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Boeing F/A-18A/B/CF-188 Hornet 1:48


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Boeing F/A-18A/B/CF-188 Hornet

1:48 Kinetic




After losing out to the F-16 for the light fighter requirement with the USAF, the US Navy became interested, and the Northrop YF-17 became the F/A-18, hooking up with McDonnell Douglas for their carrier aircraft experience, and making substantial changes to make the aircraft rugged and easier to park on a crowded aircraft carrier.  The initial variant was designated A, with a trainer variant coded B after it was cleared for combat flight.  It led the field with a glass cockpit and advanced electronics, although its relatively short range limits the usefulness of the afterburning GE turbofans unless substantial additional fuel tanks are carried.


Canada chose the F-18 as their new fighter in the early 80s, with the official designation CF-188, although the aircraft were almost identiQe, although the Canadian roundels should give away the aircraft type long before that becomes relevant.  Early in the new millennium the Canadian aircraft were upgraded to the then-current standard of US F-18s of the same mark, in order to interact with other NATO forces on exercises and in combat situations should they arise.



The Kit

We reviewed the initial Kinetic F-18 in September of last year here, and this new edition adds a little flexibility of building either a single seat or two-seat variant, as well as a Canadian bird from the one box.  The sprues are almost identical to the earlier boxing, with a few additions that may be used, depending on which variant you intend to build.  It includes and extra cockpit with seat, two-seat canopy, different main gear legs, vertical stabs with separate rudders, pylons and a replacement port nose part to accommodate the Grimes Light used for identifying aircraft at night.



















The box art depicts a couple of Canadian Hornets, one of which has just loosed off a Sidewinder at an unseen foe, and inside are fifteen sprues plus the lower fuselage part in grey styrene, three clear sprues, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass parts, and the combined instructions and painting guide.  The build proceed along the same path as the earlier boxing with the exception of the options that differentiate the variants, which are noted up by the markings options.  For the single-seat A model, a simple cover is fitted over the rear cockpit aperture, while in the two-seat B, another instrument panel, coaming, rudder pedals, control column and side consoles are installed instead.  Of course, there is also another seat, and both have a couple of stencils on the headbox, and a full set of decals are included for the instrument panels, with a wide choice of extra decals to individualise the MFDs with eighteen alternative displays.


The aforementioned Canadian Grimes light necessitates use of the additional nose part, which has an aperture in the centre of the ammunition loading door on the port side, which receives a clear lens that you should paint silver on the back to represent the reflector.  The bird-slicers on the nose are appropriate for the majority of F-18s, but should be shaved off for early airframes, so check your references.  If you are planning on posing your aircraft with folded wings, which is a lesser used option for the Canadian birds, you will need to cut off the wingtips along the pre-weakened lines as per the instructions before joining the wings, so plan ahead.  Different vertical stabs are found on the new sprues, with small PE stiffening strips applied to each assembly on the port sides, leaving the original stabs for the spares bin.




The spine behind the canopy will be different depending on whether you are modelling a single or two seat Hornet, so take care in applying the correct one, although it would be difficult to make a mistake with the glue, as the 2nd seat will stop you mid-flow.  The construction of the canopies are almost identical, with separate framing, a set of PE rear-view mirrors and HUD for the pilot, but the two-seat canopy also has a bracing strut between the seats, and a more substantial opening jack.  The main gear legs also have optional parts for the Canadian aircraft, with a slightly different bracing strut differentiating between them, but the nose gear is the same between all variants.


Munitions for this variant are slightly changed from the original boxing, and a new centreline pylon is included, although it is never shown installed on the instructions.  On the sprues you have the following stores:




2x AIM-9M Sidewinder

2x AIM-9X Sidewinder

2x GBU-38 500lb JDAM

2x CBU-87 Cluster Bomb (referred to as GBU-87)

2x GBU-12 Paveway Laser Guided Bomb

AAQ-28 Litening targeting pod

Sniper XR advanced targeting pod

AAS-38 Nitehawk FLIR & Laser Designation pod

3x 330gal fuel tanks




Adapter rails for the missiles and pylon for the Sniper XR pod are included on the sprues, as well as a pair of Multiple Ejector Racks (MER) should you require them.  A page of the instructions deals with their painting and decaling with stencils, as well as their possible locations on the pylons in a graphical format.  As always, if you are going for a real-world load-out, check your references before settling on your final choices.









Colour call-outs are given throughout with Mig AMMO paint codes, but at the end of the main instructions equivalent codes for Vallejo, Gunze, Tamiya and Humbrol paint systems are given in a large table above the guide for the instrument panel decals mentioned earlier. Stencil details are given in the next two pages, after which the decal choices are shown in greyscale drawings from the sides only, as the upper and lower decaling is completed in the stencil pages.  From the box you can build one of the following:


  • CF-188A, 409Sq Canadian Air Force, June 2016
  • CF-188A/B, 410Sq Canadian Air Force, June 2016
  • CF-188A/B, 425Sq Canadian Air Foce, 2015
  • F/A-18A A21-35, No.75Sq Royal Australian Air Force, 2015 Australian International Airshow Special Scheme
  • F/A-18A A21-4, No.77Sq Royal Australian Air Force, 2014
  • F/A-18A A21-57, No.3Sq Royal Australian Air Force, Operation OKRA against ISIL, 2015
  • EF-18AM C.15-25 Ala 15, Spanish Air Force, Anatolian Eagle exercise in Konya, Turkey, 2015
  • EF-18AM C.15-50, Ala 12, Spanish Air Force, 2016
  • F/A-18A+ (Ex US Navy) C.15-85, Ala 46, Spanish Air Force, 2016




The Australian and Canadian Hornets are painted medium grey (FS35237) over light ghost grey (36375), while the Spanish aircraft are light ghost grey (36375) all over with black canopies painted on the underside of the nose to confuse the enemy in a dogfight.  Decals are designed by Cross Delta, printed by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin glossy carrier film cut close to the printed areas.  An additional decal sheet is also included, adding a few that appear to have been missed from the main sheet.





Another nice looking model from the Kinetic stable, giving some of the non-US operators precedence out of the box.  Detail is excellent throughout, the stores provided in the box are more than adequate, and the choice of decal options is pretty wide.


Highly recommended.



Review sample courtesy of



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nice review, thanks!


another one needed for the small stash... ;)


I am thinking of building a Canadian Hornet from Operation Allied Force over Kosovo/ Serbia for quite some time....

and a Spanish Hornet is always welcome of course!


the weapons spue looks somewhat familiar - F-16 ??


the Lightning pod is supposed to be mounted on center line I suppose?


I think Spanish hornets use it on the left shoulder/ air-intake pylon on a special mount that has it hung vertically and not inclined as this station would do normally. Not sure about Canadian and Australian ones though...

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Thanks for the nice review Mike.


It is really nice to see that Kinetic corrected the vertical tails in this release. Their shape was incorrect in the C boxing but corrected in this one. The non-US schemes are also refreshing. Hats off to Kinetic for a stunning Hornet.



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16 hours ago, exdraken said:

nice review, thanks!


another one needed for the small stash... ;)


I am thinking of building a Canadian Hornet from Operation Allied Force over Kosovo/ Serbia for quite some time....

and a Spanish Hornet is always welcome of course!


the weapons spue looks somewhat familiar - F-16 ??


the Lightning pod is supposed to be mounted on center line I suppose?


I think Spanish hornets use it on the left shoulder/ air-intake pylon on a special mount that has it hung vertically and not inclined as this station would do normally. Not sure about Canadian and Australian ones though...

The weapons sprues are from the F-16 kit. The LITENING pod is mounted on the centreline pylon on RAAF F/A-18A Hornets and the RCAF use Sniper.

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On the CF-18, Kinetic has apparently omitted the 'Fat Boy's pylons carried on station 2 & 8. This variant contains the ALQ-162 ECM which is embedded in the aft section, making it wider. Raymond did mentioned they are leaving it to aftermarket. Wolfpack has a Ops Mobile set which contains the correct pylons but that's sized for Hasegawa. Unless WP decides to release an updated set.



Sebastian L

Edited by Sebastian L
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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the review!  I picked mine up today here in Melbourne; it looks brilliant!  I was hoping for some ASRAAMs to be included as I'll be building mine as a late RAAF machine, but alas.  Aftermarket AIM-132s are few and far between (all the resin ones I've bought have been horribly warped), so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that one of the forthcoming AMK weapons sets will fit the bill.


Overall, this looks like the best 1/48 Hornet kit out there; loads of options (IFR probe, dropped surfaces, wingfold etc.), and excellent moulding.  Let's hope the fit is good too... it's be a shame to lose all that nice panel detailing.

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On 4.1.2017 at 4:47 PM, Stephen said:

The weapons sprues are from the F-16 kit. The LITENING pod is mounted on the centreline pylon on RAAF F/A-18A Hornets and the RCAF use Sniper.

thanks Stephen!


the canadian Sniper installation fairing on the port intake station is also a special  one it seems:




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  • 4 weeks later...

Having a quick look at this thing (having just gotten one yesterday, regarding the options for RAAF jets: the Lightening AT Pod as supplied is a Right-hand Pod - RAAF jets fly the Left-hand pod. If you go get a Wolfpack resin pod, mounting on Centreline (Stn5) is on option, and the Left Shoulder (Stn4 - with appropriate adapter) is the other. You'll also often see an an ELTA 8222 pod on the Right Shoulder (Stn6 - also with a custom adapter), and Pylon mounted BOL dispensers on the outboard side of the Stn2 and Stn8 pylons - even if the actually dispenser isn't there, the fairings are. Neither of these are present for the RAAF option too.

The A/B fins are suspect too - for some reason they're shorter than the C/D fins and the sweep angle is more severe, which isn't quite right; the 'curvy' join between the fin and the fuselage is questionable too. But it still looks like a Hornet! In the plastic, you have a very early config, with just the fin-top reinforcing there - etched 'knife blades' are provided, which were added to the jets later, but there are no provisions for the butterfly patches (counterweights) that are below the fuel dump fairings. There are also those weird raised formation strip light 'things', which in no way reflect the very flush mounted lights on the real jet - nothing some sanding can not remove. RAAF Hornets (for the most part) also have very noticeable doublers beneath the rear fuselage formation strip lights, which you'll need to add.

If you're going to do a really up to date jet, the GPS dome needs to go, and a new 'disc' antennae will need to be created (this appears in decal form, but would probably benefit from being cut from 5 thou plastic card, as it is raised and slightly domed).

If you plan on doing an early jet (to avoid having to use the fin knife blades or worry about the butterfly patches or etc), you'll need to source some different exhausts, as only the later style of nozzle is included.

Oh and you only get NACES Seats too (which are fine for a later Canadian jet, but the RAAF jets fly SJU9/A and 10/A seats - you should be able to find a suitable variant of MB Mk 10 seat, just be warned; these things come in MANY configurations.)

Be warned as well, the instructions seem to have you opening up holes for some of the C/D-unique fairings - one may presume this is just a left over from changing the instructions from the C kit to the A/B.

RAAF Markings - the 77SQN stuff is useless; everything looks to be black, where it should be Brunswick Green. The 30th Anniversary of RAAF Hornets scheme is ok, despite the anaemic 75SQN Spine markings, but the best of the bunch seems to be the 3SQN Low-viz jet. The paint guide simplifies things quite a lot (as by this stage, the jets are VERY patchy, and -57 has had 'upside down' elevons for a while now - ie, faded FS35237 on the BOTTOM and FS36375 on the top. The jet was also flying with light grey ailerons for a while too), but a quick search will sort you out for what you need to know.

BUT I am looking forward to the full length intakes, the bird slicers are so much better than the Hasegawa attempt. The way the lower nose goes together (and the four options) I feel should work better than how Hasegawa has you do theirs, and the wing fold is good for those of use with limited display space (plus, part of one of my outer wings was snapped, so the folded option (which complete extra outboard sections to use) is probably my best option). I also really like the optional LERX grills - the RAAF jets (as far as I have noticed) only use the early type of grill, but for other applications, the option to go Early-Early, Early-Late, Late-Early or Late-Late (as you'll find across the various fleets) is pretty cool!

So it looks promising - yup for a modern RAAF jet, you have to add a bunch or plates and etc, sand those raised Formation Strip Lights off, fabricate up bits and pieces - and if you want to run an 8222 with a Lightening AT, you need to go find some a/m pods, then try to make adapters....but isn't this what we're modellers for? It would be no fun if everything was easy!

My main decision right now is why jet to do - A or B, should I try the kit decals, or use some of the EPIC good Ronin Decals releases (or wait for the Op OKRA set?) :)

Decisions, Decisions!


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