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RAAF FAC OV-10A Finished!

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I was keen to correspond with Graham’s back seater on the mission he flew in 1970 as they both played an important part in that particular sortie and I felt that it would be great to include him in this build. All of the Aussie FAC’s that I have come across so far have been really passionate about the role that they all played. With this build thread being emailed back and forward between a few of the guys it was pretty soon that I was able to touch base with Ken Semmler, himself a RAAF fighter pilot on exchange to the USAF. He was only too happy to forward me lots of great photos and stories. I promised that I would pay lots of attention to the rear cockpit in return. Here is a great pic of Ken enjoying a beer after a hard days work.




it was Ken that flew the Bronco back to Cu Chi after the combat mission and he had a great story about that flight. I have reproduced part of his correspondence to me here:


I might have mentioned that, in my ‘umble opinion, on the memorable 6 June 70, the return trip from Vung Tau to Cu Chi, was a more dangerous ( self inflicted!) venture than the fun and games near Trai Bi. Have a 1:100 map at hand and am retracing the trip from Vung Tau to ‘home’. We’d punched out of VT and when asked by air traffic as to whether we were VR , the answer was ‘affirmative’. Wot a lie! It was mongrel weather but, ’twas similar to the Pony Express in that ‘the mail must get through’ so off we went at LO level. However, was careful to keep on the RH side of roads (obeying road rules?!) such that the chances of meeting a chopper by accident were lessened. Also barrelled under the Ton Son Nhut flight path with lights on and low such that a pushbike wheel thrown into the air could have brought us down. But no, we safely returned to Cu Chi and my all too scarce diary records that we had a good evening meal? Ah, it’s all a matter of priorities.’


There is lots more to come from Ken!


Some more work.


Dry fitting the cockpit together whilst comparing it to photos revealed some missing detail which I felt needed to be added. As per one of my earlier posts, it it a bit vacant if left as an out of box build. The front seat armour plating and associated structure have been fitted here.




I decided to make a new armour plate and add the frame work that connects it to the canopy. 




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  • 1 month later...

Some more work. 


It is very easy to get bogged down with adding detail to these big models, so I took a small break from it and did some other projects, hence no progress for a while. I intended to have this model finished by the end of the year so had to get a move on.


There is a considerable amount of detail missing from behind the seats so a lot of extra work has gone into detailing those areas. I used the AMS parachute packs and scratchbuilt everything else behind the seats.


As can be seen in this excellent pic of Graham, you can pretty well add an unlimited amount of detail behind the front seat.








Another opportunity for extra detail on the kit is the nose gear leg. This is quite visible and can do with a tidy up.


the torque link is just a lump of plastic and does not have a good representation of articulation.




I carved some detail into the link and separated it to show the articulations.




The back side of the stock leg.




I carved out the pivot point between the oleo and the yoke.






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  • 3 weeks later...

Cheers guys.


With the end of the group build fast approaching, I figured that I needed to pull my finger out and get this one done. There is lots to do on this kit to bring it to life and I started working on the exterior details. 


I always try try to make my pitot tubes removable for transport, so I inserted some brass rod into the nose cone and faired it in as per the real aircraft. The master turned aluminium probe now fits into this, rather than glueing it in and risk breaking it when moving the model.




The kit includes photo etch pushrods which I felt were a bit unrealistic in this scale. I made up a new bell crank from scrap photo etch and then used a larger piece of brass tube, sliced with a razor saw and soldered over a thinner rod.




The next step was to sort out the windshield to fuselage join. I prefer to fill this join and make a new panel over it to replicate the strip of metal that exists on most aircraft like this. The windshield is the normal butt join.




i filled and smoothed this area




I masked off the new raised panel and sprayed a couple of coats of acrylic lacquer paint over it to build it up




Here is the new raised panel, with just a couple of coats of paint enough to simulate the real thing.




As per the picture of Graham below, there is a significant amount of raised rivets on the real airframe. I was going to leave them as they were, engraved, but felt that it would add to the realism of the finished model if I did some of them. There are lots over the tailbooms and a reasonable amount on the fuselage. At this stage, I will do only the ones on the fuselage.




I used SMS Surfacer, sprayed over the line of engraved rivets and then sanded  smooth. A thin coat of paint was then sprayed over the area to give the new raised rivets something to grip onto. I used the excellent Archer raised rivet decals, cut into strips and settled with Microset and Sol.




Another thin coat of paint was sprayed over the dried rivet decals. The carrier film is faintly visible but will disappear with subsequent coats of primer and paint.




I then continued the process for the rest of the raised rivets on the forward fuselage.




Getting there!









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Once again, thank you for your input gents.


15 hours ago, LSP_Kevin said:

Very nice work, mate! Will you get it done by the deadline?




I should do mate, although I certainly won’t rush it to get it finished in time. 


A picture from Ken Semmler. He titled this picture ‘the business end’ for obvious reasons. Interesting details are the remove before flight tags, some stencil data and the empty centre pylon without the fuel tank, which he recounts wasn’t usually fitted. There are four tank steady posts that protrude from the bottom of the fuselage, either side of the pylon. These are sort of included in the kit but lacked detail.




I made up some new ones from brass tube and added the nut detail from the excellent Meng nuts and bolts set. The thin brass rod that extends from outer tube, through the nut is where I will secure the small cups that are on the end of the steady posts.




Whilst I was in this area, I milled out the middle of the centre pylon to make it hollow. Inside this will sit the exposed bottom of the mounting beam which I will scratch build later.




The work so far on the centre pylon. The beam and the cups will be added towards the end of the build. I have drilled the steady posts into the plastic to make them nice and strong.




I next added two small grab handles on the upper canopy frame. These are quite visible in a lot of photos of Broncos, once you know that they are there of course!. I made these from a scrap of brass photo etch, folded into a U shape and superglued to the frame.




Next up was the two radio antennas on the booms. I had a bit of trouble working out how the plastic fairings fitted onto the booms as they weren’t perpendicular to the axis of the boom, rather slanted to one side. I looked at a few photos of the real thing and saw that in fact, they do lean to one side. For strength and ease of removal, I drilled some brass tube into the top of the fairings and down to the top inner surface of the boom. Using the length of the tube, I was able to pre set the angle of the antenna wire, both leaning aft and to one side before glueing the brass tube into place. I slightly crimped the brass tube towards the bottom before installing it to allow for some resistance to hold the antenna in place once inserted.




The music wire antennas installed. As they are now removable, I can put these away till after I have painted the model.




Notice how each one is leaning to one side. I will be sure to include references on this when it comes time for club/comp judging.




Getting close to the priming stage.









Edited by ericg
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Thanks for the comments guys.


When I visited Graham, I remember him telling me a story about one of his ground crew Tank Wherret, who needed a lift one day in the back seat of the Bronco. Graham was kind enough to recount this story in an email to me.


Here is what Graham wrote.


Tank was a Sergeant and an armourer (Sargent & armorer in American parlance)) who looked after our weaponry needs, he had been an American gridiron footballer at some stage in his career and he weighed in at around 300 pounds (heavier than the average pilot); on one occasion when he needed to be in Bien Hoa he was flown there by one of my FAC's in an OV-10 but there was a problem fitting Tank in to the back seat because the fastened lap strap would not reach around his girth ! The problem was resolved by using nylon cord laced between both buckle ends of the lap strap connections. In defence of this unforseen problem's fix the lap strap was only attached to the seat and was released at both ends in the event of ejection with the shoulder harness becoming the harness attachment to the 28 foot parachute. Hope this provides the confirming detail for you.


Graham and Ken provided me with a few pics of Tank which have some interesting details in them, most notably the access ladder which folds down from the fuselage.




Tank assisting Graham in the cockpit




Tank and Ken.




The kit ladder was no where near being up to the task of representing one that could handle a 300 pound giant, so I set about making a new one from brass and plastic card. I made it much longer than needed so that it pokes up into the fuselage.




I added two small bolts made from plastic card either side of the ladder fairing













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