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Shar2

Cessna O-2A Skymaster. 1:32

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Cessna O-2A Skymaster

Roden 1:32

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Cessna O-2A Skymaster In the early 1960s, the Cessna aircraft company built a small commercial aircraft, the Model 337. Compared with similar aircraft of the same class, it had an unusual layout: a tractor engine in front, and a pusher in the rear. Instead of the classic fuselage layout, two booms extended backwards from the wing, which were connected by the horizontal tail assembly. The aircraft could carry two crew members, and four passengers or up to 450 kg of payload. It was quite successful commercially, but Cessna also hoped to find an outlet in a military role. In 1967 a military version of the machine appeared, the O-2A Skymaster. With the start of the Vietnam War, the US Air Force began to actively employ light aircraft as scouts, for fire direction or lightweight communications. One of the most widely used was the O-1 Bird Dog, but it was not always able to perform certain military tasks, such as controlling targeting for other planes. The O-2 was more suited to this type of task and, therefore, was soon involved in missions of this kind in the Vietnam conflict. Also, the O-2 could be used as a light strike plane, like its predecessor the O-1. For this, pods of unguided rockets and other light weapons could be hung under the wing of the aircraft. Some machines, designated O-2B, carried out 'psychological warfare missions - they were fitted with speakerphones broadcasting calls to the population to stop the war, but this exercise was not successful. Another important application for the O-2 was the rescue of pilots whose planes had been downed in an area of operations. The O-2 could take off from the shortest airstrips and land in the most unsuitable places for this purpose. Many US Air Force pilots had this machine to thank for their rescue. Series production continued until 1970, during which time at least 532 aircraft were produced. The end of their active military career in the US Air Force coincided with the end of hostilities in Vietnam, but in the US they were used long afterwards by the Air Force for patrol or liaison tasks, and were eventually decommissioned due to age and obsolescence. Despite this, this aircraft is still very popular among private owners. And many former military machines are still operated under civil registration or take part in numerous vintage airshows.

 

The Model

The kit comes in a rather large box with an artist’s impression of an armed O-2 in-flight. Opening the box reveals ten sprues of grey styrene, and one of clear, there is also quite a large decal sheet. Surprisingly for a new kit there is quite a lot of flash visible and wave fronts on some of the parts. That said the details are finely done and there is a fair amount of detail included in the kit. While it looks great on the sprues, I’ve read that while the accuracy is fairly close, there are problems encountered during the build, particularly with warped fuselage halves and an awkward roof fitting. So while I will go through the build process, be aware that there will be a fair bit of work required to get everything to fit correctly. You should also note that there are no spinners included, so some of the aftermarket deals may not be suitable for aircraft that were fitted with spinners.

 

The build begins with the assembly of the two, six piece propellers, horizontal tail unit with separate elevator, four piece pylons which includes the nicely produced crutch pads, and two, four piece rocket launchers and two seven piece gun pods. The tail booms are assembled next, each from two halves and with separate rudders and anti collision light on the port fin. The engine exhausts are also assembled at this point and put to one side. The engines themselves are complex little models in their own right, each engine consisting of no less than 50 parts. The rear engine frame and nose engine compartment/nose gear bay are also assembled, as is the seven piece nose landing gear. The seven piece front engine bay is fitted with the nose wheel assembly, followed by the engine assembly and the pair of exhaust pipe assemblies. The rear engine frame is then fitted with its engine and the simpler exhaust parts. The completed front engine assembly is then the attached to the firewall and under pan.

 

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Work then begins with the the forward avionics bay that sits between the engine bay and the cockpit, this consists of four shelves on which the various radios and other avionic boxes are fitted. The instrument panel is then assembled, consisting of the panel, coaming, four rudder pedals, centre pedestal and control yolks with separate shafts. The four seats are then built up, two from five parts and two from four parts, before being glued into position on the cabin floor. The three piece doors are then assembled and the windows and viewing ports added to the fuselage sides. Now while the interior is quite nicely done, there is plenty of scope for the modeller to add further detail, including the quilted sound proofing, circuit breaker panel on the captain’s side of the cockpit, and seat belts. Check you r references when using aftermarket deals as some O-2’s had the rear seats removed and the co-pilots seat moved aft so that a litter could be fitted for medevac purposes.

 

If building out of the box the cabin floor is glued to one half of the fuselage, along with the engine assemblies and instrument panels and the three piece aft engine intake glued into position. The wing comes as three main parts with the upper section being a single piece moulding, not forgetting to open up the holes required for the pylons should you be using them as not all O-2’s were armed. The separate flaps can be posed in either extended or stowed positions and there is a skylight fitted above the cockpit area. The wingtips are also separate allowing of later versions to be released.  The main landing gear comprises of a single piece strut and a pair of three piece wheels.  With the fuselage all assembled, which will require a significant amount of weight in the forward area, wherever you can squeeze it in, the wing is glued into place along with the two booms and horizontal stabiliser. Then the main undercarriage assembly is add as are the pylons, weapons pods, nose bay doors, Rad Alt panel, and main gear doors. Finally the upper wing is festooned with a multitude of aerials and the two propellers attached.

 

Decals

The decals are really rather a disappointment, while they are correct colour and style, they are not in register and there are numerous spelling mistakes. Also the aircraft using the serial number is number 67-00109 is an imposter as that number was assigned to an F-111A. There are markings for three aircraft on the sheet, these being:-

 

  • Cessna O-2A Skymaster “Don’t’ Shoot”, Vietnam, 1967 (No unit or squadron information provided). Scheme composed of overall Aircraft Gray with Snoopy nose art on cowl and White upper wing panels carrying “Don’t Shoot” in large letters.
  • Cessna O-2A Skymaster, Unknown Unit, Vietnam, 1971. Scheme composed of overall Black with Ghost nose art on cowl and “THE FAC” in large white letters on upper wing.
  • Cessna O-2A Skymaster, Unknown Unit, Vietnam, 1970. Scheme composed of interlocking swirls of Tan, Dark Green, and Medium Green with Light Gray undersides.

 

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Conclusion

Over all it’s great to see this aircraft being released in 1/32, yes it is more of a short run release that will require a little more work than say something from Tamiya, but it will look great once built.  I have heard reports that some fuselages are warped so please check before starting the build. I am disappointed with the amount of flash as there is no way a newly released kit should suffer from this, and the wave fronts can be overcome by heating the moulds better.

 

Review sample courtesy of

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Hi, with regards to the decals in the kit;

 

67-0109 Was indeed an F-111. Generally when the USAF procured more than 10000 aircraft in a year they dropped the fiscal year identifier. so that may account for the 00109?

 

THE FAC was from the 21st Tactical Air Support Sqn and from online pics it looks like they font is slightly wrong, There have been no conclusive pics of the Serial number of "The Fac" which Caracal decals pointed out on their 1/48 Sheet.

 

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The "Dont Shoot" 21363 Is actually based on a War Bird and at my last checking there had been no evidence to suggest this was on an aircraft in Vietnam.

 

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Net photo

 

Information taken from AOA Decals (who are selling their own decals for this so take from that what you will) Show 1452 is 67-21452 and was an O-2B Pysops Aircraft which cant be built from this kit. 

 

Julien

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On 23/01/2019 at 00:11, Julien said:

Information taken from AOA Decals (who are selling their own decals for this so take from that what you will) Show 1452 is 67-21452 and was an O-2B Pysops Aircraft which cant be built from this kit. 

To clarify the "who are selling their own decals for this so take from that what you will" comment, it's a fact that s/n 67-21452 was an O-2B and isn't an opinion or marketing ploy to sell decal sheets.

 

As mentioned, The Don't Shoot one with the many Snoopy markings is a modern warbird/museum scheme. The airframe itself was in Vietnam, but not in those modern fanciful markings.

 

Similarly, the fancy marked black one is also a modern warbird marked aircraft and again is not at all accurate markings for a Vietnam O-2:

 

https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/applications/core/interface/imageproxy/imageproxy.php?img=http://imgproc.airliners.net/photos/airliners/8/5/0/1832058.jpg?v=v40&key=74b517c5a24f1bfa0d30e489f9ee1387e10cb59643902c44b01b5ee7782b73dc

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I was just pointing out they are selling their own decals.

 

Also please dont post airliners.net pictures only links as per the site rules.

 

 

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