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DECAL SHEET REVIEW


AoA Decals # 48-003
The Dogs of War: USA/USAF/USMC/VNAF O-1 Bird Dogs in the Vietnam War
1:48 Scale

vol_2_image

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 was 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, FAC work by the South Vietnamese, U.S. Army, USAF, Marines, and later, by clandestine FACs over Cambodia and Laos.

Here, markings for 1:48 scale O-1s are provided by AoA Decals in this new release.  This decal set is designed to fit the Model USA kit (also reboxed by Hasegawa).  The set consists of two sheets, and in all, 23 different options are provided (10 Army, 6 USAF, 2 USMC, and 5 VNAF airplanes):

-  O-1G, 51-2665, 21 RAC, US Army, 1968
-  O-1G, 51-2740, 21 RAC, US Army, 1968
-  O-1G, 51-5022, 184 RAC, US Army, 1967
-  O-1G, 51-2469, 199 RAC, US Army
-  O-1G, 51-2227, 199 RAC, US Army, 1970
-  O-1G, 51-4971, 203 RAC, US Army, 1968
-  O-1G, 51-2002, 219 RAC, US Army, 1971
-  O-1G, 51-2785, 220 RAC, US Army, 1969
-  O-1G, 51-2258, 220 RAC, US Army, 1970
-  O-1G, 51-7310, 221 RAC, US Army
-  O-1G, 41, VMO-6, USMC, 1968
-  O-1G, 14, VMO-6, USMC, 1969
-  O-1A, 51-7379, USAF
-  O-1E, 56-2620, USAF
-  O-1E, 57-6026, USAF
-  O-1A, 51-4606, USAF
-  O-1E, 57-6273, USAF
-  O-1E, 56-2657, USAF
-  O-1A, 51-12224, VNAF
-  O-1A, 51-12236, VNAF
-  O-1A, 51-12829, VNAF
-  O-1A, 51-12382, VNAF
-  O-1A, 51-12704, 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 Microscale.  While some of the smaller decals strike me as not as sharply printed as those by Cartograf, these decals still appear to be of an excellent quality.  The carrier film is quite thin…even thinner than Cartograf products.  The airframe stencils are very fine and some are not quite legible in 1:48 scale.  The instructions come on four double-sided pages, printed sharply and in color, and provide technical notes, stencil placement guides, and carefully researched details on the various paint schemes.

Perhaps the biggest drawback is that the Model USA O-1 kit is a little hard to find, but maybe you have this kit in your stash like me.  And like me, this decal sheet just might get you to pull your 1:48 scale Bird Dog from the stash and seriously think about building this unique and underrepresented model kit.

Many thanks to AoA Decals for the review sample. You can find them on the web at http://www.aoadecals.com/ and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AOAdecals

 

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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Just Released!

JET FIGHTERS
OF THE U. S. NAVY AND MARINE CORPS
PART 1: THE FIRST TEN YEARS
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Detail & Scale Special Edition Books

U. S. Navy and Marine Carrier-Based Aircraft of World War II
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Attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan Awakens a Sleeping Giant

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Colors & Markings Series



Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
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Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
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