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S-2E Tracker Kit

Kinetic 1/48 S-2E Tracker Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review March 2011 Manufacturer Kinetic
Subject S-2E Tracker Scale 1/48
Kit Number 48024 Primary Media Styrene
Pros First plastic kit of this aircraft in this scale Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $49.95

First Look

S-2E Tracker Kit
S-2E Tracker Kit
S-2E Tracker Kit
S-2E Tracker Kit
S-2E Tracker Kit
S-2E Tracker Kit
S-2E Tracker Kit

Grumman's S-2 Tracker was the first purpose-built carrier-based anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft in the world. Previous carrier-based ASW aircraft included the TBF Avenger (converted torpedo aircraft) and the AF Guardian which took two aircraft to perform the ASW mission - one with the sensors (hunter) and the other with the weapons (killer). Both of these types were also Grumman designs and based upon operational experience, the S-2 was built around the latest suite of ASW sensors includng radar, sonobouys, and a retractable magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) boom.

Powered by a pair of 1500 horsepower Wright Cyclone engines, this aircraft could loft 4800 pounds of weapons in its weapons bay and under the six hardpoints under the wings and operate quite effectively from the Essex-class aircraft carriers in service at that time.

Under the original USN aircraft designation system, this aircraft was designated S2F (routinely pronounced STOOF (S-two-F)) until 1962, when all US military aircraft were placed under a common designation system and S2F became S-2. Prior to 1962, different variants were designated by a dash number such as S2F-1 which later became S-2A. The S-2D (formerly S2F-3), S-2E (formerly S2F-3S), and S-2G were all based upon an enlarged airframe.

The S-2 airframe was not only a very effective ASW platform for the US Navy, it was also adopted by the air arms of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, Peru, Taiwan, Turkey, and Uruguay. In addition to ASW, the S-2 airframe was modified to serve other special missions such as the E-1 Tracer (early AWACS), C-1 Trader carrier onboard delivery (COD), RS-2 photo reconnaissance, and WF-2 weather observer. Even after a long and distinguished military career, the S-2 was also highly sought after as a fire bomber and fought fires in the US, Canada, France, and the Netherlands.

Kinetic is back with another completely new-tooled subject in 1/48 scale, the long anticipated S-2 Tracker. In this box, we have the S-2E provided in plastic. Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on seven parts trees, plus one tree of clear parts.

You'll see a number of parts in this kit that are provided to support other variants in the future including the S-2G and possibly the S-2D. Rendering other variants with the shorter wing and fuselage will obviously require new fuselage and wing parts, but no plans have been announced for early Trackers so far.

Among the features of the kit:

  • Nicely detailed cockpit
  • Positionable crew entry door
  • Positionable weapons bay doors with weapons bays
  • Extendable MAD boom
  • Positionable wings (folded or extended)
  • Nicely detailed landing gear

Among the weapons and stores in this release:

  • 4 x torpedoes
  • 6 x rocket pods

As with previous releases, Kinetic doesn't waste resources putting details where you won't see them. The flight deck is nice yet simple in its layout given that you can't see much fine detail through the bubble windows. If you choose to pose the crew entry door open, there isn't anything inside the main crew compartment so you'll have to fabricate part of an interior on your own.

What's nice about this kit is that the STOOF isn't a big aircraft considering it holds a crew of four, but with those wings extended, it will take up some shelf space. Kinetic did well by providing a wing fold option so you can properly stow this aircraft on your shelf using little space and showing off some nice detail.

This release has one distinctive marking option:

  • S-2E, 151684, VS-37, NT/211, USS Ticonderoga, 1971

The decal sheet was produced for Kinetic by Fightertown Decals and this set provides walkways, propeller warning stripes, and lots of airframe stencils. It also looks like plans were in progress for a second decal option for an aircraft aboard USS Bennington, but no mention is made in ths instructions nor are any other markings provided for such an option.

Kudos to Kinetic for this beautiful model. Straight out of the box, this should build into a beautiful model and I expect that we'll see some aftermarket options appear given that there are MANY colorful schemes worn by this aircraft from the USN as well as the services of other nations. STOOF lovers rejoice!

Check out our build review of this kit here.

My sincere thanks to Lucky Model for this review sample!