Hasegawa 1/72 F-18C Hornet "VFA-131 Wildcats CAG"
|KIT:||Hasegawa 1/72 F-18C Hornet "VFA-131 Wildcats CAG"|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Not exactly a brand new kit|
People are looking at the F-18 Hornet pretty much the way they looked at the Phantom back in the early 1980s. A faithful servant that is now in its last years and needs to be replaced with something new. That something new will be the F-35 (whatever happened to F-24-34?) when it finally gets its incredibly expensive butt into production. Now, the F-18C/D variants (most of the older F-18A/B aircraft are in the boneyard) gets the 'honors' of being the old plane on the block, so to speak. Doesn't mean they are not still viable weapons platforms as they have been upgraded at least once already, but these planes will give way to the aforementioned F-35 or the Super Hornet before too long.
When the Hornet came into fleet use, it was decided to create four new squadron numbers to go along with them. VFA-131, 132, 135 and 136 were those units. This wasn't a new idea as VF-1 and VF-2 were newly formed units when the Tomcat came into being. Of course, with draw-downs and such, half of those four units are now gone, but such is the way of things.
Some might use the term 'long in the tooth' to describe the Hasegawa Hornet kit. It wouldn't be too far from wrong. The F-18C kit is really just an F-18A kit with a new sprue that has the important F-18C bits like new fins, LEREX vortex generators and antennas, to name a few things. The parts are relatively free from flash, though you will find some. The kit also shows its late 1980s ancestry with ejector pin marks in the gear wells, inside gear doors, gear legs, lower wings and a few other places like wheels. Some might say that this isn't new as the new mold 1/72 Hasegawa kits have some of these traits as well.
Needless to say, the kit, though old mold it may be, still holds up fairly well. There will be those who fuss about decals for instrument panels and one piece somewhat generic-looking missiles and having to buy a weapons set if they want bombs, but then some would fuss if hung with a new rope. You do get three external tanks and a pilot figure. If you are wondering if an A model F-18 can be made from this kit, then the answer is yes. Use the other set of fins and don't put on the various antennas.
Markings are for two CAG birds, both in the TPS with insignia blue CAG markings on the fins. The VFA-131 plane is shown on the box art and this comes from 2004. Also from 2004 is the VFA-83 CAG bird. On this one, the blue extends down across the LEREX so some additional masking is needed.
Instructions are the same Hasegawa standard type we've had for 25 years. Gunze is the paint given in the references. Decals are well done and should provide no trouble at all if applied using hot water.
An old friend to many and while some might like a new molding, the old one sells well enough so I doubt that will happen soon. Not a difficult build and the end result is pleasing. Those wanting more detail can look to the various aftermarket bits to help satisfy their needs.
My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the review kit. Get yours at your favorite shop or ask them to order it for you.
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