Academy 1/72 F/A-18C Hornet VFA-82 Marauders Kit First Look
|Date of Review||June 2016||Manufacturer||Academy|
|Kit Number||12534||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Easy construction, nice detailing||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$30.00|
The Hornet has seen combat in many parts of the world and is one of the principal multi-role combat aircraft for the US Navy, US Marine Corps, Royal Australian Air Force, Canadian Armed Forces, and more. The FA-18C was an evolutionary development of the Hornet, providing more modern avionics and weapons capabilities to the fleet. Even so, this aircraft moved into second echelon operations when the FA-18E/F Super Hornet assumed the role of fleet fighter and all-weather fighter-bomber roles.
We first looked at this kit when it was first released eight years ago and like it's 1/32nd scale cousin, this kit is easily the nicest Hornet in this scale. With the engineering that went into the 1/32 kit, it was only logical that Academy would scale down that effort and capture the flag in this scale as well.
This kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on four parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. As with their larger masterpiece, this kit features finely scribed details and is engineered to be a somewhat simpler build.
The first thing that is different about this kit versus its big brother is the nose. In the 1/32 scale kit, the forward fuselage and cockpit area were built-up from left and right halves. In this kit, the entire upper airframe from nose to nozzles is one part, but for some reason, the bottom 'half' of the nose section is actually four parts. This will require some care in assembly as this also means more opportunities for seam lines. The rear section of the fuselage bottom is one piece.
Like many F/A-18A/C kits, this model has both front and rear cockpit tubs molded as one piece, though only the front cockpit is built up and visible after assembly.
One attribute that is faithfully replicated from the larger Hornet is the shallow engine intake design. One attribute not carried over from the larger Hornet was the separate flight control surfaces/flaps. On this kit, the flaps, rudders and ailerons are molded in the neutral position. This is unfortunate since the Hornet at rest usually has all of these flight control surfaces drooping when parked. With fly-by-wire aircraft like the Hornet, the only time they're neutral is if they're locked for storage or the aircraft is powered up. To keep the kit simple, I understand the need to keep the parts count and complexity down, but the drooped control surfaces (which are close to the same configuration for landing) could have been molded into that position.
In the 'plus' column, the kit does have separately molded stabilators that can be appropriately positioned. Likewise, the speed brake can be posed open or closed. Finally, the canopy can also be posed open or closed.
Speaking of the canopy, you can't really see the protective shields that are molded on the clear parts tree to keep the windscreen and canopy parts from getting damaged. I'd like to see more manufacturers adopt this practice to get your clear parts safely home.
Among the external stores:
- 4 x AIM-9L/M Sidewinders
- 2 x AIM-7M Sparrow
- 4 x GBU-12 Paveway II
- 1 x AAS-38 Laser Designator pod
- 1 x ASQ-173 Laser Detector/Tracker pod
- 1 x AAR-50 TINS pod
- 2 x Vertical Ejector Racks (VERs)
- 4 x External Fuel Tanks
The kit provides a nice array of maintenance and weapons stencils as well as markings for the following aircraft:
- F/A-18C, BuNo 165200, VFA-86, AB/300, USS Enterprise, 2004, CAG, 'AFLAC'
The unique artwork on this CAG aircraft gained it the nickname 'AFLAC' in reference to the white duck used in the AFLAC commercials.
My sincere thanks to MRC for this sample!