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Kinetic F/A-18C Hornet

Let’s get right to it: Kinetic’s new F/A-18C takes off with options galore. The kit provides bumps and antennas for almost any version you want to build, posable canopy and speed brake, extended or retracted flaps, a nice little boarding ladder, and folded or extended wings.

Underwing stores include three fuel tanks and two each of AIM-120B and AIM-120C AMRAAMs, AIM-9M and AIM-9X Sidewinders, GBU-87 cluster bombs, GBU-12 and GBU-38 laser guided bombs, and AIM-7M Sparrows. Three types of targeting pod are also provided: AAQ-28 Litening, AAS-38 Nighthawk, and Sniper XR. Cartograf decals provide markings for seven Hornets: two U.S. Navy CAG birds from VFA-87 Golden Warriors and VFA-25 Fist of the Fleet; two aggressors — a Marine Corps fighter in green-and-brown splinter camouflage, the other wearing Navy blue-and-gray splinter camouflage; a Marine aircraft from the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center; a Swiss air force Hornet; and a Finnish fighter.

The cockpit components go together easily and the detail is spot-on, although I would consider using a resin seat to take it to the next level.

I assembled the intake trunks and exhaust cans in Step 4, but waited to install them until after the intake lips and splitters were on in Step 7. These parts help align the intakes; their attachments are vague.

Step 6 provides a bunch of options for the nose, including an extended or retracted refueling probe; I chose closed. There are also four variations for the nose’s underside and the gun purge vents; I used C13. Don’t forget to drill holes for angle-of-attack probes and avionics bumps. Good references are indispensable for checking what’s appropriate for the version you’re building.

The section forward of the cockpit is molded with the upper fuselage and is a bit flimsy. I ended up breaking mine, but it was easy to fix by gluing it to the nose section. The so-called chicken cutters have to be sanded off for any of the American Hornets in this kit, but I’ve seen them on late-model F/A-18Cs; check references.

From there, the major fuselage and wing components went together perfectly.

Be careful installing the flaps in the down position; the extended hinges are fragile. Also, attach the covers (parts C9, C10, A4, and A5), then add the flaps, so you can adjust the fit for the correct spacing.

There’s photo-etched wiring for the nose-wheel well, but the placement instructions are unclear. It took trial and error to get them right, and there was one I didn’t figure out until it was too late.

In Step 22, the smaller struts on the main-gear legs are mislabeled as E18 and E21; they should be H18 and H21. Holes in the front walls of each bay need to be enlarged to accommodate the struts.

Step 27 omitted the ladder retraction strut and brace, parts F12 and F14.

Beyond that everything went smoothly. But be aware that the instructions aren’t always clear about what parts go with which version. Do your research.
Designed by Fightertown Decals and printed by Cartograf, the markings performed flawlessly.

I spent 32 hours building my Hornet, including painting. It will take a little experience to build, mainly sifting through the directions, but the result is a stunning Hornet.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the January 2017 issue.

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