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Hasegawa 1/72 Viking S-3B

It’s been a few weeks since the last time we posted an aircraft model kit build. And in case you wonder what do I mean by ‘WE’, let me tell you this. Behind the scenes there is a very supportive wife with the hobby and a 14 years old which loves it as well.  So, if you would like to be part of that ‘WE’, here’s how.

Background: The Lockheed S-3 Viking was used by the U.S. Navy to identify and track enemy submarines. In the late 1990s, the S-3B’s mission focus shifted to surface warfare and aerial refueling. The Viking also provided electronic warfare and surface surveillance capabilities to the carrier battle group.

1/72 Viking S-3B Hasegawa Model Kit

A carrier-based, subsonic, all-weather, multi-mission aircraft with long range, it carried automated weapon systems, and was capable of extended missions with in-flight refueling. The final carrier based S-3B Squadron, VS-22 was decommissioned at NAS Jacksonville on 29 January 2009.

Sea Control Wing Atlantic was decommissioned the following day on 30 January 2009, concurrent with the U.S. Navy retiring the last S-3B Viking from front-line Fleet service.

The Kit: Here is the oldie yet goodie Hasegawa 1/72 Viking S-3B. As many of you know, I’m a 1:48 scale aircraft builder. The only option available in 1/48th scale is from Viking S-3 from AMT with the molds now in hands of Italeri.

None of those kits are currently available, meaning that if you don’t find an old stock at your local hobby shop, secondary market is a little bit steep for what *I am* willing to pay. Instead, I settled for this offering from Hasegawa at a fraction of the price. It comes with a mix of receded and raised panel lines but it compensates with a beautiful fit from both, fuselage halves and wings to fuselage.

The kit comes with your choice of drop tanks or 6 Mk.82 bombs and markings for 3 different aircraft as follow:

  • ”Hukkers” VS-28 U.S. NAVY
  • ”Grifflings” VS-38 U.S. NAVY
  • ”Fighting Red Tails” VS-21 U.S. NAVY

The wheel wells are nothing but empty holes with some rivet details just on the landing gear doors and a not so nice looking pin mark in the middle. Sorry to dissapoint some of you guys, but I left the pin mark there. However, the turbine halves have the part number on them and these were sanded down.

Some not accurate plumbing was added to the wheel wells for the sake of having something there. I used some .20 and .30 plastic stock styrene I’ve been accumulating from my local hobby shop over time.

The one piece canopy fits with no problem. The downside is that the canopy frame is very soft and once you deep it on Future Gloss coat, or in my case I use Alclad 2 Aqua Gloss, you can’t barely feel the frame with your nails. It was not easy to mask, to help a little I did cut strips of  Tamiya Masking tape (see pictures below) to create the frame and masked it against a light bulb.

After that, I filled the void with more Tamiya Masking Tape. The inside of the canopy of this aircraft is smoke color. I used Tamiya Smoke with my airbrush. Remember, smoke color clear parts should be painted on the inside, not on the outside ;o)

Building this model kit was very nice and although most of the key panel lines are raised, the fit is very good requiring minimal sanding and little filling. Because of that, there is little to no hassle at all restoring the dreaded (to me) raised panel lines. Other than the decal issues pointed out below, I will most likely build another version of the Viking S-3B in the near future.

I won’t hold my breath, but I hope that by then, Italeri brings another batch of their 1/48 Viking with a more realistic price tag. And wait, did I mention that this aircraft is big? Below I’m providing a comparo picture with the Academy 1/72 Dragonfly.

Editors Note
Note on the kit’s decals: The Fighting Red Tails decal set comes on a separate sheet. However, this decal sheet was totally inconsistent with the other decal sheet.  They were either entirely printed by another company or were tossed in the box from an older batch.

They cracked very easy and they were not responding very well to the Microsol decal solution. In short, a disaster and disappointment because those were the marking I wanted and the kit already was painted to receive them. I had to touch them up a little bit with my airbrush. If you have experienced the same, I would love to hear from you on the comments section below.

George Collazo
George Collazo

George has been hosting review sites and blogging about toy collectibles, travel, digital photography and Nikon digital imaging since 1998. His first model kit build was a Testors 1/35 DODGE WC-54 in 1984.