Kinetic 1/48 E-2C Hawkeye 2000 VAW-115 Kit First Look
|Date of Review
|E-2C Hawkeye 2000 VAW-115
|Nicest kit of this subject in any scale
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 was given several additional upgrades including newer engines and eight-bladed propellers, Link 16 (TADIL-J) and the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC). To keep the Hawkeye relevant into the future, the US Navy is deploying the new E-2D Hawkeye out to fleet squadrons.
Kinetic Models first released their 1/48 E-2C Hawkeye kit in 2009 and remains today the best kit of the subject in any scale (less than 1:1). Over the last decade, it has been updated with new parts and reissued, and here is their latest offering, the E-2C Hawkeye 2000 and features special markings for the VAW-115 CAG aircraft circa 2017. At that time, VAW-115 was assigned to Carrier Air Wing 5 aboard USS Ronald Reagan, which is forward-based in Japan. VAW-115 has since returned to the United States to begin transitioning to the new E-2D Hawkeye.
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 E-2C Hawkeye 2000 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
- Detailed intake ducts with compressor face and engine shaft details
- Eight-bladed propellers
- Clear nose dome that will be masked at painting to provide seamless view of nose landing lights
- Positionable tail hook
- Lots of antenna details including Link 16 cap atop the rotary radome
- Choice of smooth belly or CEC antenna fairing underneath (the latter is used with this subject)
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 decals are designed by Fightertown Decals and printed by Cartograf. The aircraft depicted here is E-2C BuNo 165812 of the VAW-115 Liberty Bells, Carrier Air Wing 5, USS Ronald Reagan as it appeared in 2017 for its departure stateside from NAS Atsugi, Japan. With this later depiction, the aircraft will be a simple overall FS 16440 gray scheme.
This is a nice looking kit and kudos to Kinetic for bringing us the Hawkeye 2000 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!