Metal Landing Gear for E-2C Hawkeye
I have heard some ask “Why pay for landing gear that’s already in a kit?” The simple reason to use SAC gear comes down to basic physics: Metal gear makes for a robust structure that doesn’t fail under the weight of a model. Resin models are where metal gear is required (but sometimes not provided); on large plastic models, this requirement is particularly noticeable on aircraft with offset main gear such as the Hawkeye, weight distribution is outside of the gear centerline, and the wheel/tire assemblies tend to splay out over time, or outright break off.
In 1/48 scale, the Hawkeye, with its aft-of-Center-of-Gravity rotodome, long tail moment arm, and four fins on the stabilizer, you have a perfect situation for a tail-sitter. Add rearward folding wings (which is how the Kinetic kit is designed, as the finished model with spread wings is a shelf hog) and there is little chance the main gear shall survive display for long. This can only be offset by cheating (pretending the aircraft is dragging its tail in a diorama or providing a tail prop of some kind), or loading the front of the model with a LOT of weight to make sure it sits on the nose gear. That makes a righteously heavy model.
This is where SAC gear shines. Made of white metal, SAC landing gear are direct replacements for the kit items. In the photo, the kit gear is on the right, light gray in color, next to the white metal replacements from SAC).
As you can see there is no difference in the appearance or loss of detail fidelity on the SAC items. I only had one mold line to scrape off on one of the main gear axles… this is as close to perfect metal casting as it comes on an economical scale.
Not much to say here; spray the SAC gear with automotive metal primer (Low buildup formula; don’t want to lose detail), scrape the paint off the mating surfaces, and use superglue or epoxy to assemble. My experience is epoxy is not ideal for metal like this; the parts tend to require being held in place, and sometimes epoxy can take a while to cure, which can lead to misalignment. The way the Kinetic Hawkeye is designed, all three gear slide into place after the model is complete, making painting easier for both the gear and the model itself.
The finished pictures were taken before the model had the gear doors installed to facilitate viewing the gear where as you can see, the effect is no different from the well-detailed kit items:
Score 10 of 10; SAC makes an excellent product, and I highly recommend their use!
Hearty thanks to SAC for providing this upgrade to IPMS/USA for review; from request to delivery was a couple of days.