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Revell 1/48 F/A-18E Super Hornet Quick Build Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2012 Manufacturer Revell
Subject F/A-18E Super Hornet Scale 1/48
Kit Number 5850 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Easy build, nice details Cons Minor filling and updating required
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $19.95


We've received a number of interesting decal sets in recent months and two of them really caught my attention for the F/A-18E Super Hornet. I really didn't want to spend the $80 per aircraft to build two Hasegawa 1/48 F/A-18Es and I was curious to see how well the Revell kit would build up. Overall, the kit is not bad given that it is patterned after an early-block Super Hornet and if I'm going to use some aftermarket parts to bring the aircraft up to date, I'd rather start with the $20 kit rather than an $80 kit to achieve the same result. While the Hasegawa kit does offer more details and options, I'm not looking for a potential contest entry, I want a nice canvas to show off these markings. So how does the Revell kit go together? Let's take a look.

The Kit

The kit review can be found here.

The Build

You won't see any in-progress shots as this model went together fairly quickly and I was simply having too much fun to stop for photos (sorry). The first step was assembly of the NACES ejection seat and it really didn't want to go together. With a little work, it will likely be replaced in a future project with a resin seat to get the missing details at the rear of the seat and a little more definition in the harness.

The dorsal spine is supposed to drop into place atop the upper fuselage half but the rear deck that covers where the rear cockpit wouldn't fit into the cockpit sill. The problem is with the molded-in rear cockpit sidewall details that obstruct the rear deck. With some filing work, those details were filed flush allowing the rear deck to drop in. The locating pins at the rear of the spine were allowing a small gap with the rear fuselage spine so I removed the pins and achieved a good result.

I was impressed with how tine intakes fit together and to the fuselage. There has been some complaints that the intakes are not deep enough but Revell is doing a forced perspective to give you the illusion of depth. There are aftermarket intakes trunks that will give you full-depth if required.

One of my least favorite tasks is hanging landing gear doors but Revell has done a good job with making these easy to install (and stay put).

F/A-18E F/A-18E F/A-18E F/A-18E F/A-18E F/A-18E


I'm pleased with how well this model goes together. The simplicity of the kit does provide some limitations should you be doing a similar project as an AMS Modeler. As you know, the leading and trailing edge flaps, ailerons and rudders all droop downward when the aircraft is powered down. To make this model meaningful without doing a bunch of modifications to the model (or going back to the Hasegawa kit), you simply need to pose this aircraft powered-up. That means you'll need a pilot figure (or plane captain) seated in the cockpit. That's it. If you want to set the aircraft into a diorama or vignette, then you can put some deck crew around the model to marshal the aircraft to the catapult or elevator.

F/A-18E F/A-18E F/A-18E F/A-18E

Overall I am pleased with this kit. It is great straight out of the box, but you can easily add some aftermarket details such as a cockpit update and change the two dorsal exhaust vents between the tails to represent later-block aircraft (there are some aftermarket resin sets available for this, though intended for the Hasegawa kit). As I figure it, I can make two nice Super Hornets with additional aftermarket enhancements for less than the cost of a single Hasegawa kit and have some fun with those nice decal sets. You'll be seeing these on the Revell Super Hornet soon.