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

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review December 2016 Manufacturer Revell
Subject F/A-18F Super Hornet Scale 1/48
Kit Number 5532 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Best F/A-18F for the price Cons See text
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $32.95

First Look


The Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet was scaled up in size from the early F/A-18A/B/C/D Hornet, and the Super Hornet has more power, range and payload than its predecessors. The aircraft replaced the F-14 Tomcat as the fleet air defense aircraft and also replaced some of 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.

The Super Hornet entered service with a number of squadrons and has seen extensive combat in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. The aircraft is rated to carry and launch just about every type of weapon in the US Navy inventory including the AIM-9X, AIM-120, JDAM, JSOW, AMRAAM, HARM, etc.

Revell first released the F/A-18E single seat Super Hornet in 2002 and followed this with the two-seat Super Hornet in 2006. Over the years, Revell has reissued these kits and were the best Super Hornet kits for the price range. With this release, the retail price has now doubled but is still roughly half the price of the Hasegawa 1/48 Super Hornet kits which are still the best in this scale.

Molded in light gray styrene, the kit comes on thirteen parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. The kit originally came on five trees, but if you look at the images of an earlier F/A-18E release, you'll see that they've split up some of the smaller trees. Among the features and options:

  • Simple but reasonable cockpit tub
  • NACES ejection seats have crew restraints molded in place
  • Decals for the front and rear cockpit MFDs for powered on or off displays
  • Positionable boarding ladder
  • Positionable canopy
  • Intakes are designed with an engine face at the rear of each trunk
  • Positionable stabilators with tubular interconnect
  • Wheel wells and landing gear are nicely detailed
  • Weighted wheels
  • Afterburner chambers are odd-shaped to allow for the connected stabilators

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.

On the down side, while the stabilators are positionable, the rudders, ailerons and flaps are all molded in place. While you'll see the aircraft sometimes parked with the ailerons, flaps and rudders neutral, they're more often seen with everythng hanging. You'll have to do surgery to the wings and rudders to reposition these surfaces.

Unlike the previous release, this one eliminated the trees with the JDAM bombs. What we're left with is:

  • 1 x AN/ASQ-228 Advanced FLIR for Station 5
  • 2 x AIM-9X Sidewinder
  • 2 x AIM-120 AMRAAM
  • 2 x Mk.83 slicks
  • 2 x AGM-88 HARM
  • External tank for centerline Station 6

Markings are provided for the following aircraft:

  • F/A-18F, 165801, VX-23, SD/223, NAS Pax River
  • F/A-18F, 16661 (sic), VFA-32, AC/100, NAS Oceana, CAG

The CAG aircraft's bureau number should be 166661, but they missed a digit. In addition to the standard aircraft and unit markings, a set of maintenance stencils is also provided. With the wide variety of aftermarket decals available for this subject, it really doesn't matter what decals come in the kit box anymore.

This is still a nice looking model and with the variety of aftermarket sets available for this subject, there are many possibilities to have a distinctive model. I did a quick-build of the F/A-18E to see if their are any surprises and this is an easy built. You should also note that Revell has not updated either the F/A-18E or F/A-18F tooling, so it represents the early production Super Hornet. There are aftermarket sets to make the changes seen in the later block aircraft, so check your references to see if you should make the changes to your model.