KIT:

Italeri 1/48 EA-18G Super Hornet conversion

KIT #

2619

PRICE:

$25.00

DECALS:

See review

REVIEWER:

Peter Fey

NOTES:

Black Box cockpit, CE Jammer pods.

HISTORY



The EA-18G is a Boeing proposal to replace the aging EA-6B Prowler.  The current plan calls for the EA-18 to enter the fleet by 2009, while the archaic EA-6B continues to soldier on till 2015.  The ‘G’ variant will use proven EA-6B ICAP III technology such as digital software and ALQ-99 jamming pods, mated to the versatile Super Hornet platform.  Interestingly enough, the EA-18 will be to the Hornet, as the EA-6B Prowler was to the A-6 Intruder.
 

THE KIT

If you want to read my initial review of this kit, click here.  After building this kit, I’ll tell you that it tempered my enthusiasm for it somewhat.  It’s an okay version of the test airplane, F1, but not an operational aircraft.  Revell-Monogram has announced a single seat variant to be released sometime this fall.  Logic says that a two seat will soon follow—if you want a decent kit, I’d go with that one.  It’ll save you the effort in the long run.

 

CONSTRUCTION

             The kit is split into a nose section and the fuselage, which includes the wings and empennage.  I started off construction by gluing the Black Box cockpit into the upper section of the nose.  I highly recommend this, as the kit-supplied cockpit is SPARSE.  I then glued the gear doors closed and began working on the heinous seams around the nose cone.  The intakes on this kit are…well…, not good.  I spent almost 5 hours just puttying and sanding, repeating the process over and over till I had something that was acceptable.  The fuselage went together quite well, but the seam left behind when it’s mated to the nose is monstrous!

The speed brake as represented by Italeri is incorrect.  The Super Hornet doesn’t have one like the regular Hornet—it uses the flight controls to kill lift, so I glued it closed and filled it in.  There are spoilers on the upper edge of the LEX; these also needed copious amounts of putty.  I then filled the gaps around the flap-like LEX vents just inboard of the leading edge flaps and built these in the up or closed position. They don't move anymore on the real jets.  

I filled in the holes in the wing for the under wing pylons.  The pylons on the Super Hornet are toed outward at 3 degrees, so you’ll have to re-drill the holes for the correct angle.  In addition to this, the pylons are also canted outward, so they’ll have to be glued at the appropriate angle.  I also added the IFF antenna box on the forward fuselage between the windscreen and gun port.

Because the EA-18G is still in the testing stage, the antenna placement is still being worked on. On the spine, I added a rather large aerodynamic fairing to represent the proposed location of the MATT/IDM antenna.  A USQ-113 antenna from an old EA-6B Prowler kit was also placed just in front of it. The wingtip receivers were made from the Harpoon missiles in the kit.  They are the right scale diameter (the real ones are 13”x 121”), so I just cut them to length and faired the ends.  After adding winglets, the whole assembly was glued to the wingtip.  The real thing is just bolted to the wingtip in place of the AIM-9 Sidewinder and its LAU. 

The ALQ-99 pods are from Cutting Edge’s F/A-18G Growler kit.  It only includes three although the EA-18 will be capable of carrying more, so I ended up buying two kits.  The kit fuel tank is wrong. To make the correct drop tank, I lengthened it by about 3/8" to represent a 480-gallon tank instead of the 330-gallon tank. The 330-gallon tank is not authorized for the Super Hornet.  I used the AGM-88 HARMs from the kit, but only after sanding down the large bands that Italeri included on the body of the missile.       

CAMOUFLAGE & MARKINGS

       The plane was painted with Model Master Enamels in the standard FS color Scheme.  Because no Prowler squadrons have transitioned yet, I took some liberty with the markings.  The black on the wingtips and the nose were painted and masked off.  Following a coat of Future, the model was ready for decaling. 

This was my first major effort at making my own decals, and I must say, what a PITA…  I used Decal Paper purchased from Micro Mark.  They have different types for both ink jet and laser printers.  I made the decals by surfing the web and finding the CVW-11 patch, and VAQ-135 patch. I then modified them in MS Paint.  I used Power Point to size the markings and side numbers to the appropriate scale.  I seriously suggest doing this all on plain paper vice the expensive decal paper, as it took many days to get a product that I was happy with.  In the end, I made all the markings except the national insignia, which came from my spares pile. 

Probably the most infuriating aspect of all this is that I had made several sheets of decals and somehow the size got messed up in between printing jobs.  I didn’t realize it until I went to apply the Black Raven and noticed the difference in size.  So much for my quality control!  But I’d used up all my blank decal sheets, so I couldn’t reprint the one odd sized decal…  A coat of Future sealed the decals and after letting that dry a coat of Dull Cote was applied. 

CONCLUSIONS

Finally, the stores were added and with all the construction finished, the plane was attached to its display stand.  This was not an easy build, just due to the quality of the Italeri kit.  With the Monogram kit due to be on the shelves in September, I’d seriously think twice about building this one again.  Making the conversion to the EA-18 was the easiest part of this model—the hard part was fixing all the flaws of the kit.  But with all this said, I’m still happy with my one of a kind kit.  Hopefully the Navy will make it a reality in the next few years.

Review courtesy of my wallet and me…

August 2003

 

REFERENCES

 Joe Hegedus FA-18E article

Boeing pamphlets concerning the EA-18G

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly by a site that has over 200,000 visitors a month, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Reviews Index Page