Kawasaki OH-6J Cayuse

Published on
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
AZ 7248
Company: AZ Model
Provided by: UMM-USA - Website: Visit Site
Box art

The Aircraft

Hughes Aircraft originally developed the OH-6 series of helicopters. With corporate takeovers and sales, the MD 500 series is built in Mesa Arizona by MD Helicopters. The OH-6J was built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries in Japan.

The original OH-6 was called the “Light Observation Helicopter”, which became “Loach”. The reason for the OH-6 was that in 1964 the US Army was ordered to turn all fixed wing aircraft over to the US Air Force. This meant the loss to the Army of the Cessna O-1 Bird Dog. The Loach was used as a replacement, utilized for forward observation, artillery spotting and air support with rocket pods, TOW or Hellfire, and gun pods available.

The Kit

The kit comes as one large sprue with the basic helo parts, one smaller sprue with the parts specific to this kit, and a clear sprue. The 1.5 by 2 inch decal sheet covers the four helos depicted on the box back. Because this is a limited run kit the sprue connections to the parts are somewhat heavy, but the connections tended to not interfere with assembly as long as they were carefully cut.

There is a very nicely done interior, with seats, panel sticks, cyclic controls and pedals. The interior fits pretty well into the fuselage, although you need to be careful when installing the interior because there are no locating pins or indicators. No resin or PE is in this version of the kit, although the instructions indicate use of both on the Venezuelan or Spanish Cayuses.


I built the interior, did the detail painting, and then looked real hard at how I was going to do the interior and the windows. The side windows have no location pins, slots or guides. Added to this is the normal flash found on a limited run kit, which made me decide to do things a little differently.

I painted the unassembled fuselage with the interior gray, then painted the exterior of the fuselage halves dark green, also painting all of the other parts which needed to be green. Then I fitted the side windows into the openings, using Micro Krystal Kleer as my adhesive. One advantage to Krystal Kleer is that where I overachieved removing the flash from the window openings, it nicely filled the gaps with clear glue

After installing the windows, I put the fuselage halves aside and painted the rotor blades and head assembly. Since they’re all flat black, it was pretty darned easy

Once the windows were secure, I installed the interior and then put the fuselage halves together. The fuselage halves fit pretty well, with only some scraping to manage the seams - no putty needed. I then repainted the areas I had scraped dark green. I then got out the masking tape and masked the bottom of the helo to paint the orange areas. There were no panel lines on the bottom to indicate where the masks were to go, but I was able to figure this out using the size of the hinomaru as a width indicator. Once I got it masked, I painted the bottom of the fuselage bright orange, along with the stabilizers, which I left on the tree until I was ready to assemble them.

Now I had the fuselage assembled and painted. At this point I sprayed on a coat of clear gloss (Future), and put the decals on. I always put the decals on before I install the small and delicate parts because I invariably knock something off or break something like that when I do the handling while installing decals. The decals were very good. I had one self-induced problem when I put one of the Kanji symbol markings on the side upside down because I didn’t pay close enough attention to the instructions. I was able to catch my error before the decal set and removed it and rotated it 180 degrees with no harm.

Finishing Up

Once the decals were on and sealed, I installed the landing skids. These had very little indication for location, and no pins, slots or holes to hold them on. I then went to the tail assembly and installed the stabilizers and tail rotor. The L shaped piece that mounts the rotor just glues to the fuselage with no locators. While doing this I knocked one of the skids loose at one end.

I then assembled and installed the main rotor. And knocked the tail rotor loose. While fixing that, I knocked one of the blades off the main rotor. NOW do you see why I wait to do these after the decals?

Overall Evaluation

This is a nice little kit for the experienced modeler with patience. It produces a good-looking result, and the subject matter is outstanding. The interior is well done, and it’s a good example of what can be done with the limitations of limited run molds.


Thanks to AZ Model, UMM USA and IPMS/USA for the review kit and the chance to build a colorful helicopter.


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