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  • Writer's picture@PlaneThought41

Observant Warrior: 1/48th Roden OV-1A Mohawk

Here is another example of an aircraft I wasn't expecting to see produced in an injection molded kit. Roden released their first OV-1A Mohawk kit in 2004 with other versions following. This kit showed Roden was improving in their kit releases but still had some room for improvement. Certainly nothing here that an experienced model maker can't handle though.

Notable Kit Features:

  • Nicely appointed cockpit with throttle and instrument panel details

  • Good ejection seats

  • Decent recessed panel lines (a bit light in parts)

  • Thin canopy parts which can be displayed open or closed

  • Optional position speed brakes (open or closed)

  • Decently detailed gear & wheel wells

  • Nicely done air scoops

  • Rocket & gun pods as well as fuel tanks provided

Build Inspiration:

I had done a lot of reading just out of high-school on the Vietnam war and its aircraft and was pleased when I came across this kit release. The aircraft had that insect look to it and I definitely wanted one in my collection. I selected the OV-1A of the 73rd Aviation Co. based at An Xugen Province. Both the pilot Lt. Bernard Johnson Observer & SP4 Scot Westphal were KIA on 21FE72 when their Mohawk crashed after hitting the mast of a Vietnamese naval vessel on the on the Cua Lon River, approximately 4 miles east of Nam Can Airfield so this kit build would be a tribute to the crews that flew the OV-1 in combat.

Heads-Up Report:

  • This kit will need some clean up of parts, pre-assembly

  • Test fitting an minor adjustments of many parts necessary to ensure a good fit

  • Some sink marks and ejector pin marks to clear up

  • Small parts (Such as the windshield wipers and antennas) will take care removing from sprues and cleaning up a bit

  • Roof instrument panel requires some work to get in the correct position

  • Add forward weight pretty much everywhere you can (I used the nose, forward engine hollows and around the interior of the front gear

  • Wingtip lights require a bit of reshaping

  • Engine exhaust center seams will need some filler & smoothing out

  • Overall the kit has a bit of a grainy finish so I recommend an overall fine sand along the way to improve the surface (and it should help with paint adhesion too).

  • Decals are thin, however I had some issues with silvering (maybe just me)

Things I learned only after the build:

  • Propellers should be assembled with the blades in full-feather if you are building a "flight line" model. All Mohawks sit on the ground this way to keep the props from wind-milling, since there is no gear in the turbine to stop this

  • If you can get reference photos of the cockpit glass hinge, take a close look. I assumed it was a simple top hinge and it is not... I'll get these details next time around ;)

Kit Additions / Modifications:

  • I built this kit out of the box however Quickboost, Cobra & Eduard makes some nice detail sets for this series if you want to go all-in

End Result:

The paint scheme for this aircraft is a rather dark scheme, similar to the Hueys and other Army aviation birds. That called for varying the tones of the dark green (FS 34064) a bit to give it a bit of depth and that 'worn' look. The walkways were similarly aged using off-tones of the dark gray (FS 36152). Leading edges of wings and tail, forward upper nacelles as well as the anti-glare panel were painted in near-black. Prop-tips were painted yellow. Kit decals were used. A light weathering was applied using a panel wash on the control surfaces and dry Tempera paints for exhaust staining. (I realized post-photo set that I forgot to attach the pull-down steps to the cockpit on both sides - the kit does provide these.)

The After-Build Report:

Although Collect-Aire Models OV-1 had released their OV-1 back in 1998 I never saw one in my travels. Roden's 1/48th scale release seemed to show up more regularly in model shops I frequented, so acquiring one wasn't difficult. This kit won't fall together and is probably not for beginners however a model maker with some experience should be able to get a nice kit made from the box contents. Be warned some patience and pre-assembly work will be necessary to get the end product you want, however the effort wasn't unreasonable and the end result looks good to me.

Completed build #202 - May 2017 using the 1/48th scale Roden #406 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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