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F/A-18A/B/C/D Blue Angels 2017 Kit

Kinetic 1/48 F/A-18A/B/C/D Blue Angels 2017 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2018 Manufacturer Kinetic
Subject F/A-18A/B/C/D Blue Angels 2017 Scale 1/48
Kit Number 48073 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros See text Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $39.99

First Look

F/A-18A/B/C/D Blue Angels 2017 Kit
F/A-18A/B/C/D Blue Angels 2017 Kit
F/A-18A/B/C/D Blue Angels 2017 Kit
F/A-18A/B/C/D Blue Angels 2017 Kit
F/A-18A/B/C/D Blue Angels 2017 Kit

The F/A (Fighter AND Attack)-18 Hornet was the Navy's first 'swing fighter'. It could fly deep into gomer territory, deliver its weapons on target, and even conduct serious air-to-air combat enroute without having to jettison its air-to-ground weapons, as 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.

Here we have Kinetic's latest release which can render your choice of F/A-18A, F/A-18A+, F/A-18B, F/A-18C, or F/A-18D. This kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on eight parts trees plus lower fuselage, three 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:

  • Choice of single or dual cockpits
  • Nicely detailed cockpit(s) complete w/detailed sidewalls
  • Detailed NACES seats w/photo-etched pilot restraints
  • Positionable canopy
  • Photo-etched canopy bow w/mirrors
  • Positionable boarding ladder
  • Choice of noses (with or without identification spotlight)
  • 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

Weapons/stores options include:

  • 3 x 330 gallon tanks
  • 2 x Vertical Ejector Racks

This release includes a nice decal sheet that provides markings to render any of the seven Blue Angels aircraft, complete with the pilots' names for the 2017 show season. The decal artwork was produced by Crossdelta and printed by Cartograf. The instructions have color call-outs in the assembly steps but they are referenced using Mig paints. There is a table in the instructions which provide color equivalents to other paint manufacturers.

Note: The Blue Angels have been flying the F/A-18C/D for a number of years, but there are a few aftermarket companies that produce the Blue Angels decals for earlier show seasons, including from their time in the F/A-18A/B as well. This kit gives you some nice options.

For those of you familiar with the Kinetic Hornet kits, this release also has a few other nice factors. When the first F/A-18C kit was released, the rudders were molded integral with the vertical stabilizers, and when the F/A-18A was released, that kit had separate rudders. Kinetic eventually retooled the F/A-18C/D tails to also provide separate rudders. This kit has the separate rudders for the A/B/C/D models.

Since the Blues rarely carry external stores, Kinetic didn't include their weapons sprues, but if you have one of the previous Hornet releases, you can use this kit to render any number of Hornets in service. The price is certainly right!

My sincere thanks to Lucky Model for this review sample!