Academy 1/72 OV-10B Bronco


During my spotter years I saw both USAF and Luftwaffe Broncos. In April 1987, we visited the airfield of Lübeck-Blanckensee, and we saw a number of Luftwaffe OV-10B's on the ramp. The kind people of the company maintaining them (Condor Flugdienst I think) let us briefly on the ramp to shoot some photos, one of which is shown above. Since that day I had a vague plan to build one in 1/72. That vague plan became reality in 2003, when I bought the Academy OV-10A and the CMK interior detail set. Converting it into an OV-10B will require some modifications though. And so another project was started! But a modeler never can have enough projects :-)



Model quality

Various reviews and my own observations yielded good and bad points. The good points:

The bad points:

A review was published on the October 1999 issue of Fine Scale Modeler.



Other 1/72 models



Aftermarket accessories



References

Except for the Lübeck photos, I don't have much on the B model of the Bronco. I have been told the German magazine 'Modell Fan' had an article on the OV-10B, around 1980, but their article index doesn't show such an article. 'Flugzeug' issue 6/89 contained a six-page article with very useful details, but no information on the rear cockpit, except for the one-off trainer OV-10B 99+17.



Construction

Fuselage pod construction

Usually I only start a project when I have gathered enough information. Considering the lack of knowledge about the rear cockpit and the towing gear, I shouldn't have started this one. But I decided to do some initial work on it anyway.

I started with the removal of the stub wings. I thought it would be relatively easy, since Academy moulded the stub wings as a seperate part (actually two) that fit in a cut-out in the fuselage. But it wasn't as easy as I had expected. The basic problem is that the unmodified Academy parts don't fit well. They don't result in a straight belly line, instead they form a bulge. I had to sand the parts very considerable, and use lots of Milliput to create a straight lower fuselage. I left the centerline pylon in place.

The interior of the fuselage halves shows the stub wing insert of the model. This is OK for an OV-10A or D, but for an OV-10B it creates a problem. An observer was seated in the rear fuselage, and to make room for him, I cut away the rear part of the stub wing. I haven't removed the non-transparent rear fuselage fairing yet.

On the exterior of the cockpit, the four cockpit steps on the left side were filled with superglue. The ones on the right side are correct.

Cockpit

After a pause of almost three years I finally found more information on the rear cockpit, with many thanks to Julian Schüngel for great photos taken at Bückeburg, and Christian Horn for an interesting article.

Centerline stores

So far I think I identified three centerline stores. The one seen in the top photo looks identical to a Skyhawk fuel tank (most notable similarity are the slots in the rear of the tank), but it has several prominent flat areas on it, the function of which I do not know. A second version of this store does not have the flat areas, and may be a pure fuel tank. The third centerline store, as seen on the Revell box, appears to be a pure fuel tank too, silver with orange nose and tail. This fuel tank is sometimes seen without its extreme tail, giving it a napalm tank look. I have on photo showing that appears to show some sort of target dart mounting fitted to such a tank, but details are vague.

According Jim Rotramel on the ARC forum, there were three kinds of fuel tanks used by American OV-10s. USAF aircraft during Vietnam typically used the 230-gallon tank. US Navy OV-10As also carried the 150-gal AERO 1C and FPU-3/A tanks. The AERO-1C was 21-inch in diameter and 179.5 inch long. The FPU-3/A appears to have been a modification with an extended hardback compatible with the both 14 and 30-inch suspension and an aft gravity filler cap. Its length was 176 inch.



Colors

RAL6014 upper surfaces over RAL9006 aluminium underside with RAL-Leuchtorange orange.



Markings

I had hoped that the old Revell decals were good enough, but that definitely wasn't the case! But luck was on my side this time: while surfing for fonts for WW2 Luftwaffe stencils, I found a page with everything you want to know about the font used on current Luftwaffe aircraft, and even with an offer to send a CorelDraw file of the numbers. But it got even better: the maker, Eckart Müller, also had CorelDraw artwork for a large-scale radio-controlled OV-10B model, and he was so kind to send that too! The only things I had to do was to change the serial number to the desired Bronco, and scale it down to 1/72 scale. For this I initially used the Revell decals as a reference. But a subsequent check revealed that the Revell tail boom decals were quite underscale. The iron cross on the 1:1 subject is 600 mm, the numbers 75% of that, but Revell has 400 mm iron crosses and accordingly sized numbers! The wing's iron crosses are 850 mm, and Revell did get these right. I also noted that the numbers are much closer to the iron cross than the official instructions specify. Shown below are the main items that can be printed in black and white on an Alps printer. I still have to do all decals with colors in them: the cockpit warning markings, the German flag on the tail, and the tank markings on the upper wing surface.



Modeling links



OV-10B links



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