Italeri's 1/72 scale
by Pedro Fuster
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Here are a few pictures and notes on the not-so-often seen but
recently reissued OH-6 Loach from Italeri in 1/72. Mine was an older
release, however the current boxing and decals are identical.
This is a really tiny kit (the whole cabin area is no more than
4cm long and 2cm wide!) with less than brilliant detail, raised lines
and rivets and not a very good fit.
Decals, though a bit oversize, are excellent: very glossy, thin and
flexible. One drawback is that for the famous Hugh Mills' "Miss Clawd
IV" Vietnam War machine there should be markings on both sides of the
helicopter, not only on the port side as supplied - so you need an extra
decal sheet or imaginative decal copying skills if you want a more
As (hopefully) you can appreciate, I put a lot of work in detailing
the very visible front / rear cockpit areas and main rotor mechanism.
Lots of improvement and scratchbuilding went everywhere: doors were cut
and discarded (as was common practice in the real thing), rear bulkhead,
Minigun details, ammo box and internal supporting structures, smoke
grenades, gunner seat, instrument panel cabling, fire extinguisher,
position lights, intercom cabling, antennas etc. were all scratchbuilt.
There are a couple of old, hard-to-find photoetch sets from Airwaves
and Eduard from where I took the seat armor panels, seatbelts, the
instrument panel face and other minor bits and pieces. Instrument dial
faces come from the spare decals box, colored position lights from a
Czech Masters generic set.
A lot of effort was needed to ensure a good fit between the main cabin
body and the big frontal clear area: delicate but substantial gluing and
lots of polishing with Tamiya Polishing Compound went there to achieve
an acceptable finish. Holes were cut in the frontal area for the air
conditioning scoop and the landing light.
Markings and Finishing
Careful masking of the open and clear areas followed before
airbrushing with Gunze Olive Drab acrylics. Artist's oils were used to
accent panel lines etc, followed by the standard gloss varnish + decal
As mentioned, decals were excellent: a bit of Microsol helped them
conform the curved surfaces. Only extra care needs to be put on the big
teethed mouth that goes on the underside: a couple of strategic cuts
here and there will help it go smooth. Red & White colored triangle
marking on the sides and the serial number on the main rotor "doghouse"
are definitely oversize: I just replaced the numbers with individual
pieces cut from white and yellow numbering sheets from Tally-Ho, and let
go with the triangles. A matt varnish application sealed everything.
A nice Tamiya Clear Green shade was applied on top of the clear parts
to simulate green antiglare panels.
For that final, realistic touch I added two ammo boxes from a 1:72 tank
stowage resin set, the rear gunners' M-60 machine gun from a sister
OH-58 kit and a heap of ammo from Eduard.
Hope you like it!
Click on the thumbnails
below to view larger images:
Model, Images and Text Copyright ©
2005 by Pedro Fuster
Page Created 19 June, 2005
Last Updated 19 June, 2005
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