1/72 Grumman S2A Tracker Royal Netherlands Navy

Gallery Article by Derek Derks on Nov 11 2011


In the year 1960, under the Mutual Defense Aid program (MDAP).  The Netherlands received the first batch of 28 S2A Grumman Trackers.  The Trackers were to be stationed on the carrier Hr.Ms. Karel Doorman and the Naval Air Base “Valkenburg”.  Major maintenance was carried out on the Naval Airbase “De Kooy”

The 28 Trackers were registered 146/173.

Powered by two Curtiss Wright R1820-82 radial engines, generating 1575 HP each. 

The plane was certainly NOT under powered. 

Armament consisted mainly of torpedoes, rockets and depth charges.

To search the patrol area, the operator could use a very powerful search radar.  This radar was located in a dome in the belly of the aircraft. This dome could be lowered to make full use of this device. To detect minute variations in the earth’s magnetic field, the Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD), was housed on the extreme back of the plane. This boom could be extended.

The S2A and the SH-34J Sikorsky helicopter were the onboard equipment for the Dutch carrier to hunt submarines.  Normally, six to eight trackers and four to six helicopters were carried during operational trips.

These former British Fleet carriers were rather small for the big sized Tracker.  To my knowledge, none crashed during start or approach. The plane could be catapulted into the air, or make a free start from the back of the flight deck.


Click on images below to see larger images


1/72 Scale Hasegawa/Revell

To my knowledge, this model was first presented in the seventies, so it was manufactured the old way. The Tracker was a rather large airplane in wing sizes. To reduce this, I disconnected the outer wing halves, so that the original wing fold was established.

To enhance the model, I purchased the following Eduard sets: Bomb Bay/Exterior and Cockpit set.

To place the metal Bomb Bay in the model, all plastic coverings in this area were removed. The metal bomb bay is rather flimsy, so a very careful approach had to be taken. Once in place, the corners were extra supported by Evergreen beams.

The cockpit escape hatches were removed. On the deck, during the start and approach, these were always open, to ensure a quick escape for the pilots with ditching. The operators had their own escape hatches above their heads. These were closed. Opening was possible from the inside and outside. On the back of the aircraft, I made one more hatch, this contained the dinghy. I improved the landing gear bays and the front landing gear. 

From metal tubing, I made the MAD boom on the backside. This can be extended or retracted.

The S2 was painted with XTRA Colors and the airbrush used was the Revell Master Class.

Decals were from the Revell box and Dutch Decal.

The model was sealed with Humbrol Medium Gloss Cote.


In the Revell box, it contains the decals for serial 160.

This particular aircraft has the following history:

  • Bureau Number 148282.

  • From 1960 until 1968, carrier based on board Hr.Ms. Karel Doorman (R81)

  • From 1968 until 1976, land based (Mostly Naval Air Station Valkenburg)

  • 1976 until present, stationed at the Military Aviation Museum, located at the village of Soesterberg in the Netherlands.

Model Photos made by Joris de Neve, webmaster modeling club Eeklo (Belgium)

Real pictures from the website www.vlaggeschipsmaldeel5.nl . This site is regularly updated by Webmaster Steven Visser, a former Naval NCO technician, who served on the carrier in the sixties.

The carrier is also available in the scale 1/400. This set contains the plastic model, resin update for the angled deck configuration and numerous etch sets, including the (Large) Holland Signal Radars. 

Questions about all of this, just ask me.

Regards from The Netherlands.

Derek Derks


Photos and text © by Derek Derks