Hasegawa 1/72 S2F-1 Tracker




$13.00 MSRP (Sep 2003)


2 options


Scott Van Aken




In the early days of ASW operations, aircraft worked in tandem with one carrying the radar and the other carrying the weapons. This started with TBM Avengers and were followed by specially designed A2F Guardians. However, it wasn't always the best use of deck space. What was needed was a single airframe to carry both. Speed wasn't an issue. More important was the ability to go slow and stay in the air for a long time. As subs often operated beyond the range of land based planes, this one had to be carrier capable.

Grumman designed a four place aircraft that met the requirements of carrying a radar, weapons, and being carrier capable. First flying in 1951, over 1,000 were built and used by not only the US Navy, but by forces around the world. The type was able to carry the required sonobouys (located in the aft portion of the engine nacelles) and the torpedoes or depth bombs needed to sink the prey in a lower bomb bay. A searchlight was carried outboard on the right wing. After their replacement in the US Navy by the S-3Viking in the early 1970s, those S-2s not sold to foreign air forces were given a new lease on life with the Forest Service as water bombers. Some versions have been reengined with small turboprops to replace their R-1820 recips. Other versions made from the base S-2 airframe were the E-1 Tracer and the C-1 Trader. Your author spent several years maintaining the C-1 so has some personal knowledge of this ancient but strong airframe.


What we would call a second generation Hasegawa kit (before engraved panel lines, but after rivets and thick plastic), this one has the required raised panel lines and engraved control surfaces. Though this is a rather early boxing, the kit suffers a small bit from flash and sink areas. Nothing major, but parts will need to be inspected for these things prior to use. For those of you unaware of the tie-in between Minicraft and Hasegawa, Minicraft imported Hasegawa kits for many years. At first, the only difference between a Hasegawa and Minicraft kit were that Minicraft kits were shrink wrapped. Then Minicraft started adding their own kit numbers and preparing instructions in English. Later, they provided all new decals and different boxes in addition to the things previously mentioned. In respect to decals, plastic and box art, this is exactly the same as what one would have bought in Japan.

Back to the kit. Cockpit is a floor, generic seats, crew and instruments done in decals. Sort of like 1/72 Hasegawa kits today! It provides no wheel well detail, though the nose well is boxed in. The weapons bay is sealed shut. You can have the radome either raised or lowered in this kit. The small exhaust shields need to be made from card stock and a template is provided. The real S-2 has a tail wheel as it can easily sit on its tail. For you to have this one stand on its nose gear, you'll need to pack a ton of weight in the nose and probably the engine nacelles as well. It has been decades since I built one of these, but I do recall it being pretty trouble-free.

Instructions are exploded steps that also have a written construction sequence. No color info is provided for the interior, but one could use dark gull grey as it is a pretty standard USN interior color. Wheel wells in white. Markings are provided for two aircraft. First is a JMSDF version in light gull grey and white. No unit is given, but based on the tail markings, it is 51 squadron. I'm thinking that this is a test unit, but I don't know for sure. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable can inform me. The second is VS-21, also in light gull grey and white. There are a number of aftermarket sheets that were produced by Micro/Superscale for the S-2. One has to be careful to use the right ones as there were different versions of the S-2 that had different wing tips, larger bomb bays and other variations in the airframe. Decals are typical of the time being thick and ivory instead of white. Wing walk areas are provided on the sheet which is a big help. Despite their age, old Hasegawa decals usually work quite well.


Even in this modern day, only Hobbycraft has done an S-2 and that also in 1/72. Basically, it is a knock-off of this kit and I'm not sure if there is any improvement or not. Still makes up into a very nice model. There are C-1 and E-1 conversions out there if you are leaning towards doing one of those.

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