Antares 1/72 SC-1 Seahawk
KIT #: 001
PRICE: $15.00
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Ryan Grosswiler
NOTES: Manufacturer apparently went tango-uniform after this product, but its currently available under the Smer label


  Let's see, how does the song go? "I am the eye in the sky, looking at you--oo--oo--I can read your mind. I am the maker of rules. Dealing with fools. I can cheat you blind..." (Sound byte from my elementary-school years--now it's going to be stuck in my head the rest of the day!). 

   Knowledge is power, and the potential power of aircraft scouting ahead of a surface fleet to detect the enemy's presence, strength, composition, and predict his movements was recognized very quickly by the US Navy, who strove to put this capability on all its capital ships from the nine-teens onward. The Curtiss SC-1 depicted here was the final aircraft in a long line that started in 1910 with Eugene Ely's pioneering flights on and off makeshift platforms in the Curtiss Model D.


   Three decades later, under the pressures of world war and reeling from the tragicomic failure of their own SO3C Seamew, Curtiss engineers went swiftly to work in 1942 on a new design that would also replace it plus the far more trusty Vought Kingfisher, not to mention that earlier SOC Seagull--a fabric-covered biplane embarrassingly pulled back into service to compensate for the shortcomings of the "Sea Cow". The seaplane that emerged had a much higher performance--close to floatplane fighters of the period--as well as a reasonable offensive capability which included weapons racks on the wings, twin .50s firing forward, and even a waterproof internal bomb bay in the main float (this last being deleted in favor of additional fuel capacity).


   Development was fast and smooth. Flight testing was complete in the spring of 1944, and deployment rosters show twenty SC-1s embarked in the fleet on eight ships by December of that year, all except four in the Atlantic Fleet. Such was the pace of war, however, that the aircraft would not see its first action until eight months later, in the Pacific with the invasion of Borneo. However, photographs taken of seaplane bases around the end of the conflict show them crowding the ramps. So once it arrived, it did so in force. Rosters at the end of 1945 show the type rapidly supplanting the two others representing over 50% total strength, with total succession complete by December 1946. 577 rolled off the lines in Columbus, including a few of an advanced version, the SC-2, distinguished by a circular cowl and clear bubble canopy.


   However, the inherent hazards of seaplane operations on the open water ensured that all were out of service by 1950, replaced by Igor Ivanovich Sikorsky's wondrous and far more adaptable creation.


   The SC-1 in 1/72: Prior to this, there was a good vac-formed kit produced by Formaplane in the late 70s, plus a short-run injection-molded product by Aviation Usk in the mid-90s, also reviewed on this site. While representing different molding technologies, as finished replicas, I don't know that any have a decisive advantage over the other two. More on this below.



   The big, airy box with some attractive art of the subject in flight spills out the usual Two Grey Sprues and One Clear totaling 55 parts. Long run styrene, with very fine engraved lines on the fuselage and heavy ones on the wings. A nice, clear set of instructions which also include photos of the real aircraft and helpful line drawings of some details. A clean sheet of decals by Propagteam cover three options, one on landing gear and two on floats. Overall impression is favorable, except for a closer look at the uninspiring detail parts, and impression that will only worsen as the project commences.
   Really a mostly trouble free-build. The kit is short on interior bits, with an open void behind the pilot's seat that should be decked in and more voids on either side of said seat where there should be bulky consoles. All this was achieved with sheet styrene before a hood in front of the instrument panel was sculpted from epoxy putty and seatbelts form lead wine foil were cut and glued in. Slightly vexing, but more or less the norm in 1/72. The basic airplane shape was then built without issue, except for a wing-to-fuselage seam on the bottom that required a few rounds of putty-sand-primer. The floats followed. The landing light beneath the wing does not come flush with the surface, but does provide a perfect platform for the MV Products lens which went in after finishing. Overall up to this point enjoyable stuff.
   The Buzz Kill for the truly obsessed comes with the detail parts involving the engine and prop, beaching gear, and underwing stores. It's as though the mold makers sort of lost heart after cutting some good main parts and just wanted to get their task over with. All are either noticeably out of proportion or just plain toy-like. The spares box resolved some of this, inasmuch as I used Airfix Mi-24 Hind main wheels on the beaching gear and had to fatten up the prop with strips of plastic and a new boss out of turned styrene rod. The 250-lb bombs appear and are sized like Bullpup missiles, while the 'radar pod' on the other wing looks more like a component from a 19th-century commode. These were replaced with a True Details bomb and an AN/APS-4 from Quickboost.

   I also replaced the kit canopy with a vac-formed one from Pavla, though most modellers will find the stock one's okay.
   Photos and Paul Matt's excellent 1/48th-scale drawings were referenced throughout. These revealed that the bow of the main float is way too pointy and the vertical tail lacks the prototype's left-wise cant (to counter left-turning tendencies at takeoff) when viewed from above, two boo-boos I chose to ignore.
   A mix of Xtracolor and Testor's enamels were sprayed in the mid-war USN three-tone scheme, followed by a coat of Future. US national insignia were also out of proportion with bars too long and skinny, so were replaced from the spares box. The rest of the decals went on very well. Another clear coat was followed by a wash and dry-brushing session


   A good kit let down by those lame detail parts. I didn't really give it a full-hearted effort as I was looking for an easy project and lost some enthusiasm fraggling around with that issue. But the subject matter itself did grow on me as I built it; it's an attractive seaplane and the last of a distinguished breed, even if its combat service was brief. There are no real construction issues, so it would be an ideal first floatplane for a beginning modeler.


    Recommended to those who don't sweat the small stuff.



Larkins, William T. Battleship and Cruiser Aircraft of the United States Navy 1910-1949. Schiffer Publishing Ltd, 2000.

Matt, Paul. Paul Matt's Scale Airplane Drawings, Vol.1. Sunshine House Inc, 1991.


The Internet


There is also a very involved Ginter title, for those who want to go full-tilt-boogie on this kit.

 Ryan Grosswiler

22 September 2016


If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page