Hasegawa 1/72 F-18C Hornet 'Atsugi CAG Combo'

KIT #: 02345 (Dt 145)
PRICE: $22.95 when new
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 1999 limited edition, two complete kits.


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. Legacy Hornets have nearly all been retired from US service, having been replaced by the later E/F variants.  The type still serves with a number of overseas air forces and upgrades/reworks on those airframes will keep the type in the skies for a number of years to come.


Hasegawa has surely gotten a ton of mileage out of its 1/72 legacy Hornet kits. Released initially as an F-18A, a new sprue with F-18C fins and a few other bits was added several years later. Despite the age of this kit, these moldings, while they show a little bit of flash in some places, are still in fairly good condition. 

The kit provides 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 and VFA-192 CAG birds have been chosen. For the VFA-27 option, you do need to paint the black areas. Upper Lerex walk markings as well as cockpit instrument decals are also included on the sheet. There are a ton of aftermarket options for this kit if you wish to pursue that option.


This is not the easiest kit on the planet to build, with the area around the intakes being a particular challenge. However, with the use of those modeling skills, a very nice model can still be made from this kit. I've built a few and have been pleased with the results. What's more, they are not difficult to find and are generally reasonably priced.

May 2021

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