Sunday, May 26

Build review Pt.I: OV-10D+ Bronco from ICM in 1/72nd scale

Today Andy King gives us the first part of his build guide of ICM's OV-10D+ Bronco 1/72nd scale. He shows us how he built his kit before painting & weathering commences in Pt.II... 
OV-10D+ Bronco.
From ICM 
1/72nd scale
Model #72186
Kit part number: 262
Price: $43 USD from Hobbylink Japan
Product link on the ICM website
The OV-10D Bronco was extensively modified from the OV-10A and featured a Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR) night vision system with a turret mounted camera system under an extended nose. Other improvements included bigger engines with fibre glass propellers, chaff dispensers on the tail booms and infrared-suppressive exhaust stacks. The OV-10D+ as depicted in this kit was a further development that saw the wings strengthened, new wiring and engine instrumentation changed from round dials to tape readouts. The aircraft primarily served with the US Marine Corps in the Forward Air Control role until 1995 when it was eventually phased out although it did see service for many years after with other countries such as Thailand, Venezuela, The Philippines and Morocco.
This kit by ICM is, I believe a scaled down version of their 1/48 OV-10D that was released in 2021 just after their OV-10A. I built the 'A' model for The Modelling News and was pretty impressed with it and looking at the 1/72 'D' model my opinion still stands. The moulding quality is very good with minimal flash and mould-pin marks are mainly confined to out-of-the-way places. Detail is also very good with a well represented cockpit although the seats do need belts, other items such as the undercarriage bays, gear legs, weapons etc., also look very good too.
In the box you get four sprues moulded in grey plastic with a clear sprue and a nicely printed decal sheet. Four marking options are included for US Marine Corps aircraft from the 1990/1991 "Desert Storm" era.

The marking choices in this boxing...
Onto the model then and I made a start with the cockpit which went together well. It features raised detail on the instrument panels although decals are supplied should you wish to use them instead. For me what is supplied is more than adequate and at the time there was no after market stuff available anyway, the only thing I added were seat belts made from masking tape. 
The cockpit was sprayed a medium grey then had various details painted with Vallejo acrylics, after which I dry brushed the cockpit with oil paint.
With the cockpit painted I added pieces of lead to the nose as experience with the 1/48 Bronco showed it to be a tail sitter;
I also added some pieces of lead to the back of the instrument panel. The fuselage was then closed up and when set cleaned up. During a test fit to the main wing there were gaps around the wing to fuselage joints so a piece of sprue was cut to length and trimmed until it pushed out the fuselage slightly to close up the gaps.
The fuselage sponsons for the main armament just needed a little bit of trimming to get the front parts (B20 and B21) to fit nicely.
Also when test fitting the wing I enlarged the rectangular holes slightly where the spar sits;
Doing this helps to get a good wing to fuselage joint;
Assembly of the wings were a bit problematic as the flaps are a little too small and I ended up gluing strips of plastic sheet to one edge of each flap.
Also the holes for the weapons pylons were opened up before gluing the wing halves together.
When dry the plastic was sanded to the shape of the flaps then the flaps were glued into place, after which the wings were glued to the fuselage. The fit wasn't too bad but some filler was required where the rear of the wing met the fuselage and around the rear of the fuselage.
I used superglue as a filler combined with an accelerator as it sets very quickly and can be cleaned up straight away. The nose required some filling too and was treated in the same manner, it's worth noting that ICM plastic is very soft and you can easily leave deep scratches in it so be gentle when sanding. I also removed the pitot tube from the nose as it is rather thick and easy to break off so this will be replaced later on at the end of painting.
The panel that sits on top of the wheel well (part A14) wasn't a great fit and this was filled with Mr. White Putty as this stuff can be cleaned off with IPA which avoids damaging any surface detail.

After seeing this idea by another modeller (Drewe Manton take a bow) I assembled the tail booms and wing but with the intention of leaving them off until the model was painted. I struggled to get a decent paint finish on the fuselage of the 1/48 OV-10A due to the proximity of the booms, something that would be even more difficult due to the smaller scale.

Another good reason to leave them until last is that after dry fitting the wing and checking the centre of gravity (CG), it soon became clear that the weight I had put in the nose wasn't going to be enough to prevent the model from sitting on its backside. As the booms were separate I could put lead into the engine nacelles to try and counteract it.
Checking the fit of the booms to the wing revealed more gaps so just like the fuselage, a length of sprue was inserted between the boom halves and trimmed to suit to close up any gaps.
After I was satisfied with the gaps, the extra weight was glued in using a fast setting epoxy resin rather than superglue as I didn't want to start a chemical reaction with the lead (or so I read on the internet somewhere so it must be true). 
The front of the booms also required some filler.
The main undercarriage was assembled prior to assembling the booms and I decided to strengthen them by drilling holes in the tops of the legs and their corresponding locations in the gear bays as I did on the 1/48 'A' model.
Moving onto the canopy I put the windscreen into place first then the canopy sides, after which I glued the three parts together before fitting the upper part of the canopy and gluing it. One thing I noticed was the sides were not touching the cockpit ledges so I ended up clamping the fuselage sides, gluing the canopy in place then leaving it to set for a couple of days before removing the clamp.
The engine exhausts feature two splitter plates but due to the limitations of injection moulding these are on each side of the exhausts and are far too thick.
No doubt 3D replacements are in the works from the after market people but at the time of writing I removed these, cleaned up the inside faces and replaced them with triangles of plastic sheet. When set the excess was removed and I ended up with exhausts that looked more like the real things.
With the model more or less assembled I thought I would check to see if the model would still be a tail-sitter and surprisingly it was. By this time I was running out of places to put more weight so I put some in the FLIR turret and finally the model tipped onto its nose. YAY! Finally!!
While getting the model ready for the final pictures I was trying to attach the rocket pods to the wings, only to find that the locating holes are about 2mm out....oops.
I filled in the two front holes and cut off the front locating pegs on the sway braces on the pylons. Also the front nose gear leg will not fit between the undercarriage doors so it was trimmed down and will be superglued into place during final assembly.
With those two issues sorted the model had various parts temporarily glued into place using white PVA glue then photographed before everything dropped off. It may look like there are large gaps around the nacelles and wings but remember these will be all glued into place after painting.
The build finished - next painting & weathering...
That was just as enjoyable to build in 1/72 as it was in 1/48 when I built the 'A' version a year or so ago. Generally the fit of parts is good although much improved with taking some of the steps that I've highlighted but on the whole this is a very good kit, you just need to take your time.
As is typical, no sooner had I finished building the model, Eduard announced some etched bits so these will enhance an already good kit.
In part two of the build review I'll be describing how I painted the model, so stay tuned.

Andy King

Thanks to ICM for sending this kit to Andy to build & review, you can find out about ICM's other releases on the ICM plastic model kits website
You can see more of Andy's modelling on his modelling page "Andy King's Model Blog"

The instructions of this kit...