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F/A-18 Hornet



Hi Decal Line



S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: 48-004 - F/A-18 Hornet
Scale: 1/48
Price: USD$6.96 from Squadron.com
Contents and Media: Waterslide decals
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: Thin; good registration; sufficient markings for three full models; good instructions
Disadvantages: Poor depiction of RAAF roundels; doubtful colour callouts and Dragon artwork for Golden Dragons option; no stencil data for RAAF or VFA-192 options
Recommendation: Partially Recommended


Reviewed by Rodger Kelly

Hi Decal's 1/48 scale F/A-18A/C Decal Sheet is available online from Squadron




This is an early sheet in the Hi-Decal Line Collector's Quality Decal Sheet line, 48-004 covers three aircraft.

The first machine is Bureau number162415, an F/A-18A.  The markings depict it as it was when it assigned to VFA-127 at Naval Air Station Fallon in 1993.  Not you normal grey bug this one!  VFA-127 is one of the US Navy's Aggressor squadrons and their aircraft are painted to resemble an aircraft flown by potential opponents.  This Hornet is no exception and it was painted up to resemble an Iraqi Fulcrum.  Camouflage is overall brown and sand is a disruptive pattern with parts of the airframe remaining in grey.

Markings consist of:

  • Red and yellow 01 bort number for the nose with smaller ones for the vertical stablizers,

  • National insignia in brown and sand,

  • Iraqi national flag for the vertical stabilizers

  • VFA-127, NJ airwing identifiers and NAVY titles for the spine, rudders and rear fuselage respectively in black.

  • Black striping to resemble the upper air bleeds strangely, you have to paint the ones on the undersides yourself.

  • A very complete set of stencil data, including the Bureau number, in brown and sand as appropriate to the area that they are to be applied over.

Next is Bureau number 163705, an F/A-18C used by VFA-192 Golden Dragons as their CAG bird.  The markings depict it from 1994 when CVW 5 was aboard the USS Independence.  The instruction sheet gives its finish as overall FS36375 light ghost grey.  Heck, it may well have been painted that way but my bet is that it was finished in the standard Hornet scheme of FS36320 dark ghost grey upper surfaces over FS 36375 light ghost grey, tan radome with a stainless steel tip.  The fin caps are shown as being painted in black. 

Markings consist of:

  • CVW-5s NF identifier for the outer surfaces of both rudders.

  • 300 modex for the nose, the flaps, and the tops of both vertical stabilizers.

  • VFA-192 titles for the spine.

  • USS INDEPENDENCE titles for the top of the vertical stabilizers.

  • NAVY, CVW-5 titles and Bureau number block for the rear fuselage

  • National insignia (in black).

  • Battle Es in black for either side of the fuselage.

  • Pilots and Plane Captains names for the canopy rail (both sides) and nose wheel gear door respectively.

  • CVW-5s chevrons on the rudders in full colour.

  • VFA-192's dragon with black highlights for the tail.  I'm not so sure that this is correct as VFA-192 either painted them yellow without highlights or yellow with blue highlights.

The final aircraft is A21-08, an Aussie F/A-18A.  This is an unusually marked aircraft for RAAF standards in that it wears a very large snake's head painted on the nose - the whole nose!  The markings depict it when it was flown by the Commanding Officer of 3 Squadron based at RAAF Williamstown in New South Wales. 

Finish is listed as FS35237 medium sea grey over FS36375 ghost grey

Markings consist of: 

  • A set of awful representations of the RAAF roundel.  The Kangaroo looks more like a hump-backed rat than the big red boomer that it is supposed to be (have a look at the Australian national insignia on the A-4 G Skyhawk built by Dave Aungst  http://www.features02.kitparade.com/a4gda_1.htm this is a whole lot closer to what this marking should look like.)

  • A set of Southern Cross stars for the rudders.

  • A Wing Commander's pennant for the fuselage.

  • Pilots name in cursive script for the nose.

  • A set of fin flashes.

  • 3 Squadron's insignia for the spine.

  • The wicked looking Cobra's mouth for the nose

  • Serial number for the rear fuselage and with a further set of 08s for the fin caps.

No stencil data is supplied for this or the VFA-192 option.  The RAAF aircraft was approximately 12 months old when it was painted up with these markings so the stencil data was still very much in evidence.  The instruction sheet refers you to the Hi-Decal 48-006 stencil data sheet to provide the walkway decals. 

The decals themselves appear to have been printed by Propagteam.  Apart from the errors pointed out they look pretty good.  There is more carrier film than you would find on the sheets from the mainstream producers (and Hi-Decals later sheets) but some deft cutting out with sharp scissors will rectify this! 

The placement guide/instruction sheet is A-4 in size and has black and white line drawings of each aircraft.  The VFA-127 option has four views to show the camouflage option.  A paint-match legend gives matches to both Humbrol and Model Master paint. 

The decal and placement sheet are packed into a thin plastic bag which is stapled to a cardboard header. 

As stated above, this is one of Hi-Decal's earlier sheets.  The difference in the quality of both the decal and the instruction sheets on their later sheets is very evident. 

All is not lost with this sheet though.  Whilst I really could not recommend the RAAF roundels for the 3 Squadron option as it stands on the sheet you can still use the remainder of the decals to produce a great looking RAAF Hornet if you substitute the roundels from elsewhere.  The real winner on this sheet is the VFA-127 option.  It will build into a real stunner.  If you have doubts about this, have a look at the one Bernhard Schrock built using these decals: http://www.features02.kitparade.com/fa18abs_1.htm  

Recommended for the VFA-127 option only.

Review Copyright 2003 by Rodger Kelly
Page Created 06 July, 2003
Last updated 14 August, 2003

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