Hasegawa 1/72 F-111A Aardvark "Giant Voice"


04032 K32


1800 yen SRP


Three aircraft


Scott Van Aken


1989 Initial Release


The versatile "swing wing" F-111, unofficially named the "Aardvark" until its retirement ceremony on 27 July 1996 where the name was made official, entered the USAF inventory in 1967. The F-111 can exceed twice the speed of sound (Mach 2) by sweeping its wings rearward while in flight. The wings are swept forward for takeoffs, landings or slow speed flight.

Originally known as the TFX (Tactical Fighter "X"), the F-111 was conceived to meet a USAF requirement for a new tactical fighter-bomber. In 1960, the Department of Defense combined the USAF's requirement with a Navy need for a new air superiority fighter, then launched a competition among aircraft manufacturers for the final design. In 1962, General Dynamics and Boeing were selected as finalists with the General Dynamics TFX design eventually winning out. The Navy version was known as the F-111B and the USAF version the F-111A. The first flight of the F-111A took place in December 1964, and the first production models were delivered to the USAF in 1967. Meanwhile, the Navy's F-111B program was canceled as it didn't meet the needs of the Navy being too large and too complex a system for carrier operations. This only goes to show that a 'one plane does all' deal isn't always the best. Interestingly, during all of this there was an aircraft that met and in many cases exceeded the requirements of the USN, USAF and USMC; the F-4 Phantom II.

In all, 562 F-111s of all series were built; 159 of them were preproduction and production F-111As. Many of the F-111As were rebuilt as EF-111As and those were the final type retired in 1996, the A models having been sent to the boneyard at least a decade earlier. F-111s were last operated by Australia where their special-built F-111Cs were joined by ex  SAC FB-111As that were converted to F-111Gs and operated in tactical squadrons for a couple of years before being retired.



I thought it might be interesting to go ahead and take a look at the initial release of Hasegawa's 1/72 F-111A kit. Even after all these years, it is still, in the opinion of most, the best 1/72 F-111A kit. Hasegawa produced the entire series of F-111s at this time and some additional special boxings (actually just decal switches) in the years after.. These seem to have pretty well disappeared from store shelves and catalogues. A couple of variants have been reboxed by Hobby 2000 in the last few years and while these kits come with extras (like canopy masks), they tend to be pricey..

As you can expect, it is superbly molded with no flash or sink areas that I could spot right away. There are some ejector pin marks on some of the smaller pieces that will have to be dealt with. Typical of Hase 1/72 kits, the cockpit instrument panels and side consoles are decals. The canopy cannot be displayed in the open positions, but the plastic is very clear so the interior can easily be seen. The rather complex intake shapes are well done as is the equally complicated main gear bay.

The wings can only be displayed in the forward position as the slats and flaps will prevent them from being swept back. The fuselage opening is also not large enough to permit this. There are no missiles or bombs included but there are four large drop tanks and some other missile that I believe is a Durandel included along with a MER so you can fill the pylons. A gun pod is also provided for the centerline.

Instructions are superb and provide Gunze paint references as well as general and FS color references. Markings are provided for three aircraft. All are in the modified SEA camo scheme with the black underside instead of the normal light grey. The box art option is with the 366 TFW at Mountain Home AFB with a colorful fin stripe used during the 'Giant Voice' bombing competition. Also from that unit is the boss bird with a shadowed tail code. The third option is with the 429th TFS/474th TFW based at Nellis AFB. This one has the upper fin tip painted in red.


You want the best F-111 kit available in 1/72 (and probably any scale) then this is the one to get. It will be a fiddly construct as are most modern Hasegawa multi-mode kits, but the end results will be most pleasing.

July 2023

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