The Grumman S-2 Tracker was the first purpose-built, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft to enter service with the U.S. Navy. Prior to the Tracker, ASW duties
were performed by the Grumman AF Guardian, but using two aircraft: one with the detection gear and the other with the weapon systems. The Tracker combined
both functions in one aircraft. The Tracker was of conventional design with twin Wright Cyclone R-1820 nine cylinder radial propeller engines, a high wing and
tricycle undercarriage. The aircraft was manned by a crew of four. Entering service in 1954, the Tracker saw service in the U.S. Navy until the mid-1970s. The
Tracker was exported to a number of navies around the world and is still in service in Argentina and Brazil.

The Grumman E-1 Tracer, based on the Tracker, was the first purpose built airborne early warning aircraft used by the United States Navy. The Tracer was fitted
with the Hazeltine AN/APS-82 in a radome atop the fuselage. Like the Tracker, the Tracer had folding wings for compact storage aboard aircraft carriers. However,
because of the radome, the wings on the Tracer were folding along the sides of the fuselage, unlike the Tracker which had its wings folded upwards. The Tracer
entered service in 1958 and also served into the mid-1970s when it was replaced by the Grumman E-2 Hawkeye. Prior to 1962, the Tracker was known as the S2F
and earned the nickname “Stoof” (S-two-F) and the Tracer, because of its radome, was called "Stoof with a Roof."
The L'Arsenal Kits - The Grumman S-2 Tracker and E-1 Tracer are the latest releases in L’Arsenal’s line of 1/350 scale aircraft. Each are sold separately and
packaged in a ziplock bag. Each bag contains resin and photo-etch parts to build two aircraft with the option of having the wings extended and ready for operation on
a carrier deck or in a stowed position with wings folded. No decals are provided. As you can see from the photos, the majority of the parts are distinct for each
plane. The only common parts are the resin landing wheels and the photo-etch. The detailed fuselages, vertical tail fins and horizontal stabilizers are well cast as one
piece with good details, like recessed flaps and cockpit windows. Each airplane is attached to a casting runner which is done in such a way as to prevent warping of
the stabilizers and tail fins, which is a common problem for resin aircraft. The attachment point is thin, so removing the casting runner should be fairly easy with a
razor blade followed up with some light sanding to remove any blemishes. The belly of the Tracker fuselage has the ECM antenna dome. There is a notch in the
fuselage to accommodate the wings, whether you choose the extended or folded version. Both versions have the engine nacelles cast into them which have the slots
for the landing gear underneath and the Tracer version having the main strut for the radome on top. Both versions of the wings have good detail like recessed flaps.
The parts are generally well cast though some spots have thin resin film that needs to be removed.

There are enough resin main and front landing wheels provided to equip 6 aircraft but that is a positive thing since the wheels are so small that it is good to have
extras in case you lose one or two in the process. The common photo-etch fret comes with parts for both airframes, so some are not used depending on which one
you are building. The brass parts include individual propeller blades, the ends for the center and outer wings of Tracker to be used when in a folded position, different
versions of the previous part for the Tracer, two types of support struts for the Tracer radome, main landing gear legs and doors, front landing gear leg and doors
and arrestor hooks. You get enough photo-etch equip six aircraft, so you have some extras in case you lose or mangle a particular part. Personally, I am not a fan of
the individual propeller blades and would have preferred more traditional full versions. My guess is that do to size constraints and the number of parts covering both
versions, there was not enough room to do it this way. What is surprising and disappointing with both versions is the lack of detailed assembly instructions. Instead,
you get four CAD images of a fully assembled aircraft, two with wings extended and two wings folded. These are not really useful in my opinion, especially with
fitting the struts for the Tracer radome, and blow-up illustrations with references to the photo-etch parts would have been much better. You will need additional
references to aide with the assembly.
Overall these are good aircraft accessory sets that would look great sitting on the flight deck of a 1960s early 1970s era aircraft carrier, such as the Gallery Intrepid,
Tamiya
Enterprise or Trumpeter Kitty Hawk or Constellation. The lack of adequate assembly instructions mars an otherwise quality product. My thanks to L’Arsenal
2.0 for the review samples.
Felix Bustelo
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