Built Date: December, 2012
25th Combat Aviation Brigade, flies an OH-58 Kiowa
One of the most memorable scene in the movie Apocalypse Now is the sequence when the cavalry of US attack helicopter flying fast and low above the dense forests of Vietnam while boldly broadcasting their morning intrusion into the enclave of the Vietcong with the music from the Ride of the Valkyries. This romanticized image has always stayed in my mind when I think of attack helicopter and that is what stirred in me when I bought this Academy OH-58A Kiowa Warrior kit. This US attack and reconnaissance helicopter has evolved much since the time this kit came out through several upgrade programs to keep the helicopter usable in service. I will attempt to upgrade this model kit to build a more accurate representation of the versions used during the recent conflicts by using an aftermarket upgrade set.
The U.S. Army fielded the OH-58D scout helicopter in 1983 and its ‘Kiowa Warrior’ armed reconnaissance derivative in 1991 as a single-engine, two-seat reconnaissance and direct-fire support helicopter. While this aircraft is considered obsolete by today’s standard, a replacement of the original model is not yet in sight and the Army plans to keep them as an integral piece of the Combat Aviation Brigade for years to come. To support the helicopters, a Sustainment Maintenance Program (SMP) and Survivability Enhancement Program (SEP) were required to improve flight safety and survivability, reduce platform sustainment costs and contain the expense of replacing aging helicopters. However, these upgrades will not solve the OH-58’s main deficiency – limited capability to operate in high altitude and hot climate, characteristic of the Afghan theater of operation.
I have purchased the excellent looking resin conversion set from Floyd Werner. This set gives you the parts to convert to the modern OH-58D with the doghouse at the engine cowling. The quality of resin is excellent. I bought this set a few months back, but since then a new kit from Taiwan which uses this Academy kit as the base and added the similar parts to allow one to make a modern Kiowa.
This kit from Academy is fairly basic for a model of this scale. It is fine as is but I wish to give it maximum effort. To that end I had to do a large amount of scratch building just to give it enough details for realism sake. I will just let my photos do all the talking.
My model is a recreation of the Kiowa from 25th Combat Aviation Brigade in Afghanistan.