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Kinetic, 1/48 scale

S u m m a r y

Item No. Kinetic Model Kits Item No. K48033 - F/A-18D ATARS
Contents and Media: Around 300 grey injection moulded parts; 16 clear parts; 22 photo-etched metal parts; markings for three aircraft.
Scale 1/48
Price: USD$39.99 plus shipping available online from Lucky Model
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: High level of detail; excellent surface textures; extensive weapons load; high quality decals; great value; includes parts to also allow the kit to be built as a standard F/A-18 D or backdated to an F/A-18B.

This is a great kit of the F/A-18D ATARS Hornet and represents smoking hot value at just USD$39.99. 

Reviewed by Brett Green

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The F/A-18D is the two-seat Hornet variant. The D-model can be configured for training or as an all-weather strike craft. The "missionized" D model's rear seat is configured for a Marine Corps Naval Flight Officer who functions as a Weapons and Sensors Officer to assist in operating the weapons systems. The F/A-18D is primarily operated by the U.S. Marine Corps in the night attack and Forward Air Controller (Airborne) (FAC(A)) roles.

The F/A-18C and D models are the result of a block upgrade in 1987 incorporating upgraded radar, avionics, and the capacity to carry new missiles such as the AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missile and AGM-65 Maverick and AGM-84 Harpoon air-to-surface missiles. Other upgrades include the Martin-Baker NACES (Navy Aircrew Common ejection seat), and a self-protection jammer. A synthetic aperture ground mapping radar enables the pilot to locate targets in poor visibility conditions.

C and D models delivered since 1989 also have improved night attack abilities, consisting of the Hughes AN/AAR-50 thermal navigation pod, the Loral AN/AAS-38 NITE Hawk FLIR (forward looking infrared array) targeting pod, night vision goggles, and two full-color (formerly monochrome) multi-function display (MFDs) and a color moving map.



In addition, 60 D-model Hornets are configured as the night attack F/A-18D (RC) with ability for reconnaissance. These could be outfitted with the ATARS electro-optical sensor package that includes a sensor pod and equipment mounted in the place of the M61 cannon.

Beginning in 1992, the F404-GE-402 enhanced performance engine, providing approximately 10% more maximum static thrust became the standard Hornet engine.

Since 1993, the AAS-38A NITE Hawk added a designator/ranger laser, allowing it to self-mark targets. The later AAS-38B added the ability to strike targets designated by lasers from other aircraft.

Production of the C- and D- models ended in 2000. The last F/A-18D was delivered to the U.S. Marine Corps in August 2000*

* Historical summary courtesy of Wikipedia





Kinetic released their 1/48 scale F/A-18C Hornet to justified acclaim in May 2016. Mick Evans conducted a detailed review of this initial release.

Two years ago, the F/A-18A+ / F/A-18B and Canadian CF-188 was released in a single box.

Kinetic has now completed the legacy Hornet family with a versaile new kit allowing the modeller to build the late-model two-seater as a night attack F/A-18D with ATARS . As far as I can tell, all the parts needed to build and arm a standard F/A-18D, or an F/A-18B are still in the box too.

The kit contains nearly 300 parts in grey plastics, 16 clear parts, 22 photo-etched metal parts and markings for three different aircraft.

Three sprues are new for this release.



Two are grey plastic and one is in clear.



These brand new sprues cover the ATARS and specific ordnance for this new version.

Surface detail is excellent, with a combination of very fine crisp panel lines and rows of rivets. Raised details are also present as appropriate.



The fuselage is a horizontal split construction with the upper fuselage containing the upper wing surfaces to which is added the lower wings and optional nose sections.



Intakes are full length and two closed burner cans are included. Several sources have confirmed that this is the apprporiate configuration for a parked F/A-18.

Cockpit detail is good straight from the box.

The wheel well detail moulded to the main parts looks terrific.



Control surfaces including leading edge flaps and upper fuselage speed brake are all provided separately and may be posed to taste.

The kit's photo-etched fret includes detail parts for chaff dispensers, gunsight mount, canopy handles / mirrors and more.



The clear parts are spread over two sprues and offer the two two-seater canopies and lights.



The clear parts are nice and thin and free from distortion. There is, however, a raised centreline seam on the canopy and windscreen parts that will have to be scraped and sanded off.



Stores are very extensive and will provide a boon for your spares box.

In addition to three external fuel tanks, the following stores are supplied:

  • CVER

  • AIM-9X

  • AIM-120B/C

  • GBU-12

  • CBU-20

  • AAQ-13/14

  • AAQ-28/Sniper

The instructions offer guidance for configurations.



Three schemes are provided on the super sized decal sheet including a tiger stripe scheme as depicted on the box art. Decals are printed by Cartograf and designed by Flying Leathernecks Decals.



The dark tiger stripes are supplied as decals.

Markings for the ordnance is included on the big decal sheet too.

The decal sheet is printed perfectly in register.





This is a great kit of the F/A-18D Hornet and once again represents smoking hot value at just USD$39.99.

From all reports it is much easier to build than the Hasegawa kit too.

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Lucky Model for the samples

Review Text and Images Copyright © 2019 by Brett Green
Page Created 21 January, 2019
Last updated 22 January, 2019

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