Kit: Neptune P2V-5F
Price: Hasegawa Neptune,10$ (Price of 20 years ago)
Notes: a scale conversion of Hasegawa kit of P2V-7 into a P2V-5F
Converting the Hasegawa Neptune model into an earlier version involves removing the front and end part of fuselage and fix in place the vac form parts provided in Falcon kit set VII, detailing the cockpit office utilising Pavla Resin set 72069 with a little modification and also making good use of SAC landing gear set 72015.
The concept of the Neptune P2V5 a twin engine type, which was delivered to both the RAF and US Navy besides other nations, goes back to the war years when initial studies on a land based patrol aircraft for service with the US Navy were made by Lockheed’s Vega subsidiary in 1941. Owing to urgency of aircraft production before and during the early years of WWII no further development of this design followed until 1944.
By then the US Navy had an urgent requirement for such an aircraft. Lockheed discovered that the Vega design proposal of 1941 could meet the needs with little modification. Contract followed for two prototypes and 14 production aircraft. The first prototype flew on 4th May 1945. This carried a crew of seven, had a weapons bay for two torpedoes or 12 depth charges plus six defensive machine-guns. The P2V began entering service in March 1947 and proved effective in their role.
The Korean war expanded the requirement for such an aircraft and the later involvements of the US in South East Asia, plus need to provide similar capability for western allies kept Lockheed busy providing P2V in multiplicity of versions with the final production figure totalling1,181 aircraft.
The P2V-5 was a major production version, an ASW aircraft in many sub variants, differed basically from P2V-4 by having 3, 250 hp R-3350-30WA engines and larger capacity wing tip tanks. It was retrofitted with a glazed nose and MAD equipment and 424 were built. P2V-5F (later P-2E) generally similar as P2V-5 but with 3,500 hp R-3350-32W engines and two under wing mounted 3,250 lb thrust auxiliary turbojets. (The scale model depicts a typical P2V-5F that formed part of the Denver reserve Navy squadron in 1955.)
Neptune connection with Malta
A serious accident on Luqa airfield runway occurred on the 8th of October 1952 when a P2V-5 Neptune 127724 of US Navy crash landed during an emergency and was destroyed by fire. In 1953 RAF Neptune MR1 WX516 (L-T) of 210 Squadron from Topcliffe visited Luqa for the first time. The aircraft eventually found its way to the Argentine Navy.
Movements at Luqa airfield increased steadily during 1953 from 2,326 in July to 3,232 in November. Included in the figures were a number of Neptunes of 36 Squadron RAF. These arrived in November from Topcliffe and there was also at the same time a detachment of US Navy Squadron VP-21 and FASRON 104.
In 1956 there was another incident involving a Neptune MR1 WX547 of 1453 Flight, Topcliffe and was using call sign Sterile Y. This had the collapse of the undercarriage. This aircraft flew again and was sold for filming purposes in May 1957.
On 12th September 1953 a French Navy Neptune with call sign FYAGB visited Luqa. In 1961 a French Navy squadron came for exercises to Luqa.
Luqa was not the only airfield in Malta to be visited by the early version of the Neptune. In August 1955 Neptune from VP-21 landed at Hal Far.1958 saw Neptunes P2V-5 of USN squadron VP-24. These operated alongside Warning Stars WV-2 during the visit. During 1956 Neptunes that visited Hal Far airfield came from VP-21, VP-24, VA (HM)-13 and in May to October 1957 Neptunes from VP-23 were based at Hal Far. In 1958 again Neptunes from VP-11 and VP-23 visited Hal Far.
Neptunes were based at Hal Far (Malta) or Souda (Crete) to carry out functions as monitoring Soviet Bloc maritime activity in the Mediterranean Sea and surveillance of shipping in the same area.
The Hasegawa model of the Neptune represents the later P2V7 version. A good kit to start with though it starts to show time on it. Modifying the P2V-7 required to re-profile the nose, the fuselage tail end, re-position of radome, replacing the wing tip tanks and adding rectangular and round windows as well as replacing the bulbous canopy with a flat one, plus other minor details. The kit conversion is not so tough as it may sound since all the conversion and detail parts required are readily available by after market kit parts suppliers.
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Making a P2V-5F required the Falcon vac-form kit No VII. This is a delightful conversion for anyone with a desire to tackle any Neptune alternatives in the category of P2V-5, P2V-5FS, DP-2E, SP-2E, OP-2E, P2V-6, RAF MR1 or MR1 later version. These all carry a wide range of colour schemes. The vac form parts are well detailed and panel lines are clean and neat. Reference was made to the scrap drawing that comes with the Falcon instructions. The Hasegawa kit fuselage halves are first taped together and marked and cut at two places using a razor saw. Short tabs made from plastic card are added to the cut ends to assist align when the
vac-parts are butt joined to the fuselage. The vac fuselage parts are cut, sanded and prepared for a later step when they come to join the Hasegawa fuselage.
The Falcon fuselage had square cut windows just behind the cockpit, the forward window is rectangular while the one next to it is square. Cockpit is built up making good use of the excellent Pavla Models resin detail set 72069 which consists of a cockpit office and detail seats, central console, instrument panel, side consoles, radar scanner and top instruments that fits to the canopy. This was modified and shortened to suit the new
vac- canopy that comes with the Falcon set. The Pavla instructions also indicate to remove the kit
coaming. The cockpit detail parts were also painted as per Pavla instructions. I also added two crew figures, which were painted in costume of the same era. These add relative scale to the kit.
Turning to the Hasegawa fuselage, this had the aft square windows with the same clear kit part, added filler and sanded flash. Then new round windows are drilled and shaped at a new position to the previous ones making reference to the Falcon side view drawing. The front ball turret had a clear part; this was damaged in my sample. A spherical marble, that we used to play with when we were kids, provided the exact match to use as male and I soon molded one from clear acetate. This was then trimmed, and twin guns made from surgical needles added to it. The aft tail barbette turret that was of slightly different shape was also prepared and another pair of guns added. The top clear observation post positioned above the tail guns was cut and prepared to fit as required.
All the fuselage interior parts were painted in chromate green and all parts mated together to the Hasegawa fuselage. A little filler followed by sanding produced a clean smooth surface. The mid fuselage turret was also moved forward by ¼” to its previous position. Lead balance weight was added and well secured at the back of the cockpit. More flat lead pieces were also added to cowling empty fronts, which were blanked with a round piece of plastic card. The rest of Hasegawa main planes etc were assembled according to kit instructions
The kit narrow tip tanks were replaced with the more bulky ones that come with the Falcon kit. Close up photos of the wing tip searchlight and instruments inside were referred to and the arrangement detail was scratch built. The tank halves were joined together and wing finlets made from backing plastic sheet also shaped and joined to the tank ends. A transparent clear cover then fixed to the searchlight.
The kit wheel wells were bare from detail also merited adding detail to the interior with webbing arrangement using shaped plastic card parts prepared. I also added a set of detailed Scale Aircraft Conversion undercarriage metal legs that comes for the Neptune.
Scale Aircraft Conversion set 72015
I noticed that SAC undercarriage set has an improvement in definition and consistency in detail as compared to the kit offering. There is practically very little cleanup required which is removing the faint parting line and were ready to fit in place. The legs were painted aluminium at sliding places and the rest white. A little raw amber oil paint wash popped out the detail. SAC parts have crisp detail for the torque links and another advantage of this is that there are no knock out marks on any of these SAC metal parts. I found these metal parts very helpful when fixed in place to have the model resting firmly and could stand the handling during the final detailing and paintwork of the model. On occasions when I used the kit plastic ones I accidentally knocked these off.
Other detail added to the kit was the bullet shaped top of fuselage RDF antenna in place of the astrodome, blade antennae to top and bottom, wireless and small central bracket added to inside of each engine gill which were fixed slightly open.
Colour and markings
Referring to ‘P2V Neptune in Action’, a Squadron Signals No 68 issue there is a picture of the aircraft suggested by Falcon and I noticed that the Falcon side view given had some
inaccuries. The tail root serial should be 128374 instead of 128734 while the presence RDF antenna and extra window at front was not indicated on drawing as a scrap view.
The kit is completed as an early P2V-5F9 (128374) which has also the early gun installation mounting twin 20mm cannon in both nose and tail position. The machine carries the large central wing tip mounted 350-gallon tank. It is a Denver NAS based Neptune circa 1955. The aircraft is overall sea blue
(Compucolor CA 13 ANA 623) and an International orange reserve band at the back of fuselage. Early Neptunes had chromate green wheel wells but being at a time when the sea blue was going out of fashion in favour of white and gull grey these were completed white as the order of the day.
All decals including all numerals, danger markings and arrows and national insignias came from Super Scale different sheets. Kit was given a coat of Klear before and after application of the decals. Only the large white NAVY and danger air intake markings were kit decals. The completed model was in the end given an overall coat of Alklad 2 Lacquers that is Klear Kote Light Sheen that I bought from K-Hobbies of
This is a scale model conversion containing parts from four different sources, probably the only available method to make an early version of the Neptune at the scale of 1/72. I guess it was worth the effort as the final resulting kit appeared very pleasing. Similar early version P2V-5 can be made without the under wing jet engines and with vivid day glow colours can also be made using the Falcon fuselage conversion parts.
Carmel J Attard
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