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S-3A Viking - 1:72 Hasegawa


Paul A H
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S-3A Viking

1:72 Hasegawa

vikingboxtop.jpg

The Lockheed S-3 Viking was developed in the late sixties as a replacement for the piston-engined S-2 Tracker in the anti-submarine warfare role. As Lockheed had little experience of developing carrier-based aircraft, Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV) was invited to join the project in order to help develop parts of the airframe such as the wing fold mechanism. The resulting aircraft flew for the first time on 1972 and entered service just two years later. In total, 188 examples were completed.

Unusually for a front-line combat aircraft, the S-3 Vikings design deployed high-bypass turbofan engines of the type commonly used for commercial airliners. These were selected in order to give the Viking sufficient endurance to allow it to loiter for long periods of time an essential requirement for anti-submarine work. The aircraft carried a crew of four a pilot, co-pilot/tactical coordinator, an additional tactical coordinator and a sensor operator. The Viking was a true child of the Cold War, developed at a time when tensions between East and West were at their height. When it found its intended role disappearing from under its feet at the end of the Cold War, it had to be adapted to other roles such as strike, ELINT and air-to-air refuelling. Having seen action in the Gulf War, it was finally retired from US Navy use in 2009.

Although Hasegawas Viking has been around for a good few years now, it is still the most recent kit of the type in 1:72 scale. It enjoys a good reputation for accuracy and fit too, although its not a cutting edge kit by any stretch of the imagination. The kit is made up of ninety parts spread across four sprues of grey plastic and one clear sprue, all packed into a reasonably large, top-opening box. Hasegawas moulds always seem to pretty robust, and this is no exception, although there is a little flash creeping in here and there. Surface detail is comprised of consistently fine, raised panel lines, except for those around the control surfaces, which are recessed.

vikingsprue1.jpg

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The large cockpit isnt too bad by Hasegawas standards, although it only includes the pilots and co-pilots positions. The floor of the cockpit includes a centre console with some raised detail. Onto this part you have to add two ejection seats and two control columns, both of which look ok, if a little simplified, as well as the rear bulkhead. The instrument panel itself is devoid of detail, but a decal is provided instead. Overall it will probably pass muster, but if you arent happy with it then Pavla make an excellent resin version which also includes the rear crew positions. The cut-out steps that provide crew access are provided as a separate part, which is a neat touch.

Moving on to the rest of the airframe, the separately moulded nose gear bay features some nice if fairly basic structural detail, but the main gear bays are quite plain in comparison. The upper part of the cantilever wing is moulded as a single span, which means fewer seams to clean up and no issues trying to get the anhedral right. The large trailing edge flaps are moulded as separate parts. Each engine pod is made up of left and right halves, the front and back faces of the turbine and the low-pressure turbine/nozzle.

vikingsprue3.jpg

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Finishing touches such as the undercarriage legs and wheels are very nicely detailed. A full-length MAD boom is included, but if you want to display it in the stowed position then you just have to stick it further into the fuselage. A small selection of ordnance is included, namely two drop tanks and six Mk.82 bombs complete with ejector rack. Im pretty sure previous iterations of this kit have featured a tinted plastic canopy. This one doesnt, and I for one think that this is a bit of a shame. Although it is perfectly possible to tint plastic with translucent paint such as Tamiyas Smoke, its nice not to have to.

vikingsprue5.jpg

Decal options are provided for two aircraft:

  • 9741 of VS-28 Hukkers, USS Forrestal, US Navy; and
  • 8871 of VS-38 Griffins, USS Ranger, US Navy 2009.

The decals are very nicely printed and even the whites look whiter than the usual slightly cream colour that other Hasegawa decals have.

vikingdecals.jpg

Conclusion

Despite its age, this is a pretty decent kit. The raise panel lines will put some off, but they really shouldnt as under a good paint job this kit will still look good. It may be missing a few fine details here and there, but it gets most of the basics right. Whats more, its the only 1:72 Viking currently in production! Recommended.

Review sample courtesy of logo.jpg UK distributors for logo.jpg

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Thanks for that review.

I've had a bagged example of it since 1998, deeply burried under my stash.

Cost me a whole pound - I've now got Bi-Centennial scheme decals, and plan to build it for the US Navy GB later this year. :thumbsup:

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This is a great kit which builds up well, if building the normal S-3 then the tall thin window needs to be filled in, this was only used for the US-3A COD as it carried extra passengers.

S-3A3.jpg

Julien

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