1/48 EA-18G Growler – VAQ-209

Next up is the Hasegawa 1/48 U.S. Navy EA-18G Growler. The EA-18G Growler is an airborne electronic attack (AEA) aircraft which operates from either an aircraft carrier or from land-bases. The Growler is the replacement for the United States Navy EA-6B Prowler aircraft which entered service in 1971 and was retired in 2015.

For this kit I will be using the Eduard photo etch sets for the seats, cockpit and exterior of the kit. I also will be using decals from Two Bob’s Decals that represent “Star Warriors” of VAQ-209. I chose these because I like the star wars theme with Darth Vader on the tails.

Starting with the cockpit, I built and detailed the seats first. The photo etch set includes the seat belts, seat pads, handles, and warning signs for each seat. Once the seats were done I moved on to the cockpit tub. The details added were the pedals, walls and dashboards. I weathered the interior with some dark gray pastel chalk the mounted the cockpit in to the lower fuselage.

The kit shares the same mold as the Hasegawa F/A-18E/F so some of the details on the nose needed to be modified. The instructions show you which panel lines need to be removed and which ones to add. Since the EA-18 version does not have the guns, the gun bulge and ports are removed. It is nice that the instructions include the corrections.

 

 

As work continues on the EA-18G, the landing gear bays have been detailed with the photo etch parts. The main gear bays required the entire outside wall to be removed and a photo etch panel attached. I used 400 grit sand paper to remove the kit wall. I then assembled the intake ducts. Using dental spade I filled the seam with putty and sanded it down with a sanding stick. The fuselage was assembled and the front landing gear bay was detailed with photo etch parts. Added some more photo etch details to the fuselage like wind splints, chaff buckets, and formation light frames. The exhaust cones were assembled, painted and weathered with blue, brown and black pastel chalk. The fuselage was base coat painted and weathered with dark gray pastel chalk to highlight panels and other details. Currently working on the under wing stores and the landing gear details.

 

 

Getting closer to the finish line. The landing gear has been detailed and installed. The nose gear door was completely replaced by photo etch. Hoses and cables added to the struts. Installed all the under wing missiles and jammers. The decals were then put on and the top coat applied. The decal set is very nice. Just a word of caution, the decal sheet with Vader’s face and the CAG logo is a single film sheet. It must be trimmed before placing in water.

I they switched over to the canopy. The first thing I needed to do was to remove the seam down the middle.  I have a tips and tricks section on how to remove the seam at How to repair, clean and polish clear parts.

The HUD wad assembled using photo etch for frame and clear acetate for the glass. The canopy frame has lots of photo etch details for hooks, levers, and panels. Once the canopy has been fully detailed and painted it will be installed open then I can finish the external details.

 

The EA-18G Growler representing VAQ-209 is now complete. This build was very nice to build. The fit was great and the instructions were well done. The Two Bob’s decals are nice and thin. They went on well (aside from the Vader face being on a single film) and they look great! The Eduard photo etch set is great as well. Thanks for following along!

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