1/48 Hasegawa CF-18

1/48 Scale Canadian Armed Forces CF-118

410 Squadron Air Demonstration Special

Model by Will Hendriks

Photos by Steve Bamford



In the Canadian Armed Forces there is a tradition that, every year, one or more aircraft are refinished in colourful paint schemes for the airshow circuit. Several years ago, a CF-118 (Canadian F-18A) Hornet of 410 Squadron “Cougars” was embellished with a large cougar’s head on the vertical fins for this purpose. Shortly thereafter, the Canadian decal manufacturer “Leading Edge Decals” released a sheet for the 410 Squadron CF-118 “Cougars” Special in several scales. I was very impressed with this sheet and bought a 1/48 scale example immediately. Then I had to choose a kit that would do these decals justice: I chose Hasegawa’s release of the CF-118 in 1/48 scale. 

The kit is up to the usual high standards now taken for granted from this outstanding manufacturer. The kit is expensive (about $70.00 cdn when I purchased it a few years ago), but for your money you get excellent detail, including separate trailing and leading edge flaps, ailerons and stabilizers. A highlight of the kit is the beautifully sculpted landing gear assemblies, done in white metal. The cockpit is acceptable straight out of the box, but I replaced the ejection seat with a resin example from True Details. 




Assembly was straight forward, as per the instructions. The only problems were encountered with the fit of the forward end of the fuselage: There is a step in the joint, which was easily corrected with some scraping and sanding. The fit of the trailing edge flaps is also a little fiddly, but is also easily corrected: Careful dry-fitting of parts prior to assembly, as always, paid dividends here. 

The model was painted with Testor’s ModelMaster Enamels. The stunning decal sheet includes all national markings, data, and the cat profile as well as the crescent moon for the tail, but does not have the “planet earth” silhouette behind the cat’s head. Painting this on posed a bit of a challenge, in that the earth shape consists of concentric bands of increasingly dark gray upon the black background. I accomplished this by employing a circular card mask, and with a pot of grey paint, airbrushed the curved sector, progressively increasing the amount of black in the grey paint mixture while moving the card mask up with each application of darker grey. 

After all paint was applied, the model was coated with Gunze Clear Gloss acrylic prior to decalling. No problems were encountered, with the decals reacting well to setting solutions. One point of interest is that the colours of the decals, such as the national insignia, matched perfectly to the corresponding Testor’s enamel colours. The model was then given a coat of Gunze Clear Flat to seal everything. Weathering was accomplished with ground pastels and artist’s oils. 

I enjoyed this project tremendously. Leading Edge has recently released another fine sheet for a Canadian CF-118 Hornet showbird, “Millenium Hornet”: I am sorely tempted…


Photos and text © by Will Hendriks and Steve Bamford