Hasegawa 1/72 F-18C Hornet 'VFA-27 Maces'
|KIT #:||02889 (Dt 129)|
|PRICE:||1200 yen SRP back in '96.|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||1996 Limited Edition|
An aircraft designed to replace the A-6 and A-7 in the light and medium strike role, the F-18 Hornet was itself a highly modified design based on the losing USAF light fighter entry, the Northrop F-17 Cobra. A deal was struck between McDonnell/Douglas and Northrop that Northrop would sell a lighter non Navalized version and McDonnell/Douglas would build the other. Northrop, as always seems to happen, got the short end of the stick on that one and did not sell a single complete aircraft. Instead, it was tossed a bone and build subassemblies for McDonnell/Douglas.
The F-18, as with many new airplanes had a rocky start in that it was unable to meet the range and payload requirements. Like a good military, the Navy accepted these deficiencies as they really were not going to get anything else. So the F-18 entered service in the mid 1980s and A-7 units were the ones to transition over. Maintenance people liked them because the systems were new and more reliable. Pilots thought it was OK, but not what they were used to. Eventually, they got over it and the Hornet went on to serve for decades. The A model Hornets have all but been retired from the fleet with some of them being upgraded to A+ configuration for the Marines and Reserves. Even some of the earlier C models are in the boneyard with a number of earlier Hornet units converting to the F-18E Super Hornet, a nearly completely new airframe that finally takes care of some of the deficiencies of the Legacy Hornets (as the F-18A-D versions are called).
Hasegawa has surely gotten a ton of mileage out of its 1/72 F-18 kits. Released initially as an F-18A, a new sprue with F-18C fins and a few other bits was added several years later. Thanks to the age of this kit, these moldings, while they show a little bit of flash in some places, are still in good condition compared to what might be released today.
The kit single seat versions of the F-18C and so all you get are the bits for that plane. The kits come with a fair cockpit that uses decals for the instrument. An OK bang seat is also provided, but one really should get a resin replacement as the detail is so much better.
Optional bits are to have the boarding ladder up or down (a hole needs filled for up), canopy open or closed, speed brake up or down (rarely seen up), and a choice of Sparrow missiles or the Targeting pods on the fuselage behind the intakes. The kit comes with Sidewinders, but no bombs. There are three drop tanks. For those who want to make an A model F-18, the bits for that variant seem to be still in this kit so that can be done.
If you have ever built one of these kits, then the instructions will be very familiar. As is frequently the case, you get a set of base line instructions with a new sheet that includes painting and markings for the special boxing. Since Hasegawa basically chooses subjects for the home market, it is not surprising that VFA-27, which was assigned to CAG 5, then aboard the USS Independence would be chosen. This is the CAG bird with all the black bits that were in vogue at the time and probably still are. The decal sheet is nicely done and includes the yellow cheat lines though you do need to paint the black areas. Upper Lerex walk markings as well as cockpit instrument decals are also included.
Another very nice boxing from our friends at Hasegawa. The kit itself is not the simplest build on the planet, but with some skill and perseverance, you'll have a superb CAG-5 Hornet.
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