by: Darren Baker [ ]
Eduard has followed a large number of companies and offered a modern F-18E. This release is provided in a very similar style to their series of F14 and F15 kits. So let’s take a look at just what Eduard has offered in this release…
This offering from Eduard is packaged in a large thin cardboard tray with a separate card lid. Upon opening this large box, I felt more than a little deflated by how much empty space is inside the container. You will find a single plastic bag containing all of the plastic for the model, except for the clear parts which are in a bag of their own. These particular pieces of plastic are the Hasegawa and so are parts of various kits you have seen previously. Underneath of this is a bag containing coloured photo etch parts which for the most part will be used for ‘dressing up’ the cockpit. There is another bag containing a set of masks for the model, and finally a Ziploc bag containing a resin ejector seat, resin wheels and tyres for the model. The last model part is a very nice decal sheet, covering 5 finishing options and this is well protected in its own sealed bag. The last thing you will find is one of Eduard’s very nice instruction booklets.
The cock pit of the model is well served by the very nice resin ejector seat, and coloured photo etch elements covering the instrument panels. Also included here is a nice photo etch part covering the weapons selection instruments on the control stick, and that is basically the cock pit finished, which was a surprise for me. You then close up the front of the aircraft with the cock pit in place. You move on to the body of the aircraft, which I must say does have very nicely inscribed panel lines. I was disappointed to find you have to open up holes and slots to install weapons pylons; I should make it clear that I am not disappointed that these openings need to be opened up, as it allows construction of a model with clean lines, but I am disappointed that no drill size is provided for opening up the holes. Between the tail uprights there are two vents and the detail there does not match my reference material; after a lot of searching online I have found these are called “ECS Pipes” and that detail can be quickly corrected with a resin product from Quickboost.
The wings of the aircraft can be assembled deployed or folded. I do feel that having to do surgery on a model of this price to replicate a specific set up - a VERY big disappointment. The engine nacelles are very nice in that a very good depth has been provided at the air intake scoops. The body, wings and front portion of the model are then all brought together with a small amount of photo etch and plastic to show the instruments that occupy the space of a twin seat aircraft. On a positive note, the tail assembly and control surfaces for the wings are supplied as separate elements with the instructions clearly showing how to set these in the position you would like as a modeller. The jet exhausts for this model are an area that I would like to have seen Eduard provide resin parts - I say this again due to the high cost of the model.
The under carriage of the model is very nicely detailed with a large number of decals being used to provide an extremely high degree of detail, with only the front under carriage being the only area you need to apply your own brake lines. The resin wheels are of course a nice touch being weighted so make sure you position them correctly on the model. The under carriage doors are nicely replicated, but is another area where Eduard could have provided a resin offering in the area of the hatch hinges. Photo etch elements come into play again, to mimic the formation lights on the fuselage and tail of the model. The last part of the model that has to be tackled is the canopy - I am very happy with the thickness of the glazing of the model, and the efforts taken to protect these parts from damage. There is however, a seam line in the largest element of the cock pit canopy, that will need to be buffed out.
If you are building a clean model, you are actually finished at this stage. For those that want to show a model with arms attached three options are provided for external fuel tanks, you have your typical side-winder missile on the side, two A-ram missiles and a targeting pod. So you are provided with a reasonable amount of ordnance. Display wise you are provided with a crew ladder, and the option for the canopy being open or closed, and of course the earlier mentioned option of the wings deployed or not.
One of the really nice things about this release from Eduard is the Five finishing options. This offers four colourful finishes and one fairly drab finish. The finishing options are:
BuNo. 166830, VFA-81 “Sunliners”, USS Carl Vinson, 2013
BuNo. 166650, VFA-105 “Gunsligers”, USS Truman, 2010
BuNo. 165782, VFA-192 “Golden Dragons”, USS George Washington, 2015
BuNo. 166950, VFA-86 “SideWinders”, USS Reagan, 2015
BuNo. 166783, VFA-31 “Tomcatters”, USS Bush, 2017
I also appreciate that at the very end of the instructions the stencilling for the aircraft generic markings is covered to a very good degree.
This offering from Eduard titled Superbug F/A-18E is a very nice model, Hasegawa’s plastic parts are very good and provide everything that I expect from them. Eduard’s resin and photo etch parts are also very high quality as we have become accustomed to. I do however, feel that Eduard has provided with this release a very nice model package, but that is overpriced for what it offers. I would have liked to see them, include a little more in the way of resin and/or photo etch to make me feel that I was getting a high end product that represented value for money. I of course accept that other people’s opinions may differ from my own.