Building an Accurate
F/A-18E Super Hornet
F/A-18E Super Hornet
Italeri's 1/48 scale F/A-18E is available online from Squadron.com
This article supplies a step-by-step set of suggestions for improving the
accuracy of Italeri's 1/48 scale F/A-18E kit. Captioned photos are also provided
There are also some notes at the end of the article about my completed 1/72
scale Italeri Super Hornet.
1/48 Scale F/A-18E
Here are my suggestions for making the Italeri 1/48 scale F/A-18E Super Hornet
Fill the speedbrake between the fins. It should not be there at all.
Toe the wing pylons out 4 degrees (ie make them point outboard from the
Cant the outer wing pylons about 3 degrees or so outboard in addition to the
Fill the gaps around the flap-like LEX vents just inboard of the leading edge
flaps and build these in the up or closed position. They don't move anymore on
the real jets
The spoilers are normally closed on the ground, these are on the upper surfaces
of the LEX and will need some filling.
If you are doing a VFA-115 bird, add the IFF antenna box on the forward fuselage
between the windscreen and gun port; it should be easy to make from sheet as it
is just a rectangular box with vertical sides and rear face, with the forward
edge sloping aft. This is also appropriate for SOME VFA-122 airplanes, but not
all. I think only post-LRIP-1 jets have them but don't know offhand which BuNo
Shim under the edge of the windscreen with 10 Thou sheet so that the leading
edge matches the nose. Both kits I'm working on needed this done, the windscreen
sat too low.
Discard Italeri's attempts at GBU whatevers, they're terrible. The Harpoons and
HARMS are passable. Harpoons only go on the midboard stations, and can only have
empty pylons or tanks inboard. I'm not sure what can go outboard with them as I
don't have my copy of the SLIM handy but you'll be safe if you just put the
Harpoons on between empty pylons. No MK-82 conical fin bombs, only MK-82/BSU-86
fins are authorized. These look similar to a Snakeeye but the petal design is
slightly different. BSU-86 fins are always gray. No AIM-7 on the intake
stations, only AIM-120 go there. If you want to use a FLIR, ignore the one in
the kit as it's completely inappropriate for an F/A-18E/F. Rob a TFLIR from
another kit and use the adapter in the Superbug kit to put it on the left
intake. It's a perfectly legal and representative fit for a current F/A-18E/F.
The kit fuel tank is wrong. You'll need to at least lengthen it by about 3/8" to
represent a 480 gallon FPU-11 instead of the 330 gallon FPU-8. The 330 gallon
tank is not authorized for the E/F. If you were really ambitious you could also
increase the diameter by a scale inch or two but I'm not worrying about the
Don't put exposed sway braces on the pylons, they are covered by smoooth
fairings on the real thing. While I'm on the subject of pylons, the inboard and
midboard pylons need to have their aft ends extended by 1/4", with the rear of
the extension being vertical to the line that the original pylon is vertical,
then angled forward to the original pylon uppermost rear surface. This should
taper to a point when viewed from below. The centerline pylon needs to have the
leading and trailing edges swept, leading edge sweeps aft, trailing forward.
Expect to use some filler on the kit. The fit isn't too bad overall, but it is
not a "shake and bake" kit. There's some work involved but not an unreasonable
Get hold of the Black Box FA-18E cockpit, the one in the kit is EXTREMELY basic
(decals for panel and consoles) although the seat isn't TOO bad with some added
detail. I used the kit seat with a Monogram pilot figure for one of the ones I'm
working on but still used a resin set for the rest of the 'pit. I used the BB
FA-18D forward cockpit, since the E cockpit set hadn't been released yet.
Italeri's 1/72 Scale F/A-18E
1/72 scale F/A-18E is finished as the Spin/High AOA test airplane after it was
done with the spin program. It was then used as a weapon separation test bird,
hence the black and white targets all over.
Decals were custom made and printed on an Epson 600 on Supercal Inkjet Decal
Paper. Finish is Krylon gloss white and Model Master International Orange, with
Light Ghost Gray for the radome and black for the anti-glare.
The bombs are FS35109 bodies with a varying drybrush of Testors rust, then
the target decals were applied to the bombs. The wingtip and tail cameras were
made from plastic stock, painted and installed. The wingtip mounts were made
from a pair of old Sidewinder missiles and some plastic strip.
Model, Images and
Article Copyright © 2002 by Joe Hegedus
Page Created 29 March 2002
Last updated 04 June 2007
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