Wednesday, May 13

Preview: ICM's new 48th scale Cessna O-2A Skymaster in CAD

Much loved by modellers, the Cessna O-2A Skymaster, the American reconnaissance aircraft is seen in many kits at model shows and online, and no wICM has taken the mantle to create their own version in 1/48th scale. We have CADs of the sprues and the finished kit in our preview with a bit of the history of the aircraft also...

ICM's new O-2A Skymaster kit in development

Preview: Cessna O-2A Skymaster, American Reconnaissance Aircraft
1/48th scale 
Kit no #48290
100% new molds
Cessna O-2A Skymaster, American Reconnaissance Aircraft - "The Oscar Deuce" from ICM:
ICM has shown images of their new 48th scale kit of the O-2A Skymaster USAF Multi-Purpose Light Aircraft.It is only known to the public in CAD form so far, and although we do not have the kit to look at yet, we thought that we could at least look at the CAD drawings of the kit 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.  
ICM's Kit no #48290, the new O-2A Skymaster, American Reconnaissance aircraft in 1/48th scale:
The kit has only seen the light so far in CAD form, but we thought we might look at some of the details in the sprues and CAD images of the completed kit to pick out a few details of the forthcoming model...

You can see from this first sprue the simple layout of the model. Only two main sprues and a transparency sprue in the box, this will be an easy kit to make and hopefully we will see plenty on the competition tables because of the ease of construction.
The twin-boom tail is in half vertically down the middle, the wheels and landing gear are there of course so you can show the kit in flight or on the deck. There is no engine(s) are included so aftermarket is the only way forward there...
 All transparencies are provided of course, we would think no masks included as that is not ICM's usual M.O. - A clear gunsight is also included.
 A look inside the cab of the "office" affords us a nice view of a detailed instrument panel, rudder pedals and crew seats. The clear parts have lugs inside the cabin mould to keep them in place and we suppose if put in to the kit before it is sealed we won't need masks for them.
The rear of the cockpit was equipped with several radios since FAC pilots communicated over several radio nets in the course of their vital missions. The rear radio rack on the kit is fairly detailed for such a small scale, but it is nice that it is as there are lots of windows showing you just what is going on inside there. We notice there are some Vietnam War-era M-14's placed on racks inside the cab also.
Four hardpoints under the wings here showing a pair of Willy Pete” white phosphorus rockets in launcher pods. There are also a pair of LAU-3''s included.
Looking down from the top of the aircraft, the posable wingtip surfaces are evident as well as the two prominent radio gear antennae the type carried.
A good view of the loaded hardpoints under the aircraft and the rather flimsy rear landing gear on the real aircraft.
A good looking aircraft from an interesting time period, with lots of marking choices to be had - this is a promising looking kit from ICM!
That is all we have on this kit so far, more as it comes close - might even get someone to build it if there is a chance - More info on this kit on the ICM Website