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CF-188A RCAF Demo Team 2017 Kit

Kinetic 1/48 CF-188A RCAF Demo Team 2017 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2017 Manufacturer Kinetic
Subject CF-188A RCAF Demo Team 2017 Scale 1/48
Kit Number 48070 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros See text Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $39.99

First Look

CF-188A RCAF Demo Team 2017 Kit
CF-188A RCAF Demo Team 2017 Kit
CF-188A RCAF Demo Team 2017 Kit
CF-188A RCAF Demo Team 2017 Kit
CF-188A RCAF Demo Team 2017 Kit

The F/A (Fighter AND Attack)-18 Hornet is the US Navy's first 'swing fighter'. It can fly deep into gomer territory, deliver weapons on target, and even conduct serious air-to-air combat without having to jettison the air-to-ground weapons, which was common with older strike aircraft. The Hornet has seen action with the US Navy and Marine Corps in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and in support of a variety of other operations. In addition to US service, the F/A-18 is also in service with the Canadian Armed Forces, Royal Australian Air Force, Swiss Air Force, Spain, Finland, Kuwait, and Malaysia. While the F/A-18A/B were supposed to be phased out as the F/A-18C/D and F/A-18E/F came online, operational tempo dictated that the original Hornets remain in service and were given needed avionics upgrades (among other things) to keep them up-to-date. These updated Hornets received the APG-73 radar in place of the original APG-65 and the distinctive 'bird slicer' APX-111 IFF antennas ahead of the windscreen.

The Royal Canadian Air Force began the search for a replacement fighter for the CF-101 Voodoo and CF-104 Starfighter in 1977. After considering a number of candidates, the F/A-18 Hornet was selected. While retaining the carrier-capable features of the F/A-18A/B, the CF-18 was equipped with a spot light on the portside nose for nighttime target identification. As part of two Incremental Modernization Programs, the CF-18s were updated with a new radar and avionics common to the F/A-18C/D as well as a new targeting pod, and other enhancements. The CF-188 as seen combat in the a variety of theaters and even served as a substitute interceptor force in Alaska after an F-15 Eagle broke up in mid-air forcing the grounding of the USAF Eagle fleet.

We've seen several versions of the Kinetic 1/48 F/A-18 Hornet released in the last several years including the F/A-18A/B earlier this year. What you may not notice is that with each new release, Kinetic is steadily improving their tooling. Take the vertical stabilizers in the original F/A-18C release - the rudders were molded integral with the vertical stabs though the flaps/slats/control surfaces are positionable to replicate a Hornet at rest as well as powered-up. Without drooping rudders, the F/A-18C kit just didn't look right when built at rest. When the F/A-18B was released earlier this year, the kit still had the one-piece vertical stabilizers in the box for the F/A-18C/D, but had also provided the new F/A-18A/B vertical stabs with separate rudders. In this release, the A/B vertical stabs/rudders are in this box along with the new F/A-18C/D vertical stabs, now with separately molded rudders. Incremental improvements.

This kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on nine parts trees plus lower fuselage, two trees of clear parts, and one fret of photo-etched parts. The surface details are sharp, the panel lines and rivet details are also sharp and not overdone.

Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Nicely detailed cockpit complete w/detailed sidewalls
  • Detailed NACES seat w/photo-etched pilot restraints
  • Positionable canopy
  • Photo-etched canopy bow w/mirrors
  • Positionable boarding ladder
  • Nice intake ducts down to F404 compressor faces
  • Nice afterburner chambers and nozzles
  • Positionable air refueling probe
  • Positionable outer wing panels (flight or folded)
  • Positionable leading edge flaps
  • Positionable trailing edge flaps
  • Positionable flaperons
  • Positionable stabilators
  • Positionable rudders
  • Positionable speed brake
  • Photo-etched chaff/flare launcher faces
  • Updated centerline pylon

Weapons/stores options include:

  • 3 x 330 gallon tanks

Marking options include:

  • CF-188A, 188734, RCAF Demo, 2017

The decal artwork comes on a huge sheet that was printed by Cartograf.

Since this release covers a single subject, and a colorful demo aircraft at that, there are no weapons trees included in this boxing. There are canted Vertical Ejector Racks, but no stores. What is especially nice about this release is that we normally have to wait a year or two to have aftermarket decal options for demo Hornets, especially Canadian aircraft. Here is this year's scheme ready to roll in this release!

The instructions walk you through the masking and painting process to get the airframe ready for decals. A set of paint templates are provided so you can create masks and paint the aircraft using your favorite masking technique/material. The painting guide is provided using Mig paints though there is a table to cross-reference Vallejo, Gunze, Tamiya, and Humbrol colors, where available.

As mentioned previously, Kinetic continues to evolve their tooling to provide the best Hornets in 1/48 scale. One set of parts that have been in the last few releases including this one is a photo-reconnaissance nose fairing which means that we'll be seeing an F/A-18D ATARS Hornet in our future. Stay tuned!

My sincere thanks to Lucky Model for this review sample!