DML 1/144 F-18A Hornet






VFA-113 CAG commander's aircraft


Scott Van Aken








Initially designed as the YF-17A lightweight fighter, following its loss tothe F-16, it was greatly modified to become the F/A-18 Hornet. The initialsquadrons were on carriers by the 1980s. Initial concerns with lack of range andcarrying capability were never fully solved with either the F-18A or theimproved F-18C versions. Even the newer F-18E series still has those concerns.

However, the F-18 has performed admirably well for the US Navy and MarineCorps. So popular is the design that a number of foreign countries now have theHornet in service including Kuwait, Finland, Spain, Switzerland and Canada. TheCanadians were one of the first overseas sales for the Hornet and the survivorsof the138 examples initially purchased have been sterling performers for the CAF.

In the US inventory, the F-18A (subject of this kit) has been mostly replacedby the more capable F-18C, though there are a number of them in use by the Navyand Marine Reserves. The future of the A model is unsure, but it is quite likelythat it will be converted into an aerial target or drone when the available F-4Phantom Airframes have been expended.




 Asyou can see from the illustration to the right, the DML F-18 is remarkablycomplete for a 1/144 kit. Unlike a number of 1/144 fighters that I can think of,this one actually looks pretty much like what it is supposed to be! In additionto the usual bits and pieces to make the kit, there is a decent weapons load,though it would be nice to have has some bombs to stick on those wing racks.Besides the air to air missiles, there is a centerline fuel tanks as well as thesensors that fit on the edges of the intakes.

The decal sheet is quite complete with all the needed warnings and insignia.The colorful tail markings are in one piece to make placement easier. The tailsthemselves will have to be painted black anyway as both sides were so colored.The instruction sheet is on the back of the box as is the painting guide. Thiswill eliminate the problem with losing the sheet! Overall, it looks like a verynice kit and one that I look forward to building.

 Review copy courtesy of me and my wallet!! If any of you manufacturersor shop owners want to send products for review and building, please contactme.