Sunday, March 6, 2011

Kinetic Tracker Fuselage Modifications

(Note: This was first posted on the Plane Talking forum on Hyperscale, and I have subsequently done some more work on the drawings. One thing I have found is that the Kinetic kit is still a little long, but only by 0.187", not 0.2" as I said on Hyperscale. OK, it's only a small difference, but I wanted to make sure the information I publish is as accurate as possible)

Let me start by saying that I think this is a great kit, and I'm keen to get started on it. I really wanted an RCN CS2F so I started looking into what, if anything, was necessary to make one. I have access to the structural repair manuals for that aircraft which include many very detailed drawings and I found a few things which I wanted to share with everyone; whether or not you want to make these mods is up to you.
First off, the Kinetic kit is an S2E, the long fuselage version of the Tracker. I understand Kinetic is planning to bring out the short fuselage version at some point in the future, but like most modellers, I don't want to wait. Tommy Thomason's 'Tailhook Topics' ( is a good place to start, and he correctly states that the long fuselage Tracker had a 14" extension forward of the weapons bay and a 4" extension aft. So, you would think cutting out 14" forward and 4" aft would do the trick; you could even ignore that aft 4" as it's only 0.083" in 1/48 . Not so simple, unfortunately. Kinetic's kit is already too long, even for an S2E, and it's all in the aft end. In fact, the S2E kit is 0.187"(a scale 9") too long behind the weapons bay. It's not really obvious, and many modellers won't want to bother if they're just building an S2E. However, to shorten the kit for an early Tracker, you need to remove 0.27" out of the aft end somewhere and it really starts to show.
A second problem which came to light during my investigation is that the kit weapons bay is too long by 0.153" (scale 7.5") at the front. Again, not a big problem by itself, but you will notice it when you come to put the decals on. The prop strike band circles the fuselage just ahead of the weapons bay, and if you don't shorten up that bay, the band will either cut across the front of the bay doors (if it's in line with the prop) or will have to sit forward of the bay placing it obviously too close to the windows for an S2E.
If you are going to shorten up the fuselage, you can attack the problem with the weapons bay at the same time. The combination of cuts and chops to make an S2E into an early S2A/B is pretty ugly and I have made a drawing showing one way to do it.

In summary, it's a nice looking kit with a couple dimensional errors which may not be obvious and which you may choose not to correct. The weapons bay issue is complex if you want it open, and dead easy if you close the doors (just scribe in a new front edge). The aft fuselage length is more complex. If you want to be accurate, you need to cut out 0.187" behind the radome. If you don't want the hassle, leave it alone.
Belcher Bits has a new decal sheet in production for Canadian Trackers, covering from when they came into service with the RCN until retired from the CAF. I also will be producing short tailplanes and rear sponson modifications to model Canadian Trackers. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Michael! Looking forward to your decals and resin bits for the Tracker. I'll have to keep checking back for a release announcement!