When Academy released their
excellent 1/32 F/A-18C in 2003 there were a few puzzling omissions for modelers
who wished to make a late production lot variant from either the C or later D
model kit. In a kit where Academy was conscientious enough to provide alternate
gun vent mesh and other options such as combined interrogator/transponder (CIT)
antennas, there was no option for the dual ALE-47 chaff and flare dispensers or
the GPS antenna for the spine. I for one found this somewhat annoying as not
only did my main interest, RAAF Hornets, have the GPS antenna, but my other
interest, TUDM F/A-18Ds, had the dual bucket fit.
After delivering some very
beautiful decal sheets for their homeland and other export Hornets in all major
scales, F-4Dable Models of Malaysia has finally come to the rescue. Their first
resin update set is a lovely little set which addresses both these shortcomings
whilst also adding as a bonus “herring bone” style LEX vents in photoetch.
F-4Dable have done an outstanding job, with neat, flawless resin castings which
provide the dual buckets and fairings for the ALE-47 fit which drop into the
space vacated by omitting the kit’s single ALE-39 bucket face with minimal clean
up of resin carriers. Also included are the aerodynamic extensions for the
undercarriage doors and as previously mentioned, the GPS dome antenna.
To complete the package
F-4Dable includes an instruction sheet which leaves nothing to chance. Diagrams,
text description and colour reference photos of the real thing leave nothing to
chance. For anyone who wants to build a late production export Hornet or a USN/USMC
airframe from BuNo 165171 onwards this set is essential. I for one am glad that
I am now able to build the 1/32 TUDM F/A-18D that I have had on the “to do” list
since I got hold of F-4Dable’s own Export Hornets sheet in 2005.
This set fills an important
gap for Hornet modelers and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Now for those 1/48 scale
LAU-128 rails for F-15 Eagles - I can’t wait!
F-4Dable Models for the review sample.
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