Kitty Hawk 1/32 OV-10D “Bronco” - Part 1: Cockpit and Fuselage Assembly

By Brian Leitch

Kitty Hawk OV-10D “Bronco”
Scale: 1/32nd
Manufacturer: Kitty Hawk Models
Accessory/kit #: 32003
Kit type: IM Styrene + PE

Part 1: Cockpit and Fuselage Assembly

This is part 1, covering my build review for the new Kitty Hawk Model OV-10D. There have been many people talking about Kitty Hawk's latest model in 1/32nd as well as some in-box reviews of this kit, including our own LSP_Paul. If you are interested in a detailed description of what comes in the box, please check out Paul’s review.

This build review will hopefully give those looking to build Kitty Hawk's new OV-10D some insight and tips on how it builds and goes together and what to expect.

This is part 1 containing the build of the cockpit and basic fuselage assembly, including the main wing section which forms the rear top of the fuselage.

Let’s get started!

The kit itself comes in a sturdy well-proportioned box, with some great box art, containing 11 sprues of light grey plastic, as well as one sprue with very nice, clear parts on it (in its own separate hard side box), a fret of photo-etch, a ½ size sheet of nice decals that are in good register and very clear, as well as a full set of detailed instructions. The kit also comes with a nice nose weight block that goes under the rear observer’s pit.

The plastic Kitty Hawk has used for the OV-10 is light grey in color and is of medium hardness, and makes for very crisp looking details:

The clear parts come in their own separate hard-side box to keep them from damage, and they are very clear and without blemishes on my copy:

The instructions are printed on a bi-fold booklet in B&W with clear instructions and pictures. I will be starting this build off as the instructions dictate with the massive cockpit area.

Kitty Hawk provides the basics along with some nicely molded structures for the radio/warning panel behind the observer’s pit, as well as decent seats.

Here you can see a few of the basic out-of-box cockpit parts for both the pilot and observer's cockpits that I have clipped free of their sprue gates:

A quick dry-fit of things indicates this will be a great fitting kit overall.

The basic pit fits quite well in the fuselage, and things seem to close around it well enough even without any kind of serious cleanup of the fuselage joints. Kitty Hawk has done a really wonderful job at hiding as many injector marks as they could.

They also have put any ejector-pin marks that might be seen, in places that are either hidden out of view once complete, or are hidden by other parts glued on after the fact.

The oddly and severely widely placed observer's foot controls are one...there are some ejector-pin marks at the foot of the lower observer's instrument panel, but this is hidden by the rudder pedal bar. Kitty Hawk has these slightly too wide, and there is the accurate solid foot rest bar between them, but they should be just a smidgen closer together. Most of it will not be seen once completed, and the difference between where Kitty Hawk has them placed and where they should be is negligible.

You can see here the main fuselage with the basic cockpit structure dry fit in it:

There are a couple of these ejector-pin marks in the cockpit to deal with that will actually be visible when completed, but nothing that the average modeler hasn’t learned to overcome. The forward fuselage internals also have them but only 2 out of these 7 (2nd and 3rd from the right) will be visible in the end if you keep the FLIR/nose closed:

The OV-10D nose is quite longer than the A, and thus Kitty Hawk has made it separate, to facilitate the same fuselage on both the A and D models. I used some Tamiya Extra Thin cement to attach the nose section, of which the fit was quite excellent, and it was not nearly as fiddly as one might think:

The basic cockpit assemblies were put together and sprayed with at coat of Model Master FS36231 (Dark Gull Gray) which is what the Kitty Hawk instructions call for:

The OOB detail on the alarm/warning/radio panel behind the observer is very nice and crisp, and will look great with some detailing:

The cockpit sidewall instrument panel marks are filled with a mixture of thick CA and micro-balloons. I then shot the cockpit parts and sidewalls with some diluted FS36231 thinned 10:1 mixed with black for shadow shading and applied some of the FS36231 mixed 3:1 with white for highlights using the dry-brushing technique:

Details were then picked out for the cockpit interments using acrylics and a liner brush. After the details dried, I used some Flory Models “Grime” wash throughout. A start was also made on the immense amount of wiring most OV-10s had in them, using bundles of 7-10 pieces of white fine “EZ Line” thread, and then each bundle is tied with heavy black EZ Line:

The out-of-box instrument panels Kitty Hawk delivers basically leave you with 3 options for the instrument panels:

The Kitty Hawk decals are so far VERY thin and compliant, but do rip quite easily, so know where they should go before soaking them. If you use option 3, I would definitely suggest cutting the instrument panel decals up to get the placement aligned, and avoid any nasty gaps in the decal. Here I have highlighted the monitors with silver, and chopped the instrument panel decals up into more manageable chunks:

With some Solvaset decal solution the decals snuggled now nicely even with the 3D effect of the instrument panel:

The observer's instrument panel got the same treatment and both instrument panels got some Microscale Kristal Klear on the monitors and dials:

I now moved on to the wheel wells. The nose well is required to be completed prior to closing the fuselage, and there are many parts to the main gear bays that need attention and assembly.

The first issue is the paint for the wells.

The color call out from Kitty Hawk for the wheel wells, it is MM FS36622 "Camouflage Grey". This paint has since been discontinued by Model Master so don’t be surprised when you look for some at your LHS and cant find it. A suitable replacement grey will need to be found. I happen to luck out and get 1 rattle can I used to decant and shoot through my airbrush.

Camouflage Grey is called out for the front and main wheel wells, yet there is a section of the fuselage wall ahead of the well that is in fact part of the wheel well. This area is exposed, and is very visible when looking at wheel well, however the called out MM color is the cockpit color, which is MM FS36231. This area will need to be painted the wheel well color of Model Master FS36622.

You really have to watch this, because if you paint as the instructions indicate, you will have the cockpit color on the upper side of the wheel well. You can see the area here between the blue arrows that are exposed, right behind the FLIR fire-wall:

For added insurance for nose weight, I put an extra .5g of lead shot in the FLIR/laser ball and painted the clear lenses with some pearlescent purple on the inside, backed with silver and topped with some Tamiya smoke on the exterior:

After looking at documentation and my own personal pics of the D model OV-10, the FLIR ball seemed to hang quite low on the Kitty Hawk model, so after assembly I glued on a strip of styrene that will raise the ball by a mm or 2:

Before painting the nose gear well, I decided since I was shooting the Model Master Camo grey, I might as well assemble the main wells at the same time and get them all painted at once. Unfortunately, the main gear wells are just as riddled with ejector-pin marks, but this time in some quite visible locations that needed attention. Again, nothing insurmountable, but still a very large pain. These were also filled with CA and micro-balloons then sanded smooth:

It was now time to close up the fuselage, after I figured out you do not have to install the FLIR ball in the nose to get the fuse halved glued up. I glue the fuselage at specific places in a “spot weld” fashion, and then later went back over the whole thing with Tamiya extra thin cement.

At this time I also dry fit the windscreen, front instrument panel, and the nose/FLIR cover. The fit of ALL of these parts was nothing short of fabulous, and if assembled correctly, you should need NO filler for any of these parts:

After the fuse had dried, I moved on and finished the seats, which have the out-of-box PE belts on them that I annealed. I weathered and beat the observer’s seat that has not had the cushion and head rest replaced like the pilots has. I also dry fit the radio/alarm/warning bay behind the observer, the main wing and the aft fuse to check overall fit.

A+ on that if I'm honest!

The fit here was great, but will need a slight bit of filler at the main wing root/fuselage joint:

The wing root, to fuselage joint is as clean and nice fitting as I have ever seen on a kit. No filler needed here either:

The radio/alarm/warning bay was glued in, along with the observer's instrument panel, then the cockpit wiring was finished off. This wiring is a mixture of fact and fiction to get that cool busy effect in this pit with SO much real-estate showing:

Somewhere along the line, one of the only parts that didn’t fit really well was the front instrument panel shroud to fuselage joint. There was a large gap at the base of the instrument panel shroud which could have been my fault in assembly, but everything else fit so well, I'm not sure where the mistake might have taken place.

Either way it didn’t fit, so I used some styrene strip under the shroud and then filled the gap with my favorite filler mix, sanded then painted and installed it:

The cockpit was now finished off (except the observers throttle as I accidentally broke it off, and will have to scratch build a new one) with the installation of the seats, dual flight sticks, forward pilot’s center console, and some additional wiring, again semi-fictional:

I also re-checked/dry fit the forward windscreen since the front instrument panel was now residing in its permanent home, I wanted to make sure it still had the magical fit in initially did...and YES Virginia there is a Santa Clause!

Now it was time to join the main center wing section, and the rear cargo/troop door. These were bonded with extra thin CA and the raised section on the cargo door was re-raised using some Dymo tape, and a straight razor, then sanded. As noted above, the fit of both of these parts is as good as I have seen, and you should really not have to use any filler for any of these joints if assembly is on track:

Lastly, I re-added the center re-enforcing strip on the nose from strip styrene that had previously been sanded away:

That’s it for part 1 folks. So far the kit is a TRUE joy to build, and the fit is on par with some of the best kits on the market.

Stay tuned for part 2 “Wings Wells and Booms” coming soon!

© Brian Leitch 2014

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This article was published on Friday, December 05 2014; Last modified on Sunday, December 28 2014