Hasegawa 1/72 S-3B Viking 'Atsugi 25th Anniversary'
|PRICE:||1800 yen SRP|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||1993 Limited Edition|
The Lockheed S-3 Viking is a 4-crew, twin-engine turbofan-powered jet aircraft that was used by the U.S. Navy (USN) primarily for anti-submarine warfare. In the late 1990s, the S-3B's mission focus shifted to surface warfare and aerial refueling. The Viking also provided electronic warfare and surface surveillance capabilities to a carrier battle group. A carrier-based, subsonic, all-weather, long-range, multi-mission aircraft, it carried automated weapon systems and was capable of extended missions with in-flight refueling. Because of its characteristic sound, it was nicknamed the "War Hoover" after the vacuum cleaner brand.
The S-3 was phased out from front-line fleet service aboard aircraft carriers in January 2009, with its missions taken over by aircraft like the P-3C Orion, P-8 Poseidon, Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk and Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. Several aircraft were flown by Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Thirty (VX-30) at Naval Base Ventura County / NAS Point Mugu, California, for range clearance and surveillance operations on the NAVAIR Point Mugu Range until 2016 and one S-3 is operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at the NASA Glenn Research Center. This aircraft is the last S-3 built and will be retired once spares have been depleted.
Hasegawa's S-3 kit has been with us for quite a long time and is typical of the raised panel line kits Hasegawa produced in the 1970s. As you might expect, this is not an S-3B but an S-3A. The major external differences are square antennas on the wingtip pods, an additional fuselage vent on the left side near the cockpit and the addition of flare/chaff dispensers. This latter feature has been reproduced by including decals. The incorrect wing tip pod antennas are covered in this edition by black paint.
What you are provided is the standard kit with an addendum sheet for attachment of the single decal sheet option. The kit has a very basic cockpit that consists of a floor, rear bulkhead, generic looking seats, control sticks and two crew figures. The instrument panel has a decal and there are no side consoles though a central one is provided. The kit is based on the prototype and preproduction aircraft so there is an extra oval window on each side that should really be filled in once installed. While on the subject of windows, these are very dark on the real S-3 so you will need to spray several coats of something like Tamiya Smoke to darken them down. 8 grams of nose weight are required and there is plenty of room for it.
Other areas of note are the ability to have the flaps lowered, which was not at all unusual on the real deal when on the ground. Engine housings will need some careful work to remove the prominent intake seams. You can model the boarding steps lowered and you can have a FLIR shape modeled lowered as well, but this is only lowered on the ground during maintenance. You also have the option of having the refueling probe and MAD boom extended. Again, these were only extended on the ground during maintenance. For the prominent wing pylons, you have a choice of fuel tanks or a TER with bombs. Rarely was anything other than fuel tanks carried. In later years, a D 704 refueling pod was on one wing pylon.
Instructions are standard Hasegawa with Gunze paint references. The lone markings option is the box art plane, which is the black tailed CAG bird for VS-21 aboard the USS Kitty Hawk which was home based in Japan at the time. The 25th anniversary deal is 25 years of USN presence at Atsugi and there are no special markings on the plane for that. I originally thought it meant 25 years of CAW-5, but the air wing did not arrive there until 1973-4. The plane is overall FS 36375 light grey with the black bits mentioned and shown on the box art. The decals are very nicely done and provide all the walk way and warning bits.
This is one of several limited edition kits that are simply decal changes. Those who really want to make their model more accurate for an S-3B will need to locate an aftermarket set for that. Most who look at the model won't be able to tell it is the wrong variant, but those of us who worked on the plane will easily spot the missing items.
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