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In-Box Review
148
EF-111 Raven
General Dynamics–Grumman EF-111A Raven
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by: Milan Mitev [ THE-F-PLANES ]

History
The grace of the Raven is easily remarkable from distance and it is a legacy plane that played a major role in almost every conflict area where electronic warfare, a.k.a. jamming, was needed. For example, this iconic US plane was extensively used during the Persian Gulf conflict in 1991.

The airframe of the Raven is basically a reorganized F-111A airframe, which required major changes to acquire the transmitting and receiving pods for jamming. The EF-111 Raven is the most famous plane with internal transmitting pod, which is stored in the weapons bay, while the huge bulged tip of the tail houses the receiving equipment. This is what makes the EF-111 such a unique and distinctive plane when viewed from far.

About the 1/48 scale Raven from Hobby Boss
With this superb Hobby Boss kit, you get an awesome 1/48 scale miniature of the Raven so you can easily enjoy it from close.

The box is rather large and heavy, while the boxart is splendid. It shows two Ravens flying in the sky, tempting you to open the box and see what`s inside.

The plastic parts are packed very well in separate plastic bags for just about every sprue, and there are bags with two plastic sprues as well. The plastic parts are quite a lot and there are as many big parts as there are small parts.

Some details are easy to distinguish like the massive vertical stabilizer, the one-piece crew escape module, the nose section and others, but there are also parts that look strange at first glance.

The quality of the plastic is awesome – neither too hard, nor too soft, while the amount of detail is what gives the greatest advantage of this kit.

The paper parts include a big and comprehensive instruction manual, which is not colored, but it explains sufficiently well what to do first, second, third, etc. However, there are some imperfections with the instruction – the unused parts are mentioned in the small bottom right corner of the second page and are difficult to notice. Some of the instructional pictures do not show the optional parts, which indeed are many and are provided in the kit.

There is also a big two-sided colorful sheet with the decal placement for the two airframe variants that can be made out of the box. Whilst for the decals – nothing fancy about them – just two small sheets with decals and one tiny little sheet that holds the big nose art decal for one of the two airframes.

The surprising feature is a wide range of unexpected details, such as the smaller cardboard box inside the big box of the kit. That small box keeps some of the most spectacular parts of the kit – the two giant lower and upper pieces of the fuselage, the crystal-clear parts, and the rubber tires.
Another pleasant surprise was the size of the finished model, which according to the data on the top right corner of the kit box, should measure some 50cm by 40cm, with unswept wings.
Also for a 1/48 scale model, the Raven has unusually enormous cockpit and respectively canopy, because of the two side-by-side seats.
Yet the biggest surprise is the extensive riveting of all the parts.

The unique things in this kit

Riveting. The big flat pieces have almost no empty area.
The smaller parts for the rather invisible areas such as the landing bay walls also have a good amount of rivets. The rivets are from one type, but there are everywhere and really make the surfaces look busy even without highlighting/priming/painting.

Canopy. It is crystal-clear and the disruptions are not present or very minimal. The text reads effortlessly from right underneath the clear parts, while the clear parts themselves feature extensive riveting, frames, thicker and thinner details, and of course – the canopy is unusually big for a 1/48 scale plane. It has no big long seamline in the middle too.

Wing details. The wings of the Raven are big and most of their numerous details are provided as separate parts in the kit. This awesome advantage lets you choose almost any display setting of the Raven – from completely unswept wings with lowered flaps, to fully swept-back wings. Other separate wing details include spoilers, leading edge slats, wing gloves, flap hinges…

Engines. There are two big engines with numerous parts that are spread out over two identical sprues and are packed in their own small separate bag. The engines have all the major details to make a wonderful side/stand display.

Landing gears. The EF-111 has one of a kind landing gears and they are very accurately represented in this 1/48 scale kit. The details feature separate hydraulic struts, pylons, optional plastic or rubber tires, and many other small and big details. The walls of the landing gear bays are very well detailed too.

Equipment bays. The long nose section of the Raven is quite overwhelmed in details, especially if you choose to take advantage of the open equipment bays. They are detailed quite a lot, thanks to numerous separate pieces with electronic boxes and other components.

Possibility for conversions. This kit has plenty of optional parts. Some of them are mentioned as “unused parts” in the beginning of the instructional manual, but others are not mentioned at all. Only a few examples: there are 4 inlet cowls - with movable intakes, as well as with small auxiliary doors that are present on the later than the A-version Ravens. There is a complete set of underwing pylons, which can be used with the provided external jamming pods in the kit, but they can also be used for mounting bombs. The huge internal weapons bay of the Raven always stays closed, because it houses the transmitting equipment. However, the weapons bay in the kit is very well detailed and even features separate parts. Even the big and unique targeting pod of the Aardvark is included in this kit.

Cons of the kit
The greatest con are the two engine faces, which are partially hidden behind the main landing gear bay. This means that if seen through the intakes – one could see only a partial exposure of the fan blades. This issue is easily editable by widening the angle of the engines. Some widening of the distance between the two engine faces will be needed, as well as making of the entire reorganized intake ducts.
Another unpleasant issue is a rather inaccurate profile of the wings leading edges. They are quite rounded and may need some sanding if you strive to get maximum realism. The trailing edges of all control surfaces are too thick and they may require thinning/sanding as well.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE
SUMMARY
Highs: A difficult kit with a lot of parts, recommended for experienced modelers. The kit has its imperfections, but they can easily be improved in order to make your EF-111 model perfect. You will definitely like the enormous size of this model even in 1/48th.
Lows: Irresistible will to make a conversion of this model, because the bomb bay is very well detailed and there are plenty of optional parts for other F-111 versions.
Verdict: Perfect, highly recommended, and difficult to build kit.
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: HobbyBoss 80352
  PUBLISHED: Dec 09, 2016
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 0.00%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 83.60%

About Milan Mitev (the-F-planes)
FROM: VARNA, BULGARIA

I like the US planes and mostly the F planes, well, with a few exceptions of course, such as the B-2 and the Space Shuttle, but they are from another dimension. And I like them in plastic models too. I recently discovered this great place to share my journey/reviews about the planes and the modeling...

Copyright ©2017 text by Milan Mitev [ THE-F-PLANES ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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