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Andrew H
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Cessna O-2A Skymaster - ICM 1/48

December 31, 2020 · in Aviation · · 24 · 4.1K

This will likely - and unfortunately - be the last off my bench for 2020. Happily so though, I can finally put it in the display case, and pray that the landing gear doesn't collapse anymore...

This kit is the new tool O-2A Skymaster, which debuted earlier this year. There are many reviews linked to this kit, and in my experience they do the kit justice. To summarize, the kit has excellent exterior detailing, with very restrained panel line detailing, and posable primary control surfaces. The kit includes some rocket and gun pods, and has a well detailed interior, which has a decent control panel, a nice radio rack in the rear, and M16's to be mounted to the bulkhead. The primary drawbacks that I encountered were that there are no kit provided seatbelts, which go a long way to detail an easily spotted cockpit, and the landing gear is inadequate for plane in scale form (very likely true to scale).

If I did this kit over again, I would replace the rear landing gear piece with metal replicas, word to the wise.. The kit thankfully includes an accurate measure of weight needed to prevent it from tailsitting, but this just adds strain to the gear legs. If you're wondering, the wooden base in the photos simply has grooves beneath the main gear wheels to mechanically lock them from doing the splits. It will suffice for now.

Overall though, this kit is a welcome improvement to the decades old Testor's kit, which can't hold a candle without serious work. I've provided some pics of the sprues below, to compare how improved this modern kit is.

The front engine is a nice touch, and though you can't really see it through the cowling, its nice that the compartment has depth to it.

I did add some detail to the interior, despite the molded in details. See the pics below for these details.

The antennae whips are stretched sprue and the antennae line is lycra. For the ordinance, I used the kit's gun pods and rocket pod, but on the starboard wing I choose to mount a piece from the Testor's kit, as I'd seen photos of planes with such a loadout.

For paint, I had some trouble sourcing an "Aircraft Grey" from Vallejo's line, so I used the kit's cross reference of Tamiya XF-19 Sky Grey. Close enough for me... The white was XF-2, and once painted, the whole frame was coated with Future, brushed on. Decals went on well, though the carrier film is very thin and apt to fold at the drop of a hat, so beware. On the flip-side, the thin film helps them to adhere will, aided by Micro-Set/Sol. A mix of umber and white oil wash was applied, which I was happy with, thus all was sealed with Vallejo Matt Varnish.

Though there are some flukes with the finished product, I'm happy with the results overall. Such a neat airframe to see loaded up with armaments, and I hope you all like it!

And Happy New Years to all!

Reader reactions:
22  Awesome 2 

16 additional images. Click to enlarge.

24 responses

  1. This is great, Andrew, I don't really think of Cessnas as being military aircraft. All the extra details make the cockpit pop, and you've found a neat of way of supporting the rather flimsy undercarriage. Definitely liked, and best wishes for 2021.

    • Thanks George for the kind regards. It's hard to believe A/T-37s are Cessnas, but it's a tougher pill to swallow when it actually looks like a Cessna. 😉

  2. Really nice work on a really cool plane. The added little extra details really do make a big difference. Great build quality and finish work. ICM seems to be making some nice kits.
    Although it is unfortunate about the flimsy gear.

  3. Fantastic result, Andrew.
    I do like that detailing to the cockpit a lot.
    Additional wiring and those seatbelts are so beautiful.
    Good solution to keep the undercarriage in place.

  4. Well done Andrew, and that cockpit looks really great especially with your additions. Overall it appears ICM really upped their game versus the Testor kit.

    • Thanks Tom! I intended to build them side by side, using spare ICM decals on the Testor's kit, but I more or less tossed it aside, as I've got more favorable things to do with my time.

  5. Very nice result Andrew (@pb_legend). I have my fingers crossed that a civil version may come along so I can make the one that was based at the local airport (or perhaps some scratchbuilding may take place).

  6. Excellent build of this "modern" kit, Andrew! Pity about ICM's choice to provide "scale" landing gear legs with its relative soft plastic.
    I have the old Heller kit to build one day (as an all black "GENTLE JAN"!) Motivated by your build, I might do so quite soon!
    Well done and Happy New Year!

    • Spiros @fiveten, thanks! An all black O-2 was what I had planned for my Testors kit before I mothballed the build for lack of interest. Id love to see what you do with your kit! Hope 2021 is treating you well, few more hours to go here!

  7. The Civil version was named the Sky Master. I 've seen these planes converted to sprayers being used to take out mosquitos and evasive species of moths. Cessna tried to address the double trouble issue by having two engines in tandem as a safety factor. Something the military though of too.

    I can remember flying with my father in a Sky Master going into Minneapolis International, flying with commercial airliners in the pattern. Basically, you fire walled the Cessna approaching from the side of the field and out of the way of the big boys. A cool looking airplane in a odd way.
    Excellent build Andrew. Looking forward to seeing more of your gifts and talents in modeling .

    • Stephen, @stephen-w-towle, thanks for sharing your memories! Maintenance of two powerplants aside, I'm sure the Skymaster was a great alternative to so many full GA options out there. Can't imagine the busy approaches, like a mouse in a lions den... Thanks for the vote of confidence, and the kind words as well. Happy new year!

  8. Andrew a real pleasant model to see built, A Skymaster and a Bronco (Greg Kittinger's) on the last day of the year. One of those utility aircraft that really was important in directing traffic during Vietnam when it first came into service. Nice touch with a comparison to the Testor's kit. Shows the homework ICM did with their Cessna. Nice review of the build as well. Noting the main gear issue is a great reference point to consider when building it. Thanks the tips on that. Happy New Year, stay safe and thanks for sharing.

    • Chuck @uscusn, Greg's Bronco is excellent and reminds me that we still need a good Bronco in 1/48! I've got my O-2 next to my A-37 in the case, and hope to add an OV-1C to it in 2021. I like these under appreciated workhorses. I'm glad you appreciated the write up and are taking notes. Happy New your to you as well, stay safe and be merry!

  9. Yes, excellent article and a genuinely good build overall, I truly like this gem.

  10. Great build! Very nice cockpit details added - always makes a big difference when their visible through the glass! Well done.

  11. WOW Andrew, just wow, that is amazing - that detail you added is phenomenal.

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