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Cessna O-2A `Jade 07' The man meets the model.

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I recently received the new Roden O-2 kit that has just been released and quickly earmarked the kit for a build associated with a particular pilot. After my Bird Dog build was finished http://forum.largescaleplanes.com/index.php?showtopic=69044&hl=, I learnt that Roden were going to release the O-2 kit and I asked the pilot of the Bird Dog that I depicted, Mac Cottrell if he knew of any Australian O-2 pilots who would be interested in becoming a subject of a build. He suggested to me David Robson, a good mate of his and he worded him up as to what was involved in being a subject of one of my builds. I was able to meet with David at his house today and spent a couple of hours getting to know him and learning about some of his experiences flying the aircraft.


My association with David actually goes back alot further than I knew as he owns Aviation Theory Centre, an Australian company that produces a large amount of aviation theory books, many of which I have spent a considerable amount of time studying in the pursuit of all of my Licenses, ratings and endorsements in my career as a pilot. https://aviationtheory.net.au/


David has many period photos of his time in Vietnam, some of which have never been published before and I was able to view some of them and will post them on this thread as they become available. Whilst at his house I was also able to go through some of his memorabilia that he kept throughout his military career including original embroidered patches, helmets and check lists but the real highlight was being able to flick through his log book. David did an exchange posting in the RAF, so amongst all of the exciting types that he flew in the RAAF and USAF there were even more exciting types like the English Electric Lightning although it was pretty evident that David's favourite was the Mirage of which he spent over 1000 hours flying. My own personal log books may have well been filled out by a kid with a crayon when compared to such a tome. David was also a member of the Deltas, an aerobatic team in the RAAF flying Mirages that was formed in the early 70's to perform all over Australia in celebration of the RAAF's 50th anniversary in 1971. He also designed their logo.




A log book summary page of types flown.




We are still to decide exactly which O-2 I will depict but we are leaning towards Serial Number 67-21368 in which David flew 67 mission in. A sample of his log book reveals some entries on this aircraft and also details of the combat action in which David took part in.






This aircraft still survives and is on display as part of a memorial to Forward Air Controllers at the Hurlburt Field Air Park in the U.S.


So lets get started on the build. There have been a few in box reviews of this kit so far, and they haven't been overly complimentary of the kit.


Some reasonably nice box art. Captures the lines of the aircraft well. Very sturdy and at a decent price point.




The negative reviews are for a very good reason, as the kit is very poorly packed inside, having all of the sprues including the clear parts packed in the same overstuffed bag exposing many of the finer parts to damage and scratches. This was also a bad part of the previous Bird Dog release.


I don't think the decals are going to be useable (spelling mistakes, out of register etc), so I will be waiting until the AOA decals are released.




The parts have tooling marks all over them and will require cleaning up. Notice the top edge of the circuit breaker panel,inside edges of the windscreen, tooling marks on the interior panels as well as the fairly visible placement of the ejector pin divots.




Mating parts of the wing surfaces will need a decent sanding as there is some poorly moulded areas on both upper and lower parts. Notice the top edge is far from smooth.




There is alot of flash all over the parts, notice the blade antenna (part 12) and the exhaust manifolds for example, and the broken engine mounts (parts 2 and 3) lets not get too excited though, as these issues and the ones above will be fixed with good old fashioned modelling skills and will not take too long to rectify.



Edited by ericg
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A couple of weeks ago I attended a museum that had an O-2 at Evans Head aerodrome in New South Wales and I took many walk around photos of it an posted them on my Facebook page (be sure to check them out and like the page!) https://www.facebook.com/manscale/


Part 1:




Part 2




One thing that will feature on the kit when it is finished will be the addition of various kangaroos on the airframe, something proudly worn by the Aussie pilots that flew them. As the aircraft were rotated through Bien Hoa for maintenance, these were often removed by the Colonel in charge as not being acceptable. One is visible on the tail here with snoopy riding on its back




Another is visible on the nose on this aircraft.



Edited by ericg
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What a goldmine full of reference pictures - thank you so much! Cant't wait

till this build takes shape, I'm especially curios how you're dealing with the

seat configuration and the seat belts. That's gonna be another stunner from you!!!!!!



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Guest Peterpools

Looking forward to your upcoming build and will be following with great intetest. Just love your approach to modeling pilot and aircraft.
Keep ‘em coming

:popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:

Edited by Peterpools
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Thanks for the comments guys. Should be an interesting build.


What a goldmine full of reference pictures - thank you so much! Cant't wait

till this build takes shape, I'm especially curios how you're dealing with the

seat configuration and the seat belts. That's gonna be another stunner from you!!!!!!



I did ask David about the seat configuration and he told me that he thinks that there were four seats fitted with the one immediatley behind the pilots seat folded forward for access to the radio rack. I will research this one a bit more though.


I found some great footage on youtube of David flying the O-2 in Vietnam. I did notice that he is wearing his Mirage patch on his flying suit too!



Whilst working on some of the parts I discovered a couple of errors in the instructions, duly fixed with a lead pencil. Hope this saves someone else some time.






I decided to pin the elevator to the horizontal stabilizer, as it is just a butt join and I felt that it would not have enough strength just glued.




As mentioned before, the engine mounts were bent out of shape in the box and I found getting everything aligned was a bit of a pain. I roughly tacked everything together and then taped it down to the desk to get it straight. Once taped into position I then wicked Tamiya extra fine cement into each join. This assembly is the second of the two corrected instruction sequences as above.




One issue that I found with the Bird Dog is still present in the O-2. As the area between the wings is fairly thin and flimsy, there is alot of flex which has contributed to the thin edge of the window frame cracking as can be seen here. With my Bird Dog build, I found that until I had the wing struts in place, the wings flexed so much that it caused a very small stress fracture in the corner of the windscreen adjacent to the wing root. Something to bear in mind with this build as it could potentially ruin the clear parts if the same thing happens.




A quick dry fit. Fit is a little sloppy although nothing that cant be quickly fixed.



Edited by ericg
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