by: Joe Szczygielski [ ]
The E-2C Hawkeye is a Carrier-based AEW “Airborne Early Warning” aircraft that serves as the US Navy’s mini-AWACS aircraft. The main role of the Hawkeye is to warn of any incoming aerial threats, strike command and control, surveillance, and search and rescue missions.
The key element of E-2C is the APS-145 radar, a 24-foot rotating dome which is the latest in a long series of al E-2 radars. What’s more impressive is its range, sweeping three million cubic miles of airspace all the while plotting the positions of surface vessels and tracking more than 600 targets, and controlling more than 40 airborne intercepts at one time.
The Hawkeye 2000 is an upgraded model of E-2C featuring a powerful COTS computer, new advanced control indicator set workstations
The US Navy Hawkeye 2000 aircraft saw combat for the first time in 2003 during Iraqi Freedom military campaign in Iraq.
Number of Engines 2
Airspeed: 300 knots (345 miles, 552 km. per hour).
Length: 57 feet 6 inches (17.5 meters).
Height: 18 feet 3 inches (5.6 meters).
Wingspan: 80 feet 7 inches (28 meters).
Accommodation: Crew 5
Variants of the E-2C Hawkeye are also flown by the Egyptian Air Force, Japanese Self Defense Air Force, Republic of Singapore Air Force, Taiwan Air Force, and the French Navy.
Kit Product Review
This is Hasegawa’s latest release of the E-2C, Opening the box one will notice typical Hasegawa boxing, packed full of parts. The kit contains 172 pieces carried on six light grey plastic trees. All parts trees are packaged together into one bag, except for the clear parts in a separate bag. Also included are one poly sprue, decals and instruction sheet.
As with most aircraft kits construction begins in the cockpit. Looking over reference photos Hasegawa did a great job depicting the real aircraft cockpit. The sides instrument panels are molded to the cockpit tub with the main one a separate piece and include an overhead console. The level of detail is crisp and clean, all the dials, gages and switches are raised making it easier for dry brushing.
Hasegawa also included decals for the cockpit, looking them over it’s clear that no amount of decal solution will settle them down over the raised detail, so you’ll have to sand off the pieces before using the decals.
The pilot seats are pretty basic and lack all of the seat harness and lap belts, almost office chair like.
Wheel wells and landing gear struts are pretty simplified, there are no hydraulic & brake lines or any of the electronic boxes. The only concern in this area is the front wheel well, part (J12) which has 7 small sink holes that need filling. Once assembly’s 1 & 2 are complete you move onto the installing the cockpit and front nose wheel into the fuselage. Before you do you’ll have to drill 8 small holes and add in weight, Hasegawa suggests adding 30 grams.
Next are the main wing and tail wing assembles. The main wing comes in three pieces; upper section is one full piece and the bottom in two. Both assembles are straight forward and easy to do with out any problems. I suggest for those who plan on doing the “USS Nimitz” version is to leave off the ECM antennas, parts A19 and 20. For easier painting as much of the rear wing is to be painted Blue Angel blue. Once dry paint parts A19 & 20 the appropriate fuselage color and install. Another option is to remove the molded in wing tip lights and replace them with clear wing tip lights parts.
Another nice feature included are the separate positionable wing flaps, this gives you the option to model the aircraft with the flaps either in an up or down position by switching out the hinge parts.
Like most Carrier based aircraft, their wings are folded up to save carrier deck space. The E-2C Hawkeye is no exception, especially with a wing span reaching 80 feet. It would have been nice if Hasegawa gave the option of a wing fold. Looking over the inside of wing sections I noticed that Hasegawa thinned out the wing fold sections. Here with some scratch building ability’s you could cut the wings apart and scratch-build all the internal sections for wing folded carrier based Hawkeye.
Once the fuselage halves are assembled you move onto installing the canopy, two electronic boxes and a clear nose cone. A small area of the nose cone will need masking for the landing and approach lights. The main canopy comes in three parts, one main piece along with two side windows which by the way are correctly bulged outward. The lay out of the frame work enables you to mask off the windows, attach it to the fuselage, glue and fill any gaps before painting. Caution and care will be needed removing the clear parts from the sprue tree. I suggest using a heated hobby knife blade cutting through followed up with some light sanding. Hasegawa also provides windshield wipers for the canopy windscreen. I suggest leaving them off till the end as it makes it easier to mask off the windscreen.
The two engine assemblies are straight forward, each consisting of 6 parts for the engines housing followed by four pieces for the eight-bladed propellers. The propellers themselves are correct in shape and are in the right angle. All parts are clear of flash and a small amount of sink holes can be found on the inner parts. Hasegawa also provides optional decals for the propeller blades that include two types of tip markings, solid or striped, data and painted leading edges, 80 in all.
In the landing gear struts I found no flash or sink marks, and only a few small ejector pin holes to deal with. The main wheels have separate rim hub pieces, which will make it easier for painting. Another great feature is that the wheels, though plastic, are molded weighted with a slight bulge. The wheel well doors have molded hinges in an open position.
Lastly is the antenna and radar systems Rotodome assembly, the most prominent part of the kit measuring in at 4 inches in diameter. The instructions guild has you installing two poly rings into the Rotodome halves; this is designed so that you’re able to position it where you’d like. The dome is the only part of the kit that features raised panel lines while the rest of the kit features finely scribed panel line detail.
And finally the antenna blades and sensors are assembled. There are several, some smaller then the others so caution is needed during the final assembly, painting and decaling. On the real Hawkeye there is a fixed high frequency wire antenna that runs from the outer two rear fins to an antenna blade just behind the cockpit. There were no instructions installing this wire, however parts J14 & G6 are included with the kit. Looking over the box art and reference photos will show you how it is installed if you so wish to go that extra mile.
decals and instructions
The kit supplied decals are typical Hasegawa decals, flat matt finish, thin and are separate from the carrier backing.
The instructions, again typical Hasegawa instruction sheets in which all the assembly section are bunched together and at times confusing. There are 17 steps on three pages, and two pages for painting, decals and markings. Also included are the FS paint numbers.
This is definitely the nicest E-2C Hawkeye kits produced in 1/72nd scale. The molding quality is excellent and features some great detailing with soft scribed panel lines.
Straight out of the box the Hawkeye would look quite nice sitting along with your carrier based aircraft collection.
In the May 2009 issue of Fine Scale Modeling there is a great full build Workbench Review of this very kit. You may want to pick up a copy or borrow one from a friend before starting on yours. Looking over the kit I don’t anticipate any real fit problems.
Given the significant small number of parts that go into this model, I'd recommend this kit to a more experienced modeler.
Thank you to Dragon USA for kindly supplying the review sample.