1/48 Northrop Grumman E-2D Conversion

This build is going to be taking the 1/48 Kinetic E-2C 2000 and converting it to the Northrop Grumman  E-2D prototype designated “Delta One”. The conversion will require modifying the upper fuselage scoop and scratch building the side cooling scoop. There are a couple of other small modifications which will be addressed later during the build. I will be using the Eduard External Details photo etch set to enhance the details of the fuselage.

Delta one and two

Starting with the cockpit I detail painted the cockpit panels at dash. For the overhead console I made decals from actual photos of the cockpit. I made the back pads on the seat using the same cloth tape I use for seatbelts. (See my Tips and Tricks section for more details)

Making cloth seat belts for aircraft

Once the cockpit was assembled I then used many reference drawings and scratch built the side cooling scoop. There is one main scoop with a smaller scoop on the front and a small exhaust scoop on the rear.

I used some extras from my photo etch bin to reproduce the cooling radiators behind the scoops. They were then painted brass. The inside of the scoop was painted white and the overall color of the aircraft will be Light Ghost Gray.  Next I will be modifying the top coop and assembling the main part of the fuselage.

This week’s update on the E-2D conversion covers more differences between the E-2C 2000 to the E-2D.  After I assembled the fuselage and added weights to keep the nose down, I detailed the nose gear bay with the photo etch details. Moving forward I had to modify the top scoop. It has a second smaller scoop for the RPCS on top of it. I used some styrene sheets to rough it in and then some putty to blend it to the scoop. I used some spare photo etch pieces to fill in the brass coolers. I then attached the upper center section of the main wings. As you can see the fit is not very good. There are huge gaps at both ends. This required a lot of putty to fill them in. Once filled and sanded I attached the upper scoop.

The next major difference is the cable trough on the fuselage. The “D” does not have one. So the trough was cut out and a piece of sheet styrene was formed and glued in. The entire section was covered with a thin coating of putty. I then sanded it to shape and scribed in the panel lines.

On the rear of the fuselage is another fairing for the PTS and the fairing and head for the EMIRS. I added the photo etch details to the tailhook bay and now I am starting to scratchbuild the fairings.

Weekly update on the conversion to the E-2D is going good. The photos may be a little off. I had the memory card for the camera go bad. So I lost a bunch of photos. I was able to recover some and the areas I lost I took the “after” photos. Anyhow, this week I was able to build up the engines and main gear.  Once detailed and assembled I had to scratch build the EMIRS and PTS faring that are on the bottom aft of the fuselage. I built them out of sheet styrene. For the EMIRS I layered 3 sheets then coated with a layer of putty. Once dry I sanded it to shape it. I cut a section out of the fuselage and made the EMIRS head out of some pieces out of my spare parts bin. Next I started adding details to the fuselage and installed the nose gear.

I mounted the tail assembly and placed the saucer assembly on the top so to make sure the model would sit on the tricycle landing gear. I had added weight to the nose prior to putting the fuselage together but it was not enough. I added 2 more weights just behind the cockpit and it now sits normally.

I masked off and painted the windscreen assembly. Found out there is another section with a huge gap. This was shimmed and then putty was applied. After more sanding and shaping I added in the panel lines. Aircraft Delta One also had a pitot tube mount near the starboard wing tip. I found a brass pin and had to add a styrene rod to make it the correct length. I have most of the aircraft base coated now. Working on the finer painted details now then will need to finish making the decals and put them on.

More work on the E-2D prototype. To start with the main gear was corrected. The instructions have you build the engine/main gear bays off the aircraft. They have one step to build both and it can lead to installing the struts in the wrong bay. A scalpel, some careful cutting, and the error is corrected.

Next the rear fuselage cable trough was removed and the section filled. While the fuselage putty was curing on the fuselage I started modifying the saucer pylon. The lower section is extended down and the connection to the fuselage is larger. Using one of the hi-res photos I was able to scale the photo section to 1/48 size. I then cut out the sections to use as templates. The templates was traced on to some sheet styrene and then cut out the section pieces for the sides. Once the sides were installed I measured the bottom and made the bottom panel. I then laid down a coat of putty in the areas that will require blending. After the putty is cured I will start sanding and filing to blend the add-on to the original part.

Moving forward on the E-2D conversion, I have finally finished the fuselage modifications. The fuselage was wet sanded and contoured to match the fuselage without the cable trough. The pylon and saucer were painted and clear coated with gloss. I then started the painting the rest of the aircraft. Paint scheme is overall light ghost gray with international orange highlights. The propellers were then assembled, painted, decaled and sealed with a matte finish. The main landing gear doors were painted and decaled as well. I am now working on making the custom decals to represent the “Delta One” aircraft.

I am getting closer to finishing the E-2C 2000 conversion to the E-2D. Using some high resolution photos I was able to make a decal set for the aircraft. After doing some detail painting and adding decals from the kit I added the custom decals. After the decals were applied I let the Microsol do its job. The kit decals worked great. Only issue is that the kit decals for the walkways were a little larger/longer than the spaces they go on the aircraft. The worst area was the walkways between the tails. I ended up cutting out a section in the middle of each decal so that the edges would line up correctly.  The entire aircraft was then sprayed with a gloss coat to seal the decals. Next is the final assembly adding the pylon and saucer, the cable rigging, and the clear parts (wingtip lights, fuselage lights, and cockpit windows. Should have it completed next week.


The conversion from the 1/48 Kinetic E-2C 2000 to the Northrop Grumman E-2D “Delta One” aircraft is now complete. I can also reveal that this was made for a wonderful lady who has worked many years on the E-2 aircraft. The model has been mounted in to a custom made display case made by Grandpa’s Cabinets.

If you want to protect your model and display it in a case, I highly recommend them. They provided the case for my 1/350 USS Carl Vinson and for this model. Their website is

Grandpa’s Cabinets

With all the decals applied a nice gloss finish was applied. The antenna line was added using EZ-Line. The side windows and top windows of the cockpit were sprayed with a 50/50 mix of Tamiya clear orange (X-26) and clear yellow (X-24) to replicate the gold tint. To keep the model from sliding around I drilled a hole into each wheel (only one of the nose wheels) and glued in a piece of wire. I then set it on a piece of paper so the wires poked thru the paper. The aircraft was positioned on the base. I then taped the paper down and removed the model and used the paper as a template to drill holes in the base.

The wire pins were coated with some clear two-part epoxy and the aircraft was placed on the base. The last step was to mount the brass etched name plate that was made by EnM Engraving.

EnM Engraving

The last thing was to place the acrylic cover and the model was ready to be displayed.

While the kit itself had some fit issues, overall it presents well. Thanks for following along.


5 thoughts on “1/48 Northrop Grumman E-2D Conversion

  1. Do always great work Dave can’t wait to see the end result!!!

  2. Really nice.

  3. So impressive!

  4. David,
    Nice work! Do you mind if I feature some of the pictures on our website?

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