Cold Lake Cougar: 1/48th Kinetic CF-188A/B (F/A-18A/B) Hornet
The 2016 introduction of the 1/48th Kinetic F/A-18, CF-188A/B (CF-18) took the Hornet to a new level in this scale. Kinetic had been improving over time and this kit shows the growth of the company into a serious contender. Detail is everywhere and although there area a few construction hitches the kit builds up into an impressive looking subject.
Notable Kit Features:
Nicely detailed cockpit ejection seats & sidewalls (with decal instruments)
Very fine surface details with panel lines, rivets, vents and raised sections
Full intake ducts with compressor faces
Nice afterburner chambers and exhaust nozzles
Optional open or closed air refueling probe
Nicely detailed wheel wells & gear
Wing panels can be displayed in-flight or folded
Positionable leading edge slats & trailing edge flaps
Positionable stabilators, rudders & speed brake
Photo-etched chaff/flare launcher faces
Optional open / closed canopy with Photo-etched bow & mirrors
Pilot boarding ladder
Photo etched details for cockpit and surface details such as vents and stiffeners
Choices of RCAF, RAAF or Spanish markings included (Excellent quality)
3 x 330gal fuel tanks
2 x AIM-120B & 2 x AIM-120C AMRAAMs
2 x AIM-9M & 2 x AIM-9X Sidewinders
2 x GBU-38 JDAM
2 x CBU-87 CEM
2 x GBU-12 Paveway LGB
AAQ-28 Litening targeting pod
Sniper XR advanced targeting pod
AAS-38 Nitehawk FLIR & Laser Designation & tracker pod
I wanted to have a CF-18 in its typical Canadian livery, especially in the later part of its career when the paint finish was starting to show some of the workhorse years. The 1/48th Kinetic F/A-18 (CF-188) Hornet kit is a great choice as it allows you build either a single or duel seat version out of the box (with options for nose, tail and other features). I selected the RCAF 410 Cougar Squadron dual seat "B" model CF-188 (circa June 2016).
Some errors in instructions E.g. nose piece should be C13 (not C18)
Take it slow through some build areas (such as the nose) to get the best fit possible (I used some small plastic card shims to expand the nose to match the fuselage
Forward nose and canopy fit needs some sanding & filler
Check aircraft for installation of ID light or blank plate
Clean up interior of intakes and install intake ducts after forward intake sections and fences are in place. Some trimming and adjustments were necessary to improve fit
Added shim to intake fence to properly align this part
Decal Note: on 410 Sqn. CF-188B rear rank should be MCpl (not CMpl)
Kit Additions / Modifications:
For the ID light, I added detail to create the interior light box (plus additional drill outs on surface)
Removed slight lip on exhaust ends plus I added "v-groove" to the petal joins where the exhaust meets the fuselage (a subtle but easy refinement).
My CF-188B was finished in the standard scheme of FS 35237 Blue-Gray over FS 36375 Light Gray with a false canopy on the underside painted on using FS 36118. By this stage the Canadian CF-18s were showing pretty noticeable signs of wear so I upped the amount of variance in the paint tones while spraying. A heavier panel line and vent staining wash was also applied to the model. The final paint shot was to the nose with a bit of radome tan on the forward portion of the nose cone tipped off with some aluminum. The provided decals were excellent, thin, flexible and adhered well to the glossy surface. My current go-to Model Master matte coat was the final finishing spray, before moving to the final stage of settling in the small details, such as antenna, gear and crew.
The After-Build Report:
I definitely will recommend the 1/48th Kinetic CF-188A/B (F/A-18A/B) Hornet kit as the best value for money model aircraft out there in its scale. I find the Hasegawa kit to be slightly easier to build but lacks the full intakes as well as other finer details (and weapons) of this kit, so for me this kit gets the edge for a Legacy Hornet build. Kinetic also features several of the Canadian Anniversary markings which makes them a natural choice for fans of these special birds as well.
Completed build #237 - October 2020 using the 1/48th scale Kinetic #48030 kit.
Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is supposed to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers