Hasegawa 1/72 P-3C Orion


K15 X


$39.95 MSRP for current (May 2003) boxing


Three aircraft


Scott Van Aken




Description: Four-engine turboprop anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft.

Features: Originally designed as a land-based, long-range, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) patrol aircraft, the P-3C's mission has evolved in the late 1990s and early 21st century to include surveillance of the battlespace, either at sea or over land. Its long range and long loiter time have proved invaluable assets during Operation Iraqi Freedom as it can view the battlespace and instantaneously provide that information to ground troops, especially U.S. Marines.

The P-3C has advanced submarine detection sensors such as directional frequency and ranging (DIFAR) sonobuoys and magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) equipment. The avionics system is integrated by a general purpose digital computer that supports all of the tactical displays, monitors and automatically launches ordnance and provides flight information to the pilots. In addition, the system coordinates navigation information and accepts sensor data inputs for tactical display and storage. The P-3C can carry a mixed payload of weapons internally and on wing pylons.

Background: In February 1959, the Navy awarded Lockheed a contract to develop a replacement for the aging P2V Neptune. The P3V Orion, derived from Lockheed's successful L188 Electra airliner, entered the inventory in July 1962, and more than 30 years later it remains the Navy's sole land-based antisubmarine warfare aircraft. It has gone through one designation change (P3V to P-3) and three major models: P-3A, P-3B, and P-3C, the latter being the only one now in active service. The last Navy P-3 came off the production line at the Lockheed plant in April 1990. The P-3 is in use by over a dozen countries including Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Spain, Norway, and Iran.

Thanks to the US Navy for the brief historical background.


Thanks to Hasegawa's penchant for producing kits of aircraft flown by the air and naval self defense forces, we have a decent P-3 kit in 1/72 scale. Prior to this, the only an oddly scaled P3V from Revell and the nice LS 1/144 kits were available. This kit was developed in the early 1980s and as such is from the raised panel line era. This particular boxing is dated 1986 and other than the decal sheet, is identical to the initial issue.

So what does one get for one's thirty plus bucks? Well, you get a rather large and tail heavy model, that 's what. Typical of Hasegawa 1/72kits, this one has a decent cockpit with decals for instrument panels. All of the various antennas are separate items, a feature I prefer as I'm tired of trashing these things when they are molded as part of a fuselage half. The wheel wells are pretty well devoid of any detailing so those who like to add stuff there will have a great opportunity to spruce things up. Another nice design feature is that the clear bits are all designed to be added from the outside. That means you can paint this beastie without having to sweat masking those windows that bulge out. There is no detail in the cabin. An entry ladder is provided. If you've been around P-3s at all, you know that this normally left out when the plane is buttoned up after a mission. You'll need all of the 30 grams of weight that is recommended. I can also tell you that if you don't break the nose gear strut sometime while owning this model, you will be a rare person indeed! There are a full load of nine pylons included with the kit, though you will rarely see a plane with more than two on each outer wing and the one with the large antenna on it (as shown on the box art).  Two torpedoes are provided for two of the centerline racks, but again, these racks were rarely installed. I should also mention that this is the Update II version so more modern P-3s may well have additional things hanging off them for the later updates.

Instructions are the usual superb Hasegawa ones with Gunze paint references and generic names. Both US and Japanese Orions are painted white over light gull grey. Since this is the Japanese JMSDF version, there are markings for three Japanese squadrons. #5004 is for 6 Sq with the 'Orion the Hunter' marking on the fin. The one with Mount Fuji is from the 3rd Squadron and the final one with the Trident on the tail is from the 2nd Squadron. The decal sheet is quite complete with not only unit markings but also the upper wing walk markings. The decals are a bit thick and the white is ivory, but they should work well as long as you keep them away from setting solution. For those who are fortunate enough to find aftermarket decals for this kit (several were produced by Superscale, but are most difficult to find), you can do any number of US units.



Once again it is a case of if you want a 1/72 P-3 then this is your only choice. Thankfully, it builds into a very nice model when done, but it does take up a bit of shelf space. Aftermarket decals will widen your choices of schemes (see pic below of model built by your editor back in 1984)

Review kit courtesy of me.

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