When you mention the Vietnam Air War, most people think of the F-4 Phantom or the F-105 Thunderchief, not some slow-moving, single-piston-engined airplane like the O-1 Bird Dog. But this little airplane played a pivotal role in close air support role over South Vietnam. The Model USA kit has been out for some time, but the markings options have been limited until now. Thanks to AOA Decals we now have plenty of marking options.
This is the fifth set of 1/72 decals from AOA Decals and the second set that I am reviewing. The decals look very nice, clear, and in-register. They are printed by Cartigraf of Italy and work very well. I was very impressed with the ease and smoothness with which they were able to be applied. They came off the sheet well and I was able to move them into place once I got them on. They reacted well with Microset and Microsol making the decals appear as if they were painted on.
There also needs to be a special note about their instruction sheets. There were eight 8 1/2 x 11 sheets detailing everything you would want to know to build one of these options. The profiles were in color and easy to understand. You can tell that a lot of work and research went into this. It’s really nice to see a company put this much care into a product.
The options included in this set are:
Aires has come to the rescue with a major enhancement to the anti-tank 30 mm 2A42 cannon supplied in the Italeri 1/48 Kamov Ka-50 Hokum kit (tan plastic). Revell has also released the Italeri kit in black plastic with both the Werewolf and Black Shark markings along with more extensive stencils. There are no supplied instructions; you simply swap out the kit provided plastic parts with the new Aires replacements.
The Horten Ho 229 is one of the most striking aircraft designs to emerge from World War II. It was a German fighter/bomber prototype designed by the Horten brothers in response to Hermann Göring's call for a light bomber that could meet a 3x1000 requirement. Meaning that it could carry 1,000 kilograms of ordinance a distance of 1,000 kilometers at 1,000 kilometers per hour. Because only jet powered airframes could meet the speeds necessary to fulfill the requirement for the cruising speed the design became the first flying wing design to be powered by jet engines.
Zoukei-Mura first released a kit of this interesting aircraft in 1/32 and that kit is still an extremely popular masterpiece of design. However, they have recently been redesigning and releasing some of their 1/32 scale kits in 1/48 scale. The Horten HO 229 is their latest release in this series and it is the first new 1/48 scale HO 229 since the Dragon releases in the early 1990s.
Academy is one of the most eclectic kit manufacturers on the market. Not only do they make traditional models in a range of scales, they also make educational kits such as this one. It’s nice to see a mainstream company try a variety of strategies to entice younger modelers into the hobby.
There are four sprues, all of translucent plastic that are of different colors. The plastic is on the soft side, but certainly strong enough to meet the demands of moving the kayak through the water. For those of us not mechanically inclined, the motor and gear box are pre-assembled, so no fears of trying to trying to become an electrician or mechanical engineer. There is a small sheet of stickers for the little robot man, but that’s about it.