Wednesday, November 29

Roden’s new 1/32 scale Cessna O-2A Skymaster takes off - everything BUT sprues in our preview...

We have been waiting to see Roden’s new O-2 Skymaster in the flesh, and now it is released we thought we might look at the box, decals and aircraft chosen in the new release…

Roden’s new Skymaster takes flight

O-2A Skymaster USAF Multi-Purpose Light Aircraft
From: Roden
Kit No #620
1/32nd scale
New Tool Kit
Price: $48USD on the Roden Website
After the almost sneak release of Roden’s 1/32nd scale O-1 “Bird dog” last year we have been snuck up on again with Roden’s new 1/32nd scale kit of the O-2A Skymaster USAF Multi-Purpose Light Aircraft. It has just been made available for purchase on the Roden Website & although we do not have the kit to look at yet, we thought that we could at least look at the boxart, the colour schemes and decals to get your mind turning over in preparation of the new release. First a little bit of history…
The O-2 Skymaster in history:
In the early 1960s, the Cessna aircraft company built a small commercial aircraft, the Model 337. Compared with similar aircraft of the same class, it had an unusual layout: a twin-propeller layout with a tractor engine in front, and a pusher prop in the rear. Instead of the classic fuselage layout, two booms extended backwards from the wing, which was connected by the horizontal tail assembly. The aircraft could carry two crew members, and up to four passengers or a 450kg of payload. It was quite successful commercially, but Cessna also hoped to find an outlet in a military role. In 1967 a military version of the machine appeared. It was designated the O-2A Skymaster (and nicknamed the "Oscar Deuce").
With the start of the Vietnam War, the US Air Force began to actively employ light aircraft as scouts, for fire direction or lightweight communications. One of the most widely used was the O-1 Bird Dog, but it was not always able to perform certain military tasks, such as controlling targeting for other planes. The O-2 was more suited to this type of task and, therefore, was soon involved in missions of this kind in the Vietnam conflict.
Also, the O-2 could be used as a light strike plane, like its predecessor the O-1. For this, pods of unguided rockets and other light weapons could be hung under the wing of the aircraft. Some machines, designated O-2B, carried out 'psychological warfare missions - they were fitted with speakerphones broadcasting calls to the population to stop the war, however, this exercise was not as successful as the top brass hoped it would be.
Another important application for the O-2 was the rescue of pilots whose planes had been downed in an area of operations. The O-2 could take off from the shortest airstrips and land in the most unsuitable places for this purpose. Many US Air Force pilots had this machine to thank for their rescue.
Series production continued until 1970, during which time at least 532 aircraft were produced. The end of their active military career in the US Air Force coincided with the end of hostilities in Vietnam, but in the U.S. they were used long afterwards by the Air Force for patrol or liaison tasks, and were eventually decommissioned due to age and obsolescence. Despite this, this aircraft is still very popular among private owners. Many former military O-2's are still operated under civil registration or take part in numerous vintage airshows.
O-2A Skymaster Specifications:
Wingspan        11.58 m
Overall length  9.07 m
Overall height  2.84 m
Wing area  18.81 sq m
Empty weight  1292 kg
Take-off weight   2449 kg
Engine 2x210 k.c.
Maximum speed 320 km/h / Cruise speed 232 km/h
Range 1705 km/ Ceiling 5885 m
Take-off distance        170 m
Crew    2 person
Load: 4 passengers or 450 kg of cargo
            2 containers sUU-11B / A with GAU-2B/A machine guns or 4 LAU launchers with unguided 70 mm calibre missiles.  

Kit no# 620, the new O-2A Skymaster USAF Multi-Purpose Light Aircraft in 1/32nd scale still has no great detail we can give you right now, only the box image and decal details so far 
There is one sheet of decals supplied with the kit, three marking choices with one set of national markings are supplied. All of them are USAF operated aircraft (as it says on the box)
USAF Cessna O-2A Skymaster Bu 21363 “DON'T SHOOT" – this aircraft is still airworthy; flies regularly. This airplane flew about 3000 hours of combat air time primarily as a FAC (Forward Air Controller) during the Viet Nam war. As a note – it is not known if the “Don’t Shoot” on the top of the aircraft is historically accurate.
USAF Cessna O-2A Skymaster Bu 1452  - no picture of this particular variant, sorry cats - more when we get it to look at...

USAF Cessna O-2A Skymaster Bu 00109 “THE FAC”: "THE FAC" was a 21st TASS aircraft whose O-2’s these were all black. 20th TASS was also black but had tiger striped fin tips. On the black aircraft, the lower door cut out areas were often painted over. In the picture below of this 0-2 that was used in SOG missions over the Ho Chi Minh. The plane is painted black for clandestine missions, but with white letters on the top so that fast-movers (fighter-bomber aircraft) could see the aircraft against the green of the jungle.
This new kit is available to buy right now on the Roden Website.