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 REVIEW: Hobby Master HA3530 CF-18B Hornet, 410 TFS, Cold Lake, Alberta

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Join date : 2017-02-18
Location : Vancouver

PostSubject: REVIEW: Hobby Master HA3530 CF-18B Hornet, 410 TFS, Cold Lake, Alberta   Sat Feb 18 2017, 23:43

Hobby Master 1/72 Air Power Series
McDonnell Douglas CF-188B
188920, 410 TFS, Alberta, June 1997
Canadian Forces

Production limited to 600 Units

January 2013 Release

First of all I would like to thank William at Hobby Master for graciously agreeing to produce a model which actually appears in my Pilot Logbook.

I would also like to thank William for providing me a complementary copy of this latest Hobby Master Hornet release. It will be a definite centre piece of my collection. If some think that makes this review biased - so be it. But this really is a great model.

As a starting point, the Hobby Master Hornet tooling is second to none in my opinion. There have also been some notable improvements to this latest Canadian Hornet Release (some of which I suggested to William).

Since this CF-18B is portrayed as she appeared in 1997 - it represents a Canadian Hornet prior to the Modernization and Update Program that began in the early 2000s. No later "Bird Slicer" IFF antennas on the nose and square rather than angled VHF/UHF antennas are all correct here.

Next, for those concerned, the paint colour closely matches the first Canadian CF-18A release (HA3502) so the two can be displayed together. Next, the main landing gear has been modified from that first release and now displays the proper "splay" when viewed head on. There is also additional printed detail ahead of the jet intakes and the searchlight on the port side forward fuselage is better outlined compared to the single seat version. Of note is that the interior of the speed brake is now correctly painted grey rather than the white shown on the CF-18A. Even criticism regarding the positioning of the false canopy on the pre production photos has been addressed. It is also good to see that the pilot helmets are correctly painted grey.

The armament issue on this aircraft is a bit complicated. The aircraft was actually unarmed when I had the chance to fly her from the back seat. Now since I know most collectors would be "bored to tears" with that scenario I asked William to include some armament options. Since 410 "Cougar" Squadron is the Fighter Training Squadron of the RCAF - this aircraft would regularly have an ACMI (Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation) Pod on one of the wingtips. Since Hobby Master has used the ACMI pod on previous F-16 releases it now appears here on the F-18 for the first time. Next although a Sidewinder Acquisition Round (Basically a Sidewinder missile without a motor and fins) would normally be on the opposite wingtip - it would not be too unusual to see an actual Sidewinder missile there (which is included on the model). Next, since 410 Squadron teaches future fighter pilots the art of ground attack - the option of single mounted Mk.82 bombs are provided. AGM-65 Maverick Air-to-Ground Missiles are also provided (Hobby Master had the tooling available) as a separate option (The Maverick would not commonly be fitted but did enter Canadian service in 1997 so would not be an impossible option).

As far as a Laser Designation Pod is concerned (as seen on the Pre Pro) these are not included as they did not enter service until 1998 and even then only with the operational squadrons (which had to share about a dozen pods between them!). Perhaps if Hobby Master does a Kosovo Crisis "Balkan Rats" CF-18 in the future they would then correctly be included.

Sparrow missiles on the fuselage stations would also not be correct on a dual seat CF-18B so they are also not included here (the only photos I have seen of a CF-18B with Sparrows is of #901 which was the first Hornet delivered to Canada and had Sparrows attached for publicity purposes). Finally, the three external fuel tanks are included.

Overall a very worthy addition for anyone who collects Canadian themed aircraft. A very accurate model in my opinion.

Evidently this model sold out at the Manufacturer level in just a single day - so get one while you can!

EDIT: After publishing this review I noticed that the starboard Leading Edge Extension Fence (the small part with a running cougar painted on it) is missing. Hobby Master will be sending out a replacement part.


Below: Yes, that's me in the back seat - CF-18B #188920 June 1997.

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