Hasegawa 1/72 ES-3A Shadow 'VQ-5 Seashadows'

KIT #: 04076 (K116)
PRICE: 2000 yen SRP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 1996  Limited Edition


The Lockheed S-3 Viking was 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. When the EA-3B was removed from service, there was a need for a shipborne replacement and the S-3 airframe was chosen for the task.

Designed as a carrier-based, subsonic, all-weather, long-range, electronic reconnaissance (ELINT) aircraft. 16 aircraft were modified to replace the EA-3B Skywarrior, entering fleet service in 1993. The ES-3A carried an extensive suite of electronic sensors and communications gear, replacing the S-3's submarine detection, armament, and maritime surveillance equipment with avionics racks accommodating the ES-3A's sensors. These modifications had minor impact on airspeed, reducing its top rated speed from 450 to 405 knots (833 to 750 km/h) but had no noticeable impact on the aircraft's range and actually increased its rated loiter time. Because these aircraft were standoff indications and warnings platforms and were never intended to be part of an ingress strike package, this new speed limitation was considered insignificant.


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. 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.

when on the ground. Engine housings will need some careful work to remove the prominent intake seams. You can model the boarding steps lowered. You also have the option of having the refueling probe extended. Again, this were only extended on the ground during maintenance. For the prominent wing pylons, you have a pair of fuel tanks. In order to build a proper ES-3A, Hasegawa has included a couple of bags of cast metal parts. The casting on these is very well done and it should be fairly easy to install them. A few other mods are needed, basically removing centerline antennas. I also recommend that you get some good photos of the underside of the wings as there are differences. The box art shows the extra long underwing antennas and the 'towel rack' antenna that were present, items not included in the kit.

Instructions are standard Hasegawa with Gunze paint references. The lone markings option is the box art plane, which is the CAG plane from VQ-5. 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 actually includes additional parts. Hasegawa only did two boxings of the ES-3A and this is the one for VQ-5. Not always easy to find, but well worth seeking if you want to add an important, though short-lived aircraft.



October 2023

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