Aeromaster 48-572: S-3B Vikings

Units: VS-21 and VS-38


$10.00 MSRP ($8.00 at North American Hobbies )


Scott Van Aken

This particular sheet is called Vikings of the Fleet: Lo Visibility pt V. Well frankly, when one does CAG birds, with all the color that is provided, especially on the S-3s huge fin, the lo visibility part is sort of meaningless! However, I do realize that they are referring to the overall scheme of what ends up being dirty greys of multiple shades. I'd say that just about all the Vikings currently flying are in S-3B form. When I left the Navy in 1993, the only S-3As that were still around were perhaps with test units at Pax River, and the few US-3As with VRC-50 (maybe). With the drawdown in forces, the Viking squadrons started being disestablished, the numbers of planes per squadron reduced and the S-3 area in the boneyard started growing.

These particular planes are from the 1994 time frame when they still were sub hunters, though the writing was on the wall and most of that nice, expensive electronic ASW gear was unused as the Vikings had turned into gas men.

The first is from the famed CAG 5 aboard the USS Independence from Atsugi, Japan. Though the paint is lo viz, the markings are not. It has full color warning markings and insignia. The major stencils for the S-3 are provided in the sheet, but the rest of the data markings (which can be quite a lot) are not. These can be found on another Aeromaster sheet dedicated to S-3 stencils (see the Decal Review archives for more info).

Next is the CAG bird from VS-38 aboard the USS Carl Vinson. A lot more subdued than the VS-21 bird. The modeler has to paint in the black areas on the fin, but it shouldn't be a problem for most modelers.

Your only choice in 1/48 is a single kit that has been released in several forms. First of all ESCI produced it. It was then reissued by AMT as an S-3A and later as the ES-3A. Italeri has leased the molds from AMT and will be producing this kit in the near future. It will be interesting to see if they include the few parts that are needed to upgrade to S-3B standards. I doubt it, but one never knows. One thing you do need to know about the kit is that the under wing tanks are too short and for an S-3 of this time frame a D-704 buddy refueling pod is mandatory.

Review sheet courtesy North American Hobbies, where you can get everything from 20-30% below retail..

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