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Jim Sullivan
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1/72nd P2V-5 Neptune Conversion

March 27, 2014 · in Aviation · · 44 · 4.8K

I wanted to build an earlier version of the Neptune and selected the 20mm cannon armed P2V-5 as my subject. The 1/72nd P2V-7 kit was the starting point and I used the fine Falcon P2V-5 vacuform conversion set for the major modifications. A word of praise here for that Falcon conversion set. Their parts were precisely done with no fit issues but much care must be taken trimming out the clear plastic parts. A new #11 blade or two worked for me. I found out the hard way that a pair of modeling scissors wasn't the way to go. Falcon was most generous in providing a replacement canopy after I ruined the one that came in the conversion kit. The Hasegawa kit fuselage had to be cut at the front of the wing mount to allow the joining of the Falcon forward fuselage part. Various kit radomes needed to be removed in order to backdate it to the earlier version. Once the fuselage halves were modified, I used portions of the cockpit set to detail the cockpit. Lots of nose weight had to be added to keep the Neptune on it's three wheels. It took about an ounce and a half of lead to do that. Fortunately there was quite a bit of usable space in the fuselage forward and on top of the nose wheel well. While the Falcon conversion set provided a nice set of wing tip tanks, no parts were provided for the searchlight assembly that occupied the forward portion of the starboard tank so it had to be scratch built. The nose and tail 20mm mounts came from a A-3 resin conversion set which had to be cut to fit the contours of the P2V-5. I added the 14 rocket launch pylons and deleted the jet engines as the plane I was modeling did not have them. The model was airbrushed with Model Master dark sea blue and flat black was used for the anti-glare panel. The decals were custom made by Joseph Osborn and laid out and formatted by Pip Moss. These two folks helped greatly to allow me to build this particular Neptune. The final photo in the batch is a photo of the actual aircraft I was modeling. It was P2V-5 124881 that was assigned to the Service Test division at NATC Patuxent River, MD in 1957.

Reader reactions:
16  Awesome

29 additional images. Click to enlarge.

44 responses

  1. Outstanding work (as usual), Jim...nice build, sir.

  2. Thanks Craig, that one was a labor of love. I hate it when I see an aircraft photo that just fires my rocket and I just have to model it. That was the case with that bird. I'm glad you liked her and thank you for your kind words.

  3. Hi,

    Amazing realisation, congratulations Jim

  4. Very ambitious project & you really pulled it off.
    Exceptional build.

    • Thank you and it was an ambitious project...I had no idea how many problems would challenge me with that Neptune build until I got into it. This was my first exposure to using a lot of vacuform parts in a single build. A real learning experience for sure.

  5. WOW! That was a lot of work Jim but the end result was well worth it
    Fantastic looking Aircraft i got one of those Neptune's in my stash somewhere seeing yours makes me want to go and dig it out,
    Lovely build Jim

    Now where did i put that Neptune 😉

  6. Thanks Mark...Even though that Hasegawa P2V-7 is an older generation kit, like many of the older models of that era (Monogram comes to mind), with some TLC they can produce a respectable model. I have hopes that a 1/48th Neptune may someday become available. Now that would be an interesting build.

    You don't see this everyday
    I've wanted to do a Viet-nam Neptune

  8. Really excellent Jim, beautifully done. I once got everything to do the same conversion. I chickened out and sold it all on eBay.

  9. Very nice work. As others have commented, I have often thought of doing that project. Last year the LHS had a lot of kits from an estate sale, including several of these Hasegawa kits. Wish I had picked one up now.

    • Thanks Tom...Some time back I recall reading that Hasegawa planned to re-release the Neptune kit with some upgrades but I've not seen any further news about it. I still see that old kit on Ebay from time to time and even built OOB, it has the potential for a nice model.

  10. Jim, all that extra work more than paid off... Really superb craftsmanship all around on a really cool looking AC.

  11. The Neptune is a cool looking plane! I've never seen one without jet pods, it really cleans it up! The finish looks excellent! If you're interested in a bigger one, RCM makes one in 1/48 (not sure which model Neptune though.) Great work!

    • Thank you Josh.

      • I have a question about the fuselage joint. Did you back it up with plastic strips, or was it strong enough as a butt joint?

        • Hello Josh...the wing/fuselage joint was very well engineered and required no reinforcement. Hasegawa molded each wing half with interlocking spars (for lack of a better word). One wing half had three spars staggered with two on the top and one on the bottom. The other half had the three spars in reverse order which when joined together formed three solid spars between the wings which resulted in a rock solid fit.

  12. Thats a work of art Jim. this makes me want to try vacform but then I have to ask "why tempt fate"?

    • Thanks Paul. I had those same feelings about working with vacuform and I'm sure that there are other modelers that feel the same way. After using it in my Neptune build I feel a bit more comfortable with it. Falcon's conversion set was very nicely done and the parts fit extremely well. The only thing I had problems with was trimming out the clear parts. I quickly learned that a sharp #11 blade is your best friend.

    • I had reservations about trying it, but I picked up the B-47 from Sanger. The plastic is as thick as any injection molded kit and apart from the dual engine nacelles, has been very easy. I just have to figure out wing spars and I may make the end pieces of all the nacelles out of resin. (I'm waiting on the 1/48 B-52 to be finished and it sounds like all the parts that were difficult on the B-47 will be resin on the BUFF.) The experience was good enough that I am going to try the 1/48 YB-49 from RCM. Just go for it Paul!

  13. Fantastic job Jim,very impressive.

  14. Just excellent, a favorite plane of mine!

  15. love it dad flew the "truculent turtle" back in the 50's...the blue scheme Neptune that set an around the world speed record...the PAX markings are great live in brother was stationed there early 60's so this really hits home

  16. Jim,
    What is left to say... After stunning, I run out of adjectives. You have done an exquisite job on this and if anyone would even ask me, I would cast a very enthusiastic yes vote on this to be the model of the month. The Neptune has to be one of those airplanes that is so esoterically beautiful. They operated for quite a while out of NAS Moffet Field and for years there was a Neptune on a pedestal at that base.
    FANTASTIC craftsmanship.

  17. Outstanding model.

  18. A very nice build there, lovely paint job and some great pics as well
    What more can be said.
    Well done Jim.

  19. Lot of work into this model, but surely worth the effort! Great Looking.

    • Thanks Gordon, it took four months to build her but I worked on other projects too so it's difficult say exactly how much time I actually spent on the build but I'd estimate a couple of months.

  20. Outstanding work, Jim, and WORK is the big word in that sentence. You've certaintly created something that most of us would love to have in our collection. Congrats !

    • Thanks Joe and it was work to make everything mesh together but it was fun work. I've always enjoyed a challenge and to see it through to completion is a fine reward for the effort expended.

  21. Very impressive, Jim, obviously a very popular choice amongst the other guys on this site!

    • Thanks George and I am overwhelmed by the comments expressed by my fellow modelers here on imodeler. What a pleasure it is to belong to such a fine group as this.

  22. It's all been said.

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