Kinetic 1/48 E-2C Hawkeye Kit First Look
|Date of Review||December 2009||Manufacturer||Kinetic|
|Kit Number||48013||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||First 1/48 styrene kit of the E-2C; nice detailing, wing fold options||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$94.95|
Carrier-based Airborne Early Warning (AEW) has been a critical mission for the protection of the fleet and in the US Navy, this mission had been performed by existing aircraft modified to perform the mission. Early examples include a radar-equipped A-1 Skyraider and the highly modified S-2 Tracker that was designated E-1 Tracer.
The Grumman E-2 was the first purpose-built aircraft for the AEW mission. First flown in the early 1960s, the Hawkeye has seen numerous improvements in radar, avionics, and additional mission capabilities. In recent years, the E-2C has seen several additional upgrades which are still being deployed into the fleet including: newer engines and an eight-bladed propeller, Link 16 (TADIL-J) and the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC). Even with these improvements entering service, the US Navy is currently testing the E-2D Hawkeye which incorporates further capabilities which will enable the Hawkeye to maintain its edge well into the 21st century.
When I first heard that Kinetic was producing the Hawkeye in 1/48 scale, I thought this was someone's idea of a practical joke as this is one subject that had been long overlooked. Up until that point, the only Hawkeye options in styrene were Fujimi's older toolings of the aircraft in 1/72 scale.
When the first CAD drawings of the Kinetic kit were shown online, we were also rewarded with a completely new-tool kit in 1/72 scale from Hasegawa. Things were looking up for the AEW modeler! At long last, the Kinetic kit has arrived in North America and it definitely has been worth the wait!
The kit is molded in light gray styrene and is presented on 13 sprue trees, plus one tree of clear parts. According to the specs, there are over 180 parts in this kit and no multimedia parts required to complete the project. The layout of the model is such that it should be buildable by a modeler with basic modeling skills and some experience, though it will be a thing of beauty in the hands of the AMS modeler.
This release represents the early Hawkeye configuration. Over the years, the fleet of E-2Cs have been upgraded with better radars, avionics, and engines, and it looks like Kinetic is planning to release at least the Hawkeye 2000 at some point in the future. More on this later. In the meantime, as I said above this kit is set up in the original production configuration as it appeared in 1973. The kit has some nice features:
- Nicely detailed flight deck
- Separately molded overhead escape hatches over the cockpit which can be posed open/off to see inside
- Positionable crew entry door
- Innovative interior plug to provide an interior view through an open entry door
- Wings can be posed in the flight or folded position
- Wing flaps can be posed in the up or partially extended position
- Engine nacelles have two engine access panel options (standard or reinforced)
- Weighted wheels
- Detailed gear wells
- Detailed intake ducts with compressor face and engine shaft details
- Clear nose dome that will be masked at painting to provide seamless view of nose landing lights
- Positionable tail hook
- Lots of antenna details
Given the proportions of the model, I wondered about ballast and the instructions indicate that 50 grams will be required to keep the model from becoming a tail-sitter. I don't know if the 50 grams is for the aircraft to be posed in the flight or wings-folded configuration, so if I were you, I'd be ready to add more weight for the wings-folded configuration since that puts even more styrene aft of the center of gravity (and the main landing gear).
The kit is laid out simply and should not pose a challenge for most modelers. The engineering in the kit clearly shows that we'll be seeing some variants of the Hawkeye in our future. In fact, my kit has both belly pans in the box, the standard fuselage and the one with the Frisbee-shaped Cooperative Engagement Antenna (CEC) fairing. With the CEC fairing in the tooling, that means we'll see some of the other updates to render at least the Hawkeye 2000. Since the prop blades and hubs are on small sprues of their own, that also indicates we'll see the eight-bladed update as well. Sweet!
The decals are designed by Fightertown Decals and printed by Cartograf. The aircraft depicted here is E-2C BuNo 164495 of the VAW-112 Golden Eagles, Carrier Air Wing 9, USS Nimitz, circa 1995. With this later depiction, the aircraft will be a simple overall FS 16440 gray scheme. I hope we'll see some aftermarket options to depict this aircraft in its earlier Gull Gray over White paint and high visibility (colorful) markings.
This is a nice looking kit and kudos to Kinetic for bringing us the Hawkeye in 1/48th scale. This kit will be a nice addition to scale flight decks everywhere.
My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!