Revell made some waves in 2019 with the release of their long-awaited 1:32 scale F/A-18E Super Hornet. We reviewed it in the Modeler’s Section of our recent book, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet In Detail & Scale (Includes the EA-18G Growler) which you can find HERE. The Revell kit has its strengths and weaknesses, and Eduard has released a series of aftermarket detail sets for this kit to enhance its level of detail and improve its accuracy in some key areas. Here, we take a look at their BIG ED set that bundles three detail sets and a masking set at a savings for the scale modeler.
This BIG ED offering contains four items for the Revell F/A-18E: (1) #33220 F/A-18E seatbelts STEEL; (2) #32948 F/A-18E Interior; (3) #32439 F/A-18E Exterior, and; (4) # JX231 F/A-18E Masking Set.
First up: # 33220 F/A-18E seatbelts STEEL. One of the weak spots in the kit is the ejection seat. Its shape is okay (better than Trumpeter) but arrangement of the shoulder harnesses, parachute risers, and lap belts is a work of fiction. Here, this pre-painted set consisting of 43 parts provides the shoulder harnesses/parachute risers, lap belts, ejection handle, and multiple ejection seat placards. Not only are these beautifully done (right down to ultra-fine stitching details on the belts), the PE details, at least in this builder’s opinion, are the best way to do belts in scale modeling. There’s only one small mistake here – the shoulder harness connection to the inertia reels (the folded-over bottoms of Part #1) should vertically attach to the ejection seat body – not at the 45-degree outboard angle as shown in the instructions. This set also contains a few nice (small) remove before flight tags used to safe the drogue gun and other mechanisms.
Next is #32948 F/A-18E Interior. Another weak spot in the kit is pretty much the entire cockpit, where most details are either soft, spartan, or inaccurate. As if often the case, Eduard comes to the rescue. This set features two frets and one set of clear acetate parts. The first fret features 105 photoetched metal parts, and just about all of them are pre-painted. You get a complete replacement for the instrument panel (three MFDs) with pre-painted display screens depicting the MFDs as “powered up.” The side consoles are completely replaced, and the high parts count here comes courtesy of a lot of individual buttons and toggle switches, and various handles. The second fret is unpainted and contains an additional 36 parts. Among other details, it provides the rudder pedals and cockpit sidewall details (both absent in the kit), the cockpit sills and aft cockpit decking surfaces (which are really well done), the inner canopy frame, rear-view mirrors, and an excellent rendition of the canopy gasket seal. The kit’s HUD is terribly inaccurate, and here, this set provides an excellent replica of the two-piece combining glass HUD. While Revell may not have necessarily done justice to the F/A-18E’s cockpit in the kit, this Eduard set certainly does.
Third, # 32439 F/A-18E Exterior is an unpainted set consisting of one fret with 104 parts. It nails some critical exterior details that are again missing or inaccurate in the kit. These include a variety of detail parts for the landing gear, from an improved nose gear holdback bar to tie-down rings. Details of gear well doors are also enhanced, from the embedded AS-4583/A antenna to wiring, door vent grills, and door actuator arms, along with a few gear well details. The kit’s four diamond-shape engine bay vents are significantly over-scaled. Fill them, sand them smooth, and use the replacement vents here. These PE parts are a bit smaller than the kit vents, but I am still not so sure they are the 100% accurate in size. I think they could stand to be somewhat smaller. The set also contains a complete photoetched metal replacement for the kit’s boarding ladder. It looks really good.
Finally, quick and easy masking of clear parts and wheel hubs will be accomplished by the use of # JX231 F/A-18E Masking Set. This is a pre-cut self-adhesive set. Just follow the directions. I used to swear by making my own masks, but over the last few years, I have transitioned to using Eduard masks whenever feasible. They are excellent, time-saving, and produce a great-looking final product at the end of the day.
In summary, this BIG ED combination provides these sets together at a lower price than if they were bought individually. It also elevates the level of detail and accuracy of the 1:32 scale Revell F/A-18E in all places where it really needs it. Many scale modelers will find it to be indispensable for their project.
Sincere thanks are owed to Eduard for the review sample. You can visit them on the web at http://www.eduard.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EduardCompany