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!

7 thoughts on “1/48 EA-18G Growler – VAQ-209

  1. Anthony D'Agostino March 27, 2019 — 2:29 pm

    I figured out how to find/follow the build process. Unfortunately, you make it look so easy, it scares me. My two hasegawa kits are the F model, maybe its the same kit, I would have to look at the box closely. Unfortunately the first one suffered damage in shipping, including the canopy broke from the tree. The seller was very nice and sent a replacement kit, which too arrived with numerous parts loose inside their respective bags. I don’t have an accurate assessment of the total damage, hopefully I can make one fully correct kit from the two, and do the second one up as a scavaged airframe, much to reality after the horrible budget cuts under obama. This will also allow me to pose that craft with radome open and other cool bits being seen that might otherwise never be seen. I have to ask you two questions. First, how did you outline the bay doors so perfectly? I saw a Tamiya paint marker and thought that this very application makes the red invaluable, but I haven’t bought on as of yet. Two, I noticed on the real aircraft the grill that makes up the nose gear doors and wondered why they would do that? Do you know why they have all those holes, making what I would guess is a pretty bad wake of turbulent air, destroying airflow under the plane.

    Finally, since I was a kid, the F-18 has been one of my favorite subjects. When I heard that the Super Hornet was being made and did a quick research on it, I was giddy. An F-18 that is thirty percent bigger with more powerful engines and that slice your face off boxed intakes just made my jaw drop.

    I also bought the PE cockpit upgrades and PE seats, that should be a true challenge since it will be my first experience using PE to that level, I am just glad that I have spare seats if mine don’t work out. Also bought resin exhausts, mainly to see how much better they are compared to the kits, and until I paint them, I won’t really know.

    Thanks for the inspiration, sorry to be bombarding you with comments, maybe you can send the growler to my house and cut off my internet from 30,000 feet.

    1. For outlining I painted the outside and let it dry then taped the doors to a piece of tape and used a 10/0 brush and carefully painted the red. Let dry and then remove tape. The Tamiya paint marker would work as well. PE takes a little bit of practice but it is not bad to do. See my tips and tricks section on PE tools to use. Makes things a lot easier and you don’t glue your fingers to the model. LOL

      1. Anthony D'Agostino March 28, 2019 — 4:16 am

        I only saw the glue loop, I am unable to find anything regarding benders or how to paint the parts, if they should be bent before painting? Or should they first be sprayed with a primer?

        I love the loop tool, probably makes putting the PE exactly where it goes, a whole lot easier and less messy. One other thing, a lot of PE for cockpits, goes directly on the canopy, but how do you attach it if CA causes that dreaded clouding?

        Thanks again for your help and for this site in general, very informative.

      2. For bending PE I typically use tweezers or needle nose pliers. I paint after bending and attaching except for items on a canopy. I prefer to use white glue like Elmers for attaching to clear parts.

  2. anthony dagostino March 28, 2019 — 6:25 am

    I have seen PE benders on ebay, anywhere from 30 dollars up to almost 100. I have bought some PE sets for a few of my kits, I think they add realism and look great when completed. Your work on the MH-60 was stunning. I think I will try to get the BIG ED for all my kits, although they are not cheap either. If I lived in the USA, maybe it would save me money, but I don’t. My choice to live OCONUS, I have to live with the effects.

    I hope I dont bother you too much, just your vast collection and experience is valuable to me.

    1. No problem. You should see if there are local hobby shops, many can order what you need and save cost of shipping internationally.

      1. anthony dagostino March 28, 2019 — 6:40 am

        Sadly, the local shops have disappeared. The only shop that remains is located in Manila. They have a decent selection, but lean towards fantasy kits. Their stocks of paints is also ok, with tamiya and lifecolor being prominent. I have a few lifecolor bottles, and I like the consistency, airbrush ready. The things that scare me the most, canopies, but you have proven that they can be repaired. Using CA anywhere, if I recall, it eats paint as well. Filling and sanding, trying to engrave panels and finally, the clear coats. I have had decals go silver on me before, and I would hate to put that much work into a kit, only to have it ruined because the clear coat wad notf done properly.

        Beyond those fears, I feel pretty confident about most the other stuff, like airbrushing the main colors and attaching the sprue parts, hard to mess those things up. I just need to remember to test fit everything before the glue is used.

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