Grumman S2A Tracker


1/72 Hasegawa Grumman S2A Tracker, Royal Netherlands Naval Air Service (MLD), acft no '160'


by Dirk Derks

 

Serial No

'160'

A/C type

Grumman S2A Tracker

Based at

Royal Netherlands Naval Air Service (MLD)

Scheme

Kit

Hasegawa 1/72 Grumman S2A, Revell decals, Dutch Decals and Eduard PE sets

Reference

www.vlaggeschipsmaldeel5.nl (images used with permission from the webmaster Steven Visser. )

 

Introduction

Just like the HMAS “Melbourne”, the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) purchased a carrier from the “Colossos”class. The HMS “Venerable” was renamed Hr.Ms. Karel Doorman. After a major overhaul that took three years to complete, the carrier was fitted with an angled deck, new crew accommodation, steam catapult and mirror landing system. In the early sixties the Naval Air Arm was ready to receive the Grumman Tracker.

In 1960, under the Mutual Defense Aid program (MDAP), the Netherlands received the first batch of 28 S2A Grumman Trackers. The Trackers were to be stationed on the carrier Hr.Ms. Karel Doorman and the Naval Air Base “Valkenburg”. Major maintenance was carried out on the Naval Airbase “De Kooy”

The 28 Trackers were registered 146/173. The Tracker was powered by two Curtiss Wright R1820-82 radial engines, generating 1575 HP each, the plane was certainly NOT under powered. Armament consisted mainly of torpedoes, rockets and depth charges.

To search the patrol area, the operator could use a very powerful search radar. This radar was located in a dome in the belly of the aircraft and could be lowered to make full use of this device. To detect minute variations in the earth’s magnetic field, the Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD), was housed on the extreme back of the plane. This boom could be extended.

The S2A and the SH-34J Sikorsky helicopter were the onboard equipment for the Dutch carrier to hunt submarines. Normally, six to eight trackers and four to six helicopters were carried during operational trips.

These former British Fleet carriers were rather small for the big sized Tracker. To my knowledge, none crashed during start or approach. The plane could be catapulted into the air, or make a free start from the back of the flight deck.

Serial 160

In the Revell box, it contains the decals for serial 160, this particular aircraft has the following history:

The scale model

This is the 1/72 Scale Hasegawa/Revell kit of the S2A Tracker. To my knowledge, this model was first presented in the seventies, so it was manufactured the old way. The Tracker was a rather large airplane in wing sizes, to reduce this, I disconnected the outer wing halves, so that the original wing fold was established. The fold mechinism was made using Evergreen Plastic card.


To enhance the model, I purchased the Eduard set Bomb Bay/Exterior and Cockpit set.

To place the metal Bomb Bay in the model, all plastic coverings in this area were removed. The metal bomb bay is rather flimsy, so a very careful approach had to be taken. Once in place, the corners were extra supported by Evergreen beams.

The cockpit escape hatches were removed. On the deck, during the start and approach, these were always open, to ensure a quick escape for the pilots with ditching. The operators had their own escape hatches above their heads, these were closed. Opening was possible from the inside and outside. On the back of the aircraft, I made one more hatch, this contained the dinghy. I improved the landing gear bays and the front landing gear.



From metal tubing, I made the MAD boom on the backside. This can be extended or retracted.

The S2 was painted with XTRA Colors and the airbrush used was the Revell Master Class.

Decals were from the Revell box and Dutch Decal and sealed with Humbrol Medium Gloss Cote.

The images