Jump to content

Boeing F/A-18C. 1:48


Recommended Posts

Boeing F/A-18C

1:48 Kinetic Models



The F/A-18's beginnings were far from humble. After a request was issued for a new affordable fighter with multi-role capabilities that would serve with the USAF as well as allied air forces, Northrop submitted their YF-17 Cobra against Lockheed Martin's F-16 Fighting Falcon (Unofficially named the Viper). Although the YF-16 technology demonstrator proved superior, the YF-17 was an extremely high performer, and rather than allow it to go to waste, the United States Navy chose (with pressuring from congress) to use it to replace their older fighter types. With its ground attack capability and fighter characteristics, it would allow the navy to replace both attack aircraft such as A-6 Intruders and fighters such as F-4 Phantoms with a single type. As Northrop was not experienced with carrier aircraft, they formed a partnership with McDonnell Douglas to produce the F/A-18 Hornet, which featured a longer nose, greater load capacity, a much greater weight, a refuelling probe, and the customary strengthened undercarriage/arrestor hook/folding wings required for naval service. The finished design became the F/A-18A, an aircraft that was not a multi-role combat plane but both a fighter and strike platform in one package. A trainer variant with twin cockpits was developed as the TF/A-18, but because it could be used for active combat duties was re-designated the F/A-18B.

The F/A-18C was the most potent single seat Hornet fighter until the arrival of the F/A-18E Super Hornet, similar to the C model only in aesthetics. The F/A-18C featured the advanced cockpit of the original A model with TV-Screens (one of the first aircraft to feature these instead of dials), refurbished with a brand-new updated Martin-Baker ejection seat, upgraded computers and jamming equipment. In the elongated nosecone of the aircraft, an APG-73 terrain-mapping/tracking radar is used to monitor ground and air targets, and accurately direct weapons. The two-section glass canopy and the twin, rounded air intakes give the aircraft a very distinctive head-on appearance, as does the curved, streamlined fuselage. The twin slanted tails of the aircraft complement the dual turbofan engines positioned directly underneath, and allow for excellent manoeuvrability.

The powerplant of the F/A-18C Hornet is made up of twin 71.2 kN General Electric F-404-GE-400 turbofans with incorporated afterburning. However, the short range of the Hornet can make afterburning inopportune unless an air-tanker or carrier is nearby, unless used for a short period of time to quickly outrun a pursuing fighter. When afterburning is activated, fuel will be squirted into both engines simultaneously and the explosive reaction that occurs propels the Hornet to very high speeds. A Garrett GTC36-200 auxiliary engine is located in front of the twin F404's, to provide emergency power.

The F/A-18C (and its D counterpart) can carry a wide range of weaponry, its defining characteristic. First and foremost is the nose mounted 20-mm M61A1 Vulcan with 570 rounds, which is handy for close encounters. An impressive nine under-wing hardpoints carry the A/F-18C's formidable 7,030 Kg ordnance load, and both AAMs and AGMs may be equipped, in addition to conventional (dumb/iron) and laser-guided (smart) bombs, rocket pods, AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missiles for radar subduing, and drop tanks. The D variant with its two-seat cockpit and crew of two can utilize more complex weapon systems, and has been employed on night missions regularly. Later variants, such as the Super Hornets, could even equip AGM-154 stealth Air-to-Ground Missiles (AGMs), and AIM-120 AMRAAMs (Advanced Medium Ranged Air-to-Air Missiles) which are far more reliable and independent than the AIM-7 Sparrow they replaced.

The Model

Arriving in a very colourful top opening box, this new kit of the F-18C from Kinetic has already garnered some great reviews from people far more knowledgeable on the type than this reviewer. So I will tell readers how I see it, purely from a modellers point of view.  Inside the box there are twelve sprues and a separate lower fuselage section in a medium grey styrene, two in a light grey and two clear sprues of clear styrene, a small sheet of etched brass and a large decal sheet.  The mouldings are beautifully done, with some excellent, yet restrained panel lines, and raised detail where required. There is no sign of flash or other imperfections, but there are quite a few moulding pips that will need removing and cleaning up on top of the sprue gates. The clear parts are nicely done, but being a blown style canopy it has had to have been moulded in a three part mould which leaves and very faint seem line in the centre.  This will need some careful removal with various grades of micromesh.



Assembly begins, naturally, with the cockpit and in particular with the six piece ejection seat.  This si provided with a rather rudimentary PE seat belt which would be best replaced with a more realistic aftermarket set.  The single piece cockpit tub, which looks like it’s already been prepped for the D version is fitted with the front cockpits instrument panel, rudder pedals, rear panel, quarter consoles and joystick.  The seat assembly is then glued into position, followed by the two side walls and the rear cockpit cover panel and the whole assembly set aside to dry.



The full depth intakes are a great addition and although not seamless with some careful painting and filing you should get a good enough result seeing as they are quite buried.  The intakes are finished off with the fitting of the engine turbine disc. The exhausts are of a similar construction, only shorter, of course and are fitted with the engine exhaust at one end and the exhaust petals at the other.  Now, both petal parts are moulded closed, whilst in actuality the real F-18’s generally shut down with one open and one closed. The very well detailed main wheel bays are glued into position, along with the exhausts and finally the intakes into the lower fuselage section.



The refuelling probe bay can either be displayed closed or open and fitted with the single piece prop and actuator, this fits into the starboard side of the two piece nose section, which is then fitted with a lower panel and rear bulkhead.  The kit comes with optional parts for Swiss/Finnish air force, USN early or USN late examples and the nose section will need to be modified as required, particularly for the Swiss/Finnish aircraft.  The intake openings are then attached, along with the splitter plates and their spacers.  The cockpit assembly is then positioned into the lower fuselage section, followed by the nose assembly allowing the upper fuselage, which includes the upper wing panels, to be attached, followed by the lower wing panels and cockpit coaming.  Depending on the loadout required, several holes will need to be opened up in the lower wings, and if the wing tips are to be folded, moulded sections will need to be cut away, there being guides moulded on the insides of the wing panels. The kit comes with the option of having everything dropped, including the slats and flaps and there are correspondingly alternative actuator fairings provided.




The upper side of the fuselage has the rear canopy fairing, vertical tail units, horizontal tail surfaces and optionally positioned air brake attached.  The canopy is then glued to the separate internal structure and fitted with the PE rear view mirrors before being glued into position, either open or closed. The HUD is a four piece affair, with the main frame being PE and the other parts clear styrene.  The single piece windscreen is then also glued into position. Attention is then given to the undercarriage, with the seven piece nose leg, with two three piece wheels fitted to the nose bay, along with the associated doors. The main gear legs are each assembled form four parts, the wheels being made from another three parts each before being glued into position and the main bay doors attached.  The model is then fitted out with the numerous aerials and several PE parts which make up intake and exhaust grilles and flare dispensers.  The tail hook is then added, and the main part of the model finished off with the optionally posed access ladder.



There is quite a bit of weaponry provided with the kit, the pylons for which are also nicely detailed with the inclusion of the crutches and various adaptors. Weapons included include:-

  • 2 x AIM-9X – although not actually relevant for this marque.
  • 2 x AIM-9M Sidewinder
  • 2 x AIM-7M Sparrow
  • 4 x AIM-120B AMRAAM
  • 2 x AGM-88 HARM
  • 2 x GBU-87
  • 2 x GBU-12
  • 2 x GBU-38
  • 3 x 330ig drop tanks
  • 1 x AAQ-28 pod
  • 1 x AAS-38pod
  • 1 x Sniper XR pod






All weapons are provided with the various markings on the smaller decal sheet.



Along with the weapons decal sheet mentioned above there is a large deal sheet filled with brightly coloured markings as well as some toned down ones.  The sheets are designed by Fightertown decals and printed by Cartograf, so you know the quality should be good.  There are markings for the following seven aircraft:-

  • F/A-18C 164266, of VFA-25, Fists of the Fleet, as part of CVW-17 aboard the USS Carl Vinson 2011.
  • F/A-18C 164250, of VFA-87, Golden Warriors, as part of CVW-8 aboard the USS George Bush 2013.
  • F/A-18C 163746 of NSAWC “Russian Splendor” in 2008
  • F/A-18C 163754 of NSAWC “Sukhoi Blue” in 2008
  • F/A-18C 163750 of NSAWC 2016
  • F/A-18C J-5014 of the Swiss Air Force, 2014.
  • F/A-18C HN-457, Krev Von Rosen, 2008.



This is a great looking kit and, apparently one of the most accurate F-18’s on the market, according to someone who knows a bit about them.  It’s great to see the options of having everything down and dirty particularly the slats, which often get ignored. Other manufacturers take note, modellers like to have lots of stuff to load their aircraft up with, and there’s a very nice selection of ordinance in this kit. All in all it looks like Kinetic have a winner on their hands. 


Review sample supplied by




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi guys- I have just built the kit. Not bad. Instructions are terrible. There are no AGM-88 markings included. There are AGM-65 markings included but no missiles. When putting sidewinders on the wing tips there is no mention in the instructions to add the launch rails. It does build up well- the nose join is quite awkward to get done.


  • Like 11
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thaks for the great review! 


Having started a while back on one of Kinetic's F-16's my worry is that the sprue gates as as big on this kit as they are on the F-16 - you could drive a bus through those, and on various parts they ended up obliterating the moulded detail during cleanup. The exhaust was so bad that I  ended up having to get an aftermarket one,which ironically despite being specific to the Kinetic kits didn't fit. That kit is tucked away at the back of the shelf of doom now.


Are the sprue gates better on this kit?





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah, it's swiss time again!


Just two things to add, 1) Swiss Air force in fact has the AIM-9X. Not really sure what for, but we have them. And 2.) As I missed the red roundels for the Swiss version, it's a special marking, as the normal ones have the white cross on a red circle. Decals are for this specific commemorative Swiss Hornet :http://www.airliners.net/photo/Switzerland-Air-Force/McDonnell-Douglas-F-A-18C-Hornet/2815407

It's a nice one though, but maybe some people prefer operational ones.


By the way, again an excellent review of a kit which should really be scaled down!




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just a point to note on the exhausts - I think you might be thinking of the F-14A with its Pratt and Witney TF30 engines.

ALloyd the parked up pics of Hornets I've seen have closed petals.

Fair review, I think I might get one of these birds.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...