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Black Box

1/48 F-18D Hornet cockpit set

Product # 48014 for Hasegawa kit

Product Article by Steve Bamford

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This is the new 1/48 F-18D cockpit set.  It is cast in the usual cream coloured resin and contains 19 pieces.  Let's start with the Instrument panels.  The Hasegawa forward instrument panel isn't as nice as the Black Box forward instrument panel, but oddly enough the Monogram F-18A instrument panel is a very close second to the Black Box instrument panel.  In the rear the Black Box instrument panel is much superior to the Hasegawa instrument panel and seems very close to the real thing.  As far as I can tell...the Hasegawa F-18D rear instrument panel is actually an F-18B instrument panel.  Black Box has the best instrument panels front and rear.  For you folks that want to get the rear coaming above the instrument panel correct, then some cutting and work will be needed because Black Box didn't include the stepped F-18D coaming and the Hasegawa coaming is clearly for an F-18B trainer.  The side panel detail is sweet in this resin set with excellent detail.....the Hasegawa kit doesn't include any side panel detail at all and F-18's have plenty of side panel detail.  

The pilots control stick in the Black Box set is a noticeable improvement over the Hasegawa part.  The rudder pedals in this set are very delicately done, especially compared the triangular bits of plastic molded into the foot pedal area of the Hasegawa cockpit tub.  Black Box does correctly not include a rear control stick as these were not part of the rear tubs in the F-18D's.  Black Box did include a base of the control stick molded to the resin cockpit tub floor....and it looks just like the real thing.  The forward cockpit tub is well done but besides the addition of the coiled wire on the right side console....and the detail on the rear wall of the forward cockpit tub....this set is identical to the Hasegawa forward cockpit tub.  The seats will hide most of the detail on the rear wall of the forward cockpit tub.  The cockpit tub is a vast improvement over the rear tub in the Hasegawa kit.  Hasegawa is kidding us when they market their kit as an F-18D.  A couple of areas screaming for detail are the horizontal canopy base frame that the canopy rests on.  This area has lots of fine detail that would be interesting to see made up better than the basic plain plastic of the kit.  The problem is....this part is so long and delicate that I suspect are attempt to mold this in resin would result in a badly twisted part that would hardly serve the modeller well.  The other area that screams for attention is the horizontal surface behind the rear seat headrest that has the canopy support mechanism.  This area is rich in detail on the F-18D and the Hasegawa part is sadly lacking in all but the most basic detail.    

resin seats........early style F-18D seats....same seat as in all Canadian CF-18's

 

Front Cockpit tub

And finally we come to the seats.  Much has been said about this set and the chatter among modellers is this set could have been done better.  As it turns out this set contains SJU-5/6 seats and not the SJU-17 seats found in most F-18D's. The seats are very nice, but some folks are wondering what they are going to do with these seats if they buy the extra package offered by Black Box containing the later style seats.  Well considering the rest of this set is quite well done in general, then it seems like a useable set to buy....but what about the wrong seats or at least the fact the seats are the early and less common seats.  If you buy the extra Black Box seats doesn't that mean you're stuck with 2 extra seats you have no need for?  Not really....at least not in my opinion.  We've all heard of Leading Edge Decals and their high quality decals of mainly Canadian aircraft....including all the beautiful CF-18 airshow fighters.  I think we all have at least one or two of the Leading Edge decal sheets or we plan to buy them.  The Hasegawa CF-18A  (F-18A) is a decent model (cockpit wise), but it sadly lacks sidewall detail and a decent early version of the F-18 seat.  So anyone wanting the build a CF-18 using these excellent Leading Edge Decals was doomed to having a great model with a very bad Hasegawa ejection seat.  Well not anymore.  With this set....you get 2 CF-18 seats.  Make up some sidewall detail and add some other detail like the coiled wire to the right side console and you have a decent looking cockpit.....then you drop in one of these seats and it will completely transform the cockpit into a work of art.  Then buy the set of late model seats for this set and you'll kill two birds with one stone.  I've currently got a couple of CF-18's on the go, so the seats from this set will find a good home there and then I can buy the later version F-18D seats for an upcoming F-18D plane I want to build.  So for me anyways...this cockpit set containing the earlier F-18 seats is a welcome surprise as I know I will find a use for them.

Steve Bamford 

(click on pictures below to bring up full screen pictures)

cockpit tub  instrument panels Front panel on right sidewalls and control columns and rudder pedals

 

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Photos and text by Steve Bamford

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