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F/A-18C Hornet
Hasegawa & Revell-Monogram

by C Wayne Sharp


F/A-18C Hornet

Hasegawa's 1/48 scale F/A-18C and Revell-Monogram's F/A-18C
are available online from Squadron




I will try not to bore everyone with too much history of this front line Fighter/ Bomber that is serving several countries as well as the U.S. Navy /Marine Corp. Instead, this will be my attempt to display some of the work I did to build the two premier 1/48 scale plastic models of the F/A-18 in the world, namely the Hasegawa (various versions);and the always reliable Monogram/Revell, various versions. The latter  model has been around longer than the Hasegawa offering..

Most of the fine details of the history of this aircraft type has been covered by the likes of Roger Jackson (some of my reference - see his Gallery on Modeling Madness) and others who have displayed, and finely built, very nice renditions of  these same models. I liked all of them.



But the basics are, the F/A 18 was developed from the Northrop Aviation P-530 Cobra, YF-17 design, in the 1970s and then was turned over  to the McDonnell Douglas Corp. and developed it into what we see today.



Revell-Monogram vs. Hasegawa F/A-18C Kits


This, then, is a Tale of Two Bugs.

When I first envisioned this project, I thought it was a decent idea and I could sort of just drag both of these models along. It was a good thought at the time. It did not turn out that way but was a very interesting project anyway.

In common with all of you that just had to have the so-called very best of the F/A 18 in quarter scale, I bought the Hasegawa kit for the big bucks when they first came out but the project was put on the back burner for a very long time because every time I looked at it I was intimidated by the gazillion parts and the lack of a very nice cockpit which was just not available until the Black Box version came out. So, light bulb  time,  I decided that I could combine several parts and save some construction time by doing both the Hasegawa kit and the old Monogram F/A-18A kit redone and re-issued under the Revell banner with improvements to turn it into sort of a “C” variant.



There is no doubt, the Hasegawa kit is the better of the two and with the nice engraving, dropped flaps, slats, boarding ladder etc. The Revell-Monogram kit is only fair and is sort of crude by Hasegawa's standards but still over all it is still a real nice cheap way to make a very nice rendition of a F/A 18C  and have tons of change left over. However, it will require a good bit of work to make it comparable.

There is a big BUT with the Hasegawa kit as well, it is no walk in the park. I spent about as much time on the Hasegawa  kit as the Revell because of the cpmplex parts breakdown and all the joints that had to filled and re-scribed. The Hasegawa kit’s white metal landing gear is very nice but it requires a lot of work  to get them to fit with the right angles etc. but compared to the Revell, it is outstanding with the ability to do so much more detail.



The Hasegawa kit has ten sprues including the clear parts and the etched metal plus the 3 piece white metal landing gears. In contrast, the Revell kit had only about 4 sprues  plus the clear parts and every thing is plastic.. ( Note to self, funny how it all looks the same when painted ) .. The Hase seems to be a tad slimmer in the girth and the nose looks a little different (thinner) but all in all, it all looks about the same in comparison size and the finished product(s) look very much the same thing.. The Scale Hounds and the rivet counters can hash out their dislikes. (show me yours, I showed you mine).





Both kits have the wings and upper main fuselage molded together as one piece but how they go together is a major difference but is still basic modeling skills. By now everyone knows about the stupid way the Hase kit’s top wing sections have injector pin marks but the Mono/ Revell kit has raised panel lines so both have to be sanded off anyway but I just did enough to get rid of the marks but I did sand off and re-scribe the panel lines on the Revell kit , it didn’t take too much time really.

First, let me say, that the very nice Black Box resin cockpit is a jewel and is a model all by itself. I hated to cover a lot of it up. Even the electronic compartment behind the seat ( Hell hole) is very detailed and I don’t know if it is correct or not, but it sure looks like it is and beats the revell’s fake screened- in area.

I did the cockpits on both by using all the black box stuff I could  in the Hase kit and some Eduard metal in the Revell kit and a resin seat for the Revell from True Details. Basic cockpit colors are,  (I mostly used Testors Model Master enamels for both ), dark gull gray, black,  various shades of red, yellow, blue, and Olive Drab. for seat covers and after a light wash of Raw Umber, I dry brushed with tan etc,. and other lighter colors to enhance all the details.

Both main fuselages of the airframes were fitted but had major seams on both but the Revell has bigger gaps so I used a combination of putty, Mr.Surfacer 500, to remove all the bad joints (note: the Revell was worse, but I still spent just about as much time with the Hasegawa kit, because it cost more etc ( Note to self, get your money’s worth of work) and I used  light ghost gray for a primer to find and repair all the bad blemishes   and I re-scribed all my lost detail and prepared for the basic paint job(s).

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The rudder alignment was easy on both models but the Revell kit had no braces at the base of the rudders like the Hasegawa kit so I made some with strip evergreen plastic card. The Hasegawa kit also has the nice separate flaps and slats/ rudders, the Revell kit does not and I was not going to try to cut them on this model. Cutting edge makes a nice resin replacement set for the Revell kit but I was not going to spend any more $$ for it. I have seen bunches of the F-18s as they came as transient aircraft  at my base over the years and most all ,to a machine, always set on the ramp with the flaps, slats, and stabilizers down at a drastic angle but some (very few) set with them in a up neutral  ( I don’t know the mechanics or reasons why but they were ), and yes, I did see more than one with the speed brake open for whatever reason, I don’t know why, but it was anyway! When the fires were lit, and the preflight started, everything went to neutral.

I used the kit wheels on both and the kit pylons as well but I hit the spares boxes for some weapons load as none was provided in the Hasegawa kit and the Revell kits’ was bad to say the least . all the gear doors were painted white inside and trimmed in red with a fine point, water based red pencil/ marker ( they work very well)

The fuel tanks from the Hasegawa kit were the only ones I used. The Revell tanks  were bad so I just welded all the tanks together and  de-seamed  them and decided to use only one for the Hasegawa kit and two for the Revell to help it out in the “hanging” department.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

As everyone knows, the Hasegawa and the Revell-Monogram kits, have no turbine faces to replicate the engines inside the intake, (as much as the Hasegawa kit cost, that should have been provided) so you can see all the way to the rear of the model through the intakes.

I simply decided to make some FOD covers and be done with it. Both intakes were about the same size so I could make the same pattern work for both models. I have never seen a “hard” insert cover for an F-18 (they may exist, I just never seen any)  so I needed to make the  garbage bag  “baggie” type. I guess everyone has their own idea on this but I used some aluminum foil duct tape and cut a pattern to fit over the intakes and when folded, trimmed, and used smaller pieces for ties etc. they will maintain the way they are molded. After this was done, I removed and Painted them all red (most I have seen was red, there may very well be different colors as they can be made in the fabric or egress shop, and dry brushed with some tan/ light browns (white will not work, it will look pink) and put some decals on it to represent a squadron marking.. (AMS modeling at it’s best, the ACES will cry over that one).

Another tricky aspect of the kits was doing the ladder(s).

The Hasegawa kit  has a nice ladder and some etched metal to give it good detail but I made the actuator out of a chrome colored stright pin and some small tubing. But , I had forgotten that the Revell kit had no ladder but did have the ladder  recessed panel under the glove area and I cut it out and then I remembered  I didn’t have a ladder so I just had to scratch build one from Evergreen plastic card using the Hasegawa kit’s ladder for a pattern.

It is okay but is a little wide in the final mounting  phase,

The canopies are different in that the Hasegawa was a one piece, middle seam, that was removed with a medium sanding stick and polished with 1000/ 2000 wet grit and compounded, cleaned with WD-40 washed with denatured alcohol and then dipped in future two or three times after painting. The Monogram/Revell’s is a two piece type with the frame separate but was just as hard to paint. To get the ochre tone looking re-enforcement  seal that we see on most jet aircraft, I just painted some bare metal foil the color I wanted and then I cut in thin strips and applied to the canopy and wind screen. So now with a lot of the details done I could now move on the paint shop. (BTW, to my modeling friends and buddies that are crying about why I opened the speed brake, I just wanted it to look cute for the old maid school teachers and third graders, so there!)



Painting and Markings


At this point, I laid the Revell kit aside, it seemed like a no brainer to go full force with the Hasegawa paint scheme. ( I was getting tired of doing the same thing on both and needed  a  break and/ or to work on something else on the semi- finished pile.)

In the past several years, the US Navy / Marine Corp, has applied at non-descript paint scheme. After a little while in use on land and/ or sea, the paint job gets to looking like a patchwork of drab grays and faded tones that is very hard to replicate on a small model, but there is nothing wrong with trying.

We have all had mixed results at this scheme but I thought that if I painted it similar to the way they paint the real aircraft, I.E., they repaint each panel or areas when it is opened or worked on to keep it covered, paints are not always the same shades or they are faded badly.) then I could go from there. I mixed some ochre / tan etc. and painted the Radome ( MM makes a Radome tan for this, but I just used what was on hand and made do ), and masked it off.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

I then applied the Lt. Ghost Gray, and the Dark Ghost gray on the pattern indicated by the decal sheet. After that, well, I started re-painting panels and lines with some highly thinned darker and lighter colors of grays, to try and match some of the aircraft I have seen and current pictures of used aircraft. It looked like a patchwork quilt, at about the 4th or 5th stage of painting, I was ready for the first gloss coat of floquil high gloss. (note: there is nothing wrong with mixing paints to get different tone/ colors it works very well and you can even call it “scale Paint” if you like or you can  feel better by saying “scale effect”, (whatever that means.) ( remember, there is no such thing as total correctness,  regardless of how hard you try, you always have to alibi something on the model but for you to win consistently  at contest, remember,  CRAFTSMANSHIP AND PRESENTATION IS THE KEY.!) But, I was not satisfied with that result of the first paint setting, so I toned it down with more Lt. Ghost gray and mixed Lt. Gull gray with it to lighten it up some.

Later on, I painted the Revell kit in a very similar  fashion,  but after about 3 coats of Gloss ( after each coat I sand with some 2000 wet grit except the last coat.) I could now start the decal process. For the Hasegawa kit  I chose the AeroMaster sheet # 48-395, Stinging Hornets, for a CAG bird BU. No. 163446  # 400 of  VFA-86 “Sidewinders” based on the USS George Washington in 1996.

Yes, I know this one has been done on other occasions on the internet and very well I might add. But this was the best sheet I had at the time and so this is my version. Later I went for the low-vis scheme for the Revell  kit and I used the decal scheme that came with the Hasegawa kit, for VF-192, “Golden Dragons”. Yes, I know that the paint scheme(s) without decals looks like a strange picture but it, (they) started to look much better after the decal process started.

The bright metal rings around the engine(s) was painted with Alcad II and the engines on both was painted with MM gun metal metalizer and then rubbed with SNJ aluminum powder and a very small amount of Brass powder just to add a golden sheen to it.

Actually, these paint jobs, ( to me), are somewhat harder to do than a three tone camo paint job. Because for the most part, there is no given pattern after the initial basic paint scheme is done. After that, you almost have to get next to one of these birds and make some notes and let your favorite air brush work for you.



The decals on these two models was done by my normal process which is; I use a mild decal solution or, plain distilled soft water, after all the decals are on, I spray some Walthers  decal dulling solution to help hide all the decal film. After that is dry, I lightly wet sand again with 2000 grit but don’t break the paint or decal surface ( this gets rid of any dust/ bug dooties etc.) and then spray clear gloss again to seal. At this point, I  will decide if I want to do a wash or not, I did use a “sludge wash” on the Hase kit but I was not satisfied so I cancelled it by spraying again with light gray tones to wash most of it out. I did not wash the Revell kit.



Another method of wash that I do sometimes, if needed, is to make a darker color ( not always black) wash with oil or enamel paint, and apply very small amounts in the recesses of a high gloss finish and then in a very few minutes, wipe it off with a cotton swab with turpenoid. After a good couple of days of drying, I spray Testors Dull Coat, light coat, and the next day, one more coat of Dull coat to make it a little flatter etc.

NOW!! I just start adding and gluing on all the hanging parts using CA, starting with all the gear, doors, tail hook(s) lights, pylons w/ stores, and the flip over to install the seat(s) , canopies, pitot   tubes, etc. the angle of attack sensor covers were scratch made with some evergreen plastic strip and flagged. Now, we are ready for the picture table and hope I can get a few shots that we can see that show some of all this stuff and all this work..





First, I will confess the fact, that the Revell finished kit did not have any nomenclature plates on the landing gear or any brackets/ mirrors on the Canopy but I have since added those.

The choice to do an article with two models is not too hard to do, as long as you do not try to build both models at the same time. If and when I try this again, I will make sure that one of these things has already been built and is already a shelf sitter.

The simple fact is that, for sure, the Hasegawa kit is the very best 1/48 scale F/A-18, but most of us will not go spend big bucks every time we want one of those for multiple schemes. For multiple scheme builds, the old Revell-Monogram is the way to go and you can still pick those up cheap. With a little extra work, it is very good.

Now we all look forward to the forthcoming Revell-Monogram Super Hornet!






  1. Web sites for the MacDonnell Douglas F/A 18 A/C/D.
  2. Web site for TigerStrike Decals.
  3. Detail & Scale Volume 6 developmental & Early Production Aircraft.
  4. Squadron F/A-18  “IN ACTION”  series.
  5. Roger Jackson, Monogram 1/48 scale F/A 18C Modeling Madness website Gallery.
  6. Personal photos and notes of Aircraft I have seen over several years.


Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2003 by C. Wayne Sharp
Page Created 18 August, 2003
Last Updated 17 March, 2004

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