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F/A-18A Tail Stiffeners

Orion Models 1/48 F/A-18A Tail Stiffeners First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review March 2006 Manufacturer Orion Models
Subject F/A-18A/B Tail Stiffeners Scale 1/48
Kit Number OMV48002 Media Vinyl
Pros Adds updated detail to any 1/48 F/A-18A/B kit Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

The F/A-18 Hornet was an interesting platform for learning the effects of high alpha (angle of attack) maneuvering on airflow around the fuselage and the effects of the bursts of turbulance created at high alpha on the tail structures of the Hornet. Various mods and stiffeners have been applied to fielded aircraft and integrated into new production aircraft to minimize the stresses on the airframe during air combat maneuvering. One such mod is a pair of stiffener plates applied to both sides of the F/A-18A and F/A-18B vertical stabilizers. This is one detail that has not been captured in any production kit so far.

F/A-18A Tail Stiffeners

Orion Models to the rescue. They've created vinyl appliques to be simply applied to the vertical stab according to the diagram above (both sides) that are then painted over to seal the applique into place. These will work nicely with new projects as well as update your already-built models. Just paint the white vinyl to blend into the existing paint scheme.

According to the instructions, these stiffeners were applied to the following blocks of Bugs:


  • F/A-18A BuNo 161353 thru 163175
  • F/A-18B BuNo 161354 thru 163123


  • F/A-18A S/N A21-001 thru A21-055
  • F/A-18B S/N A21-101 thru A21-118


  • F/A-18A S/N 188701 thru 188798
  • F/A-18B S/N 188901 thru 188940


  • F/A-18A S/N C15-12 thru C15-57
  • F/A-18B S/N CE15-1 thru CE15-12

This is a nicely done enhancement for the Hornet! My sincere thanks to Orion Models for this review sample!