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Building Revell's new 1/48 scale
F/A-18E Super Hornet
Part Two

by John Chung



Revell's 1/48 scale F/A-18E Super Hornet is available online from Squadron


Construction Continues


For more information about the new 1/48 scale Revell F/A-18E Super Hornet, please visit my in-box review here on Hyperscale.


The kit inner wings were molded integral to the fuselage halves with the outer wing split roughly where the wing fold is. While this eliminates problematic wing-fuselage joints, test fitting reveals careful alignments of outer wing sections would still be necessary (see title image)

While the wing breaks roughly at the wing fold, it really isn’t possible to pose them folded without some work still. To start, a section of the outer wing will need careful removal and the displaced area rebuilt; namely the upper panel that folds up and a small strip on the bottom. The wing fold mechanism consisted of just strip styrene of styrene wrapped around a styrene rod.


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As the F/A-18 Hornets typically park with fully deployed trailing edge flaps due to bleeding of hydraulic pressure upon shutdown, I’ve elected to drop them on the model. The Hornets are equipped with single-slotted Fowler flap which is a bit more involved to modify. The flaps were first cut from the wings; the top piece removed along with the panel just fore of it, the latter of which was replaced with a scratch built item. The removed flap was then filled and profiled to a proper airfoil.



The flap hinges were modified corresponding to the new flap position, and an actuating rod inboard the flap was built to support the assembly. Overall alignment was done at this point to ensure symmetry between the two wings. Note that there should be a very fine slot between the flap and the wing as featured on Fowler flaps.

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A small cut out should be made on the aft inboard corner to clear the fuselage missile station. The fuselage corresponding to the flap was also filled in and built up with appropriate surface details. Similarly, the fuselage contours adjacent to the leading edge flap was slightly off and was built up and the correct surface detail rescribed.


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Lastly, the wingtip launchers were slightly modified for a more accurate representation. The Super Hornet uses three different types of wingtip launchers distinguishable by their respective physical differences. By observation, it seemed Revell had crossed between the details so a ~3.3mm insert was added just aft of the wingtip formation lights to alleviate this issue.

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The horizontal stabilizers were attached via a carry-through member inserted into the aft fuselage. This design allowed very rigid and positive attachments than most other kits concerning stabilator. However, make certain you do NOT try and attach these before they’re on permanently, otherwise you’ll mostly likely break something trying to remove it . . . uh, like I did.

The vertical stabs were an enigma. They were molded with strange, thick beveled leading and trailing edges that needed removal and lost details replaced. More annoying was the stab base reinforcement bulge, which was wrong and needed quite a bit of re-profiling on both inside and outside. The general fuselage contour in this area was also off enough that the removed rudder would not deflect due to interferences with the fuselage. Consequently, the vertical stab base, rudder and fuselage contours were also reshaped. Lastly, the upper trailing edges exhaust ports were thinned down and drilled out.


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Aft Fuselage

The Revell exhausts were too small and short internally, ending at where the finger braces meet the fuselage, a by-product of the horizontal stab carry-thru member. I elected to resort to heat-and-smash covers once again as a fix would have been quite involved. Also note that the exhaust feathers should have a slight clockwise-twist while Revell had them straight. As well, the finger braces should follow the fuselage contours while Revell had them along the feathers.



The arresting hook and faring were molded in a single piece, so they were removed and separately improved upon. The hook was refined both at the base and the tip, and the faring also received minor detailing.

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Landing Gear

The kit landing gears were generally well done for a single-piece affair, but lacked the details and finesse of a multi-piece assembly.

The nose gear strut launch bar linkages were removed and rebuilt, along with the retraction/main strut elbow which was hollowed out. Holes in the shock scissors were detailed out and the oleo shortened by a bit to reduce the nose-high phenomenon. Further detailing included misc. wires and bottles from styrene rods and sprue. Improving the main gear struts was a bit more involved, the chief of which was the drilling out and modifying the solid knee joint. The shock struts were replaced with brass tubing as the kit items were poorly molded on a diagonal. Additional hydraulic wires, tie-downs, and other items complete the detailing.

Attention was given to the nose wheels, which were a little too squared and the thread details piled up like mini stepped pyramids. The threads were sanded down and the tires rounded off at the corners and around the rims. Thread details were not replaced because, well, I can’t scribe threads if my life depended on it.


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The struts were painted with Tamiya gloss white and weathered with artist’s oil paints prior to flat coating. The oleos were covered with bare metal foil, and the various wires and pipes painted appropriately. Decals were a mix of kit supplied placards and scrap bin scavenged.

The gear bays didn’t come out as nice as I had hoped, given the relatively soft and overly busy molded-on details. Do take note that the red trim on the gear doors have specific patterns, especially the MLG doors.


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Stuff That Hangs

The GBU-16 and JDAM were from Hasegawa’s weapon set. The USN anti-fire coating was reproduced by scrubbing with toothbrush over the plastic surface softened with liquid cement, being careful to achieve a very subtle effect. The GBU-16 had the forward and aft (retracted) fins replaced and the seeker head hollowed and lowered. Both bombs were also detailed with a few other paraphernalia. Decals were once again a combination of weapon set’s and those from the scrap bin.

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The AIM-120 was taken from Hasegawa’s 1/48 F-16C kit, and was further refined with new surface details, new fins, cable conduit and exhaust details. The forward fins were sprayed with a slightly metallic colour before the edges were masked off and the centre painted flat black. Decals came from Twobob’s AIM-120/AGM-88 sheet, which went on beautifully but required minor trimming and adjustments for proper alignment. The AIM-120C pylon needed modification to better represent the actual launcher.

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The empty outer pylon was detailed with scratch built mechanisms on the lower surface. Sway braces on the empty fuselage station were also reshaped a little. The inboard wing pylons were left off and the associated mounting holes filled, rescribed, and an attachment eyehook built just before the flaps.

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Someone pointed out to me that the kit centre fuel tank may be somewhat too low as apparent by its relative height to the bottom intake lip. After a bit of Mk.1 eyeball gauging, I removed just under half the pylon height which allowed a more appropriate height for the tank. Note that the leading and trailing edges of the pylon were flat and were duly sharpened.


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A significant amount of modification was needed on the AN/ASQ-228 ATFLIR pod and its fuselage adaptor. I’m not sure what Revell had as references but certainly was not the ATFLIR. Much time was spent trying to reshape the adaptor and the adjacent fuselage to achieve an acceptable contour, as well the form the surface panel line details of the pod itself.

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End of Part Two

Model, Images and Text by Copyright © 2006 by John Chung
Page Created 06 March, 2006
Last Updated 06 March, 2006

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