Welcome to the second entry in the Contributor-Funded Kit Review series! This time out, the subject is Kinetic’s new-tool 1/48 F/A-18C Hornet.
Curious about contributor-funded thing, or want to see past reviews? HIT THE REVIEWS PAGE FOR MORE.
Round Two Go
While there was some early contention in the Round Two voting, with the Hasegawa 1/32 A6M5c Zero and 1/48 Bronco P-40 putting in strong showings, Kinetic’s legacy Hornet soon drew away from the pack, indicating a high degree of interest.
I have to confess – this one interested me as well. I have a fondness for the legacy Hornet, and a new-tool challenger in 1/48 is worth sitting up and taking notice.
Going into this review, I had two big questions beyond the usual detail/fit/etc:
1 – Is it good enough to overcome the old Hasegawa kits?
2 – Does it live up to the hyped expectations Kinetic has set for it?
If you want to get straight to the answers, hop on down to the final video. I’ve kept it under three minutes for those with short attention spans.
Otherwise, this review proceeds mostly on video. But I’ve added a bit of setup along the way below.
A look at what Kinetic gives us to work with, and some initial thoughts. Overall, the plastic looks quite good, with the exception of the provided stores, which seem like they were ported over from other, older kits.
The instructions look good at first glance, but they aren’t. Treat them as an unreliable source and they’re easy enough to overcome, however.
The decals – they are a thing of beauty. Designed by Fightertown, printed by Cartograf, and showing a lot of effort in creative ways to minimize carrier film.
The only thing I’d say against them is that all of the schemes are quite recent – the oldest is the Finnish option, which dates from 2006. Everything else is 2009 or newer. Considering that the F/A-18C has been flying for nearly 30 years, it seems an odd choice to limit the options to only the last decade, completely skipping Operation Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and other actions. Fortunately, there are aftermarket decals galore for the -C model in 1/48 scale.
Part 1 – The Cockpit
It’s a cockpit. It’s a good cockpit at that, and with the way it fits so well into the fuselage, I’d be really hesitant to opt for a resin cockpit unless it was specifically designed as a drop-fit.
I would, however, recommend a resin ejection seat, and seeing what aftermarket companies decide to do about the not-great rear deck.
Part 2 – The Internals
The main gear bay is an amazing example of going beyond drop-fit to press-fit. It’s a bit janky getting it into the fuselage, but once you do, it locates almost magnetically.
I wish I could say the same about the intakes. They’re very definitely, uh, “inspired” by the 1/32 Academy Hornets, which is better than cribbing the 1/48 Hasegawa I guess, but leads to a dicey fit between the intake faces and the intake trunks.
I would wait – and hope – that someone comes along and does a set of seamless intakes for this kit. They would be rather welcome.
As for the intake faces – fortunately there’s no need to worry overmuch about alignment on the outside – as pics of the real thing show there is no panel line of any kind anywhere near them.
Part 3 – The Nose
Another tricky subassembly is the nose.
It’s a dicey bit of engineering – as the fit demonstrates. There may be a better way, though, which is discussed in the video.
Part 4 – Wings and Fuselage
The stuff dreams are made of. Kinetic really nails this aspect of the build.
Part 5 – Control Surfaces
Up or down, Kinetic handles these nicely. Just be sure, if you’re folding the wings, to fold them at the proper angles. I’d even go so far as to suggest adding the control surfaces FIRST to help mitigate any interference.
Part 6 – Landing Gear
Part 7 – Pylons
From ugh back to great. The pylons build up easily and fit nicely. Hard to go wrong here.
Part 8 – Tails & Canopy
The fit of the windscreen leaves things to be desired – but this relates back to the nose.
Part 9 – Ordnance
The ordnance, as mentioned higher up, is a mixed bag. The Sidewinders are worth keeping, but if you can swing it, go resin for the other explodey things.