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  • Writer's picture@PlaneThought41

LOH Little Bird: 1/48th ESCI Bell OH-58 Kiowa (CH-136)

My OH-58 kit was based off the original ESCI AB-206 JetRanger kit released in 1980. This release added some of the military hardware featured on this small helicopter. if you want to build an early Kiowa in this scale, this is pretty much the kit you'll have to start with.

Notable Kit Features:

  • Simple Build

  • Raised details and engraved rivets

  • Minigun included as armament (Side-door mount)

  • Seatbelts are molded into seats

  • Rear cabin seats are included in the kit if you want to option for this configuration

Build Inspiration:

The Canadian Armed Forces have been using the CH-136 since 1971 as a Light Observation Helicopter (LOH), performing duties such as reconnaissance, command and liaison or artillery fire direction. They were eventually replaced by the CH-146 Griffon. The aircraft I chose to depict is a 444 Squadron Kiowa, based at CFB Lahr / Black Forest Airport (West) Germany 1972.

Heads-Up Report:

  • Detail is sparse

  • Some sink marks in the plastic to be dealt with

  • Instrument panel portrayed by decal only

  • Fit is OK

  • Decals are passable (maybe)

  • Glass is a bit heavy but fit is decent

Kit Additions / Modifications:

  • This kit was built out of the box

End Result:

The paint scheme for this CH-136 aircraft was specified as FS 36251 /FS 34079, however I thought that a FS 36270 /FS 34064 would be a better match for the CAF 503-301 / 501-302 scheme of this era.

The After-Build Report:

As I said, this is pretty much the kit you'll have to start with in 1/48th scale if you want to build an early Kiowa. With some work you could add more detail to this kit to make it show better on the shelf, however for my purposes at the time it fit the bill. Italeri later released this kit and later made a "D" version of the Kiowa in 1/48th scale as well (did not hear a lot of good reports on that one - not much to my surprise).

Completed build #186 - December 2015 using the 1/48th scale ESCI #4062 kit.

Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is suppose to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers

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