1/48 AMT S-3A Viking
Here's my 1/48 AMT S-3A Viking, which I built several years ago. The kit, which is still available under the Italeri label, appears to have accurate outlines and shapes based on my few references. Overall, the fit is OK, but I had to use filler on the fuselage and wing root seams. Panel lines are recessed, but seem to wide and deep for the scale. I uses thinned paint and pencil to highlight the panel lines, but the effect is too stark. I've since learned to tone down this method of highlighting panel lines. The kit has several options: open or closed boarding steps, FLIR dome, bomb bay, and extended or retracted tail hook, MAD boom, and in-flight refueling probe. Two decent Harpoon missiles are provided to go under the wings, but I substituted two 350-gal drop tanks from my spares box.The kit also provides four ASW torpedoes, but I replaced them with two Mk-44 torpedoes left over from a 1/48 Hasegawa SH-3 Sea King kit. The kit's bomb bay and landing gear bays are devoid of any detail. I busied them some by adding styrene strip and rod to the wells to add at least some minimal detail. The cockpit is very basic, too, with inaccurate decals for the instrument panels. But you can't see anything in there anyway, because it's all hidden by a tinted canopy that's about twice as dark as it is on the actual aircraft. I added several large lead fishing weights to keep model from tail-sitting. I used Model Master enamels to paint the Gull Grey over white cammoflage scheme, and thin decal strips painted zinc chromate yellow to simulate the weather sealing around the windscreen frames. The break-away panels above the sensor operators ejection seats were covered with sections of clear decal sheet, painted grey. The kit provides markings for VS-41, the Viking training squadron, but I wanted to portray a feet squadron jet. So, I substituted markings from an AeroMaster sheet to portray a jet from VS-22, when deployed aboard USS Saratoga in 1976. I have two more of these kits in the stash, one of which is the ES-3A Shadow version, and I hope to do a better job on those - whenever I get around to building another Viking.