Kinetic 1/48 E-2C Hawkeye 2000 Kit First Look
|Date of Review||June 2010||Manufacturer||Kinetic|
|Subject||E-2C Hawkeye 2000||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||48016||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nice Hawkeye 2000 release, nice detailing, color photo walk around booklet||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 Kinetic released their first 1/48 E-2C Hawkeye kit, the naval aviation modelers were ecstatic (including me). For the first time, we had an E-2 in 1/48 scale as a styrene kit, and it was really well done from nose to tail. The modularity of the kit design indicated that we had other versions coming and indeed, we've seen a French Navy and a JASDF release since then. The one I've been waiting for is here at last - the Hawkeye 2000.
The Hawkeye fleet has been receiving a number of incremental updates to the airframe, not necessarily in the same order. Two of the most distictive updates to the aircraft were the CEC antenna (the disk antenna on the belly of the aircraft, and the eight-bladed propellers marking the engine updates to the airframe. If you go through recent photographs of the Hawkeye in service, you'll see aircraft with the engine updates and no CEC antenna, and other aircraft with the CEC antenna but no engine updates. In the end, they all should be back in a common configuration.
As before, the kit is molded in light gray styrene and is presented on 14 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 latest Hawkeye configuration. 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
- CEC antenna (previous belly faring is still included)
- Movable radome
- Link 16 (TADL J) antenna
- New propellers and hubs
- 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.
One bonus item in this release is an 18 page booklet containing a color photo walk around of the Hawkeye 2000 and decribing the details of this aircraft. The format is similar to the PRM booklets that Italeri used to provide in their limited edition kits, and this one you'll want to file away for future reference after your model is completed.
The decals are designed by Fightertown Decals and printed by Cartograf. The aircraft depicted here inlcude:
- E-2C, BuNo 164495, --/640, VAW-120 Greyhawks, Fleet Training Sqn
- E-2C, BuNo 165818, --/650, VAW-120 Greyhawks, Fleet Training Sqn
Interestingly enough, 164495 was the subject of Kinetic's first E-2C release depicted during its tour with VAW-112. This decal set has a nice set of airframe stenciling and walkways in addition to the national and distinctive markings of each example.
This is still a nice looking kit and kudos to Kinetic for bringing us the Hawkeyes in 1/48th scale. This kit will be a nice addition to scale flight decks everywhere.
My sincere thanks to Lucky Model for this review sample! They have this kit available at $65.98 USD!