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Freedom Hornets

Part 1


Eagle Strike Productions


S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: ESP32049 - Freedom Hornets Part 1
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: Waterslide decals - Decal sheets plus instructions and notes
Price: USD$8.50 MSRP (USD$7.46 from Squadron.com)
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Perfect register; thin; minimal carrier film; interesting subjects fro Academy kit
Disadvantages: Backdating of F/A-18C to A version required
Recommendation: Recommended

Reviewed by Rodger Kelly

Eagle Strike's 1/32 Freedom Hornets Part 1 is available online from Squadron.com




As the title implies, this is the first of three sheets covering the F/A-18 Hornet in US Navy service.  Part 1 provides markings for two aircraft of the Atlantic Fleet. 

F/A-18A, Bureau number 162877, VFA-204 'River Rattlers' CAG aircraft.  It wears the standard Hornet Tactical Paint Scheme of FS 36320 dark ghost grey over FS 36375 light ghost grey with a tan radome.  Being a CAG bird, the markings carry a little colour.  The majority of the coloured markings are in blue with red shadowing.  These consist of: 

        AF airwing identifiers for the outboard sides of the vertical stabilizers. 

        400 modex for the nose and tops of the flaps. 

        VFA-204 titles for either side the spine. 

        NAVY tiles for the rear fuselage in blue with red shadowing. 

        Blue leading edges for the outer faces of the vertical stabilizers and a blue fin cap.  The fin cap decal carries the 00 modex in red as a one piece design.

        Rudder markings that comprise blue stripes for the leading and trailing edges with, you guessed it, blue stars with red shadowing. 

The other markings comprise: 

        Unit insignia featuring a full-colour rattle snake wrapped around a bomb for the outer faces of the vertical stabilizers.

        A bogus pilot's name for the fuselage below the windscreen.  Hmm, I'm sure it wouldn't have been all that hard to find out the correct name still, at least they give you an option.

        Two sets of RIVER RATTLERS titles in black with a stylized rattle snake for the drop tanks.

        A set of Hi-viz National insignia.

        A Bureau number block in grey for the rear fuselage.


The other option is F/A-18C, Bureau number 164261 "belonging to" Commander Kevin 'Hozer' Miller, the Commanding Officer of VFA-105 'Gunslingers'.  The aircraft is in the standard TPS Hornet scheme of FS 36320 dark ghost grey over FS 36375 light ghost grey with a tan radome.  A squadron CO's aircraft (Modex 01) normally wears a little colour in its markings.  This one is the odd one out as all of its markings are lo-viz.  The supplied markings include:


  • 401 modex for the nose, fin caps and tops of the flaps.
  • Pilot's and Plane Captain's names for the fuselage beneath the windscreen and nose gear door respectively.
  • A scoreboard consisting of black bombs and missiles for both sides of the spine.
  • VFA-105 titles, also for the spine.
  • VFA-105's Unit insignia consisting of a chevron with knight chess piece in a circle for the outer faces of the vertical stabilizers.
  • AC airwing identifiers for outer surfaces of the rudders.
  • USS Enterprise and NAVY titles as well as the Bureau number block for the rear fuselage.
  • Two sets of GUNSLINGERS titles for the drop tanks.
  • A set of national insignia.


There are two sets of the larger more visible stencil data supplied and there are enough markings provided to produce both options from the sheet.  The LEX walkways are not provided nor are the slime lights. 

The decals have been printed by Cartograf.  Admittedly, Cartograf decals are a little more difficult to use than Microscale decals but they do produce equally a good final product if you are patient and use plenty of settling solution.  The sheet is well printed and in perfect register no mean feat given the thin red shadowing on the first option.  Attention to detail is good too. They have got the shadowing correct as it 'handed' and goes to the rear of the designs. 

The decals there are two sheets, and placement guide are packed in a clear plastic zip-loc bag. 

The recommended kit is the Academy one which is interesting as it is a C kit and the first option is a A so you will have to backdate the kit to A standard if you choose this option. 

The placement data is the standard A-4 sized sheet with left hand side profiles and top views of both aircraft.  The rear page carries a dialogue on the weapons that were carried during Operation Iraqi Freedom and the 'load out' configurations.  Titled "F-18 Ordinance and Configurations" it is good inclusion as far as I'm concerned as it not only supplies information on what to hang off what pylon but also a little history of the operation.  Pity about the spelling though! 

All up, not a bad effort from Eagle Strike.


Thanks to AeroMaster / Eagle Strike Products for the review sets

On-line sales are available from the AeroMaster Products / Eagle Strike Productions web site.

Review TextCopyright 2003 by Rodger Kelly
This Page Created on 07 November, 2003
Last updated 06 November, 2003

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