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EA-18G Growler VAQ-141 Shadowhawks

Academy 1/72 EA-18G Growler VAQ-141 Shadowhawks Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2018 Manufacturer Academy
Subject EA-18G Growler VAQ-141 Shadowhawks Scale 1/72
Kit Number 12560 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice details, simple construction Cons See text
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $38.00

First Look

EA-18G Growler VAQ-141 Shadowhawks
EA-18G Growler VAQ-141 Shadowhawks
EA-18G Growler VAQ-141 Shadowhawks
EA-18G Growler VAQ-141 Shadowhawks

The Boeing EA-18G Growler is a variant of the two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet designed for electronic warfare. The Growler uses the latest avionics and sensors for threat detection, identification, location, and suppression replacing the EA-6B Prowler. Like the Prowler, the EA-18G can employ the AGM-88 HARM for kinetic target kill, but unlike the Prowler, the EA-18G can also employ the AIM-120 AMRAAM for self-defense and advanced guided weapons like the AGM-154 JSOW. When the EA-6B was still in its prime, it was the right aircraft to escort strike packages consisting of A-6 and A-7 aircraft, but as the F/A-18 entered service, the Prowler found itself in the same situation as the early USAF Wild Weasels as scared Hornets could egress the target are at high speed, leaving the Prowler to motor out subsonic. The EA-18G is ideally suited to operate with the Hornets and Super Hornets of current Carrier Air Wings, and from a logistics point of view, the Growler shares a good percentage of common parts with the rest of the Super Hornet fleet which helps operational readiness. If Boeing can figure out how to get a AEW radar atop of a Super Hornet, you'll be seeing the E-2 Hawkeye phasing out next...

Academy continues to expand the selection of Hornets in their 1/72 scale collection. To date, Academy has introduced the F/A-18A+, F/A-18C, F/A-18D, F/A-18E, and F/A-18F. Here is their latest addition to the Hornet family, the EA-18G Growler. Experienced modelers will appreciate the detail and accuracy of the kit while entry-level modelers will have this built in no time. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on ten parts trees plus front fuselage, lower rear fuselage, nose, plus one clear part.

Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Easy assembly
  • Nice cockpits
  • Intake ducts to the engine compressor faces
  • Canopy is molded in the closed position

External stores include:

  • 2 x ALQ-99
  • 3 x external tanks

This release offers three markings options:

  1. EA-18G, 166928, VAQ-141, AJ/500, USS George HW Bush, 2010, CAG aircraft
  2. EA-18G, 166928, VAQ-141, NF/500, USS George Washington, 2013, CAG aircraft
  3. EA-18G, A46-306, 6 Sqn/RAAF, 2015

This is another nice kit from Academy that will also please more experienced modelers with the molded-in details waiting for the proper paint and washes. Nice job Academy!

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!