Cost: $8.00 (rare score with an online auction)
Decals: Two versions – U.S. Marine Corps and Canadian Air Force
Comments: Raised panel lines, ample underwing ordnance, option for single-seat fighter or two-seat attack version
The F-18 first flew on November 18, 1978. It evolved from a design by the Northrop Corporation as an all-weather strike fighter to replace the McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk, McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, and the Vought A-7 Corsair II in U.S. Navy and Marine Corps service. Northrop’s original prototype, the YF-17, was modifed with the assistance of McDonnell Douglas, based on the latter’s success at developing carrier-based fighters.
The F-18 entered service on January 7, 1983 and continues today in several versions, proving itself versatile in air interception and ground support roles. In April 1986, the F/A-18 participated in air strikes against Libya, suppressing air defenses to protect FB-111 bombers. F-18’s were credited with shooting down two MiG-21’s in the 1991 Gulf War, and two F-18’s were known to be lost in the course of the war.
Starting in 1989, production of the F-18 shifted to night attack versions, the single seat F-18C and two-seater F-18D. They are equipped with FLIR (forward looking infra-red) pods, night-vision goggles, and a color digital map display. Further software upgrades have enhanced the F-18’s ability to provide all-weather, close air support. Squadrons that have switched to the night attack mission have received the AW (for all-weather) designation. When the Grumman A-6 Intruder was retired in the 1990’s, the F-18 took on the missions of that aircraft as well. Export versions of the F-18 serve in the Air Forces of Australia, Canada, Finland, Kuwait, Malaysia, Spain and Switzerland.
Testors F/A-18 is molded in grey and consists of 113 parts. It has raised panel lines and abundant ordnance including two AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, two AGM-88 HARM (High-speed Anti-Radiation) missiles, two AGM-84 Harpoon stand-off missiles and a belly tank. It features raised detail on the cockpit instrument panels, boxed in wheel wells and detailed landing gear. The decals are Invisa-Clear by Scalemaster and provide for a U.S. Marine Corps version, VMFA(AW) – 225 Vikings based at El Toro, California, 1992; and a Royal Canadian Air Force F-18C of No. 410 Squadron.
Very detailed kit of the F-18 Hornet with ordnance to spare and optional one or two-seat versions. Highly recommended.