Review: Grumman E-2C Hawkeye, VAW-115 "Liberty Bells" #72177
Brand: Fujimi
Scale: 1/72
Review by: Zoltan Pocza
Sample by: Hobby Link Japan

 

Introduction

The E-2A Hawkeye was designed with one primary mission in mind: patrolling the approaches to the fleet to detect impending attack by hostile aircraft, missiles or sea forces. In addition to this AEW function, the E-2A provided strike and traffic control, area surveillance, search and rescue guidance, navigational assistance and communications relay services.

Capable of all-weather carrier operations, the Hawkeye has great flexibility in assignments owing to its sophisticated electronics equipment. Its Airborne Tactical Data System (ATDS), consisting of an auto-detection radar, airborne computers, and a memory and data link system, is tied to the Naval Tactical Data System (NTDS), located at fleet headquarters, which gives an overall picture of the tactical situation.

The first Hawkeyes went to sea aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CVA 63) with VAW-11 in 1966. Since that time, they have become a regular part of the fleet's defensive and offensive forces.

The current model operating in the Fleet, the E-2C, is equipped with radar capable of detecting targets anywhere within a three-million-cubic-mile surveillance envelope while simultaneously monitoring maritime traffic. Each E-2C also can maintain all-weather patrols, track, automatically and simultaneously, more than 600 targets, and control more than 40 airborne intercepts.

First Imperssions

I received more kits at once and it was packed really safely, and has no damage after traveling through the world. You can trust HLJ in packaging!

When I lifted the box out of the big pack, the first I saw was the nice boxart, that is simply a good in-flight photo of this beautiful VAW-115 Liberty Bells bird. After opening a box, I found 5 bags containing the sprues plus a separate bag for the superb Cartograf decals (that makes this kit a Limited Edition release), and of course the instruction sheets. The clear parts are packed separately to save them from scratching.

Overview

This kit is a limited edition reissue of Fujimi's old kit, re-released with Cartograf decals with one single option: WAV-115 Liberty Bells, USS Kitty Hawk. This marking is one of the most famous of the Hawkeyes.

When you check the perfect E-2C Hawkeye Walkaround of Gary Wickham in the Walkarounds section, (that bird has similar squadron markings as this kit features anyway), you will notice that several smaller details are missing or not accurate in this kit, but most of these are most likely because it's 1/72 only. This kit has an average detail level, but although it's an old kit, at some areas it's still very nice, and features really beautiful details. Personally I really like the surface details on the wings. The kit features engraved panel lines, and nice riveting.

On the other hand we've got a very poor cockpit, with cheap toy quality pilots, and details. The more important problem is the lack of landing gear wells. There's nothing at all, the fuselage and engine nacelles are simply empty! For me it's not a problem, as I'd like to tie down my one to a deck section, so you'll never see it, but I know that lot of modelers are looking for it. It's a really interesting issue, as the landing gear itself is really nice.

The kit consists of 7 sprues, the main parts made of grey plastic, that is good enough to work with. I already cut my wings to several pieces, and all job went well, the plastic's softness is just simply good.

We've got a separate sprue, that contains the clear wingtip lights, and the 2 piece "canopy", that is not the canopy only, but large part of the nose's upper area. Basically if you join the halves together, you've got a perfect baseball hat. Personally I don't like the way how the glass needs to be attached to the fuselage, but at least you have seamless integration of the window panels, as they are moulded into this object. Now you have to worry about the fit quality only where the fuselage and this object joining together. I did not build it yet, but as far as I remember the built ones I saw I don't think that there should be any serious problem with it.

Parts, Sprues

Click on the images to enlarge

Sprue A
Engine nacelles, propellers, misc details...
Sprue B
24 feel revolving radar dish
Sprue C
Wing parts
Sprue D
Fuselage
Sprue E
Stabs
Sprue F (A2?)
Landing gears
Sprue G
Clear parts

The instruction sheet is clear, and easy to follow, this kit is not a difficult one, and it's clearly visible by checking the instruction sheet. The parts that are not necessary are marked with dark areas on the sprue pictures on the instruction sheet.

Instruction Sheet

 

Decals

Click on the images to enlarge

 

Conclusions

I would not be frank if I'd say that that's a really nice kit, but I think it's a good kit to work with, even if it's showing its age. It's an old kit, there are some poor areas. but in some areas is still up to the standards. One thing is sure, you can build a really nice model of this kit with some extra work! Also you have to keep in mind, that there's not too much options for E-2C, there's only Heller's and Lee's offering for this in 1/72, Revell in 1/144, and Collectaire in 1/48 for incredible amount of money, as that one is a short run resin kit.

This Fujimi 1/72 E-2C with this Cartograf decal is a limited edition model, and I think it's a good choice if you want to build a Hawkeye.

I recommend this kit!

Ordering

If you like this kit, you can order it from Hobby Link Japan at www.hlj.com

E-2C Hawkeye 72177 $US 21.55

Sample kit courtesy by Hobby Link Japan. Thank you!

Photos and text 2006 by Zoltan Pocza

January 17, 2006

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