by: Nigel Julian [ ]
IntroductionFollowing the recent release of their F/A-18A comes another addition to the rapidly expanding Hobby Boss series of 1:48 aircraft kits, the F/A-18C Hornet.
The kit is marketed in an extremely sturdy top opening cardboard box. Indeed, despite only being wrapped in brown paper with no additional protection my review sample arrived intact having been subjected to the rigors of the Royal Mail!
What's In The Box?On removing the impressively adorned lid you’ll find the box crammed full of sprues. 10 in all, 9 of light grey parts and one of clear packed in 8 plastic bags. The decals come on an A3 sheet in their own (sealed) plastic bag, which is a nice touch. You also get an A4 sized colour painting guide and an A4 fold out booklet containing the instructions and a map of the sprues.
The sprues are very well made with little or no flash visible and should require a minimal amount of clean up work before assembly. One exception to this is the 2 canopy sections which due to the bulged shape have an unavoidable mould line, which needs polishing out.
Overall, the detail on this kit is very impressive. Panel lines and other engraved detail are evenly done and very crisp. Maybe slightly over enhanced for this scale but the plus side of this is that it should take very well to a wash and look very nice when painted and weathered.
One thing that immediately catches the eye on a first look over the sprues is the excellent detail in the wheel wells and on the ejector seats particularly. The one piece cockpit tub, while being a nice mould in itself, isn’t quite up to the high standard of the ejector seats, although some careful painting and dry brushing should result in a very nice “office”. Another slight gripe for me would have to be the moulded seatbelts. Personally, Id rather see them not represented than moulded onto the seats. Plenty of scope for a small amount of scratch building here and a nice target for the AM manufacturers.
AssemblyAssembly begins with the cockpit tub followed by joining up the fuselage halves. These are a “top and bottom” fit as opposed to usual “port and starboard” which makes a nice change. The nose section is in 2 halves, joining in the more traditional way. Step 3 deals with the excellently detailed and very sturdy looking undercarriage legs, and the later steps explain the attachment of the horizontal stabilizers, rudders, engines and ordnance. Most modellers will do things their own way in these later stages.
As with the Hobby Boss F/A-18A, this kit features a comprehensive selection of ordnance. Rockets, missiles, bombs and fuel tanks are offered. Included in the instruction leaflet is a handy guide to the positioning of these. With many combinations available the modeller can give the Hornet a heavily loaded look or perhaps choose to build the aircraft bare and present all the ordnance laid out on a base in the foreground.
Painting and Decalling3 very attractive options are offered for the finished Hornet.
F/A-18C (165217) VFA-131
F/A-18C (164905) NF-400
F/A-18C (163777) VFA-146
Painting instructions and decal placement for these versions are printed on a colour A4 sheet. The decals are thin and register is excellent. A full set of stencils is included.
All colour reference numbers are for Aqueous Hobby Colour and Mr.Colour paints.
ConclusionStraight from the box with some careful painting and dry brushing the Hobby Boss F/A-18C looks like it’s going to build into a great model. Moulding quality and detail are impressive with some excellent decal options. Competitively priced this Hornet should appeal to modellers of all ages and skill levels. There’s plenty of scope for scratch building and no doubt the coming months will see some AM offerings.Be sure to check your references.
While Im personally not a huge fan of modern jets, the Hobby Boss F/A-18C Hornet has got “Build Me Now” written all over it.