1. Plastikmodellbauclub Nürnberg e.V.


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Model and Photos by Wilfried Eck

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S-2E Tracker. Italeri/Kinetic 1/48

Antenna, folded wings, exhaust; note hole in national insignia (rest of fuselage pole)


Own scratch-  and kit seat

Kit motor and own additions


Expensive kit, but release to be praised as there wasn't a S-2 Tracker in 1/48 before. Further pluses:

(+) Excellent fit of parts.
(+) Folding wings with good representation of inner structure.
(+)(+) New and unique way of achieving a good fit of the wings without any need for putty and sanding, convincing representation of thin edges on cooling flaps, air intakes and rear of motor cowling.
(+) Large decal sheet, well printed (US national insignia with correct colour of blackblue), markings for two aircraft of the US Navy, one each of an aircraft from Australia, Brazil and Taiwan. Excellent adherence.
(+) Thin panel lines.

But beware of the details!

That the bomb bay (one half only) is meagerly detailed and windscreen wipers (fragile in 1/48) are missing can be tolerated. But not so the following points:

(-) Rows of small rectangles instead of round instruments in the instrument board, overhead panel without any detail; no decals to better this.
(-) Seats coarse. Although there were some variations they invariably rested on a moveable rack .
(-) Control horns rest in the instrument panel (only early versions); in the -E version they sat atop a control column.
(-) Motors has nine cylinders, but otherwise nothing a Wright R-1820 had. Cooling ribs very thick.
(-) Searchlight pod empty.
(-) Main landing gear with far too long scissors, too thin too. and, worse, also on the rear, where only a thin oblique strut held the double braking lines. Auxillary struts show bare metal on the lower sides, in the real thing they were further up.
(-) Scissors on the front landing gear too long and too thin, rest acceptable.
(-) Front antenna mast grossly overdone (looks like a Malayan dagger); rear supporting struts too short.
(-) Color information for USN aircraft enigmatic (no such color was ever used).

Warning: The radome furnished in the kit can't be used on a S-2E. It was solely used in the earlier A-version (i.e: by the Netherlands), but this version had a shorter fuselage, shorter wings and a different tailplane.

The model needs a lot more ballast in the nose than mentioned in the instruction leaflet (50 gramms).

Assembly: How things should look like can be seen in the web pages shown below.

Resin parts provide better motors, the Czech firm Eduard provides a wealth of photo etched parts. Experienced modelers may like to correct the landing gear with odd plastic parts. In my case all was made by scratch building.

The searchlight mirror was made of aluminum foil (part of a fast food tray) into which the rounded edge of a thick pencil was pressed and rotated (you may use whatever you find), naturally laid on a not too hard surface. Then cut off horizontally, a small hole drilled in the middle, a thin rod of clear plastic, rounded on top, inserted, and fixed on the rear with two component glue. This rests on a small box.

Folded wings: Though there is nothing to criticize the parts holding the outer wings they are prone to breakage. As the front part resembles a bundle of cables in the real thing I used some stands of brass wire. The same goes for the two supporting struts for the antenna which are too short anyway.  An outer skin of thin plastic tube helps to fix the thin horizontal  upper tubes through which the antenna wire runs.

Pitot tubes in front of the windscreen: brass wire as the kit parts though acceptable are prone to break.

Windscreen wipers add much to a realistic appearance. In my case thin aluminum foil, lower ends of the arms thickened with thin plastic, these resting in the actuating cylinders, rounded on top (filed sprue).

To make durable antennas I used part of a pair of black tights from my wife (bound for the trash bin) to get thin threads. I cut off a thin strip and pulled out one thread from the remaining part; as this thread is made of several thinner strands, discard as many as needed to get one of the required thickness ("thinness"). Such a thread has three virtues: It can be stretched, doesn't break when accidentally hit, and remains so for decades.

After having replaced the odd Kinetic antenna mast with one filed from PVC for flexibility it was necessary to add small triangles to the vertical tail. Instead of two tiny parts one part with appropriately cut off edges was cut from thin aluminum sheet, each end with a tiny notch filed in to give the thread a better rest.  The finished strip was then pushed through precut slits in both sides of the tail, fixed with carefully applied superglue. One end of the thread was glued to a thin strand of metal wire, the other to the triangle on the left side. By use of the wire the thread can be easily led through the thin tube atop the supporting strut to the  small notch in the front mast. Turn around and repeat the procedure to the right triangle. The thread is then led to the rear of the fuselage into a precut hole. To fix the thread a thin plastic rod with a notch in front is wetted with plastic glue, the thread then pushed in, and after this has dried the protruding part is cut off carefully. To get the secondary antenna leading from the left wire to the underside of the left stabilizer the remaining thread is thinned to half thickness, one suitably weighted end is pushed over the longitudinal wire and then both ends are mated and fixed in a thin groove cut into the kit part.

Colors for US Navy versions (Kinetic erring in this point) are "Light Gull Gray" (FS 36440) for the upper sides and "Insignia White" (FS 17875 ) for the lower ones including landing gear and wells). R-1820 motors were delivered in either gray or black color, never silver or gunmetal and so on. Ring chrome. Actuation rods either black, gray or matte silver. No bare metal specks as for corrosion prevention seagoing aircraft were kept in pristine condition.


Cockpit Trainer Photos: http://www.primeportal.net/hangar/bill_spidle2/s-2cpt/index.php?Page=1

Lots of photos (incl. seat): http://www.flickriver.com/search/s2+tracker/

Walkaround: http://aircraftwalkaround.hobbyvista.com/tracker/tracker.htm

Details: http://www.williammaloney.com/Aviation/MAPSAirMuseum/GrummanS2FTracker/pages/01GrummanS2FTracker.htm

Details: http://tailspintopics.blogspot.com/2010/08/stoof.html