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1/48 scale Roden conversion
OV-1D Mohawk

by "Bondo" Phil Brandt


OV-1D Mohawk

Roden's 1/48 scale OV-1A/JOV-1A Mohawk  is available online from Squadron.com




As so often happens when the staff of Bondo Industries Difficult Kit Division goofs off for extended periods on its backlog of Collect-Aire kits, an injected kit is released, instantly sending another expensive, unbuilt Collect-Aire acquisition into the Obsolete, For-Collectors-Only pile. Well, it's happened again; this time with the release of the IMO very nice Roden A-model Mohawk of Southeast Asia vintage.

As y'all may know, this curmudgeon usually prefers the definitive version of any weapons system. I was intrigued by a colorful OV-1D article in Smithsonian Air & Space, especially in the overall gray color with tacusan--"lots of" to you who have never travelled to the land of the Rising Sun--black walkways and heat shielding; nice contrast. Yeah, yeah, I know; Roden announced a D model sequel, but with no firm release date, as far as I know.

Since we older folks don't have as much time on earth, three months ago I decided to jump the gun and take my chances with a home-brew D.

This project wasn't exactly rocket science, and the work was greatly helped by extra, unannounced D parts on the Roden A model sprues - ya just hafta know which is which! Each Roden A wing was extended three feet at the wingtip, a beeg SLAR pod was cloned from the C-A kit and hung from the right side, there were changes to the instrument panel to accommodate the new sensor suite, and under the right wing is carried a "Hot Brick" IR jammer pod (for countering missiles such as the Soviet-built SA-7 "Strella") such as I saw in the flesh circa 1990 at the annual Bergstrom AFB Airshow. Rather than countering IR, we TAC Vark pukes always believed in the "Speed Saves" credo--we did carry exotic radar deception jammers such as the ALQ-94, as well as chaff and flares, but the ol' Mohawk's simply not capable of a whole lot of smash.

A slight "Speed Saves" digression: Circa 1972 at Takhli AB, Thailand, initial homedrome of the F-111A SEA force, the wing commander held a confidence demo for the Linebacker II troops who hadn't yet gone "North"into what then were the heaviest anti-aircraft defenses of all time. He told all the crewdogs to be out on the ramp after darkness fell. The wing king would fly over them lowlevel, and they were to later tell him from which direction he had come and what his egress track was. Guys who witnessed this event described to me that there was literally an explosion of sound as the boss came by at 540K+ with the TFR clearance plane set at 200 AGL, roughly the weapon delivery parameters they would use when attacking the Hanoi area. And, nobody could tell the square root of Fox Alpha about his track!



The Conversion


Roden includes both early and late model wingtips, so the trick is to add approximately 3/4" wide strips of Evergreen sheet to the A wing,minus its tips, of course. Then the obligatory applications of Blue Acryl and block sanding followed by the ol' reliable auto gray lacquer primer and rescribing the now longer ailerons.

The distinctive SLAR pod was cloned in resin from the Collect-Aire item; handgrips and an exhaust air fairing on top of the pod were scratchbuilt.


The "D" has some differently sized airscoops compared with the "A", plus a teardrop-shaped lowpan camera fairing mounted ventrally on the empennage. I cannonballed all these items from the C-A kit.

The instrument panel uses the A main panel with additional scratchbuilt changes and additions: the large, square SLAR scope, various piping and wiring and a couple of black boxes on the left side of the pilot's glareshield.) The seats were done OOB, but with aftermarket PE belts/harnesses. The color pix I downloaded from the Mohawk website provided an excellent painting guide.


The "Hot Brick" pod was scratchbuilt from personal pix, using a bomb casing and tubing. I simulated the multicolored orange-red, pie-shaped emitting surfaces at the back of the pod with a basecoat of aluminum, topped with custom-mixed Gunze clear colors.



This, after all, is the Difficult Kit Division of the corporation, and employee skills were urgently needed to fit all the clear components of the bug-eyed Mohawk office. Part of the problem was an ill-fitting "bridge" structure that divides the A/C's canopy from that of the sensor operator. The arched part was incorrectly profiled and didn't match the clear panels; after a day of gently filing, your correspondent is still not 100% satisfied. I chose to configure the cockpit door panels open which gets around many modeling sins. Another add-on detail which woulda been helpful were scratchbuilt positionable sunshades over each crew member's head. Thought I had it made, tinted clear plastic sheet and all, but I faked myself out. Turns out the canopy breakers on the top of the seats seriously interfered with the installation of the top canopy panel. I simply couldn't sand down the seat bottoms enough to look right and still clear said canopy. Another touchy area is the wealth of VERY small plastic parts on the sprue. I'd suggest working on a dark towel, just as many modelers do when working with PE. Then, you won't be down on your hands and knees looking for tiny components in the carpet or, in my case, the paint-stained garage floor!

Props were assembled in feathered configuration, since that's the setting the OV-1's blades automatically assume upon engine shutdown. Protects against destructive windmilling in high ground winds.

Roden exhaust tubes were two-piece which, of course, creates two interior seams. I got around this by cutting one-piece exhausts from thinwall plastic tube and then pre-spraying with Alclad Jet Exhaust shade. This whole tube assembly was then masked for the remainder of the finishing.


Painting and Decals



I chose to leave all canopy components, including the windscreen, off while painting the basic coats.

Rescribing, primer and wetsanding up through 8000 gives a glossy base upon which to lay coats of PollyScale Light Ghost Gray.

Masking for the plethora of black walkways and engine exhaust areas used up at least one roll of that primo yellow Tamiya tape. After using this stuff a couple of years ago, I'm totally sold and rarely use any other brand, including 3M.



The props were done in Alclad II Steel shade, with some metal shade variation on the spinners. The windscreen bottom edge was a very poor fit with the fuselage, and I had to carefully daub industrial strength coats of Mr. Surfacer 500 to fill the gap.


Roden's decal sheet is not too shabby IMO; lots of stencils and D Model specific markings. Luckily the gray D model Mohawks had no national insignia, just some medium "United States Army" strips at the speedbrake area, which I BTW elected to pose deployed;"busys up" the presentation, don'cha know!

I laid down a couple of coats of Testors acrylic gloss to properly (I thought) prepare the decal surface. Sadly, I experienced slight to moderate silvering even with large applications of my favorite decal aid, Solvaset and pricking with the tip of an XACTO blade.



The model's weight and balance just didn't work out, and, although I wedged in a group of sheet lead in the nose, she's still a tailsitter. Guess I could've packed some additional lead into the nose section of the wing tanks, but the overall model weight may have adversely affected the spindly gear struts.I simply drill a small hole in the nosegear tire, and glue in a short piece of .030" plastic rod. This rod anchors itself into a hole drilled, in turn, into whatever display base is chosen.





Okay, troops, who's gonna drop the dime to Roden (it's a VERY long distance call!) to tell 'em Bondo's "D" is done, and it's now OK to ship thousands of those suckers to Uncle Jerry up at Carrolton (MMD)?


Additional Images


Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model, Images and Text Copyright 2005 by Phil Brandt
Page Created 04 January, 2005
Last Updated 04 January, 2005

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