Beyond its service to the U. S. Navy and Marine Corps, the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet has been operated by a number of international customers such as Canada, Spain, Australia, Kuwait, and Switzerland. The Royal Malaysian Air Force (Tentera Udara Di Raja Malaysia, or TUDM) took delivery of eight F/A-18Ds in 1997. These two-seat Legacy Hornets have proven to be key elements of Malaysian airpower. The eight jets are operated by No. 18 Squadron at Butterworth Air Base. Their primary mission is interdiction and maritime strike. They have, however, seen action in ground attack, close air-support, and air superiority roles over the last decade in a few different limited-combat engagements.
In this release by F-4Dable Models, the scale modeler gets decals to do the markings of any of the eight TUDM F/A-18Ds: tail numbers M45-01 thru M45-08. These are accompanied by a complete set of airframe stencils for one aircraft. These jets were painted in a low-visibility overall flat Gunship Grey, FS 36118 (note that the markings guide shows the jet in a lighter color, but that seems done for clarity – so don’t try to match colors to that!). The sheet also has a few variations of the national insignia roundels which accurately represents the incorrect and correctly painted versions of the insignia that were carried by the aircraft at different times during its service life.
These decals are an excellent combination of very well executed design work and outstanding printing by Cartograf. It doesn’t get any better than this. Printing is very clear, colors look great, and carrier film is exceptionally thin and restrained. The markings guide features very nicely rendered aircraft profiles and stencil placement guides. There’s also a lot of information about these three particular schemes, and it reflects the depth of research behind these decals. Detailed notes on the airframe configurations are supplied and they guide the builder on how to modify the Kinetic, Hasegawa, and Hobby Boss kits to accurately represent TUDM F/A-18Ds. Their fleet features a variety of cockpit variations and distinctive airframe details. Again, the instructions point you to what aftermarket sets you might need.
Overall, F-4Dable Models has done a very solid job with this decal set and it will allow scale modelers to build any one of the TUDM’s F/A-18Ds. Fans of Royal Malaysian Air Force subject matter have a definitive set of decals for their jets, and for other modelers, these are very interesting alternative schemes to consider if you’re looking for a unique F/A-18D. This set is also available in 1:72 scale, and we’ll bring you a review of that set shortly.
Many thanks to F-4Dable Models and Jason Cheah for the review sample. You can find them on the web at https://www.facebook.com/f4dablemodels/ and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/f4dablemodels/. And if you’re ever in the neighborhood, they also have a brick-and-mortar hobby shop, too, in Jaya One, on Jalan Universiti, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.