1/48 Monogram F-18A Hornet

by Darren Roberts

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     I have always thought that Monogram has done an excellent job in balancing a high level of detail with a reasonable cost. Their F-18 is no exception. While maybe not as good as the Hasegawa offering, you can buy 4 Monogram kits for every one Hasegawa, and when care is taken on the Monogram kit, itís hard to tell the difference between the two without getting up close. I did want to improve the kit, however, and the challenge I gave myself was to see how detailed I could make it.

   The plastic in the R/M kit is actually for a C, so I had to do some surgery to make it an A. I used my the article I had written in FSM as my guide, but added two things to the conversion. I filled the two vents that are located on top of the fuselage spine and corrected the shape of the Sparrow bays on the side of the intakes.

   I rescribed the panel lines using Dymo label tape and a Trimaster scribing tool. I also used a drill bit chucked in a pin vise to drill the access screws. This made a world of difference in the appearance of the kit. Next, I separated the slats and flaps from the wings and replaced them with a resin set from Cutting Edge. I also cut away the rudders and kicked them in on each tail.

   Black Boxís F-18 cockpit fit flawlessly into the Monogram tub. While the kit cockpit is very well done, the BB set is just that much better. The final detail that really made the difference was the extra set of metal landing gear from a parted-out Hasegawa F-18. If thereís one thing in the Hasegawa kit thatís worth the high price, itís the landing gear. Itís absolutely gorgeous! I was amazed that the gear fit into the Monogram wheel bays with virtually no modification.  

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   This originally started out as an NSAWC bird, but when Twobobs released their VFA-97 decal sheet, the NSAWC markings got stripped off and fleet squadron markings replaced them. I only wish they would allow the whole squadron to be painted up in the 3-tone gray.

Darren

Photos and text © by Darren Roberts