1/48 Testors O2-A and OV-10

Gallery Article by Darius Aibara on Aug 13 2003



These are the 1:48 Testors kits of two of the USAF Forward Air Control Aircraft used in Vietnam in the late 60's and early 70's.  The Testors O2-A kit is nicely detailed (better than the box top picture of a completed model would have you believe)  and goes together pretty well straight out of the box.  The lower starboard and cabin roof glazing apertures are not provided in the kit fuselage mouldings - you get decals to represent them.  Testors do, however, provide the glazing for these windows on the clear sprue so I used the decals as guides to drill and cut away the fuselage to create the apertures for these windows.  Everything else was as per the kit, however I made a new instrument panel from thin plastic card behind which I used the kit decal instrument panel - similar to the photo etched systems that you can buy but somewhat cheaper!


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Kit glazing was installed on the completed fuselage using Crystal Clear and then masked prior to priming with grey acrylic spay auto primer.  I then brush applied the final enamel coat using Humbrol colours and applied the kit decals to represent an O2-A of the 19th TASS (Tactical Air Support Squadron) at Bien Hoa, South Vietnam in 1969. The whip aerials on the upper wing are individual bristles from an old house paint brush.  Looking at pictures of O2-As I see that I have missed the small anti-glare plates on the wing leading edge next to the wing lights - a future Sunday afternoon job perhaps

The OV-10 model required a bit more work than the OA-2 as the Testors kit cockpit is somewhat lacking in detail. I used the excellent (but sadly now out of production) Paragon Designs update set, which contains a well detailed resin cockpit tub, a new main wing and tail surfaces, wheels and a nice photo etched small details set.  The resin parts fit the kit parts fairly well and minimal filler was needed.  I fine sanded the fuselage and tail boom surfaces to tone down the riveted appearance of the kit parts.  The completed fuselage and glazing were masked and sprayed with grey auto primer and then the upper wing sprayed with white primer before further masking and brush painting with Humbrol enamels.

I used a mix of the kit and aftermarket decals to represent an OV-10A of the 20th TASS at Da Nang in 1969.  A good reference for USAF Vietnam FACs can be found in an article by Robert F Dorr in  "Wings of Fame" volume 10.

Darius Aibara

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Photos and text by Darius Aibara