OV-10A USMC Light Attack Aircraft
The OV-10A Bronco was a light attack/recon/COIN aircraft designed in the 1960s for use by three US services, the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps and amazingly enough was eventually bought and used by all three. First entering service in 1969 in time to serve in Vietnam, the type exited service in 1995, shortly after seeing service in the Iraq War. Some are still flying with civilian operators and as a warbird.
To the delight of modellers everywhere, ICM are still turning out quality product despite being in a war zone. Their OV-10A first appeared in 2022 in US Navy guise; it is now the turn of the Marines. Jarrod Booth has effectively reviewed the kit on this website, but I will add my impressions.
The kit comes in ICM’s standard white box with colour artwork on a slipcover. 245 parts occupy 11 grey and one clear runners. Parts are cleanly moulded with few pin marks and no sink marks. Surface detail is lightly engraved panel lines with judiciously-placed rivets. There is a large decal sheet with 5 options for two airframes – one is covered by four different colour schemes during its service life! Colour callouts are in ICM’s own range, with conversions to Revell and Tamiya – though as the colours are not called out by their correct names, it is hard to assess their veracity.
Construction is pretty straightforward with filler required in only a few areas, mainly around the booms and lower fuselage. As usual, it begins with the cockpit pod. This is reasonably - though not highly - detailed and it is a shame that no seat harnesses are included as the bug-eyed canopy allows a splendid view of their absence. Decals are provided for both crew’s IPs though no indication is given as to which rear cockpit decal is correct. So, I guessed….
Although models of the type are renowned tail sitters, ICM does not advise anywhere about adding nose weight. So, I didn’t, so I could measure how much you will need. We reviewers are not afraid of sacrifice…. If – and that’s a big if – you can cram weight into the extreme nose, you will need around 5 grammes. If you can only fit weight further back in the fuselage pod, you will require around 10 grammes. Good luck – I ended up adding some to the front of the drop tank and in the prop spinners.
Construction of the main landing gear legs is quite complex and will require careful alignment and slow-setting superglue to get it all in the right place. There is a wide variety of armaments included, though not all are used by all options.
Speaking of options, as mentioned earlier, there are markings provided for two airframes in four different colour schemes, giving five options. These are:
- OV-10A 155434, USMC 1987 Overall USMC Green)
- OV-10A 155434, VMO-1, USMC, early 1990 (Tri-colour scheme)
- OV-10A 155434, VMO-2, USMC, summer 1990 (Tri-colour scheme)
- OV-10A 155465, VMO-1, USMC, Saudi Arabia, 1991 (Three-tone desert scheme)
- OV-10A 155434, USMC, 1991 (Two-tone grey scheme)
I chose option 5. As mentioned, ICM does not call out the correct paint names, but I believe this was in a Light and Dark Compass Gray disruptive scheme, for which I used Model Master Acryl. Masking the canopy parts, which are moulded in the closed position, is effected via ICM’s useful mask templates within the instruction manual. Just lightly lay some kabuki tape across the top and carefully cut using a new scalpel blade. Carefully remove the tape and place on the relevant part; fit is pretty good for this kit.
Unfortunately, the decals for this option are poor – the grey used has a purple tint and tonally is the same as the Light Compass Gray, rendering them virtually invisible. I used a combination of other decals from the box and spares from a Werners Wings USMS helo sheet, so don’t take the markings on my model as accurate. Those decals I used from the box were fragile and prone to curling, so care will be needed to get them to settle in place properly, especially over the rivets.
Overall, it is a nice kit, with some minor issues – the lack of seat belts, the lack of note regarding nose weight and the problems with the decals are all irritating and avoidable. Nevertheless, it is a nice kit of this interesting aircraft.
Many thanks to the good folk at ICM in Ukraine for the review sample.