|PRICE:||4400 yen SRP (74.99 SRP in the US)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Special Limited Edition that includes a patch|
In June 2017, the last E-2C Hawkeyes from
Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 115 “Liberty Bells” departed Naval
Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi Japan June 1st, marking the end of a 44-year storied
legacy of service and achievements for one of the Navy’s longest-serving forward
deployed squadrons in the U.S. Navy.
Boasting a distinguished history accumulating more than 24 consecutive years and 50,000 hours of Class-A mishap-free hours, the Liberty Bells of VAW-115 are returning to the United States after turning over operational responsibilities to VAW-125 and the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. VAW-115 is currently based at NAS Pt Mugu along with three other VAW squadrons. Pt. Mugu has become the home of West Coast E-2 squadrons since turning over NAS Miramar to the Marines.
Hasegawa was wise to produce this kit and it should be a mainstay of their catalogue for many years to come. Hasegawa has produced standard kits and those of the Hawkeye 2000. This latter version is what is in this box and basically consists of different props from the standard kit. I'm not sure if this can be backdated without a major conversion as the mark of the earlier planes was a more rounded nose and a smaller cooling system intake atop the fuselage. Perhaps this will be done by adding in resin parts, making things a bit more pricey.
As you'd expect from Hasegawa, the molding of the parts themselves is superb with crisply engraved detailing where appropriate. The cockpit is most complete and includes an overhead console. A change from the norm with Hasegawa's 1/72 kits is that the detailing on the instrument panel and consoles is raised and nicely done. Of course, you also have the option of applying decals and many of us will put them right over the existing detail. This one will need 30g of weight to keep it from tail sitting and finding space will be a challenge.
To keep from having problems with wing alignment, the upper wing half is one piece to which the lower sections are attached. The kit also has a clear nose cone. You paint all but the landing light area into which you can see the lights and an electronic box or two. An interesting feature is a one piece lower fuselage insert that has a rather convoluted edge on one side to fit past the doors. I'm not sure why it was molded like this as it puts a break in the cable ducting on the one side, but there it is. There are a ton of holes to open up for the various antennas and that may well be the reason.
The kit's rotodome is designed to be able to be positioned where you'd like with the installation of a pair of polycaps. One can remove the molded in wing tip lights and replace them with clear. Another feature is the ability to mold the flaps either up or down as you'd choose. It would have been nice to have had the ability to fold the wings as well, but I'm sure that aftermarket will come to the rescue in this regard.
As is expected, this one has a different set of markings from the standard kit. In this case it is the colorful tail markings applied to the 'farewell scheme' of VAW-115. The decals are very nicely printed and include all the data and walk area markings as well as the instrument panels. You will have to paint the inner fins and the inside of the outer fins with green to match the decals. All those little 'slivers' you see are the de-icing books for the prop blades (eight blades per side).
The kit also comes with a collector's patch, undoubtedly part of the reason for the price. This is a standard cloth patch and is something fans of the type will want to add to their patch collection. It will also make a nice focal point of a display.
While I'm not a huge fan of the E-2, having only built one over the decades, I thought that I should pick this one up as it was the last squadron still based at Atsugi when I was there in 74-76. Most will blanche at the US SRP, but shopping for Hasegawa kits in Japan proper will result in considerable savings. This one was picked up on discount for about $36 plus shipping. As usual, I bought several others to help even out the costs. Hasegawa is still the only one doing the 1/72 E-2 and while the Fujimi kit is still around and has been reboxed by Heller, this one is quite a bit nicer.
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 Back to the Previews Index Page