Hasegawa's 1/48th Hornet was originally released in 1991 with the F-18A version. It was a welcome addition in 1/48th scale as the kit featured the ability to build a "flaps-down" version of this aircraft (not previously available). Their 1/48th CF-188A (Canadian Release) Hornet followed in 1993.
Notable Kit Features:
Decent ejection seat and cockpit (although missing some details E.g. buttons around the MFD and the upper seat harness)
Seated pilot figure provided
Good overall fit
Detailed flaps and slats that can be displayed down (Normal for "at rest" F-18s) or up (for powered on or "In-flight")
Finely scribed and raised surface details
CF-188 ID light lens is provided
Some kit editions (like this one) include Photo-etch details and white metal gear
Boarding ladder included in parts
No weapons provided (typical of Hasegawa)
Clear parts provided for tail and fuselage navigation lights
The NATO "Tiger Meet" exercise has been around for quite some time. A tradition evolved for participating units to have at least one of their aircraft painted with a tiger inspired paint scheme. This has inspired some great schemes over time and the 1992 RCAF 439 Squadron aircraft was just one example.
The ID light space must be drilled out of the fuselage. There is no back box structure provided for the light or lens detail for that matter. What you get with the kit is, a place to drill the hole in the fuselage and a clear lens to cover the hole
No upper seat harnesses depicted on ejection seats
Short intakes (no engine intake detail)
Kit Additions / Modifications:
Added seat harnesses
Scratch built longer intakes for more depth using sheet styrene
Used third-party decals from Leading Edge 48.37 - CAF CF-18 439 Tiger Meet Special 1992 (sort of)
The paint scheme for this aircraft looked challenging, luckily I had sourced some decals for the Tiger Stripes which would take care of that issue... or so I hoped. After painting on the main gray camouflage colour, I decided to test out a decal application. As there were going to be some curves encountered, the decals would have to be flexible enough to conform. The results came back immediately - "No Go" on the decals - They weren't nearly flexible enough to round some of those curves, especially on the fuel tanks. My next problem arose from this change of Tiger-Stripe application method. It seemed the easier route would be to cut the masks for the dark stripes, which meant the aircraft would have to be repainted on the upper side with the dark camouflage colour (FS 36118). So my Hornet went back to the spray booth, and while it was in the drying process, I copied the dark stripe pattern to some masking material. I was then ready to start the tedious process of exactly placing the dark tiger stripes masks in place. Let me tell you, that took some amount of time! Finally I was ready to spray the light gray (FS 35237 with a touch more of blue green) to end up with the tiger stripes. The results were respectable enough to proceed with the finishing touches.
The After-Build Report:
The Hasegawa 1/48th CF-18A Hornet kit is still a nice kit and builds up well. Due to the more complicated nature of the slats and flaps on the F-18s, this model presents an increased difficulty level for a beginner. I would still recommend this kit to most model builders despite its age. Certainly, more recent F-18 kits have now surpassed this kit in detail, however it is still respectable. My Go-To F-18 is now the Kinetic 1/48th kit due to its refined surface detail, full intakes plus engine faces, weapons assortment and price point.
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