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EA-18G Growler VAQ-132 "Scorpions" - Hasegawa 1:48


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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.


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.


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
logo.jpg UK distributors for logo.jpg

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My dear Friend,

Thanks for the excellent revieuw.

You did make a small booklet out of it.

I studied it and was completely informed.

Thanks for your effort.

Hope to read more from you.



The Netherlands.

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  • 7 months later...

Nice review Nelly - My favourite variant of the F-18, as it happens. Love the Growlers - I think it's the EW role that appeals, plus the extra bumps and pods :)

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