Monogram 1/48 F-18 Hornet 'Blue Angels'

KIT #: 5820
PRICE: $8.00 'used'
DECALS: Four aircraft
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 1987 release


The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet is an all-weather, twin-engine, carrier-capable, multirole combat aircraft, designed as both a fighter and attack aircraft (hence the F/A designation). Designed by McDonnell Douglas and Northrop, the F/A-18 was derived from the latter's YF-17 in the 1970s for use by the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The Hornet is also used by the air forces of several other nations, and formerly by the U.S. Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels.

The F/A-18 was designed to be a highly versatile aircraft due to its avionics, cockpit displays, and excellent aerodynamic characteristics, with the ability to carry a wide variety of weapons. The aircraft can perform fighter escort, fleet air defense, suppression of enemy air defenses, air interdiction, close air support, and aerial reconnaissance. Its versatility and reliability have proven it to be a valuable carrier asset, though it has been criticized for its lack of range and payload compared to its earlier contemporaries, such as the Grumman F-14 Tomcat in the fighter and strike fighter role, and the Grumman A-6 Intruder and LTV A-7 Corsair II in the attack role. The type sold well overseas with several nations still operating the legacy Hornet. It has since been retired from the US inventory.


Monogram initially released this in prototype markings back in 1980. In 1983, it was released as the A-18 and brought up to production standards with some new parts. I did build that one shortly after its release, but I've not built a Monogram Hornet since then. The only other 1/48 legacy F-18 I've done was the Hobby Boss kit some ten years back.

This one arrived with most of the parts loose in the box. I do wish that when people sold kits with loose parts, they'd at least take a few moments to put all those bits in a zip bag. Considering the rather low price I paid, I guess I shouldn't complain too much. The kit itself is nicely done with raised panel lines. I've been told the fins are a bit undersize, but they look OK to me.

There is the usual Monogram quality cockpit tub into which fits the instrument panel, controls and seat. A pilot figure is provided if one wishes to use it. The fuselage is split horizontally with the upper section containing most of the wing. The two horizontal stabs are supposed to be attached to each other so they can be trapped between the fuselage halves and move, but it look like the previous owner cut them free so there are no attachment points. There are several pieces to the intakes and lower fuselage with this probably being the most difficult part of the build. Interestingly, the instructions would have you attach all the gear doors prior to building up and installing the landing gear.

Though there are wing pylons, there is no ordnance. A centerline fuel tank is provided as are Sidewinders for the wing tip. None of these items are installed on a Blue Angels aircraft while doing a display so one may want to leave these off and fill any holes that are pre-drilled. Only two wing pylons are provided so it is possible that the standard kit has the other two along with ordnance and wing tanks on a sprue that is not provided.

Instructions are well done with multiple, small construction steps. There are markings provided for any one of four aircraft that are differentiated by tail number and serial number. Despite the age of these decals, there is an excellent chance that they are still viable as Monogram decals have a history of longevity.


Due to the age and technology of the kit, this probably won't appeal to those who want the latest and greatest. However, the kit is well detailed, devoid of fussy little parts and is perfect for those who want a kit that won't frustrate them with minutiae.


March 2023

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