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Spiros Pendedekas
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Roden 1/48 OV-1A Mohawk

September 30, 2021 · in Aviation · · 60 · 2.6K

Hi everyone!

This is my OV-1A , finished as the "Phantom Hawks” 60-3736 JOV-1A, flown by Capt. Mike Langer, as it stood in Vietnam in December 1964.
The Grumman Mohawk is an armed military observation and attack aircraft that was designed for battlefield surveillance and light strike capabilities. It has a twin turboprop configuration, and carries two crew members in side-by-side seating. The Mohawk was intended to operate from short, unimproved runways.

It entered production in October 1959 and served the US Army in Europe, Korea, the VietNam War, Central and South America, Alaska, and during Desert Storm in the Middle East.

Apart from the U.S., other operators were The Israeli Air Force and the Argentine Army Aviation. A total of 380 Mohawks were produced.
The first production OV-1A arrived with the US 7th Army in Germany in February 1961.
At first the aircraft had only two pylons underneath its wings, intended for use with additional fuel tanks; shortly afterwards 54 aircraft were returned to service stations for an additional 2 pylons per wing installation, in order to be able to carry containers for 2.75-inch missiles, 500-pound bombs, or 5-inch Zuni missiles, with the modified aircraft designated JOV-1A. Six of them were sent to the 23rd Special Aviation Group in Vietnam as test platforms, but results were poor and the “JOV” experiment was cancelled. The 54 modified aircraft were back named OV-1A and, though they no longer performed the duties of army air support, they kept the extra pylons.
Based out of Phu Hiep AB and later Tuy Hoa, first known as the Black Hawks, then changed to Phantom Hawks, the brave guys of 225th Aviation Surveillance Airplane Company flew Recon missions with their Mohawks into Cambodia, Laos and other places.

For a nice and contained background of the type, you may refer to Tom's @tcinla “Silent Warrior: Grumman's OV-1 Mohawk” article.

The Roden kit is highly detailed with good general fit. It is not a "shake'n'bake" kit, since construction is at places fiddly-ish, especially when dealing with the not so few tiny parts, with the brittle-ish plastic additionally not helping in detaching those minuscules from the sprue trees. Also all surfaces are pebbly, requiring all-around smooth sanding.Should you wish to read the full build review, please do so by reading my article at my beloved site Modelingmadness:

Happy modeling!
Reader reactions:
19  Awesome

60 responses

  1. As an aviation enthusiast, I enjoy reading the history and legacy of these aircraft - first time I've heard & read about the Mohawk. Thanks for bringing it off the SoD Spiros and sharing, looks great and I'm sure completing it felt rewarding. Separate windshield wiper parts though? LOL, I'm still struggling with struts flying off my tweezers!

    • Thanks my friend @jroamer! Glad you liked it!
      Yep, fabricating 1/48 windscreen wipers from stretched sprue was an unforgettable, endless looping, trial and error "tweezers flying off" experience 🙂

    • There's also the story of my friend MAJ Ken Lee, OV-1A pilot who shot down a MiG-17 over the Ashau Valley in February 1968. The Army tried to say he didn't do it (so the AF wouldn't take the airplanes, shooting down MiGs not being allowed for Army Aviators), but after my Flight Journal article came out, his flight suit ended up in the Fort Rucker Museum and the Army now admits that, yes indeed, a Mohawk shot down a MiG.

  2. Spiros I think that" this model is not a shake and bake kit "is the understatement of the week. Your perseverence has paid off in spades imho. I might just have to rescue mine from the shelf of doom after seeing this.

  3. Another interesting gem, Spiros. Well done!

  4. Spiros my friend, this is one of your best models I’ve seen so far. I had the opportunity to read it earlier over at MM site and instantly it caught my eye.
    I know nothing about this kit, but Roden can deliver good kits, but definetly never shake ‘n bake ones. Thumbs up!

  5. Great work on an interesting plane, Spiros. Glad to hear the decals worked. Roden decals are always useless in my experience.

    • Thanks my friend @j-healy!
      I am always ultra cautious and systematic with Roden decals, trying to mess around as less as possible, as I had experienced some interesting situations in the past (...) and, moreover, have heard some net complaints...

  6. Very nice clean build of an oddly attractive aircraft, Spiros @fiveten. You have the sheen of the OD finish just right, judging from the pics I have seen of this type in service. I am always pleasantly surprised by your varied tastes in aircraft. You give each project equal care and inspire us all to diversify. I actually have two of these in my stash to do. I wanted to do one in the markings of Captain Ken Lee, who downed a MiG-17 with 4 M159 rockets and 100 rounds of 50 cal over the A Shau Valley in South Vietnam in 1967. The MiG had attempted to shoot him down and having overshot, was turning around to renew the attack. Lee fired everything he had underwing at the MiG as it filled his sights and set it aflame. The full account - partly in Lee's own words - can be found here:

    Given the heavy armament of his Mohawk, it would seem that his aircraft was the experimental version with multiple pylons. In this case at least the design variant might be called a "success". I have always been interested in the way the Army was restricted by the Air Force in operating armed fixed wing types. Apparently, Lee was forbidden to talk about his MiG shoot-down by Army superiors out of concern that it alert Air Force officers to the Mohawk's capabilities.

    Anyway, really nice work on the model. I also like the way you intercut the informative history of the type with pics of the model - a nice way to make the text very readable and interesting. Thanks for posting.

    • Thanks my friend @coling!

      Doing Cpt Ken Lee's plane seems a wonderful idea! What a great story, teaching us that a seeming disadvantage can, at certain conditions, become an advantage!

      Yep, the OD shades of that period were quite interesting, starting from dark green glossy, ending towards OD matt, wit a bit of variation in-between. Depicting a specific bird at a specific time is a fascinating procedure.

      Glad you like my way of posting articles here!

    • Nice of AvGeekery to steal my Flight Journal article on my friend Ken Lee without credit. Those people do that a lot over there.

      • Pity indeed, my friend @tcinla.
        Had no idea about it.

      • Wow, Tom @tcinla . Did they just copy your article or paraphrase it somehow?! The piece is clearly attributed to this guy named "Bill Walton", for whom a bio is attached. Some of it is in first person describing how he contacted Ken Lee personally. No mention of your authorship at all. That really sucks and must be some sort of copyright breach if it comes from a published Flight Journal article. Do you want me to delete the link?

  7. Liked Spiros!Glad to see you deep in Vietnam skies!

  8. I have always liked this plane, and you did an excellent job on this kit. I know its not an easy build but you really seem to have overcome the challenges. Another cool plane from the Grumman Iron Works!

  9. You did a great job on this! I haven't built one yet, but I hear Roden kits are not for the faint-of-heart! I like the Mowawk - have a couple to do soon...

  10. I'm surprised you didn't go mad from the lousy Roden decals as they were the worst part of the kit. Definitely requires a lot of modeling skill to build one. Very good result.

    • Thanks my friend @dbdlee!
      Cautious about Roden decals (at least from that era), I applied a tiny drop of Future onto the surface the decal was supposed to go, then extremely carefully applied the decal, trying to "get it right first time". Maybe this helped.

  11. Nice one Spyro! Definitely worth the effort.

  12. Well done, Spiros (@fiveten). Paint is immaculate. I used to see these all the time at Biggs Army Airfield when I was kid growing up in El Paso. You have captured their look perfectly.

  13. What an awesome build, Spiros @fiveten
    Your modelling factory is producing severe high quality builds at this moment.
    This Mohawk is no exception, really love this build.

  14. @fiveten - Another dynamite build Spiros. I find Roden kits to be a pain in the rear, but you sure conquered this one. Got any more Vietnam builds in the pipeline?

  15. A great job, Spiros! It seems like Vietnam was a test bed for everything and any thing that had wings. I've done one Roden kit, the 1/144 C-119, maybe I was lucky but I didn't have any problems with the build or decals.

  16. Well done, Spiros, yet another great posting, very enjoyable read, and a beautifully built model, you’ve got the knack of turning out first class models from lesser known kits, definitely liked.

  17. Excellent results on this kit Spiros, very interesting visual appeal. Liked, my friend!

  18. Great job on this one Spiros ,well up to your usual standard. A really interesting looking aircraft that will look great in your collection, well done.

  19. 🙂 ... Greetings ... 🙂 :

    From time to time, we as modelers not only see an aircraft ( in this case ) that catches

    our attention, but also a model that screams at us. For obvious reasons we can't pull

    away from it and yet we are drawn more and more to it.

    Such is the case for this model.

    To tell you the truth, very rarely is it seen ( really wish more and more are seen ). I place it with the Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne and the Sikorsky CH-37 Mojave ( just to mention a few ).

    This model, Spiros is very much an amazement to see and admire.

    Just looking at it, one can see the lines in it's design. You have done a outstanding job

    on this one. You have me wanting to see the pilot and co-pilot figures ( 😀 ) .

    Seeing this model gives me a view of what to expect on my Mohawks, I have two still

    wrapped, no hurry ... but a good mental picture.

    Thank you for sharing these images.

    • Thank you so much, my friend @DE4EVER!

      I am really excited that you liked my Mohawk. I remember back in early 2000s, when I saw this kit, I couldn't help myself from grabbing it! As for the Cheyenne and the Mojave, both are utterly beloved, with the Cheyenne scoring tad higher (one of the coolest flying machines ever?), my dream is to build them someday! They are available in 1/72 from Atlantis and Special Hobby respectively: I believe 1/72 is not a bad scale for helos, with their rotors they will occupy a countable space and have great posture!

      Thanks so much for such wonderful comments, my good friend: if modeling is a hobby that can offer you relaxing, constructive time and your results are the subjects of nice discussions with fellow modelers (friends), what more can you ask for?

      Looking forward to see your Mohawks!

  20. I will copy what others have said above, Spiros, great modelling of an aircraft I was not familiar with, plus your wide variety of topics make for interesting articles. A one-man model factory, for sure! 🙂

  21. A very impressive build, looks great all over. Nice work!

  22. Great one Spiros @fiveten, excellent post!

  23. Great job Spiros!

    When I was in boot camp at Ft. Sill Oklahoma, would see Mohawks taking off/landing when we went out for our morning PT. Wanting to say they were being flown by the marine reserve units then ('87-'88), but not sure.

  24. I was stationed in Alaska in mid 70's as an Army Aircraft engine repairman. Assigned to a second echelon maintenance unit. we worked on chinook's CH47,Huey's UH1, cobras AH1, and mohawks OV1. Though ours were green ,this still brought back a lot of memories. Thanks. What a great looking bird you ended up with.

  25. Just found your Mohawk OV1A from two years ago. What a spectacular build! Roden Kits are not easy and their pebbly finish is a pain. Magnificent, Spiros @fiveten.

  26. Nice one chap. I now know the difference between OV-1A and JOV-1A. Just picked one of these up at a show. Probably going to need a lot of research but it's clear it won't be an easy build...not if I have it my way anyhow🤣

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