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In-Box Review
Grumman OV-1A Mohawk

by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

Originally published on:

The winning design, the Grumman G-134, became the centre of intense controversy as the needs of the services grew increasingly incompatible. Things reached a head when the Air Force also became involved, objecting strongly to the Marines' requirement for the aircraft to also have a light-attack capability. Eventually, the Navy and Marines dropped out, leaving the Army to continue development of the YOA-1AF, as it was designated.

Following the tradition of naming Army aircraft after Indian tribes, the aircraft was originally to be called "Montauk", a small tribe who lived near Grumman Aircraft, but the Army opted for the better-known name "Mohawk".

Thanks to the earlier Marines involvement, the Mohawk still carried six underwing hardpoints allowing a range of ordnance to be carried. It wasn't long before the Army decided to arm the aircraft for fire-suppression and sent six JOV-1As to Vietnam for field trials. Armed with bombs, .50 calibre gun-pods and 2.75 inch rockets, the Mohawk proved a stable and effective weapons platform, but the Air Force objected furiously to its use.

The Mohawk was returned to the observation role, although the aircraft was frequently armed for "self defence". This apparently included an extraordinary air-to-air kill, when a Mohawk brought down a Mig 17 with a salvo of its 2.75 inch rockets.

The Kit

Roden's Mohawk consists of 186 parts moulded in pale beige plastic, with a further 18 clear pieces. About a dozen parts are unused, indicating more versions to come in the future.

The parts are quite cleanly moulded; there is a little flash in places, but nothing serious. Many parts have a slightly rough texture and will benefit from a bit of a polish. There are a few ejector-pin marks - the ones on the inner surfaces of the tail fins will need shaving off before assembly. One or two smaller parts show sink marks.

A test-fit of the main components is encouraging. The fuselage doesn't have many locating-pins, so the fit is a bit vague, but the parts actually line up very well and capture the distinctive, "bug-eyed" look of the aircraft. The wings clip together more positively and feature excellent thin trailing edges, which put most manufacturers' efforts to shame. Hefty tabs slot into the fuselage, ensuring a stable joint and the correct dihedral.

Panel lines are neatly engraved for most part, but one or two will need re-scribing around the fuselage seam.


Work begins with the cockpit, which consists off about 40 components - each ejector seat is built from 9 parts. Some parts such as the seat cushions and console-faces need to be folded to fit. Overall, the cockpit should look quite impressive, and provide a good basis for extra detail, but the seats do cry out for harnesses. You'll be able to see plenty through the big windows, so the cockpit offers a great chance for superdetailers to go to town. Expect a good many detail sets to appear for this kit...

The undercarriage is well detailed, with neatly moulded legs ands wheels, although the tyres aren't "weighted". The gear doors have good detail on the inner surfaces and the main-gear wells are excellent; deep with very impressive detail, let down slightly by a prominent ejector-pin mark. By contast, the nose-gear well is very bare and also creates a sink mark where it's moulded on the bottom of the cockpit floor.

The kit features open dive-brakes. Again, the interior detail is very good.

The jet pipes are split into halves, which means tricky seams to hide. Photos of the real thing also hint at a "panelled" effect, which will be a good excuse to try out all those burnt-metal paints on the shelf...

The propellers feature individual blades, which are thin and well moulded. Although moulding separate blades means more care will be needed to align them correctly, it allows them to be posed "feathered", as normally seen on the full-sized parked aircraft.

Two identical sprues contain a good range of underwing stores; drop tanks, gun pods and both 7-shot and 19-shot rocket pods. The pylons are neatly detailed and have beautifully moulded sway braces. The drop tanks are good, with very thin fins, but the tail cones are possibly a bit blunt. The rocket noses are a little short compared with photos, but this is nit-picking and Roden's Mohawk should be really impressive with a full load of ordnance.

Clear Parts

The canopy is moulded in 4 pieces with a frosted effect on areas to be painted. The parts are thin and clear, but my example shows a number of small scratches which polishing and a dip in Klear / Future should soon sort out. The separate side panels can be posed open, as was often done in Vietnam to avoid the cockpit overheating when the aircraft was on the ground. The instrument panels are moulded clear, with a decal to be applied to the reverse side. The instrument panel on my example was cracked - the only part to have been damaged in transit.

Instructions, Painting & Decals

The instructions are clearly laid out, with good illustrations. Despite the tricycle landing gear, no mention is made of whether any weight needs to be added to the nose to prevent the model being a tail-sitter... so definitely something to check (there's plenty of room in the nose for weight, if needed). Colours are indicated at each stage for detail painting and matches are given for Humbrol, Testors, Liecolor and Gunze Sangyo paints.

Decals are supplied for 4 aircraft, all finished in overall Olive Drab. The first pair are painted in the gloss finish of the early trials aircraft, while the last two have the more common matt finish.

The decals look very impressive; they are very thin, with a gloss finish and printed in perfect register. The only problem I can foresee is with the yellow "U.S. ARMY" markings for the early aircraft; due to the transparant nature of the yellow ink, it is printed over a white background. This is marginally smaller than the yellow, which could create a dark "fringe" when the decal is applied.

The decal sheets contains dozens of tiny stencils, which are beautifully printed and all are clearly legible and their positions are clearly indicated in the instructions.

Lastly, as a neat little extra, the evocative box art is included as a high-quality print, without any logos, all ready to go up on the wall of your work-room.


This is an excellent kit of an important aircraft. The model will look very impressive built out of the box and, with some extra detail added in the cockpit etc. should be a real showstopper. Modellers with a few kits under their belt should have no problems with Roden's Mohawk. Highly recommended.
In June 1956, the US Army , working in conjuction with the Navy and Marines, issued Type Specification TS145, calling for for a 2-seat, twin-turboprop airccraft capable of operating from small, rough airstrips and escort carriers. It's designed roles would include observation, artillery spotting, air control, emergency supply, naval target spotting and radiological monitoring.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: 406
  Suggested Retail: 27.50
  Related Link: Roden
  PUBLISHED: Jun 26, 2004
  NATIONALITY: United States

About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright 2021 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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