by: Bill Cross [ ]
The F/A-18 Hornet is a workhorse of the US Navy, Marines and seven foreign air forces. The Navy replaced the expensive F-14 Tomcat with the Hornet, and the airframe has been revamped into today's Super Hornet. The F/A-18C is the single-seat version. Kinetic has released a version that covers five Navy aircraft plus a Swiss and Finnish variant.
15 sprues of gray styrene
1 fuselage bottom half
2 sprues of clear plastic
1 small VERY delicate fret of photo etch
18 page instruction booklet
4 page painting & marking booklet
2 sheets of decals
My usual scale is 1/32nd where the large size of the model means the pressure to add resin details and photo etch is really high. This version is much smaller than the Trumpeter and Academy kits I'm more familiar with, so it looks like the fun factor is upped here from bigger builds.
The detailing is solid without being crazy, and the number of parts reasonable without a lot of "fiddly bits." The tires are styrene, which I prefer, and my only criticism would be the lack of masks for the canopy and other clear parts. That's not a huge booger by any means, and some of you may prefer cutting your own masks from tape.
I checked out the available AM parts for this kit, and nothing struck me as a "must have" except a canopy mask. There are resin "burner cans," but I'm not sure they're really needed.
decals & painting
The kit includes five US versions and two foreign ones:
VFA-87 Golden Warriors USS George Bush 2013
VFA-25 Fists of the Fleet, USS Carl Vinson, 2011
NSAWC (Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center or "En-Sock) in "Russian Splendor" camo, 2009
NSAWC in "Sukoi Blue" camo, 2009
NAWDC (Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center or "Naw-Dik") in US grays, 2016
J-5014 in US gray colors, Swiss Air Force 2014
HN-457 in US gray colors, Finnish Air Force 1006 "Kreivi von Rosen" (a famous Finnish aviator)
One of Kinetic's goals is to sell kits that invite multiple builds, and this Hornet is no exception. In addition to two colorful Navy units ("Fists of the Fleet" and "Golden Warriors") with bright tail codes and emblems, two "bogey" aircraft from the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center/Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center are painted in Russian colors for mock dogfighting. And while the Swiss and Finnish variants are in standard US grays, the national markings for the Swiss aircraft are a blazing red with white crosses.
Paint colors are given in Federal Standard numbers, avoiding the usual confusion from brand-name paint colors. There are easy conversion charts all over the Internet to help you find the colors by your favorite paint maker.
Kinetic's owner, Raymond Chung, told me his goal is to have kits that are pleasurable to build and strike the right balance between accuracy, build-ability and fun. This F/A-18C looks uncomplicated out-of-the-box with multiple variants that will invite other attempts at its various markings and paint schemes.
Thanks to Raymond Chung and Kinetic for providing this review sample. Please be sure to mention you saw this kit reviewed on Aeroscale when ordering.