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F-18 'The Early Years'

Caracal Models 1/48 F-18 'The Early Years' Decal First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review December 2019 Manufacturer Caracal Models
Subject F-18 'The Early Years' Scale 1/48
Set Number 48158 Pros Eight colorful subjects
Cons See text Skill Level Novice
MSRP (USD) $13.99

First Look

Here is the latest from Caracal, this set for the early F-18A/TF-18A Hornets in flight test colors..

F-18 'The Early Years' F-18 'The Early Years'

The aircraft presented in this set include:

  • F-18A, 160776, #2
  • F-18A, 160777, #3, carrier trials
  • F-18A, 160778, #4
  • F-18A, 160779, #5
  • F-18A, 160780, #6, spin test
  • F-18A, 160780, #6, NASA 840
  • F-18A, 160782, #7
  • TF-18A, 160781, #1

If you want to capture the colorful look of the early 'test bugs' and can backdate one of the F/A-18A/B kits out there, this set will provide some nice options. I remember years ago during a visit to NAS Pax River, they showed two aircraft in a spin testing, but since aircraft 6 went on to NASA duty, it wasn't that aircraft, The first one in the test video was a SLUF trying to spin with and without the speed brake extended. Both times, the A-7 rocked and fluttered like a falling leaf, refusing to spin. The second example showed an F/A-18A entering the spin, quickly going flat, and after three rotations, the canopy came off and out came the pilot safely. That bug crashed into the bay.

For more information about this set and the other releases from Caracal Models, visit their website at

My sincere thanks to Caracal Models for this review sample!