There is so much inside the box of Kinetic`s F/A-18A+B, “2 in 1” kit, in 1/48
Little box, full of plastic: The box abounds in plastic spues, because just about every single sprue is packed in its own individual transparent bag, which definitely makes it look overwhelming. Yet before that, a great surprise was the gorgeous boxart of the 2 Hornets flying in the air, which looked like a real photo instead of a drawing/sketching. The cardboard box itself is stiff and hard, keeping all the parts safely. And there is a hell lot of parts in it! That`s pretty predictable if we take into account that there are two completely different variants of the F-18 that can be made OOB. The A-version is the first and oldest Hornet with the smaller canopy, while the B-version is with the bigger two-crew cockpit. And there are so many optional parts that make this kit look enormous. Let`s dig in!
Instruction manual: It is enormous. A huge A4 format manual with typical matt, B&W pages, and it is nearly 30 pages long! It consists of beautiful drawings of the assembly steps, and all the possible variations/optional parts are nicely mentioned too. Nearby the end of the manual, you can come across a complete color scheme call out and a complete guide with the attachment points of the numerous weapons, which I`ll mentioned later as some of the greatest PROS of this kit.
Decals and possible airframes: Another great touch are all the decals and tiny little stencils, which are stored onto one huge sheet. They include decals for more than 9 airframes from 3 different Air Forces – the Royal Canadian, the Royal Australian and the Spanish. And there is one very small decal piece only with numbers, which offer almost endless options for the specific airframe that you want to build.
Plastic Parts: This is the part that was a little bit unexpected for me. First, let`s take the quality of the plastic itself in terms of surface detailing: the rivets are a little less, but the panel lines are everywhere and overall the smaller details are very sharp and fine. Every sprue is packed in an individual bag with a few exceptions of course. The two halves of the fuselage are on separate sprues, which let you easily testfit them and see the true silhouette of the Hornet. The wings have all the possible separate pieces in separate details, including flaps, slats and ailerons. And all the trailing/leading edges are very thin. The canopies are crystal clear and on 3 different sprues, stored in 3 different bags. Indeed, almost every part in this kit is optional – for either the A or the B version, as well as several optional parts per version. Next is a short list of only the most remarkable of them, because it is impossible to mention all of them, and they all look like the biggest PROS of this kit:
- 2 sets of wings, which offer to build your model with folded wingtips;
- 2 cockpits, respectively for the 1-seater and the 2-seater version, with all their associated differences;
- 2 sets of vertical stabilizers, which offer you to display the rudders at a different angle;
- 2 sets of landing gears with all the tiny little differences for the 2 versions;
- ATARS module included for underneath the nose section, which let you make a conversion;
- A lot of optional ordnance, including the SNIPER targeting pod;
- 4 panels for underneath the nose section with all the little differences of their layout, such as the cannon vents;
- and many more…
Other amazing features of this kit: This F-18 kit is definitely something like 2 kits in one box. Furthermore, it has some amazing complimentary details OOB, such as the small PE fret with very important details. The PE fret is very very thin and delicate, while the parts in it are mostly for the exterior of the plane.
The color guide for painting the model is a really extensive guide with dozens of recommended paints from 5 different labels. This guide is like a conversion chart, so you should always pick up the best paints that suite your taste or that you already have in the tool kit.
There are decals for every single instrument panel in the cockpit. If you plan to build the double-seater Hornet, then you will definitely need more patience to attach all the tiny little decals. In any case, the cockpit is very well detailed and it could look amazingly good even if you choose to leave the decals and go the ordinary way – painting, drybrushing, washes, etc. There are decals even for the seat.
Overall, this Kinetic kit is one of the best 1/48 kits in terms of quality of details and variety of what you get OOB. 2 completely different versions of the F-18 with so many small and big differences, and not just one or two airframes, but 9 possibilities to finish the model! This translates in the enormous amount of plastic details and perhaps the only imperfection is the lack of pilot figures. Other than that, there is a boarding ladder that can be lowered or closed, the air refueling probe and the airbrake – too. Another imperfection is the lack of decals for a US version of this iconic plane, but let`s face it – you may have plenty of unused US decals. This is by far not the easiest kit to assemble, so keep in mind that it will require your pro skills and abilities. After all, it should turn into your most beautiful model of F-18 A+ or B, even if you build it completely as it is OOB.