Revell 1/72 F-18E Super Hornet
KIT #: 04298
PRICE: 18 Euro
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Carmel J Attard
NOTES: Italeri kit: 13.5 Euro


The Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet is a single seat supersonic fighter/ground attack aircraft and flew for the first time on 29th November 1995. It is a redesigned version of the F/A-18 Hornet currently being phased out of service. Based on its service success the redesign development resulted in increased range and more payloads on the earlier FA-18. New technologies introduced using new composite materials and improved aerodynamic shape. Stealth features have also been added arising from the partially hidden air-intakes. The Super Hornet replaced the F-14 Tomcat since 2006 and served alongside the F/A-18C Hornet and the F/A-18F two seater in the combat roles. The roles of the Super Hornet are so diverse that it takes the place of the retired F-14, A-6 Intruder, S-3 Viking and KA-6D tanker.

The Super Hornet is about 20% larger, 3,000 Kg empty and 6,800Kg heavier at maximum weight than the original Hornet. It also carries 33% more internal fuel, increasing mission range by 40% on the earlier version. Boeing has delivered 367 Super Hornets to the US Navy by the end of 2008. Strike Fighter Squadron 137 (VFA-137) nicknamed Kestrels (a native American Falcon) is a Super Hornet squadron stationed at NAS Lemoore in California. In May 1993 the squadron joined Carrier Air Wing Two and embarked on board USS Constellation (CV-64) for their first Western Pacific deployment Ist November 1994. On this deployment and on that of 1997, the Kestrels patrolled the sky over Iraq enforcing the UN no-fly zone in support of Operation Southern Watch. In 1999 and again in 2001 the Kestrels employed precision-guided ordnance against Iraq as part of the coalition forces response to repeated violations of the no fly zone. In June 2003, after having participated in over 500 operations over Iraq, the Kestrels returned to NAS Lemoore and began transition to the new F/A-18E becoming the third squadron equipped with the type.

 Another Strike Fighter squadron 105 (VFA-105) known as Gunslingers also received Super Hornets in July 2006 and is based at NAS Oceana in Virginia on the east coast of the US.


With the release of the fine model of the FA-18E Super Hornet by Revell I was able to correct the FA-18E bought earlier made by Italeri which had a false dorsal air brake among other items to correct. Reference will therefore be made to the Italeri kit to indicate what it was required to bring to the Revell standard. The Revell kit contains many parts moulded on 4 grey sprues and two clear sprues for the window screen, canopy and HUD parts. Generally the kit is reasonably detailed and has the option of either decorating the raised instrument panel or applying decals issued in the kit box. There are also options for the armament to be fitted under the wing pylons and also alternative decals for two fighter attack Navy squadrons, VFA-137 and VFA-105. The Super Hornet kits I made were both finished in the Revell decal offering. Whereas the Revell kit is completed in markings of VFA-105, the Italeri kit is completed in the more colourful Revell alternative decals option of VFA-137 both of which liveries appear accurate.


I planned to build the kit with the landing gear in the down position in which case the well doors had to be separated from each other using E-xacto blade and carefully sanding the parts at the periphery. For the assembly I followed the kit instructions finding the fit of parts to be perfect but with the exception when arriving to stage 13. As displayed in the attached drawing, the rear portion of the engine, which is part item 5 (marked in dark blue), this does not fit through the rectangular opening indicated unless I had to remove a small area (marked in red) to make way for the assembly to fit. The alternative will be first to assemble stage 5, miss stage 6 so that the rotor front part 12 is added when stage 13 is complete. I opted for the first method and removed area marked red sufficiently to allow the sub assembly 8 to fit in place. This is not complicated as it may sound and is quickly done. The inner sidewalls of the air intake have detail that comes in decal form and is done at a later stage when paintwork is complete.

 When it comes to the Italeri kit, it is best to assemble the upper wing with all the isolated small items to fit around the air intake top and fill with Plasto filler until a smooth top finish to resemble that on the Revell kit is finally obtained. The dorsal air brake is assembled, blanked altogether and instead a detailed heat exchanger is added. This takes the form of 5 elongated ribs located on each top of engines and was made from plastic card cut to shapes required as indicated on the Revell kit. For the rest of the assembly I followed the respective kit instructions. I also added four wing tip fins to the Italeri kit to equal that on the Revell model. Both kits had the AN/ASQ-228 advanced FLIR pod to add to starboard side of air intake. The armament varied and whereas the Revell model has the option of three under wing fuel tanks, there was only a central pod in the Italeri model. Much of the arsenal carried under both models come from the Revell offering but I also added two cruise missiles given with the Italeri model.


Both kits had the inner half of the air intakes finished in gloss white, the rest of the models were painted in Light Ghost Grey Model Master FS36375 for the underside and dark ghost grey Model Master FS 36320 for all upper surfaces except the outer side of both tail fins. Wheel wells and undercarriage were white with outline of well doors in red. Finished models were given a coat of Klear and the decals were applied. The Revell decal is indicated as made in Italy, these were thin and of good quality. I also used some items from the Italeri decal sheet on the Italeri kit. I followed the Revell instruction when it came to colour the under wing armaments. With the decals set in place, another uniform coat of Klear was hand brushed and in the end a final semi gloss coat of MM lacquer was applied to both models.


 I must say I was pleased with the final result on both kits. Though this offered no particular challenge to build since the construction was more or less straight forward and on the other hand I managed to salvage the Italeri model using the Revell kit as the ‘master model’ for reference as I went along with the assembly.

Carmel J Attard

January 2011

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