F-18F Vacu Canopy

Published: May 27th, 2014     
Reviewed by: Scott Hollingshead - IPMS# 34786
Scale: 1/144
Company: Brengun
Price: $5.86
Product / Stock #: BRL 144095
Product provided by: Brengun, Hauler

Hauler-Brengun, a Czechoslovakian newcomer, provides modelers with kits, photoetch parts, and accessories. The vacuum-formed canopy that I received for this review is a nice two-piece replacement for the single-piece canopy included with the Dragon F/A-18F kits. Before diving into the review, I should state that I would recommend vacuum formed parts for experienced modelers. Removing the part from the plastic sheet is a delicate process, but the results are worth the effort.

The F/A-18F is the two-seat variant of the Super Hornet that, along with the single-seat F/A-18E, replaced the capable F-14 Tomcats aboard the US Navy's aircraft carriers. The more petite, slower, shorter-range and smaller-payload-carrying Super Hornet is at least a less expensive aircraft for the Navy to operate. Okay, so I really am a Tomcat fan at heart.

For this review I used Dragon kit 4591, which contains an F-14 along with an F/A-18F. You can see in my comparison photos of the kit and replacement canopies that the replacement does have better clarity than the injection-molded kit part. In comparison, the kit canopy measures 0.0195 inches thick while the Brengun replacement measures 0.0160 inches. The other feature that I quickly noticed was that the Brengun canopy is molded as two separate parts, which would allow the canopy to be posed open if desired.

If you have not worked with vacuum formed parts in the past, I would recommend the use of a new blade in your hobby knife. I also made use of a razor saw to remove my parts. My advice is to cut as close to the actual part as you can, then use a sanding stick for the final clean up. You can chose just how close you want to trim near the part based on your comfort level, and thereby determine how much sanding you want to undertake. I also made use of a sprue nipper to trim around the back of the canopy where two tabs stick out.

As far as my hits for this replacement canopy are concerned, the clarity of the vacuum-formed canopy is a nice step up from the injection-molded canopy included in the kit. I also like that the replacement is formed with a separate windscreen and canopy, which would allow the canopy to be opened up. The folks at Brengun started with a piece of 0.0230 inch thick clear plastic, which results in parts that are clear and not as excessively flimsy to handle as some vacuum formed canopies can be. I did not identify any misses with this item.

In conclusion, I would highly recommend this replacement canopy for folks who own one of the Dragon F/A-18F kits. The improved clarity and the nice upgrade offered by having separate windscreen and canopy pieces will add to the well-made Dragon kit.

My thanks go out to the folks at Hauler-Brengun for supplying this item to the IPMS/USA for review, to Dave Morrissette for allowing me to perform this assessment, and to you for taking the time to read my comments.

  • Brengun Canopy - Top View
    Brengun Canopy - Top View
  • Brengun Canopy - Top View
    Brengun Canopy - Top View
  • Brengun Canopy Compared to Kit Canopy
    Brengun Canopy Compared to Kit Canopy
  • Brengun Canopy In Place 1
    Brengun Canopy In Place 1
  • Brengun Canopy In Place 2
    Brengun Canopy In Place 2

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