Miniwings 1/144 S-2E Tracker Kit First Look
|Date of Review||August 2009||Manufacturer||Miniwings|
|Kit Number||017||Primary Media||Resin, Vac|
|Pros||Nicely engineered, nice detailing||Cons|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$35.00|
The Grumman S2F Tracker was the first purpose-built carrier-based anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft that was completely self-contained. The S2F (nicknamed 'Stoof') replaced the AF-2 Guardian which required two aircraft to perform the ASW mission - one hunter, one killer. The S2F was powered by a pair of R1820 engines rated at over 1500 horsepower each, and could dash at over 250 knots, loiter at 140 knots, and could stay aloft for up to nine hours.
The Stoof carried a crew of four, and could carry a selection of torpedoes, mines, and depth charges in the weapons bay, with additional weapons including rockets on hardpoints under the wings. The S2F was redesignated as S-2 after the 1963 DoD-wide redesignation of aircraft to a common nomenclature system. The S2F entered service in 1954 and was retired in 1976 as the Lockheed S-3 Viking came online. Many international air arms continue to operate the Tracker today, many of which have been re-engined with turboprop powerplants. The Tracker also remained in service for many years in the US after its Naval retirement as a fire fighter with the US Forest Service.
Miniwings is a kit line produced in the Czech Republic and imported into the US by Nostalgic Plastic. This line is currently all produced in 1/144 scale and cast in resin. Some of the subjects in their current line-up include the J35A Draken, SK-35C Draken, Ju 87A Stuka, Go 242A, Go 244B, Do 18G, CF-105, OV-10D Bronco, Sea Fury, Fi 103 (V-1), Super Mystere, S-2E Tracker, and XF-10F Jaguar.
Here we have the S-2E Tracker and like the others, it is cast in tan resin and it looks to be pressure-cast as these castings are smooth and bubble-free. The detailing is scribed, though not over-done as any panel lines in this scale would be out of scale if you can see them. Nonetheless, the details presented are nice and crisp.
The fuselage is cast as one piece with a hollow cockpit and recessed wheel wells. The wings are butt-fitted to pads on the fuselage sides. The modeler might want to drill out pin holes in the wing-fuselage joints to add brass rod spars to strengthen these joints.
The kit has one-piece propellers, so there is no need to try and fiddle with mounting individual prop blades.
The landing gear looks strong enough for this model. The gear door halves are molded together to make a gear-up build easier, and you simply cut along the line to divide the doors for a gear-down assembly.
You may have to add some ballast to keep this model on its nose gear. At first glance, it looks like the kit will be slightly tail-heavy, but you can make room inside the cockpit, nosegear well, or even hollow out space behind the engines to add some ballast. You'll see soon-enough once you get the wings and tail surfaces mounted to the fuselage.
Markings are provided for two examples:
- S-2E, VS-37, NAS North Island, 1969
- S-2E, Royal Australian Navy
This is a nice-looking kit and should be a quick build for the experienced resin modeler. At last we have a nice Stoof in 1/144!
My sincere thanks to the US importer, Nostalgic Plastic for this review sample!