Review: 1/48 F-111D/E Aardvark (HobbyBoss 80350)
The F-111 is a sweep-wing medium range bomber. It was introduced too early during the Vietnam war and since then some different version were made, some for different countries. The F-111D is an upgraded F-111A. The F-111E is a simplified ‘D’ after that version was delayed. This version kept the engines and avionics of the ‘A’.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the box is large, certainly for an 1/48 scale aircraft. On the front a fairly nice drawing of an F-111 with it’s wings wide open. Upon opening the box there is a lot of plastic and a small box in box which holds the clear parts, rubber wheels and the upper and lower fuselage. What more is in there?
- Instruction sheets ( in 2 parts )
- 18 grey sprues in different sizes
- 2 clear sprues
- Upper fuselage
- Lower fuselage
- Rubber wheels
- 3 decal sheets in different sizes
- Painting scheme sheet
Instruction sheet: Comes in two parts. Allthough the instructions are printed nice and clear I don’t like the way this has been printed. Printed over a long sheet of paper and then folded, sometimes partially over instructions. This would be something they could do better, a booklet is much less messy. Also a few spelling errors have been found. For instance the AN/ALQ-131 is called the AN/ALQ-119 and the other way around. Also prior to starting the build i have noticed that there is an option to put an AN/ALQ 87 or Guide pod at the rearend of the vehicle but there is no further notice in the instructions to drill a hole or on which pylon to attach it.
Sprue A: Parts for internal bays. The tone is set because this looks nice. Good details and the sinkmarks all look to be in places where they won’t be seen afterworths.
Sprue B: The front of the aircraft is what you can find on this sprue. The nosecone, the cockpit and some other parts. The detail really pops out, especially behind the cockpit section.
Sprue C: More internal parts and also the large airbrake which is postioned on the underside of the aircraft. Again everything looks great and nice detailed.
Sprue D: Some parte for the landing gear and also the doors for the middle bay which can be positioned open or closed (or with a targeting pod, but more on that later) but the closed option isn’t metioned in the instructions.
Sprue E: Different parts on here, the VAQ-26 targeting pod, the wheels for the landing gear, some avionics equipment and the exhaust nozzle. The targeting pod is an option for the middle bay which we mentioned earlier.
Sprue F: The rear horizontal stabilizers and pylons mainly. The small antenna’s on the stabilizers and the area’s around it need a bit of soft sanding but otherwise everything looks great.
Sprue G 2x: The engine parts. This will look very nice if you plan on making a diorama. Otherwise you won’t see much of it again if it is placed inside the model. But for the detailer among you thise will something nice to add some more detail to the allready great looking engine.
Sprue H: The rear vertical wing and four different instrument panels. And again everything looks really nice!
Sprue K: The sweep wings, with notches for the ailerons and flaps. These can be postioned open if you like to.
Sprue M: The ailerons and flaps. These will look great positioned open. But even closed will look great probably.
Sprue P: The cockpitglass with opions for keeping it open or closing it.
Sprue Q: The smaller clear parts for lights etcetera.
Sprue WA 2x: Armament! with some GBU’s and AGM’s.
Sprue WB 2x: More armament, GBU’s, Mk20’s and Mk82’s.
Sprue WC: Some different AN/ALQ’s and a guide pod.
Sprue WD: Fuel tanks
Upper fuselage: This is the part that will draw most of the attention probably when finished. Full of detail it probably will look absolutely stunning in the end.
Lower fuselage: The largest part in the kit and like the rest of the kit it looks great.
Rubber wheels: Some people don’t like rubber wheels because they don’t have the sagging effect you sometimes see on real aircraft. But other than that they look good.
Decals sheets: Three different sizes of sheets, the big one for the 2 different options, 1 medium sheet for the armament and the small one contains the tiger heads for one of the options. They look nice but feel a bit thick.
Paintscheme sheet: It holds options for two diffent aircraft, both 3-tone upperside with a black underside.
- Option 1: USAAF, F-111E 68-005 “Heart Breaker”, 55th TFS, FFth FS
- Option 2: USAAF, 68-0049 UH, “TIger head”, Fairford 1991
All in all a great looking kit. The plastic has been moulded with high quality and great detail. Looking at these facts not much will stand in the way of building a great looking F-111. Minor points are the instructions, please Hobby Boss, next time make a booklet. This will look a lot less messy. Also the decals are somewhat questionable for the thick feeling. Other than that I couldn’t find much downsides.