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Detailing the Roden O-1 Bird Dog: lining the cabin

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I waited for the Roden 1/32 O-1 Bird Dog with much anticipation. When it finally arrived, I wasn't disappointed: a simple, no-nonsense, accurate, well-moulded kit albeit a little scarce in interior details. This latter point didn't bother me a bit because I like to detail cockpits and interiors.

IMO the one thing the kit lacks is an M-16/ AR-15 assault rifle which is closely associated with the Bird Dog and the FAC missions it was renowned for in the Vietnam conflict. The O-1 is a little bare without it. The problem is that M-16's can be easily found in armor modelling in 1/35 but none in 1/32. So what to do?

Build one from scratch.

This is how I did it. The reference is a profile view taken from the internet et reduced to 1/32 scale. The material: plasticard and brass wire. The pictures say it all.





In situ



Hope you like it.


Edited by quang
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi quang,

Nice scratched build the M-16! and very details in the cabin. I like your canvas sound proof also, it's look very awe some! 

I'll follow your build definitely! thanks for sharing your WIP. :goodjob:  

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Thank you all for your kind words.


My intent is not to do a detailed WIP since there are already 3 excellent ones on this forum. Instead I'd like to share with you my take on this particular aircraft which also is one of my favorites.


My main reference is LG Halls' 1/48 plans first published in Model Airplane News in 1969. Compared with the drawings, the Roden kit is spot-on. So far so good. However the cockpit/cabin interior is spartan and lacks much of the 'furniture' that makes this type of aircraft particularly interesting.


Firstly, boxes and various dials are added from plasticard. Note the round inspection hatches on the cabin floor. Some brass placards from an old Reheat sheet are used to represent the numerous radio faces. This is the O-1E version. The instrument lay-out is slightly different from the kit (O-1A) version. The circuit breakers (on the kit IP) have moved and now are located on a panel under the left window.




A view of the right side with some of the canvas lining installed. More of it later.



Note the quilted lining covering the firewall and the console under the instrument panel.



Next time I'll show you how I made the linings and how I installed them.


Until then, keep well. :)



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and here is a another pic that might be of interest:



 Gee, Jari! I can see in your pic that there is also a piece of quilted lining covering the back of the cabin. Will have to add that to the build. Thanks for the heads-up

and also you guys for the kind words  :thumbsup:


Here's how I made the diamond-patterned lining. 


The basic material is a 70/30 mix of Milliput and Duro epoxy putties. Milliput is hard and somewhat brittle. Duro is chewy and leatherlike. Mixing the two gives us the right consistency and a comfortable 45-minutes to work with before the putty settles and hardens.



The blob is flattened using a small rolling pin and plenty of talcum powder to prevent the putty sticking to the work surface. After a dozen passes, the resulting  paper-thin sheet is imprinted with parallel lines using the edge of a straight edge ruler.



A second series of lines imprinted at an angle to the first and we get a nice diamond pattern. 



The sheet is then cut to smaller bits using scissors. The individual (oversized) pieces are then laid on the parts to be covered.



Trim to the right size with X-Acto blade. The central part is the last to be covered.



Leave overnight to harden. Do a final trim trim and it's ready to be primed.



The rest of the cabin is lined with plain rubberized canvas. Same method as above but without the diamond-pattern step. The lining is done in several parts, each one overlapping the next. Here's the first step:

Right side



Left side



Lining completed and primed. Left:






That's all for today, folks. Next time we'll tackle the instrument panel.



Until then, keep well



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