by: Hermon [ ]
BackgroundThe Grumman E-2C is the latest version of the Grumman companies concept of a carrier-based airborne early warning system or (AEW). This aircraft started life as the E-2, first being deployed in the 1960’s and through subsequent upgrades has evolved into the more advanced E-2C. Upgrades include more powerful and efficient engines, more sophisticated radar and avionics, all weather mission capabilities, and 8 bladed propellers. It also utilizes cooperative engagement capability or (CEC). CEC is a system of software that enables the sharing of radar data on air targets among surface ships. Even with such advancements as these the E-2C is now being tested with additional upgrades and enhancements that will be packaged into a later version named the E-2D. These upgrades will ensure that the E-2 family of Grumman birds will be in the eyes and ears of the U.S. Navy for at least another 20 years.
The KitThis kit is Hasegawa’s latest offering of the E-2C Hawkeye in 1/72 scale with a decal sheet depicting VAW-115 flying off the decks of the USS George Washington.
Out of the box this kit is vastly better than the old Heller kit and appears more detailed than Fujimi’s newest offering. The kit is molded in light grey styrene and comes attached in six parts trees. A separate tree of clear plastic holds all of the glass parts. Hasegawa has engineered this kit as they do many others by making it easy to swap trees for different kits in order to build different variants of an aircraft while retaining the core parts (wings, fuselage & tail section) on individual trees.
Exterior parts are loaded with very fine recessed panel lines as well as raised rivets in the appropriate places. Excess flash is almost nonexistent and only a few ejector pin markings are present. One thing I did notice was numerous tiny scratches on various parts such as the radome and outer wing surfaces caused by parts trees rubbing against one another inside the plastic packaging (Clear parts tree is bagged separate - thank you Hasegawa). None of these scratches are overly deep and the majority of them will disappear under the thinnest layer of paint. Inside the cockpit there is as much detail as you’ll find on many larger 1/48 scale kits. Instrument panel and left/right hand gauge clusters are finely detailed, so much so that many builders (me) will undoubtedly NOT use the supplied decals for these parts, instead choosing to paint and detail them accordingly. Seats are rather basic but the bulkhead behind them is nicely done.
Other nice features of this kit include the eight bladed propellers. These are produced by gluing together two sections containing four propellers each. Having built prop driven aircraft kits for many years I can say that these propellers are beautiful. It may sound trivial to some, but if you’ve ever spent hours carefully trimming excess plastic off of poorly formed props and then sanding and reshaping them, you’ll really appreciate these. There is no excess plastic or flash anywhere. Again, thanks Hasegawa.
The wheel wells are very well represented with abundant details as are the landing gear which appear to be robust enough to hold up a small 1/32 scale kit. Engine nacelles are a five part affair which includes the wheel wells. Again, details abound here as well with recessed panel lines and rivets. Plenty of places for a nice dark wash to hide out in so that these details will really pop.
Flaps are comprised of an upper and lower piece and can be posed in the stationary or lowered position. Rotodome and mount which are positioned above the fuselage are built from 8 pieces and each piece is replete with detail. Again, there is no flash or excessive plastic to trim anywhere.
The clear tree contains the canopy, side windows, side portholes, nose cone and various light lenses. The canopy integrates the two forward wind screens into the roof as one piece. This is a nice feature which will allow fitment of this single piece to the fuselage enabling the builder to fill and sand the seam resulting in a more flowing appearance.
InstructionsThe instruction manual is standard Hasegawa. Cover includes a brief history of the aircraft along with 1/1 scale dimensions and specs. Sheet. Inside you’ll find the customary painting guide and parts tree layout along with a very detailed and easy to follow 16 step building guide. One very important detail in step number 3 is the addition of 30 grams of weight into the front of the fuselage. If you don’t want a beautiful tail setter, don’t forget this step. The last two pages in the instruction sheet are the decal placement and painting guide. Again, very easy to understand.
DecalsIncluded in the kit is a decal sheet which will enable you to build one of two aircraft. Both aircraft are from VAW-115 “Liberty Bells” onboard the USS George Washington – US Navy. The decals, as expected, are really well done. They appear at first glance to be just a bit thick but they should lay down nicely. One thing I did notice is that the green color used on the stripes and the torch are a dead ringer for Model Masters FS14187 Willow Green. Yes, I have a bottle and I did indeed check.
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