Revell 1/72 F-18E Super Hornet

KIT #: 04298
PRICE: $19.95 MSRP
DECALS: Two options: VFA-105/137
REVIEWER: Shervin Shambayata
NOTES: New Mold kit

HISTORY

F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is now the primary tactical aircraft of the US Navy. Originally designed to address several short-comings of original F/A-18A/C/D, it was pressed into service both as an interceptor and as a strike aircraft with the end of Cold War and the reduced US defense spending.

 

Although F/A-18E/F addresses some of the most major problems with F/A-18 (namely, short range, small loads and huge radar cross-section) it is still not as capable a fighter as the F-14 which it replaced. Not only does the Super Hornet not carry the deadly Phoenix missile, but because it does not have a variable intake, its acceleration and speed are limited and it can only achieve Mach 1.8.

 

First flown in 1995, Super Hornets became operational in 1999 and by 2006 they had replaced F-14s in squadron service. The US Navy employs both the single seat F/A-18E and the twin seat F/A-18F with F/A-18E geared more towards replacing F/A-18Cs for strike and light attack duties and the F/A-18F geared more towards fleet air defense and interdiction missions.

 

THE KIT

 

To the best of my knowledge this is the third kit of F/A-18E in 1/72. The first offering was the rather inaccurate Italeri kit with its inaccurate dorsal air brake that does not exist on the actual aircraft. Next was the Hasegawa kit that was universally hailed as a great kit (more on that later). Now we have this Revell kit.

 

The Revell kit comes in four darker gray sprues (almost the same shade as the Academy kits) and two clear sprues (one holding the HUD and the windscreen, the other the canopy). Detailing is generally crisp but on my kit I had a little flash around the auxiliary tanks. The parts breakdown is very similar to the Hasegawa offering with a two-seater bound to arrive in the near future. There are differences, however, between the two kits:

 

The cockpit on the Revell kit has raised instrument detail and a relatively detailed ejection seat. The Hasegawa kit uses decals for the instruments and a basic shape for the bang seat.

 

The Revell kit offers full intake trunks but the Hasegawa kit does not.

 

The Revell kit landing gear doors are in one piece and need to be cut out for them to be displayed open.

 

The Revell kit has the newer model heat exchanger vents between the tails whereas the Hasegawa has the older version. Since both types are currently in use and some of the older Super Hornets are being upgraded, it is important to check your references.

 

The tail planes on the Revell kit are molded as one piece connected by single shaft whereas on the Hasegawa they are separate. I believe on the real aircraft the tail planes have differential pitch so the Hasegawa kit is more accurate but since on the ground the tail planes are usually in the same non-neutral position, the Revell maybe more practical.

 

The wings on the Hasegawa kit are separate from the main fuselage whereas on the Revell kit most of the wings up to the hinge for the folding wing tips are part of the rear fuselage halves. Needless to say, this makes the job of creating folded wings for the kit by the aftermarket crowd much easier.

 

The fuel tanks for the Revell kit are different from those for the Hasegawa. I have to check photos to see which is more accurate.

 

The shape of the air intakes are different for the Revell kit with their outside being more flat than the Hasegawa kit. I do not know which one is more accurate but from the photos I think Revell may have the better shape.

 

I have not made measurements but at first glance the nose of the Revell kit looks slightly smaller. I have to build the aircraft to see if this is indeed the case.

 

The Revell kit has a lot more weapons. Hasegawa kit comes with only a pair of AIM-9Xs, a pair of AIM-120s and four fuel tanks. The Revell kit has the AAMs, three fuel tanks, a pair of MK.83 slicks and a pair of JDAMs.

 

One thing that Revell kit has in its favor is the lack of ejector pin marks on pylons, weapons and gear doors. Hasegawa kit is festooned with these marks. On the other hand, the Hasegawa kit has a slide molded canopy that has the correct bulbous shape.

 

The kits instructions are typical of Revell AG with multiple pictorial steps and Revell color call outs. Fortunately, for the exterior, the colors are also given in FS numbers. For the interior colors, however, you need to check your references with main interior color being FS36231 dark gull gray with black bang seat frames. 

 

The decals are provided for two aircraft. First is VFA-137 Kestrels CAG bird with colorful trimmings that are all in decals over FS36320/FS36375 TPS. The other is a VFA-105 with the standard TPS paint scheme. The decals are in perfect register. The manufacturer of the kit decals is unknown. Recent Revell kits have had Italian decals that are extremely thin but they are marked as made in Italy. These bear no such marks.

 

CONCLUSIONS

 

I am not sure how this kit builds but given the recent offerings from Revell I think it should be a fine build and certainly more fun than the Hasegawa kit because there are no ejector pin marks that need to be filled. On the other hand the Hasegawa kit has better surface detailing to my eyes. I am not an expert in the shape of the Super Hornet but to my eyes, the two kits have different shapes. Currently (June 2009), the latest Hasegawa boxing of F/A-18E has an MSRP of $38.95 while this kit retails at about $20.00. Given this, the better cockpit, the ordnance and the intake trunking, I think this kit has an advantage over the Hasegawa kit barring some fatal shape issues.

Shervin Shambayata

June 2009

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