Trumpeter | 1/32 F-18E Test Shot

Reviewed by John Melchor

I have always been a fan of large-scale kits. During the recently concluded IPMS Philippines Bert Anido fellowship night, I first laid eyes on the Trumpeter 1:32 F-18E Test Shot. I was thrilled to say the least. Speaking for the many flyboys out there, may I say that this latest offering by Trumpeter is one of the most-awaited kits of the modern jet enthusiasts!

The kit is molded in a light-gray styrene and presented in 15 parts trees (A to R) including a single clear sprue (R) and comes with 4 rubber tires for a total of 316 parts. The kit features fine detailing in the form of recessed panel lines and subtly done rivet details.

Sprue A - Fuselage

The forward lower fuselage is built-up from left and right halves and are designed to be mated to the upper airframe and lower rear fuselage. This method of engineering is pretty clever as it hides seam lines and eliminates the ever-problematic joint alignment and seams between the leading edge extension and the fuselage. It also helps to capture the complex curves of the Superbug.

There appears to be a mold error (wrinkly texture) on the ports found on both sides of the intakes as well as numerous ejector pin marks on the inside of the intake trunks. As this is a test shot, this may be corrected before final release. On the other hand, the inside bulkhead of the cockpit is devoid of any consoles. There are however two open avionics bays on either side of the forward fuselage that are nicely done and look very busy.

Sprue B & C - Wings/leading Edge Flaps

The flaps/slats/rudders and ailerons are molded separately and can be posed in various configurations. The engraving on the wings is exceptional and the wings can be posed folded.

Sprue E - horizontal Stabilizers

The control surfaces are molded separately and can be posed. The detailed engraving on the tail is noteworthy.

Sprue F - Gear Doors & flap Hinges

There are quite a few sink marks on the flap hinges and ejector pin marks on the gear doors.

Sprue H - Landing gear/wheels

There are several sink marks on all 3 gears and on the wheel hub spoke of the main gear. The plumbing on the undercarriage wells are a tad sparse. Overall the undercarriage seems a little on the chunky side but nonetheless well executed.

Sprue J - Cockpit tub

The consoles have raised detail and should make a handsome cockpit in the hands of a skilled modeler. There are nicely done canopy-locking mechanisms done in styrene.

Sprues L, M, P - Radar, tail hook, Ext Fuel tanks, Nose

The APG-79 AESA radar is nicely done and can be posed. A multi-piece boarding ladder is also provided and can be posed as well. Numerous pylons are provided for the 11 hardpoints - 6 underwing, 2 wingtip and 3 under fuselage.

A bit of a shocker to me was that this test shot did not come with any weapons! Perhaps the missing sprues- I, K & O will be the missing weapons. Additionally, I found a strange inclusion a sprue tree which included a FLIR pod, 2 ALQ-99 jamming pods, and 2 ALQ-218 pods along with a rear cockpit console and shroud-all of which are typically found on the F-18F Growler. Hopefully the 3 missing trees will add another 150 or so parts full of weapons like JDAMs, AMRAAMs, Harpoons, HARMs and GBUs.

Sprue N - Engine & Exhaust nozzles

There are two nicely finished GE-F414 engines. The exhaust nozzles are molded in the idle position.

Sprue Q - Ejection seats

Two 5-piece ejection seats are provided. The seats do not have harnesses molded on, hinting that a photo-etch sheet may be in the works for the final kit.

Sprue R - Clear parts

The canopy is well executed and is crystal clear! It does however have a prominent seam line down the center; nothing a little micromesh cannot fix.


In my honest opinion, this kit will build into quite an impressive model right out of the box! Overall it is well done. Typical of any test shot, it has some minor issues-none of which cannot be overcome. Numerous opportunities for super-detailing and multitude of options will please serious large scale aircraft modelers.

This F-18E is yet another kit from Trumpeter that comes most highly recommended! Our sincerest thanks to Trumpeter for the opportunity to review this test shot.

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© John Melchor

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This review was published on Saturday, July 02 2011; Last modified on Wednesday, May 18 2016