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EA-18G Growler VAQ-130 "ZAPPERS" - Hasegawa 1:48


Julien
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EA-18G Growler VAQ-130 "ZAPPERS"

Hasegawa 1:48


zappersbox.jpg


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 F-14 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.

This kit has been previously reviewed by my colleague Neil in the post here. This boxing from Hasegawa brings us decals for VAQ-130 "The Zappers". VAQ-130 was originally commissioned in 1959 as Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron Thirteen (VAW-13) at that time flying AD-5Qs. In October 1968 the squadron was re-designated Electronic Attack Squadron 130, and placed under Tactical Electronic Warfare Wing Thirteen (VAQW-13) this time flying the EAK-3B Skywarrior. In March 1975, the Zappers relocated to their current homeport of NAS Whidbey Island, and transitioned to the EA-6B Prowler. In 1977 they transitioned to the Improved Capability (ICAP) version of the EA-6B, bringing more sophisticated electronic warfare capabilities. In 2010, the Zappers returned from their last fleet deployment flying the EA-6B Prowler and began transition training for the EA-18G Growler; the Zappers completed transition training in November 2011. The Zappers deployed aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) in 2013 marking the first deployment of the Growler, they also supported Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan for 7 months while the carrier was deployed in the Gulf of Oman .


Decals
The New release is for decals representing the CAG aircraft of Carrier Air Wing 3 on the USS Harry S Truman from 2012. The aircraft features a blue spine with green Dragon on the tails. Yellow lightning bolts are supplied for the The Zappers. 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.

zappersdecals.jpg


Conclusion
This is good re-release from Hasegawa. Overall the cockpit could benefit from some extra detail, and 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. A slight word of caution from a friend who has built this kit is that the fit can be "challenging" in places.

Overall highly recommended if you want/need a Growler in your collection.




Review sample courtesy of
logo.jpg UK distributors for logo.jpg

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Spooky..ive just been doing a Google search on this stunning looking aircraft..im a little put off with the fit issues..im not sure im experienced enough to deal with that yet..one of the reasons I like the revell kits.

Daz

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