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Italeri's 1/72 scale
OH-6 Loach

by Pedro Fuster


OH-6 Loach


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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 accurate version.





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.



Painting, 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 application process.

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!

Pedro Fuster
Madrid, Spain

Additional Images


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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