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ericg

RAAF FAC OV-10A the back seater.

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On 8/1/2019 at 11:00 PM, Neo said:

Love that wire job. Can you tell me what u used for it? Looks like lead wire

 

Cheers

 

46 minutes ago, ericg said:

Hi Neo,

 

The wire used is thick music wire.

 

Eric

 

I think Neo's referring to the wiring bundles in the cockpit, rather than the strengthening wire for the landing gear legs.

 

Kev

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On 8/4/2019 at 11:17 PM, Neo said:

Hi Ericg,

 

Kev is correct i meant the cockpit wireing

 

Cherrs

Hi Neo,

 

the cockpit wiring is 0.3mm lead wire.

 

 

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A great pic of Graham inside the cargo area of the Bronco, loading food and provisions. This is the actual Bronco that is currently being restored at the Australian War Memorial.

 

B62D91F0-DE57-40FB-BA87-E6E2E32F24DF-L.j

 

Now to the ‘story’ behind the model. I am extremely grateful to Graham for preparing this for me, it is a unique perspective into a FAC sortie. This particular sortie earnt Graham the Distinguished Flying Cross, and makes for very interesting reading. I will be basing my model upon this particular aircraft.

 

USAF OV-10A BRONCO # 14620 - SORTIE FLOWN  BY  SQNLDR GRAHAM  NEIL 

AND FLTLT  KEN SEMMLER  ON  6 JUNE 1970  AT  TRAI  BI  SOUTH VIETNAM

 

The RAAF provided some 36 Forward Air Controllers (FAC’s) seconded to the USAF in South Vietnam over a five-year period, all of them were experienced fighter pilots accustomed to the FAC role with FAC training in Australia and Malaya. Twenty of them flew the OV-10 Bronco.

 

The OV-10 Bronco was specifically designed for the FAC role and was introduced into South Vietnam by the USAF in mid-1968. The aircraft offered much better weapon load and cockpit visibility qualities than previous FAC aircraft in that theatre. Additionally, the suite of one UHF radio, one VHF radio, two FM radios and one HF radio, together with KY28 secure voice, offered a greatly improved communications capability. In terms of cockpit workload, the management of the radios offered the greatest challenge to the FAC during early sorties.

 

On the afternoon of 6 June 1970 OV-10 #620 launched from Cu Chi in support of 3rd Brigade 25th Division US Army, the aircraft captain was SQNLDR Graham Neil with anotherRAAF FAC FLTLT Ken Semmler in the back seat, the sortie was for planned visual reconnaissance in an area near the Cambodian border.

Ten minutes after becoming airborne while still in transit to the area of operations they were advised that an armoured convoy, exiting Cambodia, and a nearby base camp at Trai BI were each involved in two separate enemy engagements. Upon arriving at the scene of the engagements and after talking with the ground commander, they quickly assessed the situation and decided to give immediate air support to the convoy which was actively involved in a Troops in Contact (TIC) mission with enemy forces only 75 metres away in the woodline near the road. Two immediate airstrikes were ordered up for action alongside the TIC situation and for support to the Trai Bi base camp situated only four kilometres south which was concurrently receiving incoming mortar and small arms fire. If that were not complicated enough an artillery observation pilot, Aloft 07 radioed SQNLDR Neil to advise that he had spotted 12 enemy troops running away from the convoy contact, he marked their position with a smoke grenade and then SQNLDR Neil expended four 2.75 inch Rocket Projectiles (RP) on the marked position. During that RP pass the convoy commander requested immediate fire support to quell enemy action on his contact which had again flared up. Accordingly, the woodline to the west of the road was strafed with the OV-10’s four machine guns and the attack from the west ceased, temporarily. The convoy commander then urgently requested more strafing on additional enemy fire now coming from the eastern side of the road, it was obviously a planned ambush. After repeated strafing passes which were getting lower and lower because of height and energy being used up during tight manoeuvring the enemy broke off the engagements and SQNLDR Neil then resumed working with Aloft 07 against the enemy troops that Aloft 07 was still observing in retreat now about half a kilometre away from the armoured convoy. As he was rolling in for a rocket pass on the area that the troops were hiding in the convoy commander made another urgent request for fire to be again directed into the western side of the road to counter Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) fire which was now being suffered; all remaining HE rockets were expended on that target which was within about 30 metres away alongside the road and the RPG and small arms fire ceased for good.

SQNLDR Neil then provided top cover to a Dustoff Medevac UH-1H helicopter and then flew the four km south to the other enemy contact. Upon instructions, following consultation with the base commander, remaining 7.62 mmrounds were expended on repeated strafing passes on a woodline to the west of the basecamp. Realising that more support was needed he had called up two other armed OV-10 aircraft from Cu Chi and he controlled Issue 14 and Issue 04 as he would a pair of fighters. After their HE rocket fire the enemy broke contact.

 

Approximately ten minutes later the first set of immediate fighters, scrambled off alert at Bien Hoa arrived at the rendezvous, the weather in the area had marginal visibility with a solid ceiling of 2,500 feet and heavy rain showers moving through the target area. Hawk 07, a pair of A37 fighters, was initially briefed by Ken Semmler while Graham Neil was occupied dealing with final advice from the base commander and controlling helicopter gunships which were now rocketing an area on the other side of the base camp. The airstrike was controlled by SQNLDR Neil with the fighters dropping their eight Mk 82 500 lb bombs very accurately exposing and burning the cover from the enemy bunkers. While still controlling and marking strafing runs for Hawk 07 the next set of fighters, Sabre 81 a pair of F100 Super Sabres pre briefed by Ken Semmler, were brought into the target area from their rendezvous so they could assimilate the tactical scene with recognition of the location of friendly units; their Mk117 750 lb bombs were placed on target within three minutes of the previous set. Sabre 81 flight placed their eight Mk 117 Hi-Drag bombs on target only 250 metres from the friendly emplacements at the base camp, they then expended their 20 mm on strafing runs through the target, they were credited with the relief of the base camp and the destruction of five enemy bunkers. 

 

No further enemy action was to follow. Despite a low fuel state SQNLDR Neistayed on in the target area and briefed an oncoming FAC on the ground situation before diverting to Tay Ninh West because of their low fuel state and the deteriorating weather. After refuelling the aircraft was flown to the RAAFbase at Vung Tau to pick up some vittles and VB beer which had been arranged the night before. Ken Semmler and Graham Neil swapped seats and Ken flew #620 back to Cu Chi as the night closed in on a very busy but rewarding day for both FAC’s.

 

Thanks Graham!

 

Some more work. The instrument panel was painted very dark grey, with the instrument bezels picked out with black paint and then Airscale instrument decals applied. Most of these decals are actually 1/48 scale as they were the only way that I was able to make them fit the panel! I also fabricated the undercarriage lever from brass and plastic card as it is not included in the kit.

 

IMG_8895-X5.jpg

 

I wanted to depict the engine cowls closed. They have been designed to display open on the model and as such, a little work needs to be done to make them nice and neat. The panel lines where the cowl edges meat are a little sloppy, so my preferred mix of talc and superglue was used to fill the panel joints, as well as thin plastic card. I sanded the joint smooth. The longitudinal joint where the clamshell cowls meet has been sanded and rescribed to ensure a consistent depth panel line, with Tamiya extra fine cement ran into the freshly worked engraving to tidy it up.

 

IMG_8796-X5.jpg

 

I then lightly scribed a guide line across the join with a pin.

 

IMG_8797-X5.jpg

 

I used a JLC razor saw to lightly cut a new panel line along the previously scribed line, this tool is perfect for refining panel lines.

 

IMG_8913-X5.jpg

 

A little hard to see but the new panel line is straight, with a consistent depth.

 

IMG_8916-X5.jpg

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Now that the majority of the model is complete, I am going over the model with a fine tooth comb and comparing it to period photos to ensure that I try and capture as much detail as possible. Graham was kind enough to send me many more photos that he took at high resolution, and some of these I had not seen before. These pics have been enough for me to identify some areas that the kit could be improved. Whilst the shape of the kit is pretty good, Kittyhawk have missed some details that I felt would add to the character of the model.

 

Three things that Kittyhawk missed in the one photo.

 

InkedNeil_126995_008_LI-X4.jpg

 

Lets start with the biggest one of the three. They completely forgot about one of the 5 fold out steps on the right side of the cockpit. Most photos show most of these open and I reckon it is a pretty important feature. Not sure why they forgot this, but it is a reasonably easy fix if you have the right gear.

 

What, no step?

 

IMG_9013-X5.jpg

 

I drew a couple of reference lines to assist with placement.

 

IMG_9014-X5.jpg

 

I taped a photo etch template to the model

 

IMG_9016-X5.jpg

 

I used a pin to precisely scribe the shape, ensuring that I cut it to the correct depth.

 

IMG_9017-X5.jpg

 

Using a microchisel I removed the inside of the shape, being careful not to cut all the way through. The depth of the cut of the pin allows you to remove material right up to the edge.

 

IMG_9018-X5.jpg

 

The completed hole. I will have to scratch build a new step to suit it.

 

IMG_9020-X3.jpg

 

Most of the photos that I have found show a small air vent on the right side of the observers cockpit in the open position. I chose to model it this way although if you wanted to do it closed, a scribed circle would do. I used a piece of plastic rod with a groove cut out of it and a small disk punched from plastic card.

 

IMG_9022-X4.jpg

 

The top right side of the engine cowls has an exposed oil filler cap which I felt would show the ease of maintenance in the field that was designed into the aircraft. Kitty hawk have not depicted any detail here.

 

IMG_9031-X5.jpg

 

I drilled a small 2mm hole into the cowl.

 

IMG_9032-X5.jpg

 

 I then placed a disk of plastic card into it, slightly proud of the surface.

 

IMG_9041-X5.jpg

 

I then glued another thin disk over the first one, slightly smaller in diameter. I then drilled into it a small brass rod.

 

IMG_9050-X5.jpg

 

To this I then added a piece of plastic card cut to represent the oil filler cap.

 

IMG_9051-X5.jpg

 

While I was working on the oil filler cap I was noticing that the press button latches on the clamshell cowls were incorrectly depicted. I wasn’t going to touch them but decided to fix them once a suitable tool was devised. Using a piece of brass tube, I drilled out one end a little more larger than it originally was. I then sharpened the OD of the tube and mounted it in a pin vice.

 

IMG_9052-X4.jpg

 

Once the raised buttons were cut off and sanded down I used the tool to push new holes into the plastic. The outer ones were easy enough although the inners needed the tool to be bent to reach them.

 

IMG_9053-X5.jpg

 

The completed mod. Well worth the effort, although all up it took about 10 minutes. Notice that in some of the earlier pics, kitty hawk have 3 raised buttons in each position on the forward parts of the cowl. There should actually be only two as I have done here.

 

IMG_9055-X5.jpg

 

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On ‎8‎/‎6‎/‎2019 at 8:37 AM, ericg said:

A USAF OV-10A BRONCO # 14620 - SORTIE FLOWN  BY  SQNLDR GRAHAM  NEIL AND FLTLT  KEN SEMMLER  ON  6 JUNE 1970  AT  TRAI  BI  SOUTH VIETNAM

Thanks for sharing that story. Coincidently, Ken had helped me out a few years ago with the Bronco.

 

 

5 hours ago, ericg said:

Now that the majority of the model is complete, I am going over the model with a fine tooth comb and comparing it to period photos to ensure that I try and capture as much detail as possible. Graham was kind enough to send me many more photos that he took at high resolution, and some of these I had not seen before. These pics have been enough for me to identify some areas that the kit could be improved. Whilst the shape of the kit is pretty good, Kittyhawk have missed some details that I felt would add to the character of the model.

 

 

If you've not already identified/corrected, some other noticeable "huh?" items Kitty Hawk completely missed: the center fuel tank details on the wing, the handholds on the rear upper canopy frame and the wing, and the air vents in the corners of the upper canopy sections. I'm sure there were more that I can't remember now.

 

Like your O-1 and O-2, this is another fantastic build. Looking forward to next update.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks guys.

5 minutes ago, daveculp said:

Thanks for catching that missing step, Eric.  I'm sure I never would have noticed that!

 

Its like the designer of the kit was working on the steps and went on a lunch break and simply forgot about it when he came back. At first I thought it was maybe omitted on different models of the real aircraft but it appears on all. A simpler fix would be to re scribe it in the closed position.

3 hours ago, ziggyfoos said:

Thanks for sharing that story. Coincidently, Ken had helped me out a few years ago with the Bronco.

 

 

 

If you've not already identified/corrected, some other noticeable "huh?" items Kitty Hawk completely missed: the center fuel tank details on the wing, the handholds on the rear upper canopy frame and the wing, and the air vents in the corners of the upper canopy sections. I'm sure there were more that I can't remember now.

 

Like your O-1 and O-2, this is another fantastic build. Looking forward to next update.

 

Ziggy, I am looking forward to getting your decals on it that’s for sure. I am trying to identify what is wrong with the centre tank if you have any pics please.

 

Eric.

Edited by ericg

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I believe the Centerline fuel tank is mentioned in the OV-10 aftermarket parts forum.  I know the fins are inaccurate. The shape was alright. the attachment to the Centerline is okay could be better. It could carry like four different fuel tanks

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2 hours ago, ericg said:

 I am trying to identify what is wrong with the centre tank if you have any pics please.

 

You mean the kit's tank? If so, don't use it, it's a kinda crap aero 150gal. For USAF FAC you'll want the bigger 230gal tank, which is available from AMS Resin.

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