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AoA Decals # 32-020
Dogs of War (2): US Army/USAF O-1 Bird Dogs in the Vietnam War -- 1:32 Scale


Forward air controllers (FACs) provide the critical link between ground forces and air power, and during the Vietnam era, many elements of the modern FAC concept were forged.  One of the most famous FAC platforms in the 1960s and 1970s was the O-1 Bird Dog.  Based on the Cessna Model 305A/Cessna 170, this single-engine, lightweight, high-wing airplane just happened to be the first airplane ordered by the USAF after it became its own branch of service in 1947.  O-1s were also acquired by the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, and 21 export customers.

Some 3,200 Bird Dogs were built between 1950 and 1959 and were initially designated L-19s and OE-1s before aircraft designations were standardized in 1962.  Beginning in the Korean War, O-1s were employed as artillery spotters, medevac birds, and training platforms.  As the Vietnam War grew in scope, so did the jobs shouldered by the O-1s to include reconnaissance and targeting for artillery and air assets, radio relay, convoy escort, and FAC work by the South Vietnamese, U.S. Army, USAF, Marines, and later, by clandestine FACs over Cambodia and Laos.

Here, markings for 1:32 scale O-1s are provided by AoA Decals in this recent release.  This decal set is designed to fit the Roden O-1 kit released in 2016.  The set consists of two sheets, and in all, 13 different options are provided (2 USMC, 3 US Army, and 8 VNAF):

  • O-1, 41, VMO-6, USMC, 1968
  • O-1, 14, VMO-6, USMC, 1969
  • O-1G, 51-2469, 199 RAC, US Army
  • O-1G, 51-2227, 199 RAC, US Army, 1970
  • O-1G, 51-2002, 219 RAC, US Army, 1971
  • O-1A/G, 51-14764, VNAF
  • O-1A/G, 51-12704, 112 Observation Squadron, VNAF
  • O-1A/G, 51-12492, 110 Observation Squadron, VNAF
  • O-1A/G, 51-12382, 112 Observation Squadron, VNAF
  • O-1A/G, 51-12829, 112 Observation Squadron, VNAF
  • O-1A/G, 51-12236, 112 Observation Squadron, VNAF
  • O-1A/G, 51-12224, VNAF
  • O-1A/G, 51-15073, 110 Observation Squadron, VNAF

These markings cover a truly comprehensive range of O-1 paint schemes and FAC operators to include some really eye-catching options.  This sheet was printed by Cartograf in Italy and these decals are typical of their excellent, industry-leading quality.  The airframe stencils are very fine and even the smallest ones are legible in 1:32 scale.  The instructions come on three double-sided pages, printed sharply and in color, and provide technical notes, stencil placement guides, and carefully researched details on the various paint schemes.

This is a great offering.  Beyond the very high quality instructions and decals, the schemes are very interesting, indeed.  I am particularly drawn to the more colorful VNAF schemes, which are enough to get a dedicated jet modeler like me really excited about building an O-1.

Many thanks to AoA Decals for the review sample. You can find them on the web at and on Facebook at

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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