OV-10 Bronco / Lead Plane (ENG)

In the North American doctrine there is a difference between the Lead Plane, in charge of guiding the tanker to the drop zone, and the Air Attack aircraft, in charge of the coordination of the assets on the area of operation. In Load and Return these two functions will probably be simulated by the same aircraft.

The Call Fire OV-10 Bronco can be used in both tasks and that is why I chose to make one. The paint scheme is simple and I had several of these models for a future project on Vietnam.

I decided to didn’t file the gondolas of the guns under the belly because they are not very visible and I didn’t remove the rocket pods under the wings either. Once painted I find that it doesn’t bother even if it’s not necessarily very realistic.

I didn’t paint the panel lines on it either as the Call Fire Aircrafts are always spotless in the pictures and I was afraid of the « dirty » effect it might give.

I’ve tried a few brush marks and even though it’s not super straight I think it looks pretty good.

This aircraft will be perfect to guide the C-130 MAFFS of the US National Guard :

CAll FIRE’s OV-10 guiding a C-130 MAFFS for a drop.
To indicate the position of the drop the Lead Plane releases some white smoke.

Here is also a nice video, taken during the 2020 Apple Fire in California, where you can see an OV-10 making a marking pass for a Bae-146 which drops its retardant load a few moments later:

On the Lead Planes I recommend the excellent article by Fred Marsaly in two parts : Lead Planes (1ère partie) and Les Lead Planes (et consorts – 2e partie).
I have not found an equivalent in English…but Deepl can help 😉 !

The history of aerial firefighting is studded with an untold number of different types of lead planes, some of which were very original! I won’t spoil you but I’ll probably talk about it again soon!

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