Profile Photo
Spiros Pendedekas
138 articles

Kangnam 1/48 F-18L

March 15, 2022 · in Aviation · · 34 · 1.6K

Hi everyone!

This is my Kangnam F-18L, finished as a what-if demonstrator for the !
Back in the late seventies, where the project was in good progress, Northrop and McDonnell Douglas partner companies were individually progressing with their F-18L land based version designs, in order to attract potential customers. Both designs had the F-18A as the starting point and generally opted for weight reduction, not only by deleting unwanted naval equipment (such as the wing folding mechanism), but also by lightening or simplifying some of the plane's parts (such as the landing gear and its supporting structure).

The Northrop design would additionally feature deletion of the internal wing tanks and intake mounted weapon stations (but would provide a third underwing one). Both designs would be strengthened for a 9 g design load factor, compared to the F-18A's 7.5 g.

Competition for potential foreign sales inflamed the two companies' partnership with lawsuits and the like. Upon the time of the settlement (which was the mid 80's), Northrop had already ceased work on the F-18L.

Following customers' preference for the standard Hornet, McDonnell Douglas seemingly also ceased work on their land based version (which was by then assigned as F/A-18L), meaning that finally both companies' “L” versions were left as projected aircraft.

The land based version of the Hornet competed for the Hellenic Air Force (HAF) fighter contract in the early 1980s. Presumably, both Northrop and MD presented their designs.

Interestingly, a blurred color pic exists from that time, depicting a flight of a lavishly painted YF-17 Cobra (from which the standard F-18 emerged), carrying HAF insignia! Seemingly, Northrop performed such “promotion” flights, with the Cobra being a demonstrator of the projected F-18L.

As an “alternate history”, I decided to finish the Kangnam kit as a what-if demonstrator, painted in an eye-catching “demo scheme” and carrying HAF insignia, as would have been presented to the HAF officials and evaluated by HAF test pilots during the fighter contract competition!
Should you wish to read the full build review (together with my "what if assumptions" 🙂 ), you may do so by visiting my beloved site Modelingmadness:

Happy modeling!
Reader reactions:
9  Awesome

34 responses

  1. Once again, a remarkably unique subject! Nicely done Spiros! Where do you get your ideas for projects? Are you smoking something special the rest of us should know about... 🙂

  2. Fantastic work! Great painting! Is It US Non Spectacular Navy Blue?

  3. Great build Spiros! the scheme is very eye catching and well executed. Is this is recent build or an older one? The reason I ask is that you seem to have 3 or 4 amazing projects going on at the same time while I can barely finish one every few months! Keep up the good work!

  4. @fiveten - you certainly have "a way" with the kits others would quietly drop in the "round file." Another transformation of craptacular kit into spectacular model.

  5. Great build Spiros! Nice and clean!

  6. Nice job, Spiros. It gives a nice clean look at the great lines of the Hornet.

  7. I've never heard of Kangnam, but a lovely super clean build , great job mate.

    • Thanks my friend @neil-foster! I am not sure if Kangnam is active recently. A number of their kits were clones of other manufacturers kits. The specific kit was very interesting as it was practically an "amalgamated copy" of both Monogram and Italeri F-18 kits, but with engraved panel lines! It was very cheap back in the early 00s, which is the reason I bought it 🙂 Decals were a joke, only the stencils were (barely) useable.

  8. @fiveten
    Now here is something I never saw, photos or model form, until now Spiros. Looks like a F-18 wannabe 😉
    What-If or not, the livery looks cool, I like it

    • Thanks my friend @holzhamer! Here is the only known pic of the YF-17 Cobra, as it was demonstrated to the HAF Officials in the early 80s...

  9. Nice work, Spiros. That’s another oddball kit that I’ve never seen built. Thanks for sharing it.

  10. Excellent build of this Whatiffer, Spiros @fiveten
    Kangnam is unknown to me as well but they seem to provide nice kits.
    Taking into account ofcourse that your building experience results in great builds regardless the brand.
    Great HAF scheme as well, a pity that Greece never bought some.

  11. Very nice job Spiros!

  12. Nice! At first glance I thought it was the YF-17. Way back when, I saw a YF-17 at NAS Oceana.

  13. Definitely an oddball. Nice build of not a great kit detail wise.

  14. You sure can pick a kit, Spiros. Always learning something new when you reveal a build! Thanks for the history and another sensational project and build!

  15. @fiveten, another winner Spiros! ? That is a fine result from that old kit and as usual, an interesting backstory too! Well done sir. ?

  16. I always thought Northrop got the short end of the stick, with the F-5G/F-20 and the YF-17/F-18L.
    Nice representation Spiros.

  17. Nice work Spiros, sharp looking F-18.

Leave a Reply