USAF FAC Birds
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!
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
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.
Photos and text © by Darius Aibara