by: Darren Baker [ ]
The F18 in all of its various forms has taken over just about every role that the US Navy performs at sea with the exception of tasks only rotary wing aircraft can perform. I miss the F14, F4 and many other aircraft that use to be utilised by the US Navy, but even I can see the logic of the least number of aircraft types performing the maximum number of roles. This allows the fleet carriers to carry less aircraft, spares, and personnel to keep the aircraft airworthy. Fujimi has released a 1/72nd scale offering of the F 18C Hornet of an aircraft serving with VFA-94 Mighty Shrikes.
This offering from Fujimi is packaged in a card tray with separate card lid, on the lid is a photograph of an F18 the model is based on. The contents are packaged in five plastic bags with the parts breaking down as follows;
6 grey sprues
1 clear sprue
1 photo etched fret
A decal sheet
An instruction leaflet
Starting with an examination of the model parts, I am for the most part very pleased with what I have found. There is some minor flow marks that present, but these do not appear to have marred the finish of the parts. The nose cone has broken free of the sprue during transit, but I look to have been lucky and damage has not occurred. The gates between the sprues and the parts are a very reasonable size and that may be why the nose cone was able to break free.
Moving onto the cockpit of the model I have to say that 1/72nd scale has come a long way since my early day of making AirFix models as a kid and hanging them from the ceiling. There are a fair number of parts that come together here in a very small area. Decals have been provided to replicate flight instrument detail, and that applies to both the side consoles and main instrument panel. In order to provide an idea of just how much effort Fujimi has put into the cockpit, you are provided with a heads up display which is constructed with photo etch and clear parts.
The airframe of this model is made up with a considerable number of parts, it is this high parts count that I believe has allowed or enabled Fujimi to provide a good level of detail and what looks to me to be accurate profiles. The panel lines are recessed and very finely engraved, and this provides a very realistic look to the model. One of the surprises from me is that the thin main wings of the model have been provided in upper and lower parts, this appears to have been done so that the modeller can decide if they wish to open up the holes for underslung weapons load.
While looking over the airframe I was pleased to see the effort placed inside by Fujimi, this takes the form of the air duct to the engines, these have good depth and parts to replicate the first layers of the fan compressor. The jet exhausts have also been equally well addressed and finish that area of well. The large airbrake on the spine of the aircraft has been supplied so that it can be assembled open or closed. All told the detail that Fujimi has supplied here is exceptional I feel for the scale of the aircraft. A radar is supplied with the model should you wish to display that as well. Lastly a ladder is provided if you wish to show this aspect.
The undercarriage has not been skimped on with this offering with some very nice details offered by Fujimi. On closer examination of the parts I was able to find some very light ejector pin marks, but if I am honest I do not believe it is possible to eradicate this problem completely when all faces of the part will be seen. With that issue covered I am very impressed again with the offered detail here; the undercarriage bays and doors have a good level of detail as do the legs of the undercarriage. The undercarriage will be lifted if the modeller adds some wiring to replicate the cabling and hoses that are in this area of the model. Another high mark is that Fujimi have supplied weighted tyres for the model.
In the belief that at least some modellers will want to use the hard points, Fujimi has supplied drop tanks, side winders and sparrow missiles for the aircraft, if you use the Sparrow missiles Fujimi have remembered to supply the ECM and control package on the model. The weapons are reasonably well detailed, but they are not the equal of the rest of the model.
The decals for this offering will provide you with a colourful model. The decals are of a good thickness and excellent colour register, so use of them should be fine with a little decal set or similar. The instruction leaflet could be laid out more clearly as it may lead some modellers to make errors during construction.
This is possibly the most detailed 1/72nd scale model I have seen in this scale as regards an aircraft. The detail is very good as regards the actual aircraft, only the weapons are not of the same standard in my opinion. There is very little to fault with this offering from Fujimi, only the modellers own skill set will determine the quality of the finish of this model from the box as I feel that everything needed is supplied in the box.