Hasegawa 1/72 FB-111A Aardvark


04035 (K 35)


$30.00 when new


Three aircraft


Scott Van Aken


1989 release. 170 parts.


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.

When SAC needed a bomber to replace the B-58, it chose a variant of the F-111. This aircraft had the increased wingspan of the F-111B along with improved avionics, increased fuel, stronger landing gear, and improved engine inlets to go along with the more powerful engines. Production was quite limited with only enough to fill two bomb wings. When SAC went away, along with one of the two bomb wings, the FB-111A was additionally upgraded to F-111G  and served with the 27th TFW at Canon AFB in New Mexico. 

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. The last operator was Australia where their special-built F-111Cs were joined by ex  SAC FB-111As that were converted to F-111Gs. The RAAF retired the type in 2010.


Back in the late 1980s,Hasegawa produced the entire series of F-111s and also produced some Limited Edition boxings (actually just decal switches). These seem to have pretty well disappeared from store shelves and catalogues, though they can still be found and enterprising model 'companies' (actually just reboxers) have released some of these kits, but at premium prices.

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 large drop tanks. I'm not sure how noticeable the slightly larger rear fuselage is on the FB-111A, but Hasegawa did not do a new sprue for this so it must be minimal at best.

Instructions are superb and provide Gunze paint references as well as general and FS color references. There are three markings options. Two of them are in the SIOP scheme while the third is in the later 'lizard' scheme. Both the 380 and 509 BW are covered on the sheet. The decals are well past the 'use by' date, though you might still be able to use them despite the yellowing. Fortunately there are aftermarket.


In 1/72, the F-111 has been modeled by Airfix, ESCI, Revell, Monogram, and Hasegawa, though I believe only Hasegawa has done the FB variant, thanks to its longer wings. Its lack of availability has escalated the price into the $75.00 plus range so some fairly intense searching will be needed to find one for less. As a note, Hobby 2000 has released the reboxed Hasegawa kit, but at an even higher price. If you find one, you'll discover that it will be a fiddly construct as are most modern Hasegawa multi-mode kits, but the end results will be most pleasing.

October 2021

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