Hasegawa 1/72 SP-2H Neptune 'Canadian AF'






One aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Reissue with new decals


The P2V Neptune was borne of an early 1940's requirement for a long range, land based Navy patrol bomber. Work was begun on the aircraft in late 1941 at the Vega company, and required a pair of 2,000 hp engines; the Wright R 3350's being the preferred power plant. Initial work was slow, and frequently sidelined by more pressing needs following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, but by mid-1943 the Navy had decided to press forward with the project and a letter of intent for two prototypes was issued.

By this time, Vega had been fully absorbed into Lockheed and work on the plane switched to high gear in 1944. The initial prototype was completed and flown in May of 1945 as the XP2V-1. It had similar speed to the PV-2, but a much larger range and a larger bomb load. This prompted an order for 116 production aircraft, however the end of the war brought that down to 14 P2V-1s and 51 P2V-2s.

It was fortunate for Lockheed that the P2V was a very effective aircraft and it was able to keep building planes while other companies suffered through the lean years after the war. Eventually the plane was widely exported and it wasn't until the advent of the P3V (later P-3) in the early 1960's that the P-2 was slowly replaced. The last P-2s in US service were those of VP-94, who traded in their Neptunes in 1978. Countries who also operated the Neptune were Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Great Britain, Japan, the Netherlands, and Portugal. Probably the longest operator of the plane were the Japanese who had 83 lengthened and re-engined versions built by Kawasaki.


Those who have been around modeling for a long time will recognize an old friend. The P2V kit was not new when I first saw it in 1974 in Japan and it has been frequently reissued with a number of different decal sheets. However, the basic kit stays the same. It is of the 'raised panel lines and finely detailed rivet' school of thinking. That is in no means to imply that it is not a good kit. It is just not a NEW kit.

If you are looking for highly detailed interiors, forget it. Same for wheel wells and other parts. The only truly boxed in wheel well is the nose. The cockpit consists of two seats, an instrument panel, and a three piece tub. You also get two pilots. Same for the bombardier's section. You get a crewman to sit on the chair. One thing you may like is that there is plenty of room to put nose weight as this plane is a definite tail-sitter.

The auxiliary engines are molded with the inlets closed, however there is a clear nose for the search light on the tip of one of the wing tanks. You also have a choice of the upper turret or a clear window in its place. One thing about a kit of this age is that there is some flash on a few of the parts, but nothing major.

Instructions are not the modern ones we have gotten so used to with Hasegawa. These are the older type with several construction steps and a few images of the real plane to give you an idea of how the parts look. You need to ignore the color and markings section as those decals are not there. When Hasegawa does a simple decal change, that is what you get. Decals and an instruction sheet denoting any changes to the kit as well as colors. For a Canadian plane, you need to remove a few antennas from the forward nose. The decals themselves look pretty good and are typical Hasegawa, which means they are a bit thick but should stick well.



The last time this kit was reissued, it was in French Navy markings. Recently, Revell of Germany has issued this kit with Dutch Navy markings. If you add this one and the original issue with Japanese and US markings, that would make five different nations planes. It always draws the attention of the crowd at shows and should look very nice on your shelf.



Lockheed Aircraft since 1913, by RJ Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1987.

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