The F/A-18 Hornets have been prowling the skies for many years, and starting in 1995 the Super Hornet progam began with many upgrades. While the Super Hornet does carry many characteristics of the original Hornets, it is basically a new aircraft, being 20% larger then it predecessor. This provided great fuel storage for great range and ability to carry more stores.
The resulting aircraft, still in use by many countries, is available in a new kit from Academy
, the F/A-18E, single seat variant with markings for VFA-143 "Pukin' Dogs".
6 Plastic Sprues, plus nose and lower fuselage parts seperate
1 Clear Plastic Sprue
1 Decal sheet
2 Instruction Sheets (store options separate)
1 Colored Painting and Marking Guide
When opening the box, I sort of got that "deja vu" feeling. Having reviewed the F/A-18F, two seat variant from Academy
a while back, a lot of the sprues looked familiar. That said, it is not a bad thing, the parts were originally tooled in 2016, and the moldings look great. The aircraft has really good looking surface details with fine engraved panel lines. Unlike the previous release, which contained multi-colored sprues, this kit is molded in all grey plastic.
The cockpit, while well detailed, uses the twin seat tub from the first release, which would raise the question of looks once installed. But it does look like Academy
may have done a decent job of camouflaging that. The kit does include decals for adding that extra detail to the front office. As for the canopy, like the first release, Academy
has molded the nice looking clear canopy with a seam mark right of the center top of the "glass". While it does look subtle, it is there, and would require some careful polishing to remove.
The landing gear and associated bays also look to be well detailed. The gear bays have some nice looking rib details on the interior, that should definitely add to the overall look of the completed model. The gears and wheel are nice, but I did find an ejector mark on the front gear that will require a little filling.
At the rear, I think the only really weakness is the molding of the engine exhaust parts. While the moldling of the internal fan looks good, I found the molding of the jet exhaust details to be a little weak, to me they are not as sharp as they probably could be.
Now, the first kit, the F/A-18F variant, was released as a kit that could be assembled without glue, and with this kit, stating it requires glue, it does raise the question of over all fit. I did notice on my first inspection of the parts, that I found some of the external store to be a little chunky, mostly due to the connection points.
As for markings, this kit from Academy
contains marking for two aircraft that served the VFA-143, Carrier Air Wing 7:
- 166608 CAG - 2008-09-14 (USS Dwight D. Eisenhower)
- 166608 CAG - 2014-09-20 (USS Harry S. Truman)
The decal included in the kit are printed by Cartograf
, and look excellent. There are a lot of fine "Common Data" decals included as well. As for the instruction, they look easy to follow, and include paint callouts for many parts. The painting and marking scheme is printed on a large sheet in color, and should prove helpful in finishing your build.
I am impressed with this release of the F/A-18E from Academy
in 1/72 scale. Being a relatively newer tooling, the details shows on many of the parts, including fine engrave panel lines and rivets. The interior parts look to be well details, and should add to the built plane displayed. The only real weakness I found was the molding of the jet exhaust, they did not look very sharp. I would definitely recommend this kit.