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  • Writer's pictureSantiago "Cubeboy" Cuberos

Review: DCS OH-6A Cayuse by Tobsen & Eightball

What do you imagine when you think about helicopters in DCS World? I would bet that most people immediately imagine deadly attack helicopters like the AH-64D Apache or Mi-24P Hind, maybe even gunships like the Mi-8 Hip or the UH-1H Huey. Yesterday we all got a surprise gift from Tobsen and Eightball, who have been developing this mod for well over a year now: The OH-6A Cayuse, the latest addition to DCS' scout helicopter roster!


While not as popular as the big boy helos, scout helicopters like the SA-342 Gazelle and the upcoming OH-58 Kiowa serve a crucial role in DCS and are some of the most fun you can have with helicopters. The OH-6A is no exception, with its light build and excellent visibility.


Today, we will take a look at this amazing new free mod. I will divide this article in several areas, as per usual, to make it easier for you to go to the parts that interest you the most. This is so you can judge this module for yourself and decide if it is a fit for your own flying style.


  • External and internal 3D models

  • Flight modeling

  • Mission capability

  • Armament

  • Vietnam Asset Pack!

  • Is this aircraft for you?

 

EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL 3D MODELS


To say that the quality that these modders have put into this project is high would be an understatement. The 3D model for the OH-6A is absolutely gorgeous, and extremely accurate to the real aircraft. Rivets, panels, even the visual stress in the metal from the rivets and the weathering between the seams. This model is absolutely amazing.



The pilot and gunner models are pretty good, too! They are some of the best I have seen in any mod, let alone helicopter mods, that truly benefit from these additions. Weapon pylons are removable, as well as the doors and even the cable cutters! The level of detail this team put into the project has nothing to envy from official modules. The internal model is as excellent as the exterior one. While it might not be the dirtiest and grimiest cockpit, every gauge and dial has been modeled and textured as accurately as possible, all of them with accurate textures for the instruments that allow proper use of them in the cockpit during flight.



Night lightning is present in the cockpit, as well as a plethora of effects such as cockpit shake under demanding flight regimes or heavy maneuvers. It is excellent work, and I am so glad that the developers spent as much time as they did polishing it.

 

FLIGHT MODELING


DISCLAIMER: This is always a tough category, as like with any other aircraft, there is a lot to take into consideration other than just the feel of the flight model. This category is the most subjective one in this article, as I do not have any real world experience with this craft. I will only base my opinion on practical experience and knowledge of practical aerodynamics and the theoretical behavior that a OH-6A should have under certain scenarios.



With that out of the way, I want to say that this has got to be the most analog experience I have gotten out of any helicopter in DCS so far. It has no hydraulic augmentation for its controls, no stability controls or anything similar. It is a raw experience and I have loved every single second of it. Likewise, it is a challenging experience. The controls are very sensitive, and it will be a bit harder for those that might have problems with smaller inputs, but once you have mastered the initial phase then it is a delightful experience. The transition from ground effect to forward flight is very much noticeable, and one that all pilots will need to get used to. This helicopter is the lightest player-controlled helicopter in the game at the moment, but its engine is still enough to sustain it through every maneuver. You will have to keep an eye on your torque, as it is pretty easy to over-torque it if you are not careful. Mind your collective and trim your governor properly.


As stated before, It behaves exactly all the other OH-6A/MD-500 I've flown in other simulators like XP11, which should serve as a compliment for the hard work Tobsen put into this spectacular flight model.


 

MISSION CAPABILITY


In terms of capabilities, the OH-6A can only perform a very specific set of tasks due to its weight, payload limitations and speed. While it might not be able to hoist cargo like a Huey, or maintain suppression through sheer amount of firepower like a Hind or an Apache; the Cayuse functions great as a traditional, Vietnam-era scout helicopter.


It lacks any sort of sensors for long range reconnaissance, but due to its small size and agility, it is capable of infiltrating behind enemy lines to mark enemy positions with smoke for other aircraft to engage. It can also perform duties similar to light attack aircraft, with an emphasis on "light". Its main role will be scouting targets for other assets while maintaining itself out of harms way through sheer piloting skills and agility. You could also transport a small group of special operations forces behind enemy lines in missions with CTLD enabled, and protect them from infantry or light vehicles for a short while with your limited armament and AI gunner, but your time on station will be limited if you want to come home in one piece.

 

ARMAMENT


M134 7.62mm MINIGUN

Your classic side-mounted minigun, but this time on a gimbal! It is zeroed with your XM70E1 sighting system. You might not be able to penetrate armored vehicles, but anything without armor will feel your wrath.

XM158 2.75in ROCKETS

Simple, effective. Your classic 2.75in rockets mounted on 7 tube pods for a total of 14 rockets. You will have to choose between carrying both rocket pods or one rocket pod and the M134.


SMOKE AND HIGH EXPLOSIVE GRENADES

What happens when you don't have doors and a co-pilot that wants to make themselves useful? That is what these are for. You have four different colors of smoke grenades plus 10 HE frags to choose from. This is how you perform your scout duties.


AI GUNNER w/M60

A unique feature within the modding scene as of the time of release, the AI gunner will take care of the enemies for you as long as you point him in the right direction. It tracks very well and is as effective as anyone would be with a gun from a moving helicopter.


 

VIETNAM ASSET PACK



The OH-6A comes packaged with a set of Vietnam War assets that are extremely well-made. These range all the way from combat AI units to static barrels and FARP assets for base building. As an extra for this mod, these are the most delightful addition I have ever seen from a mod creator. It is absolutely astonishing that the developers not only put time on the Cayuse, but also gave its community a set of assets to make this helicopter feel at home.

 

IS THIS AIRCRAFT FOR YOU?



If what you want in a module is:


  • A lovely first helicopter to train your friends in.

  • A light attacker that could prove useful in low-threat environments.

  • Unique features that have yet to be implemented in other mods.

  • A fantastic scout helicopter with a superb flight model.


If you don't mind:


  • Not having any guided weapons.

  • The limited operational capabilities of the aircraft.

  • Getting one of the best helicopters in the game for free with no strings attached.


If all or some of the above is what you want, then Tobsen and Eightball's OH-6A is for you!



 

About the writer:

Santiago "Cubeboy" Cuberos

Longtime aviation fanatic with particular preference towards military aviation and its history. Said interests date back to the early 2000s, leading into his livelong dive into civil and combat flight simulators. He has been involved in a few communities, but only started being active around the mid 2010s. Joined as a Spanish to English translator in 2017, he has been active as the co-founder and writer ever since. Twitter | Discord: Cubeboy

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