The F/A-18 Hornet has been in service with the US Navy and US Marines for more than 2 decades. Through the years, its capabilities have been refined and upgraded to meet with new mission requirements.
Most of these upgrades are software-related and internal changes. However, once in awhile, modifications involve external changes. One of these is the integration of AIFF antennae. These involve adding 5 blades (commonly called ‘bird slicers’) on the nose, between the canopy and the gun. Late Block Hornets were all duly modified.
The 1/48 Hasegawa F/A-18 Hornet is touted as the best Hornet kit in the market and has been since it has been released. However, out of the box, it renders an early production Hornet. One would have to scratchbuild the AFF antenna. MAW Decals has come along however, to offer a resin version.
Now instead of simply molding 5 small blade antennas on a pour stub, MAW Decals has decided to offer the whole Hornet nose! So you basically swap out the kit nose and plonk in this new one.
A late Block Hornet doesn’t just involve the IFF antennae on the nose though. So MAW Decals includes the following along with the nose:
- The front panel of the front landing gearbay
- A modified front gearbay door
- 2 additional UHF antennae
- A GPS dome that was fitted to all Hornets in the 1990s
A small instruction sheet is also included with the locations of the various items. There is also a small decal sheet with what looks to be like wire mesh patterns to put all over the kit. Not being too familiar with Hornets, I’m not too sure what these actually are. But with the attention to detail MAW Decals has done, I’m pretty sure these are accurate!
The resin parts are a white color and the panel lines on the nose itself are very fine. I would have liked for the panel lines to be deeper but it’s a personal preference and an easy matter to remedy anyway. The resin stub itself is at the end of the nose you attach to the kit fuselage so it’s convenient. No fear of losing any details.
One of the UHF antennae and IFF antennae on the nose came bent. This will require some fixing with hot water. MAW Decals packed all the parts in a small ziplock bag and doesn’t secure the pieces in any way so I guess some bent parts is inevitable.
All in all though, this all-in-one package is a welcome addition to my collection. Sure the changes this set does aren’t hard to DIY, but it’s quite convenient. Plus, I’m always glad to support cottage industry items.