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Black Ponies OV-10A Bronco - Academy 1/72


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Hi Everyone,

 

I’ve not been posting completed models for a while although I managed to complete a bunch over the last year. Starting to catch up now.

 

The first one is OV-10A Bronco in Vietnam markings of VAL-4. I have a mixed feeling about the kit and about the effort I did to get it completed. The kit can be assembled out of the box with moderate effort (only sponson to nacelle fit is really poor) and will definitely result in a decent model that would 100% look like a Bronco (it’s probably impossible to do a Bronco kit that would not look like a Bronco). But that works only until you see Bronco photos… Below is the list of errors and omissions I was able to find and tried to fix:

-        Empty undercarriage bays. Front bay is also almost empty on a real thing – reverse side of a landing light and some wiring only. Main bays have engine covers inside (Academy kit represents an aircraft as if its engines are removed), a lot of wiring, hydraulics, etc. I tried to scratchbuild at least engine covers and added some wiring.

-        Too small and simplified engine nacelles in particular anemic intakes over propellers should be noted. I tried to enlarge those with plastic and putty and drilled intakes through.

-        Wrong weapons sponson. In real life machine guns are placed asymmetrically, while kit has completely symmetric sponson. I tried to fix this. Also sponson shape is incorrect being a little narrower and with wrong angle of the front edge.

-        Short wing and short tail booms. Some reviewers also wrote about wrong wing angle of attack which I was not able to measure but seems to be true as well. Wing span is around 8 mm (!) shorter. Mostly outside of booms so easier to fix. Tail booms are approximately 3 mm shorter. The above is per my matching to real thing photoes. Tails are sitting at right height which leads to wrong angle on booms upper side which is more pronounced on a kit compared to real thing. I did not do anything about it as fixing booms represents pretty strong surgery and lengthening wing without adjustment of booms would result in even greater proportions distortion.

-        Simplified undercarriage. Some enhancement was done by replacement of plastic parts with metal tubes. Given the weight of lead I had to hide into nacelle to avoid tail-sitting – not sure if original plastic undercarriage would survive at all. My metal gear only marginally carries the weight.

-        Wrong shaped wing pylons. The kit ones are shorter and place rockets at wrong angle to the wing. Fixed it.

-        Fuel tank has the wrong shape. The thing is too pointy. I only identified it when starting to apply decals so live with it as is.

-        Cockpit details OOB are heavily simplified – here I just used CMK interior set.

-        Inconsistently applied panel lines. Academy did pretty decent panel lines on the wings (however they marked wing walkways with panel lines which is wrong). However, Academy ignored panel lines on the nacelle and sponson. Even cargo door is not properly shown! I tried to reapply missing panel lines to the possible extent.

 

Some other non-OOB additions included Zunies from Crusader kit, LAU-10 launchers from Hasegawa weapon set (kit have extremely tiny Zuni warheads), LAU-32 launchers from Italeri OH-6 kit, CMK interior resin, Eduard PE set (which I only barely used to do some external features), and an excellent AOA decal which actually inspired me to buy and assemble the whole thing.

Not much of a background story of the chosen subject as VAL-4 history is very well known. AOA provides almost 20 different options and I selected specific aircraft because of unique spinners colour which is said to be golden per AOA instruction.

 

Overall conclusion – quite a lot of effort done to improve the kit but I know I went only half the distance to make a fully correct copy of a true thing. Also this is the subject that desperately needs a new 1/72 kit which would be of the correct geometrical shape as a minimum and would maybe provide a better level of details in the cockpit, undercarriage. And on top of it a wider choice of loadout other than standard LAU-3/10 and Mk.82 as Broncos carried almost everything what was available in Vietnam.

 

IMG_2604IMG_2618IMG_2608IMG_2619IMG_2624IMG_2651IMG_2640IMG_2642IMG_2629IMG_2668

 

Hope you enjoyed :)

 

A great modelling year to everyone!

 

Dennis

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Great work on your Bronco and thank you for highlighting the issues you identified with the Academy kit.  I hadn't realised there were so many shortcomings but you have produced a lovely result with your model - well done!

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2 minutes ago, Patrick Martin said:

Very nice - would you have any photos during the build?

PM

Unfortunately I have not. Maybe for the future builds I need to document at least major fixes.

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One more assembly comment - many modellers complained about 'greenhouse' construction. I personally did not face much troubles, but I followed somebody's advice to first attach front screen and top side and then add side panels. That approach actually worked very well with some minor adjustments to align top side with nacelle at the rear end.

The only thing - top side is actually thicker than horizontal framing and as a result the joint between two parts is seen through side windows. So care with glue is heavily required.

Edited by Dennis_C
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Very well done, it's a great looking "Bronco" regardless :clap2:

Talking about accuracy issues, I was under the impression that the old 72nd Revell H-145 kit was pretty accurate for shape and proportion, just raised panel lines 🤔

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10 hours ago, FAAMAN said:

Very well done, it's a great looking "Bronco" regardless :clap2:

Talking about accuracy issues, I was under the impression that the old 72nd Revell H-145 kit was pretty accurate for shape and proportion, just raised panel lines 🤔

Unfortunately I never saw Revell's kit. Looks like recent release by Revell is Academy repack. And Academy kit is apparently based on Hasegawa kit like many other Academy kits from the 90s. Same nacelle, wing, sponson, even same ejection seats split. However seems that Hasegawa had at least more correct sponson - at least it's with asymmetrical guns...

 

So as a summary we have two very old kits long OOP and Academy kit which is still basic and not very correct.

Edited by Dennis_C
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BTW one more error I remembered - engraving for foldable steps on the port side should be removed. They were only on the starboard side. I only discovered on the decal application stage :(

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