AoA (Angle of Attack) decals: New on the block, and focusing on Marine Air … We sincerely appreciate this new decal manufacturer sending IPMS/USA their latest releases for review! (…and the usual sincere appreciation also to IPMS USA Reviewer corps leadership for sending these my way.. )
This sheet is a comprehensive delivery providing stencil markings for USAF OV-10A’s; from their website, here’s what is on the sheet:
“This sheet provides complete OV-10A Bronco airframe stencils for one aircraft in the original USAF blue-grey FAC camouflage scheme.
Optional one piece wing walkway decal
- Multiple styles of various common markings provided:
- Two variations of PROPELLER warnings
- Three variations of propeller blade tip markings
- Five variations of center fuselage propellor warnings
- Three variations of exhaust hiding areas
- Three variations of the DANGER ejection seat triangles
- Five variations of ARMAMENT info panel
Includes the correct number of fuel tank markings (5) - the Kitty Hawk kit represents only the four wing tanks.
In addition to the standard airframe stenciling, the sheet also includes tire slip markings, centerline 150gal fuel tank NO STEP stencils, LW-3B ejection seat markings, and full sponson stenciling.”
About the decals, i.e. the real subject of this review. They performed great; as on the Marine bird, no silvering, settled right in, and maintained strength even when being handled. The walkway decal in particular was (again) a test, as it was several inches long, did not tear, and moved about over a water bath on top of the wing. The fuel dots included the center tank, which was missing from the kit, and grounding stencils were readable.
The remaining stenciling was also readable under a magnifier, and in register. The density of the color was spot on; I used the remainder of my previous review of the OV10 decal sheet for Danang War Horses (32008)… the blues on the crew stencil block were not “bleed-through” thin as other decal manufacturers, and the subtle differences in the white stencil wording were notable. Also, I really liked the sharkmouth decal for the front of the aircraft.
Before I go, here are a few notes on a second build of this kit; the first experiment was great, but this was more of what I wanted to do… Lessons learned resulted in the following:
On this kit, I used several other aftermarket items: Resin wheels and tires and improved ejection seats from AMS. All were primed and painted, and the AoA decals for the seat markings worked flawlessly, even though they were applied over the seat harnesses. They settled in with a bit of solvent, and I painted over the belts when complete… the seat manufacturer and warning decals add much interest to the seats themselves.
Construction details to improve the mood of the builder:
- Work the fuselage fit issues first; attach the nose halves and the aft cargo clamshell doors to the fuselage halves, install the interior, assemble per the instructions EXCEPT as noted in (2) below, THEN fill the seams and rescribe (and don’t forget to use the included underfloor nose weights in the aft cockpit).
- Leave off the cockpit thrust and propeller controls until right before you are ready to install the canopy. Same for the control sticks and seats…
- Install the upper center wing section after you have all the fuselage seams cleaned up. Remember to insert a ¼” x 5/16” spar running from 1” outboard of the pylons through the center wing to 1” outboard of the opposite pylon.
- Assemble the gun and external stores sponsons now; fill seams, etc… then install on the fuselage. This makes it easier to access the seams for cleanup.
- Assemble the boom halves with the outer wings per instructions . Make sure you install the engine firewall and photoetch intake and vent screens on the front and side cowling.
- If you want the cowlings closed: (I DID!)… The lower cowling halves need to be cemented together; remove the hinge brackets, as they will interfere with the installation. I inserted one 1-ounce fishing sinker in each lower cowl section; smash with a hammer first, (On concrete or your bench vise, not on the model… and before you scoff, some would try it… ) …to make sure they clear the area where a propeller tube will be installed…this will facilitate later drilling for installing a propeller mount tube for the prop shaft to facilitate a removable propeller. (Although there is a nose weight provided under the observers’ seat, I learned on the Marine build that the nose weight is just BARELY able to balance out the model, even with full armament. Discretion, valor, etc.. are all factors; don’t build then find a tail-sitter!)
- I installed a cardboard firewall to mount the back of the propeller shaft tube; take a section of single-thickness board, fold on itself approximately four sections, crush the stack, then use thick superglue and accelerator to laminate. Cut to fit (and don’t forget to leave space at the lower half to clear the sinker weights) and superglue in place.
- Install the cowling parts; and get ready to spend time with filler.
- The propeller installation shaft mount required two separate sizes of telescoping tubing superglued in place to mount to the nacelles; the main propeller shaft was made from a section of wire, and inserted into the propeller and spinner (Use an appropriate drill and slow speed) which then fit into the other shaft mounts. Look at the pictures to figure it out.
- I closed the canopy to keep the spiders out. This area required forethought and care, as the canopy is a major portion of the visual interest of the finished aircraft. The gunsight in particular is well done, and not an afterthought.
- Install the windscreen and upper canopy first, as they set up alignment for the rest of the plexiglas installation. Work from rear to front, and ensure the canopy mid-section bows are placed correctly.
The remainder of the kit assembly was pretty standard… Testors Modelmaster Aircraft Gray for the airframe, and flat white primer with gloss white overcoat for the upper wing. Glosscoat overall, apply decals, then glosscoat again… Weather if you like…
Back to AoA decals: All in all, a great effort… 10 of 10 for subject and performance, well done AoA! I fully expect we will see more from this company… they have set the bar far above the competition.