ICM is really looking at Vietnam and the heavy presence of American Forces. To that effect ICM has now combined three of their offerings to provide another diorama setting for the aircraft fans out there. This offering provides you with their OV-10A Bronco, Cessna O-2A Skymaster plus their period figure set. The result is a very nice offering for 1/48th scale model fans to make a diorama for this interesting aircraft.
The rest of this introduction is as provided by ICM:
During the Vietnamese War, the US armed forces made extensive use of combat aircraft. Aircraft were used for a wide variety of missions and played a significant role in this conflict. The most heavily used aircraft were the Air Force, the Navy, and the United States Marine Corps. The American army also had its own aviation, which used aircraft mainly for reconnaissance, target designation and air assault strikes. The OV-10A and O-2 aircraft were used for direct support and support of the combat activities of the troops. So, OV-10A performed the functions of aircraft controllers, observation aircraft and light attack aircraft. Sufficiently manoeuvrable, with a high degree of reaction to the threat (they appeared over the target 15 minutes after the application for an attack was received), in Vietnam they proved to be the best.O-2 aircraft were used as advanced aircraft controllers. The army version of the aircraft could carry signal flares, containers with NAR and other light weapons.
– Includes 0-2A aircraft model, OV-10A aircraft model and 5 figures of American pilots and technicians during the Vietnam War
– Detailed uniform and equipment of pilots and technicians
– Highly detailed fuselages and cockpits
– Accurate copy of aircraft prototypes
This offering from ICM of an OV-10A Bronco, O-2 aircraft and pilots and ground personnel arrives in a flip top cardboard tray, with an additional card lid with the artwork upon it. Inside, I am pleased to see that there are four plastic bags containing the parts for the models, with the clear sprues packaged inside two of these bags. An examination of the contents reveals crisp mouldings with good detail and that are easily accessible on the sprue. The instruction booklets are loose in the box with the decal sheets protected inside the instruction booklets where the aircraft are concerned.
The tandem style cockpit design of this aircraft is well represented in scale model form. However, as has become typical of ICM no harness detail is replicated, and is in my opinion the biggest weakness of ICM aircraft kits generally. With that gripe out of the way, raised panel detail on the side panels is good, decals are provided for the main consoles with two optional consoles for the REO, depending on the version you are building. From what I can see looking at reference the detail in the cockpit is of a reasonable level, but much further detail could be added by those with the inclination, and I also suspect that an alternative resin cockpit, or upgrade sets will become available. The interior side walls of the fuselage halves have further detail of the cockpit present.
The fuselage itself has a separate floor panel which I suspect may have been done for future releases of the model. The front suspension strut is added to the model very early on, with the leg between the leg and the hull being in two pieces. Which may have resulted in better replication, but it does leave it at risk of damage or breakage. The stub wings that are attached to the fuselage, and mounting the machine guns have nice lines and good detail. On the underside of the stub wings, you get mounting brackets, for adding ordnance of your choice.
The wings of the model are constructed into a single piece, with separate flight control surfaces. Checking detail against reference, everything appears good, but I will say my eyes are not what they used to be. The twin tail booms of the model have good surface detail, with the wheel bays being made prior to being added to the twin booms. The undercarriage here is again a multi part assembly, which has very good detail but is at risk of being easily broken. The vertical tail control surfaces are again separate parts, so can be articulated as you wish. The horizontal tail surface has also been provided with a separate control surface, which are details that I approve of.
Unusually for ICM models no engine detail is provided in this offering, and I can only presume that this is due to the difficulty in displaying that detail if you wish. The propellers themselves are rotatable, but it needs to be remembered that the propellers rotate in opposite directions and so attention needs to be paid when adding them to the model, as it is very easy to get them the wrong way round. The canopy of the model is large and so any work done on the cockpit interior will be easily seen, through this large glazed area. While most of the ordnance is carried on the stub wings, there are two wing mounting stations that require holes to be drilled, if used and I was very pleased to see ICM cover the drill size required.
ICM have provided a wide selection of weaponry for the drop stations on the aircraft. The weapons provided are:
Mk 77 Napalm bomb
150 gallon fuel tanks
Mk 81 Low drag bomb
Mk 81 Snake Eye bomb
Mk 82 Snake Eye bomb
Mk 82 Low Drag Bomb
I like the fact that ICM has covered the weapons selection and station position for the finishing options that you choose, providing at least two choices for every option. Lastly ICM has also provided a pattern template for masking the canopy.
The finishing options are as follows:
OV-10A, 155471, Light Attack Squadron 4 (VAL-4) “Black Ponies”, Binh Thui, 1971
OV-10A, 155456, Marine Observation Squadron 6 (VMO-6), QUANG Tri, 1969
OV-10A 67-14649, 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron, Da Nang, 1972
OV-10A 155416, Marine Observation Squadron 2 (VMO-2),Da Nang, 1970
The decals provided with the model can just be felt on the carrier paper with the film around the decals themselves being very minimal. The decal sheets provided, is one for the aircraft itself and the other for the weapon systems.
With this model being of an aerial spotter aircraft, there is a good quantity of glazing to be added to the model. A fair amount of which is added early on in the build, so my first word of caution is to take a lot of care with the glue. The interior of the cockpit has been provided with a very nice radio cluster for the rear wall that with some careful painting and detailing should prove visually appealing. Careful checking of images on-line reveals the radio set up at the rear of these birds varied quite a bit, and so to say that something is accurate or inaccurate is to my mind not really possible. The cockpit floor has some nice detail present that would seem to match online reference. The instrument panel has been provided with decals for the dials, but with careful application they should look the part, and again a check of on line reference indicates that the instrument set up is good.
Moving to the seats of the aircraft, we find that detail wise they are very good, however no aspect of the harness is provided, and this causes some issues for the modeller. This harness arrangement would appear to be a four point harness, but is complicated by the fact that the shoulder straps hang down from the roof of the cockpit and so may be difficult to replicate. I have taken a look online and it would appear at this time that no after market manufacturer currently caters for this aspect of the model. The side walls of the fuselage would appear to be cloth covered, with some details present, the details have been replicated by ICM but the cloth texture has not been well done or may not have been replicated at all. ICM has provided the top portion of the front engine, but I honestly do not believe that any aspect of the model can be seen when finished.
The front wheel will need to be added before the cockpit is closed up and so finding a location to add the 10g to prevent a tail sitter, may prove to be testing. One final inclusion to the interior of the model which is a nice touch, are two M16 rifles that I suspect every crew member hoped they would never need to use. The push portion of the propulsion of the aircraft has been nicely tackled in what you can see and so I am pleased.
Moving to the main wing, I have found something that is quite unusual you are directed to apply the upper portion of the wing (which is a single piece), place the air intake on top of that along with all the antennas. You then assemble and apply the twin boomed tails to the model before the application of the lower wing surfaces. If you intend to display this model with external stores you need to drill out some holes, and I am pleased to see that ICM have clearly indentified where the holes need to be drilled and the size of the drill bit required.
The flight controls and all the tail surfaces, and at the ends of the main wing have been provided as separate parts and so can be orientated as desired. The rear under carriage assembly is very robust, and I approve of its design and application. The wing spars have been well tackled and look the part. Looking at all the external aspects of the model, I am very impressed with how fine the recessed panel lines are. My only concern is that they are so fine; I am concerned that they could be easily obscured when painting. Moving on to the external stores, ICM have provided two options, these consist of four multiple unguided air to ground rocket pods, or two air to ground rocket pods, plus two gun pods. I am pleased to see that ICM have again supplied masks for all the clear glazed parts of the model, this is becoming more common in ICM kit offerings, and I am really pleased to see its inclusion. ICM has provided four finishing options for the model which have been provided in full colour by AK Interactive, but no details have been provided on what the finishes represent, which I find disappointing.
Pilots and Ground Crew
Something that ICM does very well, surprisingly and unusually is figures in 1/48th scale. Here we have five figures, two of whom are pilots, two are ground crew and one is an Officer. All of the figures have exceptional facial features for this scale, and for anybody with the skills for bringing these details out can expect a lot of approval. The two pilots are both in one piece flying coveralls, with webbing over the top. This harnessing is for basically attaching the pilots to the chair. The helmet in one case is provided in two halves and the painting style described in the instructions is more US Navy than Air force in my opinion. The officer figure is also dressed more appropriately for a Naval officer, rather than the greens I would expect to see on an Air force NCO. The best match would probably be the colour of the shirts worn by US Marine Corps officers. The two ground crew members are in T-shirts and light fatigue trousers, one has a raised hand the other two raised hands, and so you will have to position them to suitably indicate what they are up to.
ICM has outdone themselves with this release bringing together three of their excellent offering in the form of the OV-10A Bronco, Cessna O-2A Skymaster and pilots and ground personnel set. These are a great mix of products for a Vietnam War diorama using aircraft that are small enough that you will not need a barn to display them. I am disappointed that no harness details are present and it is desperately needed in aircraft of this scale with such large glazed areas that the aftermarket companies will be needed unless you are skilled enough to tackle it yourself.