Testors 1:48 OV-10D+ Bronco BuNo. 155468/UU-21, VMO-2

The Story

During August 1990, VMO-1 deployed its squadron of OV-10A and OV-10D Broncos to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield. While flying to Saudi Arabia, VMO-1 under took an unprecedented 10,000 mile journey. In December, they were joined by VMO-1 which crossed the Atlantic on board US Navy aircraft carriers. For the duration of the conflict, Broncos from VMO-2 and VMO-1 flew around the clock duties including airborne forward air control, tactical air coordination, and multisensor reconnaissance. Bronco crews controlled Coalition artillery, attack aircraft, and naval gunfire including spotting for the battleships USS Wisconsin and USS Missouri stationed in the Persian Gulf. VMO-2 flew 286 combat missions totaling 900 flight hours. Unfortunately, both VMO-1 and VMO-2 each had an OV-10A Bronco shot down by Iraqi air defenses with one crewman being killed in action and the other three taken prisoner.

The Kit

Firstly, there is no Testors 1:48 OV-10D+ kit available so it is necessary to use the Testors OV-10A kit and the Paragon OV-10D conversion. The Paragon conversion set is extensive and once you discard unwanted kit injection parts, very little injection plastic is left. The remaining injection parts are basically the fuselage, clear parts, landing gear, propeller spinners, and tail booms. All the Paragon parts are nicely done. My only dislike being where the nose gear well would be is solid filled with resin. I was not up to the task of scratch building the landing gear bays so I left mine as they are. The remaining Testor kit parts are simple with raised panel lines on the fuselage and rivets throughout. For some reason, the panel lines on the tail booms are recessed but raised on the fuselage. All the rivets were sanded off and the fuselage rescribed. Sway braces from the Hobbyboss F-111 kit were added to various pylons. Some of the boarding steps were cut out and and rebuilt with sheet styrene. Boarding ladder was scratchbuilt with styrene sheet / strip and some wire. The canopy side was cut to show the doors in an open position. The Paragon conversion set does not represent the D+ variant so some extra bits were added. These included scratch built parts for radar warning receivers and blade antennas on the tail booms. The engine exhausts were also modified. An ALQ-144 infrared jammer from Fireball Modelworks was added to the rear of the fuselage. For load out I used: Hasegawa LAU-10 rocket pods which had the front of the rockets drilled out and replaced with styrene rod shaped to represent white phosphorous rockets, a centerline 230 gallon drop tank from the Monogram 1:48 F-102 kit, and a Hasegawa AIM-9 Sidewinder and missile rail from the Hasegawa Harrier kit, and a missile rail adapter from the Hasegawa Skyhawk kit. Decals are from the Cuttinge Edge 48-010 OV-10 sheet which includes decals for OV-10D+ 155468 of VMO-2. For painting, I had four different camouflage profiles each showing different camouflage patterns; each typically had different recommended colors. In the end, I went with what I thought looked best. For the underside, I used Gunze Sangyo H325 FS 26440, the light brown was Gunze Sangyo H321 and the dark brown being a mixture of mostly Gunze Sangyo H27 mixed with Tamiya XF52 Flat Earth. Aside from the white, all other painting is done with enamels brushed on.