Hasegawa 1:48 CF-188A Hornet 188741 Canada Air Force

The Story

Under the name Operation Friction, Canada contributed 4,500 personnel to the 1991 Gulf War. Part of the Coalition build up included three Canadian warships sent to the Persian Gulf and the deployment of a Canadian fighter squadron to provide CAP protection over the gulf. The Canadian air component initially meant the deployment of CF-188A fighters from 409 Squadron to Doha, Qatar. Eventually, 409 Squadron would be replaced by a composite squadron known as the "Desert Cats". When hostilities commenced the Desert Cats performed CAP, Mig sweep, and escort missions. There were no air-to-air engagements. However, on one night two Hornets flying CAP over the gulf attacked an Iraqi boat and scored hits with their M61 Vulcan cannon. Towards the end of the conflict, the Hornets began bombing missions with Mk82 Snake-eye bombs donated from the co-located US 614th Tactical Fighter Squadron. When hostilities ceased, the Desert Cats had completed 56 bombing sorties. It was mission accomplished for the Desert Cats with no losses or battle damage taken.

The Kit

There are plenty of articles on the Hasegawa F/A-18 series kits so I will not elaborate on the build. I actually used the US Navy boxing of the F/A-18A but all the parts necessary are included to build a Canadian Hornet. In terms of plastic, the kit is for the most part out-of-the-box but with Hasegawa weapons and a BlackBox ejection seat. Painting was done with Gunze Sangyo FS 36375 Light Ghost Gray on the underside and Model Master FS 35237 Medium Gray on the topside. Details and weathering were done using enamels. Decal sheets used consist of 3 older Arrow Graphics decals sheets (which were quite yellowed by the time I built this kit), Leading Edge, and Two Bobs weapons decals. The Arrow Graphics decal sheets provided me with the older Cold War era CF-188A markings and Gulf War specific markings. These include the Arabic "check your six" and mission markings. I built my aircraft as 188741, which had along with it's three bombing mission markings, a marking representing the Iraqi boat attacked on the night of January 30th.