Saturday, March 12, 2011

KINETIC 1/48 Scale US Navy E-2C Hawkeye

This is my completed model of the Kinetic models 1/48 scale E2C Hawkeye. It took me about 7 months to complete the model building. Enjoy the photos, feel free to comment!

The tractor and crew member are from Skunkmodels "MD-3 Navy Tractor". The carrier deck is just a printout and pasted onto the wooden base.
A Note for those building this model: Please put a lot (and I mean a lot) of nose weight. Use fishing lead weights. Stuff as much of it as you possibly can. This model will be extremely tail heavy especially if you choose the wing folded option. I did not add enough weight into this model, and it resulted in a tail sitter. I had to prop up the tail with a piece of clear tubing. You can see this tubing if you look carefully at the picture below.
For those of you unfortunate enough (like me) to end up with a tail sitter, here are some possible options to correct the problem:

  1. Use a piece of clear tubing to prop the tail up, like what I did. Because its clear, its quite discrete, but still can be seen if you know where to look.
  2. Bring down the tail hook and use it as a support, but this is unrealistic and frankly, quite ugly.
  3. Enhance the diorama by using tie down chains on the carrier deck, and use the tie down chains to hold down the nose. But to do this, the chains have to be really taut, otherwise the nose wheel will be floating a bit in the air. This is also unrealistic, as tie down chains on real aircraft carriers have a bit of slack, and are not fully taut.
  4. Drill a tiny hole through the wooden base at the point where you want the nose wheel to rest. stick a piece of transparent fishing line into the the base of the nose wheel strut with super glue. Run the fishing line through the hole in the base. Pull down the fishing line so that the nose wheel rests on the base and super glue the other end of the line at the bottom of the base. The disadvantage of this method is that you can't change positions as the model is securely fastened to the base. I haven't tried this method yet so if any of you has tried it, please comment! :)
  5. Use a large flat flexible piece of magnet, cut it to size and stick to the top of the wooden base. Then paste the carrier deck printout on top of it. So now the whole base is a magnet. Now screw a small metal flat headed screw onto the bottom of one of the nose wheel tires so that it's flush with the surface. The metal screw in the nose wheel should stick to the magnetic base. Again, I haven't tried this method before, so those who have, appreciate your comments if this method works or not. I might be trying this method on my Kinetic 1/48 S2 Tracker which I have a strong feeling is going to be a tail sitter even after adding tons of nose weight in it :)
  6. Last option, glue the model onto the base, but I really don't think people do that.
  7. Any other ideas? Please share with us!

Fishing line was used for the antenna wires running along the aircraft. They were super glued in place, then painted with tire black.

The 2 cockpit side windows have a slight tint in them, as in the real aircraft. I used Mr Color Copper (H10) mixed with a drop of Gold (H9) and airbrushed this to the inside of the windows. See picture below.
A note on the above picture. Click on it and enlarge it. Do you notice the shine on the fuselage just above the "Rescue" sign? Realize how smooth it is? There are no ridges or humps as can be seen on the reflection. This is how I did it:

  1. The kit out of the box had a very rough surface. Sand it smooth first using grit 400, then 1000 sandpaper.
  2. Prime the surface using a fine primer
  3. Once dry, sand the surface with 2000 grit sandpaper
  4. Clean the surface and paint the aircraft main colors
  5. Once dry, spray gloss coat over it
  6. Once gloss coat drys, use 1500 or 2000 grit sandpaper and sand the surface again. This will smoothen all the bumps, ridges and bubbles caused from the gloss coat spray can.
  7. Polish the surface with Tamiya polishing compound until it shines.
  8. Now apply decals
  9. There shouldn't be much silvering, but if there is, treat it with a bit of decal softening solution once it drys (at least 24 hours).
  10. Use Flat clear (Mr Color H182) and airbrush lightly over the surface (I use a pressure of about 15 psi). Take care not to overdo it here, otherwise the surface will appear totally flat, which is not what you want. The objective here is to "scale down" that glossyness so that you can still see a slight sheen on it, but its not too flat and not too glossy. So very lightly, just whisk the paint over the surface, stopping frequently to check to prevent overdoing.
Even though the real E2C is a very clean and glossy plane. On a scale model, this glossiness will make it look like a toy (this is my opinion only, you may have differing views), so the need to "flatten out" that glossiness so that you can still see that shine on the surface, but it doesn't shout at you.
The kit out of the box has a lot of panel lines on the fuselage. Not only were the panel lines deep and wide, but they shouldn't be there, because on the actual aircraft there are none! So I removed all panel lines on the fuselage by adding putty into them and sanding them away. It was a long and painstaking process removing the panel lines. All the other panel lines on the wings, tail, control surfaces and engine were left intact and were treated with a oil wash of Winsor and Newton Raw Umber. But I felt that all the panel lines were too wide and deep and quite unrealistic. Perhaps Kinetic could do something about it in their future release?
Some detail was added to the landing gear struts using fishing line and brass rods to simulate the hydraulic lines. Look at pictures of the real plane as reference when doing this. Here's where I deviated a bit from the real aircraft...I initially painted the hydraulic lines blue, as seen in some aircraft. But I soon realized that blue, against black tires and on a black base, you couldn't really see much of it. So I painted them white, to make it stand out a bit. After looking at more pictures of the actual aircraft, I realized there isn't really one fixed color for the hydraulic lines. Some are blue, some gray, some yellow. I'm guessing maintenance crews do change these hydraulic lines during their maintenance cycles.
The tractor tires were hand painted with tire black. But my hand painting skills are horrible and after it dried, I had to sand paper it to "smoothen" things out. They were then dry brushed with light gray to bring out the detail on the tire threads as seen below. Then it was sprayed over with a coat of clear flat paint.
I also used some fishing line for the crew entry door support.
Another note to E2C modelers: Don't spend too much time and effort detailing up the cockpit because it will not be seen once the model is complete. I scratch built seat belts, intercom wires, even a fire extinguisher, none of which were noticeable once everything was put together.

I scratch built the little "strips" on the side of the flaps using styrene strips.

The original kit came with static wicks attached to the control surfaces. But I found them too thick and removed them. I then scratch built the static wicks using fishing lines.

The little handle bars on the dome support you see below are scratch built using brass rods.
Some of the decals provided by Kinetic were too big, especially the US insignia logo, and the "CVW-9 USS NIMITZ" and the "NAVY" word. The ones on the real aircraft are smaller.

More of the scratch built static wicks.

The main and nose gear tires from the kit come with "flattened out" bases to simulate the weight of the aircraft. So no sanding is necessary here. It is not something I normally do anyway.

The guy below was painted using a mix of lacquer and acrylic paints. Because I wanted to save money, so I just used whatever paint I had. You probably already know...don't paint lacquer over acrylic. I sort of knew that already, but I just did it anyway....and its a lesson never to forget. I somehow managed to salvage it and still come up with something roughly presentable....sort of.

Some detail was also added to the nose landing gear strut and gear door.

If you peer really closely (people don't normally do that) into the cockpit, you can see the scratch built intercom cable hanging from the ceiling. I also scratch built the wind shield wipers using brass rods. The original ones were too thick and ugly. The static ports on the side were also scratch built using plastic cards.


Anonymous said...

Nice job!

chukw said...

Well done, Edwin- first-class work!

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for the hint on getting in a lot(!) of weight and on getting rid of most of these panel lines on the fuselage! This will help me and my wife a lot!

We both really like your masterpiece! Nice job with a wonderful finish! Can´t wait to see your S2F!


Anonymous said...

Wat een mooie Hawkeye! Ik heb de kit ook en ga zeker je tips voor de bouw en afwerking toepassen.

Jammer dat je niks van het interieur ziet! Ik ben wel van plan e.e.a. aan details toe te voegen, maar vooral omdat het leuk werk is.


Shakil Malik said...

Hi Folks,

The E-2C Hawkeye is an awesome plane! Here is a great site I found for, very high quality wooden replica’s and they offer over 600 different Airplane, Helicopter and Military vehicles.
Check this website out

Gary Hall said...

Another option for weighting down a tail sitter is to super glue some lead shot down in the nose or anywhere forward of the MLG. You can get the shot either anywhere they sell reloading supplies for shotguns, or if you have a local dive shop, can get a soft weight pouch and cut it open. Either way, it's a good way to get a decent amount of weight into a model without taking a lot of space.

Scale Modeling Books