Sheet #

Superscale 48-690 for S-3B & ES-3A




VS-37 & VQ-5

Review By:

Scott Van Aken



The S-3 is one of those planes that the Navy didn't build enough of. Like the A-3 Skywarrior before it, the S-3 Viking was designed for one task (in this case carrier borne ASW) and later used in another (aerial refueling and electronic surveillance). 

In the electronic surveillance mission, a lot of money and effort was made to modify the aircraft into an ELINT platform to replace the EA-3B. This was the ES-3A. The aircraft entered fleet service in 1991 with VQ-5 and VQ-6 and was recently (1999) retired after only 8 years. The reason for this was the cost of updating the equipment. It was thought to be too expensive to do and in a era of stagnating budgets and increasing costs, the aircraft were retired to the bone yard.

Superscale has just released a couple of sheets on the S-3B and ES-3A. This particular one has VS-37 (itself disestablished around 1993) and VQ-5. Both are for CAG-14, however, on different ships.

The VS-37 S-3B is decked out in it's CAG markings for the Desert Storm cruise aboard the USS Independence. This aircraft is in gloss gull grey over white with a black tail, as was popular at the time for CAG birds.

The ES-3A is from VQ-5 aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln. This particular bird is in overall FS 36320 with black wing, and tailplane tips. The upper fuselage canoe is also black. You'll have to match the purple of the lightning flash for the tail tip.

Now on to some of the problems you'll have with this sheet. First of all, there are no S-3B kits on the market. The old, but still good S-3A kit from ESCI may be tough to find, though it was boxed by AMT. AMT's ES-3A kit has been out of production for several years, but can still be found. 

To do an S-3B you will have to do a minor modification to the wing tip pods as the antenna elements on them are now square instead of round. You will also have to install three chaff/flare dispensers; one behind each main gear door and one underneath the fuselage near the sonobouy chutes. There are a few other vents and things, but those are the two biggies for doing an S-3B. You will also have to find a D-704 tanker pod for the S-3B as that is primarily what they did during Desert Storm. I believe Cobra Company makes one.

There is also a bit of a glitch on the decal sheet. There is no ES-3B, but that is what is printed on the decal sheet above the serial number. You'll have to remove that B and replace it with an A from some other source. You will also have to find national insignia for the VS-37 aircraft from another source as they are not included on the sheet. There are also not enough engine intake warning decals. Two engines means that four warning stripes are needed.

Despite this little glitch, it is a very colorful sheet and much more reasonably priced over those of other current decal producers.

NOTE: This information was received following an inquiry to Superscale:

The wrong disks were sent to the printer. We sent the correct disks, but they used the wrong ones anyway. We are printing a correction sheet on our next run. If you send me a self addressed envelope, I will send you some. Thanks.
Ted Krasel

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