage your Bone is without a tail of any sort but this is soon to be rectified, starting with the elevators, which are linked by a pin that travels through the aft fuselage once the two surfaces of each one are glued together. The aft fuselage is a simple two-part shell that has a tail-cone added, and this may need updating as there were changes in this area over time. The fin peg passes through the fairing near the root of the tail and is glued to its partner and not to the tail itself unless you'd like to fix it in position. This is also glued to the main fuselage assembly with a small lip improving the mating surface. Again, you might want to looking into additional strengthening measures here. If you are modelling your B-1 on the ground the landing gear will need to be addressed, starting with the wheels, which have been moulded in black and are each made from two parts. The hubs are also two parts and half the rear hub parts have the axle moulded into the back to join the pairs of wheels. The gear legs are quite complex and with the addition of brake hoses and a little extra detail can be made to look very realistic as a quick Google of any of the excellent builds over the years will confirm. Our own @Alan P built a beautiful model that was sadly crushed during shipping some years ago. The nose gear leg can be built up with the ability to steer the bottom portion by leaving the glue off the joint between the upper and lower portions, and it has three clear landing lights and retraction jacks added before the wheels are slipped through and it is fitted to the nose gear bay. Two bay doors are fitted to the front of the bay, and another triangular door captive to the back of the gear leg. The main gear both have four wheels each on a short bogie in side-by-side pairs. The main leg has the bogies moulded in and is made from three parts. The retraction jacks pull the legs sideways and are made up from four parts each with a few additional parts adorning the bogie area prior to the wheels being inserted through the holes to join up with their opposite number, and if you are careful with the glue they should rotate once they are complete. This is repeated for the other leg and a number of scrap diagrams are used to better show how the parts go together. They are inserted into their bays with another jack added along the way, and the bay doors are fitted around the edges. If you are building your Bone wheels-up, the process if somewhat simpler, with the same bay door parts being used to cover the bays and requiring just two small parts to be removed from the nose gear bay edge. The bomb bays can also be posed closed by using the two outer bay parts only, or if you are showing the contents of the bays, there are four extra hinge parts to glue to the inner edges of the doors, providing the mating surface to attach them to them to the edges of the bays. The wheels down pose will also need a retraction jack added to the boarding ladder, and then the cockpit is glazed over by adding the smoked canopy and the rear crew escape hatch over their seats. The Bone wouldn't be the same without its small canards under the cockpit window, and then it's just a case of adding all the delicate aerials and antennae around the place which also may have changed over the years, so check your references, then the two strakes that install over the wing-glove area. Platinum Edition Parts As mentioned earlier, there are some Revell branded Eduard PE sets included in a card box in this edition, with separate instructions from the main kit. Where these parts can be used are denoted with the icon "PE" in the main instructions, so you can cross-refer between the two as you progress. They are as follows: Interior (049639035) Comprising three frets, two of which are nickel-plated and pre-printed, while the last is bare brass. The main focus is on improving on the kit instrument panels, which take up a lot of the cockpit, replacing the main panel, side consoles and centre console and aft panel with new pre-painted parts, as well as a nicely detailed throttle box. Additional parts are included for the rear bulkhead; the four crew seats, all of which get belts and seat details, and the cockpit sidewalls. The only issue with the set is the slightly bluish grey of the instrument panel surround, but if that bothers you it is a simple matter to overpaint the background to blend it in with your cockpit paint and although that sounds tricky it isn't too difficult, as I've done it myself a few times. Exterior (049639036) This set consists of two bare brass frets with a substantial part count. The nose gear bay is detailed first with additional panels and rib detail, plus bay door actuators, and a substantial upgrade of the nearby crew ladder, which receives a totally new set of steps, leaving just the side rails from the kit parts. The crew access door is also detailed internally before the ladder is attached. The main gear bay is next, and is detailed with additional panels to improve on what is already there. The large gear legs are also given additional parts, some of which are designed to be slotted into grooves in the curved top of a leg section, so have your razor saw handy. The huge weapons bays are upgraded with detail on the bulkheads fore and aft, including the big baffles that drop down to disrupt the airflow that allows the bombs to successfully leave the bay at speed. The separating bulkheads are also detailed with extra parts, which should help to reduce their dated appearance. The outer skin of the Lancer is next decked-out with a large number of aerials, static-discharge wicks, and two-part vortex generators under the tail. A few small probes and vents are also added around the nose, with additional detail installed between the twin engines on each side, with some fan detail parts inside. Masks While there aren't many windows on the Bone, they are large and rounded, the radiuses for which can be difficult to cut manually. The yellow kabuki tape is pre-cut for just such purposes, and you get the main canopy halves, side windows and portholes, most of which are of the strip type to hug the frames and avoid the compound curves that could cause wrinkles. Fill the centres of the masks with liquid mask or scrap tape before you spray for best results. Markings For the majority of its career the Bone has been dressed in a dark grey scheme which suits it well. There are two decal options included in this boxing and both are grey as you'd expect. The majority of the decals are stencils and walkway striping, with just a few markings on the tail and near the crew compartment to tell the airframes apart. From the box you can build one of the following: 9 Bomb Squadron, 7 Bomb Wing, Dyess AFB, Texas, October 1995 116 Bomb Wing, Georgia Air National Guard, Robins AFB, Georgia, July 2000 Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt/gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion It's not a perfect kit, but it's still an impressive one even after a few decades. If you're going to build it to the best of your ability and with the utmost accuracy, taking advantage of the aftermarket out there it will get quite expensive, but if you don't want to push out that particular boat, there's enough in the box to give you a well-detailed model thanks to the PE sets. Either way, at 92cm long it's going to astonish a lot of people when you display it. If you set the wings up for slow flight, it's also 86cm wide, so you better have a big table. Highly recommended. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
  14. Build a couple years ago, I was unpacking this from the trip back from the Nats, and thought I'd get a couple pics before putting it back in the display case. I have many happy memories of attending airshows with my father and the dancing yellow Mustang of Bob Hoover was always a highly anticipated. The Cavalier Mustang is a civilian-ized version of the North American P-51 Mustang. In 1957, Trans-Florida Aviation in Sarasota, Florida, (which was renamed Cavalier Aircraft Corporation in 1967) was formed with the objective of transforming the P-51 into a fast and powerful executive business aircraft. Cavalier Mustangs were rebuilt from the ground up, removing all unneeded military equipment and adding features like a second seat, cockpit soundproofing, improved cockpit ventilation, modern avionics, and a luggage storage bay. One of the most recognized is surely the Mustang flown by Robert 'Bob' Hoover. N51RH was purchased in 1971 to replace an earlier Mustang damaged by an exploding oxygen bottle.. Hoover and the yellow Mustang became famous for precision aerobatic displays though out the world. As a working aircraft, N51RH went through many changes and modifications throughout over twenty years of service. This model represents N51RH as it appeared in the mid 1970s. It all started with a gift from a friend (thereafter known as my project instigator friend) of a very nicely done decal sheet for the 70's era Hoover Mustang. Hoover had become one of my boyhood heroes with his precise and smooth demonstrations of aerobatics and many hours of my youth were spent at dozens of air shows watching Hoover and the famous yellow Mustang perform. I must admit to hording the decals for a number of years until my benefactor convinced me to get off my duff and get started. Oh yes, as long as I was building one kit I could build a copy just as easy since he had obtained a second set of Hoover's markings! What are friends for? The Korean War version of the venerable 1/48 Tamiya P-51D kit was modified into a Cavalier Mustang as it contained the uncuffed Hamilton Standard propeller and longer pointed spinner needed for the conversion. Changes to the cockpit started by replacing the kit parts with a Blackbox resin cockpit modified to civilian configuration by removing military armament panels and adding civilian instrumentation and radio panels. The fuselage fuel tank and radio were removed and the rear cockpit floor replaced. Pilot and passenger seats and cushions scratch built and seat belts/harnesses fabricated using foil from top of wine bottle. (A Zinfandel I believe). The canopy was replaced by spare part having a more bulged rear profile and green tinting added by airbrushing a mixture of Future with a drop of Tamiya clear green acrylic. Finish is a custom mix yellow Testers enamel built up in thin coats allowed to thoroughly dry between applications. A light wet sanding with 1200 paper removed small imperfections and the surface polished with fine automotive swirl remover. The decals were applied and after drying two coats of Future airbrushed at about 15 psi. After the future had dried another VERY light wet sanding with 1800 paper to smooth the surface was followed by polishing with the swirl remover. I remember N51RH having shiny polished paint, but as an aircraft that was flown regularly in aerobatic demonstrations, I also recall exhaust stains and oil on the Mustang's flanks until it was wiped down after the show. Air show aircraft worked for a living and I wanted to depict this so light weathering was applied. It just so happens my friend has two sets of markings for the Mustang racer 'Miss America' and an extra Mustang kit........... Oh yeah, we did pretty good at the IPMS Nationals!
  15. A long and painful build, mostly self inflicted but at long last , its finished. Learnt a lot about spraying yellow, using superglue as a filler, the Airfix P-51 canopy challenge and how to mask a .5mm black stripe on a propeller (hint: use a decal unless you're me). As usual my canopy looks like its been painted by a six inch wide brush wielded by a blind troll. Pretty much lost the ol' mojo for 2 months but it seems to have nipped back chipper as ever. At some point I will replace the canopy with a one piece version from my pile of Hasegawa P-51s so you can see the beautiful Yahu IP. Build here For all of us ageing Reno fans, here is Mr Bob Hoover's pace plane- Ol' Yeller: "Gentlemen, you have a race!" .. . Good night and good gravy Anil
  16. OV-104 Space Shuttle Atlantis, now on display at The John F Kennedy space Center, Florida. Pics thanks to Mike Costello.
  17. North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco, Pics thanks to Mike.
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