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Hasegawa 1/48 EA-18G Growler with Furball and Hobbydecal decals, Rhino intakes, Olimp Exhausts, Wolfpack cockpit and refueling probe, Quickboost ECS exhausts, Royal Resin Wheels, Brassin HARMs and AMRAAMs and some Eduard PE.
Boeing EA-18G Growler Revell 1:144 A variant of the combat-proven F/A-18F Super Hornet, the EA-18G Growler provides tactical jamming and electronic protection to U.S. military forces and allies around the world. The Growler replaces the Grumman EA-6B Prowler in the electronic warfare and attack role for the U.S. Navy. The 100th EA-18G Growler was delivered to the U.S. Navy In May 2014. Source: Boeing The EA-18G Growler aircraft is a derivative of the F/A-18F Super Hornet with structural changes and the installation of avionics and mission systems, increasing the empty weight by 800kg to 15,000kg and increasing the carrier landing weight by 1,350kg to 21,775kg. One of the external visual characteristics is the wingtip air-to-air missiles on the F/A-18 Super Hornet are normally replaced by wideband receiver pods on the EA-18 Growler and the other hardpoints carry a mix of electronic warfare pods and weapons. The aircraft construction includes a light alloy multispar wing and high-strength graphite and epoxy panels and doors. The major contractor Northrop Grumman manufactures the rear and centre fuselage sections and EADS CASA is responsible for the manufacture of structural components such as the fuselage rear side panels, horizontal tail surfaces, flaps, the leading edge extensions, the rudders and the speed brakes. "The Growler aircraft's first test flight was successfully completed in August 2006." The aircraft has retractable tricycle-type landing gear. The Menasco main landing gear is single wheeled and turns through 90° to retract rearward into the wheel bays mounted in the engine air ducts. The aircraft has a Messier-Dowty twin-wheel nose gear. The nose of the aircraft is fitted with a catapult launch tow bar. An arrester hook is installed under the rear section of the fuselage. Delivery of the first two test aircraft to the USN was in September and November 2006. The first production aircraft was delivered to the USN in September 2007. The first operational aircraft was delivered to NAS Whidbey Island in June 2008 and operational evaluation began in October 2008 onboard the USS John C Stennis (CVN 74) aircraft carrier. The SDD programme will conclude with an initial operational capability in late 2009 when the first of ten electronic attack squadrons (VAQ) will begin EA-18G operations. Deliveries of 88 Growler aircraft are planned to conclude in 2013. In service the aircraft will carry out a range of missions including stand-off and escort jamming, surveillance and strike. Naval Air Systems Command PMA-265 is the US Navy acquisition office for the EA-18G. The Boeing Company is the prime contractor and weapon system integrator and Boeing also leads the EA-18G Growler industry team. Northrop Grumman is the principal subcontractor and airborne electronic attack subsystem integrator. The EA-18G Growler fleet will be based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington. The EA-18G integrates advanced airborne electronic attack capabilities, developed and manufactured by Northrop Grumman, with the advanced strike capabilities, including advanced weapons, sensors and communications systems, installed on the F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft. The block 1 Growler is fitted with up to three AN/ALQ-99 radar jamming pods, together with an AN/ALQ-218(V)2 receiver and a Raytheon AN/ALQ-227 communications countermeasures system both of which are mounted in the bay previously designated as the F/A-18 Hornet aircraft's gun bay. The AN/ALQ-99 jammer fitted on the block 1 Growler is supplied by the EDO Corporation. The AN/ALQ-99 receivers are installed in the tail of the aircraft and the AN/ALQ-99 pod houses the exciters and the high radiated power jamming transmitters. "The Growler aircraft has 11 weapon stations for carrying electronic mission systems and weapons." The block 2 Growler is equipped with the APG-79 multi-mode radar with passive detection mode and active radar suppression, ALQ-218(V)2 digital radar warning receiver and ALE-47 countermeasures dispenser. The advanced tactical radar, the APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar provides air-to-air and air-to-ground capability with detection, targeting, tracking and protection modes. The radar is supplied by Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems at El Segundo, California. The interleaved radar modes include real beam-mapping mode and synthetic aperture radar mode with air-to-air search, air-to-air tracking, sea surface search and ground moving target indication and tracking. The radar has an advanced four-channel receiver-exciter which provides wide bandwidth capability and the ability to generate a wide range of waveforms for electronic warfare, air-to-air and air-to-ground operation. It also has the ability to operate in multiple air-to-air and air-to-ground modes simultaneously. The AN/ALQ-218(V)2, developed by Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, is a variant of the Improved Capabilities (ICAP) III system deployed on the US Navy's EA-6B Prowler aircraft. The system's antennas are located on the port and starboard sides of the nose, the engine bays, in the wingtip pods and to the aft of the cockpit, providing 360° azimuthal cover. The passive countermeasures system provides threat detection, identification and location. The ALE-47 countermeasures dispenser supplied by BAE Systems Electronics and Integrated Systems in Austin, Texas, can be used with US and NATO radar and infrared decoys. The aircraft is armed with the AIM-120 AMRAAM advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles and AGM-88 HARM high-speed anti-radiation missiles. In a surveillance-only configuration the Growler is armed with two AIM-120 air-to-air missiles for self defence; for stand-off jamming and escort jamming missions the Growler is armed with two AGM-88 anti-radiation missiles plus two AIM-120 missiles. In a strike configuration the Growler is armed with two each of AGM-88 HARM missiles, AGM-154 JSOW joint stand-off weapon (block 2 aircraft) and AIM-120 air-to-air missiles. While carrying out active transmitting jamming, the block 2 aircraft has the capability of handing off target data to other airborne, land or surface attack platforms. Source: Naval-Technology.com The Kit The box art, for this standard end opening card box, is simply stunning and possibly one of the most evocative images I've seen on a 1:144 kit box. The view is of "Scorpion 540" of VAQ-132 U.S. Navy, bu no.166894 during operation Odyssey Dawn in 2011. The main components of the kit are basically a re-release of Revell's single-seat F/A-18E Super Hornet kit No.03997, with additional sprues and clear parts for the second seat position and the EW radars/weapons. Whilst checking the parts list, it would appear that there should be enough parts, including weapons and external tanks etc., to build the F/A-18F twin-seat multi-role fighter variant; which to date I don't believe has been produced by Revell in 1:144 scale - perhaps this may be a precursor to that variant being issued, with the relevant decals, in the near future? The main fuselage of this kit is split horizontally, with the upper fuselage and nose section being the main components of the first sprue; along with tail fin pieces, engine exhausts, plus main and nose undercarriage assemblies. The nose components, which are for the single seat variant, is of the standard vertical split in that there are two side pieces requiring to be joined before adhering to the main fuselage. The panel lines are finely recessed and are quite distinct with virtually all the panels, inspection plates and fuel points clearly defined. The second sprue holds the lower main fuselage component, forward air induction ports, tailplane units, tail-hook and the elements required for the forward cockpit. Again, the panel line demarcations are very well done; especially the area of the wheel bays which are fully exposed on the model, allowing detailed painting before installing the undercarriage flaps. The cockpit area consists of the base pan, seat, instrument panel and control stick. Considering that the largest component in this cockpit is only 10mm the detail is really good. Another standard sprue that is found within both the F/A-18E and the EA-18G kits is the main weapons set. On this sprue there are two AIM-9 air to air missiles, two AIM-120 AMRAAM air to air missiles, two Mk.83 iron bombs and two 480 gallon fuel tanks plus their associated pylons. The remaining sprues are where we see the changes from the F/A-18E to the EA-18G (and probably the F/A-18F) version. First up is the sprue which holds the pieces to make the two-seat version; primarily for the inclusion of the Weapon Systems Officer. Items include the second cockpit pan, seat, instrument panel and the modified spine section immediately behind the additional office. There are also two AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missiles with their associated hard-points included on this sprue. The next sprue holds the jammer transmitter and receiver units; consisting of two ALQ-99 High Band Jammer Pods, one for each wing, and one ALQ-99 Low Band Jammer Pod which would be situated on the centre-line under the fuselage. There are also two ALQ-218(V)2 wingtip pod receivers. Decals The decal sheet contains a very comprehensive array of at least 68 individual decals, including national and squadron insignia, stencils, individual pilot's names, plus all the specialised markings of 'Scorpion 540' of VAQ-132 U.S. Navy, during operation Odyssey Dawn. whilst based at Aviano Air Base in Italy covering the U.N. enforced no-fly zones over Libya in 2011. Instructions Instructions for this kit are of Revell's standard illustrated breakdown and assembly sections and are printed in black and white on A5 sized sheets. Conclusion This kit is a nice and accurate looking model for the Boeing EA-18G Growler of the U.S. Navy. It would appear that not only can you build an attractive EA-18G Growler but there are parts to build the F/A-18F twin seat Super Hornet (but not both and no decals for the latter) and that is a real bonus as Revell has not yet produced the F/A-18F in 1:144 scale. If I am right about the F/A-18F version then I shall be getting additional kits just for that. Revell are renowned for their inclusion of finely detailed weapons fits in their kits and this one is no exception, with both weapons and electronic warfare loads. The kit is almost worth getting just for these ordnance items alone! Highly recommended Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
EA-18G Growler VAQ-132 "Scorpions" Hasegawa 1:48 The EA-18G is a development of the successful F/A-18F two seat Super Hornet that came into service in 1999 and replaced the Tomcat from 2006. It's intended that the EA-18G will replace the EA-6B that's currently in service in the carrier based electronic warfare role. The key benefits of the Growler are it's an ability to stay with the F/A-18s throughout the whole attack mission as well as using the INCANS Interference Cancellation System which allows friendly voice communication whilst jamming enemy communications, something the EA-6B can't do. Several minor modifications have been made to the wings to create a more stable platform for the electronic warfare role including leading edge wing fold fairings and wing fences. The Growler has since had its name changed to Grizzly (in the operational environment at least) due to the potential confusion of the names 'Growler' and 'Prowler'. The cannon on the Growler have been replaced with electronic attack equipment, some of which is also mounted on wingtip pods. Jamming is carried out by the addition of up to 5 ALQ-99 pods slung on the pylons under the wings in addition to Air-Air missiles. Unfortunately, the ALQ-99 has it's issues such as interfering with the aircrafts own radar and slowing the top speed of the aircraft down, so replacing these and adding next generation equipment is expected in the evolution of the Growler. The EA-18G has first seen combat in Operation Odyssey Dawn, enforcing the no-fly rules set to prevent the Libyan Government from attacking it's civilians in the civil war in March 2011. The kit Having reviewed the 1:72 scale version of this kit, it’s interesting to compare the same aircraft in the two scales. The top opening box includes the same art work as its smaller scale sister. 300 parts are included across 9 light grey sprues and clear one that’s bagged separately. The most noticeable difference between the two scales apart from the higher level of detail that you’d expect in 1:48th is the separate flaps and slats making for a more ‘dirty’ configuration straight from the box. The instructions are of the normal Hasegawa folding A4 document with surprisingly few stages; only 12 stages to assemble 300 parts, so careful attention is needed not to miss any detail. The diagrams are however clear. There are additional parts that are a carry over from the F model that the G tooling was modified from that aren’t required. An example of this is the inboard slats, the G model having a fillet where the wing fold is located. An extra sprue containing the correct parts is included. So let’s get into the build. As per normal construction starts with the cockpit. Typically Hasegawa, this is average in detail levels. The tub has moulded in switches and panels so it is possible to make it look quite busy with the paint brush. Each seat comprises 5 pieces, the centre, two side panels, ejector handle and top plate. Lacks of seatbelts are quite noticeable in this scale, so using some aftermarket detail to inject some life into your pit may be worth considering. Two crew figures are included if you like to use them in your builds, each with two types of helmet to choose from. I’ve read elsewhere that the rear cockpit panel is incorrect. If this bothers you, there is a good reference HERE to help you correct it. The cockpit locates on top of the nose gear bay which then fits between the two nose halves. Surface detail in the kit is very nicely done. A combination of recessed panel lines, hinges, raised details and rivets give a satisfactory finish. Something that is evident on the nose exterior as well as others that I’ll mention further in the review is very slight raised areas resulting from ejector pin marks on the inside surfaces. These may simply disappear under a coat of paint. If not, a slight rub down should fix them. Something to be aware of is some of the panel lines / nose detailing need amending due to the base kit being the F model originally. Diagrams are included in the instructions for carrying this out. In the review I’ve linked to above, it also points out that some of the perforated surfaces that are an over spill from the F model are not present on the G so some minor filling will make it more authentic. Despite the large number of parts, construction is quite simple. With the nose assembled, we move to the main body. As with most (if not all) F-18 kits, this is separated into top and bottom halves. Again, surface detailing is exquisite. Whilst the wings have separate flaps and slats, they don’t unfortunately have the folding wing options unless you decide to carry out this modification yourself. Hasegawa have thought of this in the design however as cut lines have been moulded into the wing fold points to make this easy. Full depth intake trunks are included being blanked off by the front compressor blades for the engine. Unfortunately, there are some ejector pin marks down the interior of the intakes, so these will need filling and blending as will the seam once the two halves of each trunk are joined. With the intakes assembled, they are fitted to the lower fuselage half and the wings assembled to the upper half. Before completing this, take note of the holes that need to be opened, both on the fuselage and wings as there are plenty of them. With the main fuselage constructed and nose glued in place, the tail feather and undercarriage are the next focus. The elevators are connected via a plastic ‘axle’ containing two polycaps so that they can be moved together once assembled. As with the nose parts, there is evidence of ejector pin marks pushing through into the external surfaces on the tails so probably better to apply a layer of primer to see if this is still evident afterwards. As with the wings, separate rudders are provided so they can be positioned at your discretion. The slats and flaps can be fitted at this stage as shown in the instructions or at the end after painting depending on your personal method of construction. You will need to decide which configuration you are choosing though as to select the correct parts for the flap actuator fairings. The undercarriage is a very detailed affair and captures the rugged look well. The only disappointment is ejector marks on the inside surface of the one piece nose wheels on the tyres. A small amount of filler will be necessary here to fill them. The burner cans are provided in the closed position. Detail is satisfactory. A full complement of weapons is included and very nicely detailed they are. The fins on the missiles are very thin giving good scale representation and the pylons have also been treated to a good dose of surface detail to compliment. The load is provided is as follows: ALQ-218(V)2 wingtip pods (x2) ALQ-99 high-band jamming pods (x2) ALQ-99 centreline low-band jamming pod (x1) 480 external wing tanks (x2) AGM-88 HARM (x2) AIM-120 AMRAAM (x2) The rather large canopy is thinly moulded giving no noticeable distortion. There is a thin seam down the centre of the canopy that will need to be polished out. The windscreen is supplied as a separate part allowing you to have the canopy either open or closed and a superb HUD is included on the clear sprue too. Finally, apart from a wealth of ‘sticky out bits’ such as antennas, a boarding ladder is included to finish the display if you choose to have it represented on the ground. Note in the picture below, I've removed the canopy from the sprue to be able to get a picture of it. Decals A lovely decal sheet is included representing an aircraft of VAQ-132 Scorpions in both High and Low vis marking options (2010 & 2011). The decals are vivid in colour, very sharp and no register problems visible. A good mix of aircraft markings, placards and stencils are included for both the aircraft and the ECM / weapon load out. Conclusion This is great release from Hasegawa. The cockpit could benefit from some extra detail and there’s a healthy supply of options to choose from if you go down that route. There are a few surface detail errors that carry over from the F model that the tooling was derived from, but other than that, the shape is very good and the exterior detailing quite stunning. Review sample courtesy of UK distributors for