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Mike Maynard
52 articles

Grumman S-2 "Tracker" Target Tug

February 18, 2015 · in Aviation · · 18 · 2.4K

The Grumman was the first aircraft designed from the beginning for the Navy's antisubmarine warfare carriers, whose mission was the destruction of submarines in high priority areas. First flown in 1952, S2F-1S went to the first operating squadrons in 1954. The aircraft was equipped to carry a variety of ASW weapons such as torpedoes, rockets and the "LULU" atomic depth charge. The aircraft's sensor devices included APS-38 radar in a retractable dome for surface search, a "Jezebel" passive search sonar, as well as an ASQ-10 MAD boom in the tail. Over 800 S-2's were built and some 200 planes were operated by foreign countrys' naval forces.

The model is depicted as a taget tug near the end of it's active life. I received this 1:59 scale kit as a gift in 1955 about the time it was released by Comet Models. The model came with no landing gear, rockets as I recall, a very simple build for the time. Somehow it survived in my folks basement and a lot of pieces were missing. I took it home and added new props, tail landing gear, canopy and fixed the port wing which was broken off from the fuselage. It was airbushed using and Testors paints. The stand was a quick build using a piece of oak and some brass rod. As with many of my "rebuilds" it was a fun trip down memory lane.

Reader reactions:
10  Awesome

7 additional images. Click to enlarge.

18 responses

  1. A very colourful version of the old Tracker you have done there Mike.
    Looks great sir.

  2. Nicely finished and photographed, Mike...I like that! 🙂

  3. A very nice 'Stoof'. Love the colourful markings. Well done!

  4. beautiful...colorful as usual...your collection must be something with all that lovely color

  5. That is very nice looking! You would never know it was such a vintage kit!

    • Thanks Rob. I forgot to mention that Aurora Models purchased the vintage Comet molds for a number of model aircraft including the "Stoof". It was upgraded to include landing gear and released in 1960 under the Aurora name, that explains the picture with the box.

  6. Terrific Tracker, Mike. VERY well done out of an "oldie,"

    What is it about the looks of the Tracker that makes so many want to build one?

  7. Yeah, that's cool. Love the colours. Nice one.

  8. I built that kit circa 1959, it was a sturdy model, and had engraved panel lines, uusual for that period. Nice work.

  9. Agree. A great looking model from a vintage kit. Nicely photographed too.

  10. I think I have a couple of pieces from my old one in th4 spares box.
    Good to see it again, and in an eyecatching scheme. Nice work.

  11. I've got a 72 Tracker on my "on deck" shelf, and have been debating the original blue scheme vs. more modern gull grey. Now I have a better idea...!

    Very nicely done! Can I blame you for my inspiration?

  12. Nice work - I too remember that old kit "back in the day." I've always liked the Tracker for some reason. Made my one and only carrier trap (as a passenger) in a C-1A.

  13. Brilliant photographs, Mike, and I love the colour scheme.

  14. Thats a very nice build, the colorful scheme is really outstanding.

  15. Very nice nostalgic rebuild-wow. Like others before, I sure remember that model and the other Comet kits as well.

  16. Thanks to everyone for the nice comments. This model is really not up to the standards of today's models (no matter what type of kit you build) but was a "big deal" when released in the mid 1950's (it wasn't made out of wood). It's funny how a fresh coat of paint and some new decals can bring an old hunk of plastic back to life. Perhaps one of you guys will build a state-of-the-art S-2 kit and I'm sure it will be a "crowd pleaser". Cheers!

  17. Mike,
    Late to the party with my comment but allow me to add my compliments on a beautiful restoration.

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