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Revell 1/48 F/A-18E Super Hornet Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2005 Manufacturer Revell
Subject F/A-18E Super Hornet Scale 1/48
Kit Number 5519 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Best F/A-18E for the price Cons Flaps and slats molded up and locked
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $20.50

First Look


The Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet is the US Navy's newest fleet fighter. Scaled up in size from the early F/A-18A/B/C/D Hornet, the Super Hornet has more power, range and payload than its predecessors. The aircraft is currently replacing the F-14 Tomcat as the fleet air defense aircraft and is also replacing the older Hornets in the multi-role missions as well. The aircraft is a true multi-role aircraft, able to conduct precision strikes on enemy targets while providing its own self-protection.

While not many people have noticed, the Super Hornet has entered service in a number of squadrons and has seen combat in Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The aircraft is rated to carry and launch just about every type of weapon in the US Navy inventory including the new AIM-9X, JDAM, JSOW, AMRAAM, HARM, etc.

Here is the long-awaited Revell 1/48 F/A-18E kit. While this kit suffered many production delays, I'm happy to announce that it is on the street! My example isn't an advanced review kit, it was a pre-order from a hobby shop so you should be seeing your Super Hornets arriving in your hobby establishments now.

So was it worth the wait? Let's take a look. Molded in light gray styrene, the kit comes on five parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. This kit has some of the best detailing of any Revell-Monogram kits produced to date with finely scribed panel lines and recessed rivet details.

Starting with the cockpit, a simple but reasonable cockpit tub, ejection seat and instrument panel are provided. There is even a separate throttle. Decals are provided for the MFD displays to portray the cockpit powered up or shut down.

The intakes are designed with an engine face at the rear of each trunk.

This is one of the first kits I've seen that provides a tubular hinge assembly to connect the two rear horizontal stabilators together. I've been doing that for years with brass shafts and tubing to provide a solid foundation for the stabilators and the ability to position them where I want. In most of these cases, the stabilators were molded to the fuselage (like the Monogram 1/48 F-100) or had minimal mounting support.

The wheel wells and landing gear are nicely detailed. One interesting innovation here is the ventwork on one of the nose gear doors (part 29). On the real aircraft, you can see through the vents. To replicate that look here without photo-etch, the door was molded clear. You mask both sides where the vent is located, paint the interior white, the exterior gray, the edges red, then apply a detail where the masks were and you have a see-through vent!

The outer wing panels are molded separately, but they have tabs molded in place to install in flight position on the wings. If you want to fold the wings, no real surgery is required, but you're on your own for wingfold details.

You can see by the layout of the parts trees that these molds will also support the F/A-18F, which indicates a future release from Revell!

An interesting array of external stores is provided in the kit. This includes:

  • AN/ASQ-228 Advanced FLIR for Station 5
  • GBU-31 JDAM x2
  • Mk.83 1000 lb bomb x2
  • AIM-9X x2
  • AIM-120C x2
  • External tank for centerline Station 6

The canopy can be positioned open or closed. There is also a boarding ladder that can be positioned open as well.

Markings are provided for two aircraft:

  • F/A-18E, BuNo 165861, VFA-14, NH/200, CAG, USS Nimitz, Aug 2002
  • F/A-18E, BuNo 165870, VFA-14, NH/211, USS Nimitz, Aug 2002

In addition to the standard aircraft and unit markings, a complete set of maintenance stencils is also provided.

This is a nice looking model. It compares nicely in size and shape to the Italeri Super Hornet, so the Black Box cockpit for the Italeri kit should work here as well. At $20.50 USD MSRP, this is an inexpensive project that should build up nicely straight out of the box. Was it worth the wait? Definitely!