The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F/A-18 Hornet is an all-weather carrier-capable multirole fighter jet, designed to attack both ground and aerial targets. Its primary missions are fighter escort, fleet air defense, suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD), interdiction, close air support and reconnaissance. Its versatility and reliability have proven it to be a valuable carrier asset.
VFA-195 Dambusters is an F/A-18C Hornet squadron stationed at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan. It is 1 of 9 squadrons in Carrier Air Wing Five (CVW-5) that provides power projection for the United States. The squadron earned the nickname Dambusters on May 1, 1951 after its aircraft successfully destroyed the heavily defended Hwa Chon Dam in North Korea. It has seen service since World War II and has been involved with almost every major US military operation since.
The squadron currently flies off USS George Washington (CVN-73). ‘Chippy Ho’ is the squadron motto.
Hasegawa has recently started to pack 2 or more kits into one package, with the selling point being that the aircraft in the set are somehow related. This set includes 3 F/A-18Cs with 5 marking options (though with enough stencils for only 3 Hornets). The markings are all of the VFA-195 colorful CAG bird in its various special markings through the years.
The aircraft itself is the old Hasegawa mold, which by my reckoning is almost 20 years old. Hence, all the issues from that release applies to this one i.e. soft engraved panel lines, lack of cockpit detail, weapons that are under-detailed (only Sparrows and Sidewinders though) and fitting problems with the intakes. On the plus side, it comes with all the parts to backdate the C into an A variant, which is a nice touch.
The whole point of this preview though, is the huge decal sheet that comes with the set. It measures slightly more than an A4 sized paper. Saliva8zc As mentioned above, it has markings for 5 VF-195 Hornets although there’s only enough stenciling for 3 aircraft.
The decal sheet is printed by Cartograf which is generally regarded as one of the best decal printers in the business. Thankfully, unlike typical Hasegawa decals, this means 2 things:
- The white colors are pure white, not cream colored
- The decals are super thin and should snuggle down well onto the kit surface
Decal options depict ‘Chippy 400’s’ markings during the following periods:
- June 1995 – Airliners.net pic
- July 2001 – Same marking, single boxing version
- April 2002 – low-viz markings
- October 2004 – Airliners.net pic
- October 2008 – Airliners.net pic
The Chippy Ho markings are for the most part, very colorful and big. This should grab anyone’s attention in an ocean of greys that are the color schemes of modern Naval aircraft.
For anyone who’s a Hornet fan or into colorful CAG markings, this is a must get.