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P2V-7 Neptune VSA

Hasegawa 1/72 P2V-7 Neptune VSA Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2015 Manufacturer Hasegawa
Subject P2V-7 Neptune VSA Scale 1/72
Kit Number 02150 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Easy build, unique subject Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $69.99

First Look

P2V-7 Neptune VSA Kit
P2V-7 Neptune VSA Kit
P2V-7 Neptune VSA Kit
P2V-7 Neptune VSA Kit
P2V-7 Neptune VSA Kit

In 1977, the Japan Defense Agency issued Kawasaki a contract to modify a JMSDF P2V-7 Neptune into a Variable Stability Aircraft (VSA) for evaluation of fly-by-wire technologies. The modifications included a fly-by-wire control system with mechanical back-up; flight control computer system; replacement of the outboard fowler flaps with direct lift control surfaces with +20 to -40 degrees deflection; steerable vertical surfaces outboard of the jet engine pods with +/- 30 degrees of travel; perforated airbrakes inside each weapons bay door; removal of all ASW equipment including the ventral radome (but retaining the ASW stinger fairing on the tail); and the addition of flight instrumentation recorders and airframe sensors with engineering workstations in the former tactical compartment.

The VSA Neptune first flew in December 1977 and the VSA flight research was conducted by the 51st Air Squadron, JMSDF, between 1978-1980. When the research was completed, the aircraft became a training asset for the test pilots' school until its retirement in 1982.

Hasegawa has reissued their 1/72 P-2 Neptune kit with some new parts to render this very unique subject. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on four parts trees plus one tree of clear parts. In addition, there are six low-pressure styrene parts included, one plug for the ventral radome that must be surgically removed and replaced with this plug, four vertical vanes for lateral steering above and below the wings, and a new antenna for the flight instrumentation downlink.

What isn't included in the kit are the vortex generators that are mounted above the wing ahead of the direct lift control surfaces and separate direct lift control surfaces. For the latter, you'll surgically remove the outer flap sections and droop them as shown in the box photo when power isn't applied to the fly-by-wire system. All remaining flight control surfaces remain neutral.

Decals are provided for this aircraft and most are dual-layer decals - apply the white backgrounds first, then the second layer. You'll be masking and painting 17875 White over 16440 Gull Gray for the basic airframe colors, then a mixture of Gloss Insignia Red (11136) and Orange to replicate the unique fuselage sihouette, vertical vanes, and wingtip tank stripes. The kit provides a good painting guide along with the supplemental instructions to modify the stock kit into the VSA configuration.

If you're a fan of colorful flight test and experimental aircraft, this one will be a distinctive eye-catcher!

My sincere thanks to Hasegawa USA for this review sample!