Kinetic 1:48 E-2C Hawkeye BuNo. 162616/AC-601, VAW-126

The Story

The VAW-126 Seahawks were enroute to the Panama Canal Zone, for a deployment as part of the Counter-Narcotics Joint Task Force, when on 11 August those plans were abruptly changed. With only four days notice the squadron regrouped in Norfolk and loaded aboard the USS Kennedy. As Kennedy arrived in the Red Sea, the Seahawks immediately commenced a schedule of around-the-clock AEW operations. The Seahawks maintained a protective radar umbrella over the Red Sea Battle Group throughout Desert Shield operations. Upon commencement of combat operations, VAW-126 led the way aggressively stationing their aircraft over hostile territory to provide timely, accurate strike control of CVW-3 aircraft as they attacked enemy targets. The Seahawks played a vital role in protecting CVW-3strike aircraft and the Red Sea Battle Group.

The Kit

The Kinetic kit is in my opinion soft on details but it is the only injection plastic kit of the Hawskeye available. A variety of after market parts were used to improve the look. Assembly began with the engines. Quickboost engine intakes were used to save the hassle of filling the intake seams. Because the model would be a heavy model (and it is the heaviest 1:48 kit I have built), I used SAC metal landing gear for greater strength. The kit propellers were also replaced with the Quickboost propeller set. Once the cockpit is built up and painted, there is not much you can see except the seats so they were replaced with Steel Beach resin seats. Gluing on the clear parts was done after I had dry-fit the wings, radome, and tail assembly. This was to ensure I had enough weight in the front fuselage so the kit would not be a tail sitter. I typically will add lead fishing weights until the kit sits properly and then glue a part that hides all the weights. The Dmold wing fairing correction is a must in my opinion as the join between fuselage and front of the wing is too boxy with the kit parts. I also used the Wolpack wing-fold update which is a slight improvement over the kit parts. For the smaller details such as the the wiper blades, the Kinetic exterior photo-etch set was used. Painting was done with Model Master and Gunze Sangyo acrylics. I wanted to build my model depicting VAW-126 Seahawks. No Desert Storm sheet exists for this plane so decals taken from various decal sheets. Some of the decals were custom made.